Being fully immersed in an era of copyright protectionism, it seems that we've become numb to the effects of it in many ways. One of those effects is how fans who create content around their favorite franchises are treated. The basic policy of the entertainment industry towards fan-films and similar creations appears to be that they can either bully those projects out of existence, sue them out of existence, or do one or the other even after confusingly giving tacit approval for such projects. Those are the options in full, as far as most entertainment companies are concerned, while the public looks at those actions and shrugs their collective shoulders. You'll even occasionally hear noises such as, "Well, what did these fans expect?" All this, keep in mind, for the crime of trying to express fandom, and free advertising for the franchise they love.
Well, if you're Games Workshop, the company behind the Warhammer 40k franchise, you react to a dedicated fan who has created great fan-films by hiring him to do his thing professionally.
Richard Boylan wowed us with both Helsreach and Guardsman, short, gripping takes on different pockets of the Warhammer 40,000 universe in both animation and live-action. And it turns out he wowed Games Workshop itself, too, because he’s now helping the company make an official Warhammer animated series.
GW has now unveiled Angels of Death, a new animated series set to release from Boylan and his team in 2019.
It's frankly sad how few media companies take this route, which sure appears to be the optimal one. This is all essentially a combination of encouraging fans to produce otherwise free promotional material for the Warhammer franchise, showing that those efforts might actually be rewarded with paid work if they're good enough, and garnering the kind of positive PR messaging that can only be cultivated organically. Meanwhile, Games Workshop isn't harmed in any way, and in fact continues to benefit. And it gets a great marketing campaign for the film, given that it's produced by a fan, for fans.
It’s cool to see Games Workshop branching out the Warhammer brand like this again—it has tried animated movies in the past, but they’ve been a bit lowkey. Hopefully, by reaching out to Boylan, who’s already proved that he can do great things with animation on a fan’s budget of...well, personal passion, something really cool can come out of Angels of Deathgetting the proper GW seal of approval.
What needs to happen is for this kind of response to become SOP, rather than some weird outlier. If more entertainment companies embraced their biggest fans, rather than trying to bully and sue them, the world would be a more entertaining place.