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Official Fan-Submitted Content
It's thanks to fans like Gil, that Katy has so, so many pretty dressesnote .

In a nutshell, fans are asked to send in stuff that will be put into the show's Canon or Bonus Material (particularly Side Story Bonus Art). It could range from lines of dialogue, to costume/monster/vehicle designs, to entire plot points.

A common form is to directly ask fans for stuff, and they send it in. Sometimes there is a contest for a major thing to incorporate. Credit is usually given to the senders, partly as a courtesy to the fans, and partly to avoid Plagiarism.

This may or may not be considered a good thing. If fan-created elements seem to take over the show, it can be seen as the writers going creatively bankrupt. On the other hand, some elements help the fans feel like they are part of the show, helping old and new fans stay invested.

A Sub-Trope of Audience Participation (this trope require a process to submit and apply, unlike the other forms).

A Sister Trope to Ascended Fanon, Ascended Meme (neither one is directly asked for, but they're still incorporated into canon), Fourth Wall Mail Slot (which is directly asked for, but usually isn't canon).

Compare Caption Contest, Contest Winner Cameo, Harpo Does Something Funny (having the actors submit stuff that wasn't in the script), Throw It In, Promoted Fanboy, Approval of God.


Examples Alphabetically By Medium:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  

  • The creators of Kinnikuman and Kinnikuman Nisei thrive off fan-submissions, with many of the series Ensemble Darkhorses coming from fan characters that caught on, such as Ramenman.
    • The creator of One Piece got his start submitting a character to Kinnikuman.
  • In Zatch Bell!, there was a contest where fans design their own mamodo child to feature on a card.
  • The Toriko manga and anime has featured several beasts/ingredients which were the winning entries of contests to design them. The manga goes so far as to actually credit the designer of the beast/ingredient.
    • Kongoh Bancho did something similar. The author asked readers to submit ideas for characters and added many of them into the story as antagonists in later arcs.
  • To celebrate the hundredth episode of Shin Lupin III (the "Lupin III (Red Jacket)" series), fans were urged to send in ideas for capers for Lupin. Four ideas were chosen and turned into full episodes, and the fan who submitted the idea was listed in the credits as a "story consultant".
  • The first half of episode 67 of Gintama was based on the winning submission for a contest to create an amanto character.
  • Eiichiro Oda of One Piece has directly stated that he writes the canon himself, and as such he will not take suggestions from the fans on this. However, he will gladly take suggestions to anything that is not canon, such as the splash pages that show the Straw Hats with animals. Fans immediately sent him a lot of suggestions, so all such pages are now derived from a reader's idea. He is also known to incorporate fan suggestions for minor character stats, usually in the form of:
    JC Reader: "Please make [character]'s birthday [date]!"
    Oda: "Okay."
    • This also applies to mini-comics he does for his data books. One story chosen ,"RPG Time", was actually based on a idea from fan forum, Arlong Park, who themselves pooled together and voted on ideas to send to him for it.
  • Gundam has done this on a few occasions. Crossbone Gundam features a mobile armor, the Elgolela, designed by a fan — Kanetake Ebikawa, who went on to design mobile suits for Gundam 00. Likewise, Gundam SEED let fans submit designs for the MSV line; the winner was the Lightning Striker Mecha Expansion Pack for the Strike Gundam.
  • Fairy Tail did something like this where fans were allowed to design characters for villains. They showed up as the Hungry Wolf Knights in the Grand Magic Games Arc.
  • One of the Chess Pieces in MÄR was created by a fan of the series.

     Comic Books  

  • The 1980s version of the comic book Dial H For Hero had the protagonists use their H-dials to transform into fan-submitted characters.
  • Katy Keene was able to have all that Costume Porn because the artists actually incorporated outfit submissions from fans. Virtually every submitted outfit has a caption nearby giving credit to whoever sent in the design.
  • Millie the Model also incorporated costume submissions from fans.
  • Patsy Walker also incorporated costume submissions from fans.
  • My Friend Irma also incorporated costume submissions from fans.
  • Fans can have their submitted characters appear in Pride High. One fan-created character even joined the main cast.
  • A sort-of example: writer Bill Willingham solicited questions about his Fables series from fans, selected his favorites, and gave in-canon, official responses as a series of vignettes that made up issue #59 of the series.
  • Norm Breyfogle's first published artwork was one of several fan-designed Robin costumes in Batman Family from 1977, 11 years before he became the regular Detective Comics artist.
  • The Venom symbiote from Spider-Man was created by a fan named Randy Schueller, who submitted the design for a red-on-black Spider-Man costume to a contest. Mike Zeke altered the design to white-on-black, and the symbiote was born.
  • John Byrne wrote the Darkseid/Galactus: The Hunger one-shot after a kid at a comic-book convention asked him what would happen if Galactus tried to eat Apokalips.

    Fan Fic 
  • The author of the Danny Phantom series, Facing The Future Series, is willing to accept ideas from readers to help enhance the series.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, a couple fans have given the author ideas he's used, such as Brain Bot returning in episode 8 and ProtoMan taking command in episode 9.
    • Splash Woman is getting a Ruby-Spears redesign based on a fan's sprite of an RS-her.
  • In Mega Man Reawakened, in Arc 1, readers were asked to vote which Robot Master Robert would fight first; Cutman was the winner.
  • Shortly after Turnabout Storm was completed, the creator held a "Wright a bad ending contest" for fans to decide what would have happened if the trial had ended with Rainbow Dash being pronounced guilty.
  • In Mass Effect The Equestrian Equation and it's (as of this writing) ongoing sequel, Shades of Twilight, in true Mass Effect fashion, a choice is presented at the end of each chapter that readers could vote on which decision the protagonist would make, letting the fans decide the outcome of the story.

     Film  

     Literature  

  • L. Frank Baum reportedly got the ideas for many of the later books in the Land of Oz series from fans who wrote him letters.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, readers voted on Mia the Bridesmaid Fairy and Juliet the Valentine Fairy's names.
  • Many of the later Xanth books incorporated puns from fans, and Piers Anthony would devote whole appendix chapters giving credit to the submitters.

     Live Action TV  

  • Dirty Jobs relies on viewers to submit suggestions for jobs to cover. Every episode ends with a clip of Mike Rowe (usually covered in muck) asking for viewers to send in suggestions.
  • The Mythbusters requested socks for the Knock Your Socks Off Myth (was originally going to be the "Lost Socks in the Dryer" myth, but they changed their minds). This is in addition to all of the unsolicited items sent in by fans.
    • Many myths to test are suggested by fans on their forum. Most of the retests are based on users in the forum, the exception being the re-retest of the Archimedes death ray requested by Barack Obama.
  • Blue Peter often has contests which ask viewers to submit ideas (such as costume designs or characters) for BBC shows or the program's own productions, with the prize usually being having their entry actually featured (sadly for older viewers and non-Brits they tend to only be open to UK residents under the age of 15).
    • The monster from the Doctor Who episode "Love & Monsters" was from the winner of a Blue Peter contest. (Blue Peter also ran a similar competition back in the early days of the classic series, but that time the winning monster only appeared on Blue Peter, not in Doctor Who itself.)
    • The half-a-TARDIS-console-room used by Idris and the Doctor in "The Doctor's Wife" was also designed by a Blue Peter contest.
    • The opening title sequence for Season 8 (Peter Capaldi's first season as the Doctor) was inspired by a fan video. Steven Moffat was so impressed by the design that he obtained the creator's permission to use elements of his design (notably the watch gears and the spiraling clock face motif) for the show.
  • The short-lived 2009 comedy "In The Motherhood" depended on real life stories submitted by viewers for its scripts. Lasted 7 episodes.
  • The Oyakodon Dopant from Kamen Rider Double's Hyper Battle DVD.
  • Each episode of The Loretta Young Show was based on various fan letters she had received.
  • Beakman's World ran on science questions submitted by kids.
  • In 2006, Stephen Colbert did a parody of the "Star Wars Kid" in front of a green screen as part of one of his "Better-Know-A-District" segments. After fans started making their own videos using this footage to put Stephen in different situations, he decided to hold a contest (known as the Green Screen Challenge) to see who could come up with the best video...which George Lucas himself entered (and got 2nd place).
  • The story for the Punky Brewster episode "Cherie Lifesaver" was submitted by a young viewer. It was also nominated for an Emmy.
  • In the third season of the game show You Dont Say, the names and clues used on the bonus board were furnished by home viewers.

     Magazines  

  • In addition to fanart printed in the Mailbox section, Disney Adventures would occasionally run a contest like this. Notable instances were the heroes and villains contest, the winner(s) of which got a comic devoted to their creation.

     Music  

  • Barenaked Ladies had a contest for people to send in video of them lipsynching to their song "Wind it Up", and various clips were made into the video.
  • Placebo's music video for their cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" is made of clips from videos of fans lip-synching.
    • Feeder did something similar for one of their singles.
  • The cover of Sonic Youth's Washing Machine is a picture sent in by a fan.
  • In 1986, MTV sponsored a contest called "Make My Video" in which viewers were encouraged to send in a video set to Madonna's then recent single True Blue (from the album of the same name). Evidently, one day was dedicated to playing all of the submitted videos until the winning entry was announced. It was then shown until Madonna's official video for the song debuted.
  • There are two official videos for "Missed the Boat" by Modest Mouse, the winning video from a fan competition and a video featuring clips of several submissions to the contest.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers had a contest in 2007 for fans to make their own video for "Charlie". The winning entry became the official video for the song and appears on their official Youtube channel. This despite the fact that the proposed single release was cancelled.
    • On their 1998 tour they played a song called "Bunker Hill", which they went on to attempt in the 'Californication' and 'By The Way' sessions, but were never completely happy with it, so a studio version didn't get released. Over this time, fans were constantly asking them about this song. Eventually they decided to remix it to their liking (with a new bassline) and put it out as the B Side of Fortune Faded in 2003.
  • The Dick's Picks series of audience recordings of The Grateful Dead concerts.
  • OK Go's song "I'm Not Through" was the subject of this music video contestthe winning video in particular is a very OK Go-ish Oner.
  • Pretty much all of Velvet Underground's officially released live albums save for their 1993 reunion are made up of fan recordings.
  • For Ko Rn's 1999 album Issues, the band held a fairly high profile fan submission contest for the album's cover art, resulting in the top 4 being released as official album art.
  • Both the cover art and title of Weezer's Maladroit were submitted by fans - the cover was created by a fan for an official contest, while the title was a suggestion made in a less formal thread on the band's official forum asking for album name ideas. They also had fans contribute to the songwriting process less directly: The band would post demos of songs they were considering for the album, and would take fans' reactions into consideration when arranging songs, as well as letting them influence which songs appeared on the album to some extent.

     Tabletop Games  

     Toys  

  • LEGO loves doing this for the BIONICLE franchise. They've used these sort of contests to establish a variety of Rahi species, Dark Hunters and the character Toa Krakua.
    • And a number of them had a surprisingly prominent presence in the story. Though none were immune to being Killed Off for Real, as Ancient and Guardian can tell you. LEGO was also fond of letting the fans design already official but previously unseen characters, either as fan-made LEGO figures or as drawn artwork, which then received official status. Certavus, Surel, his Iron Wolves and Toa Nikila are just a few of these. The Agori villager named Kyry is an interesting case, however: a fan-built model of him was declared canon, but when he appeared in a comic, he looked nothing like the model due to the miscommunication between the writers and the comic artist.
    • Lego's CUUSOO is an official channel (currently in open beta) where fans can submit their designs for models and vote on which ones they'd like to see enter production. Fan designs that get 10,000 user votes are sent to LEGO's team for consideration.

     Video Game  

  • While still under development, The Elder Scrolls Online had fans send in suggestion for the name of a Dunmer in the game.
  • Occasionally, Capcom would hold a contest asking for drawings of Robot Masters to be in the next Mega Man game. Most were held in Japan, except for Mega Man 6, which was an American tie-in with Nintendo Power that gave us Wind Man and Knight Man.
    • This was also done with Mega Man Legends 3, where the fans helped out with ideas and with choosing character designs. Unfortunately, the game ended up canceled.
    • Mighty No. 9 appears to be a spiritual successor in this regard, such as choosing Call's character design and designing an enemy.
    • The tradition continued in the Mega Man Battle Network games, with most of Mr. Famous's NetNavis being fan-made, as well as a few of the plot-relevant bosses, like JudgeMan.
      • The same goes for the sequel series, Star Force, with fan-designed Bonus Bosses appearing in the second and third game.
  • On multiple occasions, RuneScape has solicited fan ideas for content. The pub in southeast Ardougne, for example, was designed and voted on by players, and the name of the sea monster Thalassus from the "Deadliest Catch" quest was suggested and selected by the public.
  • Team Fortress 2 has added fan-created "community" weapons to the list of items that can be found during game.
    • Several fan-created maps were also added to the official list of maps.
    • This concept has been since expanded into the "Steam Workshop", which is also available for several other games. note 
  • After the developers made modding tools for World in Conflict available to gamers, several fan-created multiplayer maps have been distributed via Massgate, along with official maps.
  • Free Software/Open Source games like Open Arena and Nexuiz/Xonotic are composed entirely of fan-made content.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, a contest was held where the winning fan would get to name one of the upcoming game's special super-bosses. The winner was a boy named Kurt Zisa, who promptly named the boss after himself.
  • Since City of Heroes has gone with their "hybrid model" and opened the micro-transaction store, they've added at least two costume sets that were explicitly conceived by fans. On top of that, for its entire run many of the added features (new powersets/archetypes, costumes, etc.) were developed in-house, but based on the most popular requests in the forums.
  • Several mods for World of Warcraft became so popular among the players that Blizzard ended up implementing their own version into the core game.
  • Each game in the X-Universe series has an add-on Bonus Pack by forum member Lucike, containing a group of scripts to make players' lives easier, digitally signed by Egosoft so your savegame doesn't get marked as ***modified***. Additionally the X-Superbox series collection includes three fan-made soundtracks, additional signed scripts, and PDF versions of fan fiction from the forums. And the 3.0 patch (scroll down a ways) for X3: Albion Prelude is be largely composed of content written by the AP Community Project, a group of high-profile X modders.
  • The art book that comes with the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Collector's Set is comprised entirely of fan-made artwork. The collection also includes two discs of fan-made music remixes.
  • Star Wars: Galaxies did this often. Sony often held contests on the official forums that subscribers could enter. Not only would the winners have their artwork or stories featured in the game, but it had the added benefit of making these fan submissions official Star Wars Expanded Universe canon.
  • Dwarf Fortress has a large sub-forum for suggestions that the creator is known to frequently read, but the only confirmed example of this trope was when a number of players got together and provided some numbers for -among other things- correct tensile strengths and molar hardness of various metal alloys and the real-life mass and density of sand. note 
  • BioWare held a competition during the production of Sonic Chronicles which let the fans name one of the alien races seen later in the game. The winning name was Zoah, a reference to Panzer Dragoon.
  • In the first three Game Boy Advance titles for Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, many of the enemies you fight are submitted fan characters.
  • This is one of Sound Voltex's major gimmicks. The Sound Voltex Floor campaign allows fans to submit their own songs for inclusion within the game. Many submissions in Sound Voltex Booth are remixes of existing BEMANI songs, although artists have started submitting more original songs, especially in Sound Voltex II.
  • TNT: Evolution, part of Final Doom, was originally a fan creation. However, the mappers, Team TNT, were approached by id Software to have the megawad published. This was met with some controversy because the megawad was going to be a freeware release.
  • Eternal Darkness Spiritual Successor Shadow of the Eternals is using this as a key part of its business model, with portions of its forums devoted to ideas from fans to help construct its world-building.
  • In the fall of 2013, Age of Empires II's fanmade expansion Forgotten Empires shall receive official expansion status for the Updated Re-release.
  • Star Trek Online has the Foundry, an in-game Level Editor that allows players to code and submit their own missions that are then playable in the main game from a submenu. Foundry missions pay out varying amounts of dilithium based on the average length of time it takes players to beat them. Cryptic set up a similar Foundry for STO's younger sister Neverwinter.
  • In Academagia, the developers have included many player-written Adventures and Events as part of DLCs.
  • The Unreal Engine 4 reboot of Unreal Tournament is being developed by both Epic Games themselves and the Unreal community, furthering this trope.
  • Massive Chalice, a Kickstarter funded game, allowed backers (above a certain level) to construct their own blood-lines. Allowing the creation of standards, house colours, character names, mottoes and battle-cries. These where then split into thematic and non-thematic content. Allowing the player to choose to live with content that adds to the immersion of the game and stuff that will probably make you laugh (you can of course choose both if you want a mix).

    Webcomics 
  • Drowtales writers' have created the system, where in to fill the ever increasing cast of character in their chapters, readers can pay to have their own original charactersnote  inserted into the story, to fulfill rules as extras, mooks or full on side characters.
  • This used to be the case for Bittersweet Candy Bowl, but Veronica was having problems when people wanted their characters taken out of the work, thus, she no longer puts any OCs into the comic.

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  

  • The Beetlejuice ep "Brides of Funkenstein" was written by young fans.
  • Dexter's Laboratory has an episode, "Dexter and Computress Get Mandark!", that looks like it was animated by a small child. The story was written, and narrated, by a young fan.note 
  • The Tiny Toon Adventures ep "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian" was written by young fans. Naturally, when Buster complains about the quality of the episode, he likens it to being written by 13-year-olds.
    Babs: 13-year-olds did write it.
    Buster: Oh, well, that explains it.
  • The Adventure Time episode “Jake vs. Me-Mow” featured a new character (Me-Mow) based on a drawing made by a young fan (used as the episode’s title card).
  • The Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Here's Mud In Your Ed" was inspired by Kit Topp, web-mistress of an Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy fan-site.
  • Pound Puppies (2010) had an episode with a puppy named Cinnamon. Wonder how that puppy got that name? Viewers had to vote for the name online.

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