Right now, there's something I think is amazing happening at Warner Bros. Animation. Usually, a cartoon outfit's relationship with the fans is a love/hate one at best, and Tom Ruegger and his crew were about as jaded as the rest until something happened - somebody found the newsgroup alt.tv.animaniacs, and soon the articles were being downloaded for the WBA crew to read.
Still, the endless nitpicking that goes on in such fan groups, and the, er... "unusual" tastes of some of the posters, didn't much alter certain individuals perceptions of the "fandom" on the whole, and even provided story material written by Peter Hastings and Tom Ruegger which made fun of the fans, sometimes rather sharply. Just when everyone figured the fan group was all being tarred with the same brush...something else happened.
A bunch of the alt.tv.animaniacs bunch were tossing around the idea of a kind of "Canterbury Tales" pilgrimage to WBA in Sherman Oaks, whether they got past the exterior of the place or not was immaterial. One of the WBA lurkers was asked if there was the outside chance of a tour, and waited for the response. Not only was the basic tour green-lighted, but the very individuals who wrote the less-than-flattering TTA and ANIMX eps were now going out of their way to throw in some extra stuff. Eventually, what was simply a fun idea for some fans turned into a 20 member tour of the facilities, a chance to sit in on a Scoring session with Richard Stone, a chance to meet the voice artists and some of the personnel behind the WBA products, and still other stuff being added as the gang arrived.
Thumbs up Warners! Let's hope some other operations take some cues from an organization who appreciates their fans...and takes notes as to how that appreciation is recognized by us.