FANS AS CREATORS AND CREATORS AS FANS
Saturday, June 2, 1:45 pm
The Otter Media family of companies embodies what it means to create entertainment for fans and what it means to be fans who love and influence entertainment. The audience was packed with devotees of several of the companies’ productions, including Rooster Teeth’s RWBY anime series. Moderator Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media, asked each panelist to talk about their own fan story and how it translated into their current roles.
Barbara Dunkelman became a fan of Rooster Teeth when she was 14 and began attending fan events. Gradually, she developed relationships with leaders of the company, and that led to her first job out of college. She’s now director of social media there and voices the heroine of RWBY, “a badass Goldilocks,” according to Dunkelman.
Siobhan Akato Sullivan began her professional life as a fashion blogger, but her interest in anime started back when her mom accidentally bought her “a funky, really weird” VHS tape of The Little Mermaid from a bargain bin. This was not the Disney version, but one that young Siobhan loved far more. Ultimately, Sullivan learned Japanese and went to Japan. “My parents were skeptical, but when I told them I got this job at Crunchyroll, it was amazing.”
Darnell Brisco started a “side hustle” in fourth grade, buying and trading comic book cards and turning a nice profit. Even better, it got him hooked on comic book heroes. He has worked on roughly 400 social media campaigns for titles like Captain America: Civil War, Deadpool, and Star Wars: Rogue One.
Highlights of their presentation included:
- Scenes of Dunkelman at Rooster Teeth events, talking about how she loves meeting the fans as much as they enjoy meeting her.
- Sullivan talking about the Crunchyroll Expo. What was once a niche type of entertainment now has its own expo, with thousands of fans who dress up in cosplay to celebrate the characters.
- Brisco talking about the anticipation over whether the new Deadpool movie was going to be rated PG-13 or R. The rating was revealed on April Fool’s Day, with a twist that had the audience laughing loud and hard.
Tony Goncalves is CEO of Otter Media. Tony brings a unique skill set to Otter, having worked at the intersection of digital business, premium content, and consumer engagement for the majority of his career. He most recently served as Chief Executive Officer, Digital Brands and led the strategy for DIRECTV NOW. Prior to AT&T, he held a number of roles at DIRECTV. While there, he founded and led the company’s digital products division where he spearheaded the shift to mobile video and innovation outside the traditional content distribution space, including the launch of the NFL Sunday Ticket OTT product.
Siobhan Akoto Sullivan is the Global Social Media Manager at Ellation, where she focuses on building engagement with the anime community in emerging, international markets with the 2017 Webby-recognized Audience Development team for Crunchyroll. She got her start building online communities as a professional fashion blogger, delivering talks at London Fashion Week about the business of blogging and organic social growth-hacking. Later transitioning to social strategy development for Microsoft and NVIDIA, she now concentrates on bringing innovative social media experiences for the passionate and diverse anime fandom. Based in Oakland, California, Siobhan enjoys the outdoors and building her 80s Japanese synth-pop record collection.