The entire role of Guinan was created because Whoopi Goldberg was a Star Trek fan (specifically, Nichelle Nichols was her inspiration to start acting) and wanted on the show.
Gabriel Koerner, amateur 3d artist and huge Trek fan was interviewed for the documentary Trekkies in 1997. Fast forward eight years, and he was working on the CGI team for the fourth season of Star Trek: Enterprise, as well as the new Battlestar Galactica (created and produced by the above-mentioned Ron Moore).
Allegedly when Paramount learned Tyler Perry, of Madea fame, was a Trek fan, they got him a guest appearance in the 11th film as the Dean of Starfleet Academy.
This is how Zachary Quinto who plays Sylar on Heroes got the part of young Spock in the reboot movies.
Randy Pausch, who listed being captain of the Enterprise as one of his dreams in "The Last Lecture" appears as a bridge member of the Kelvin. He walks past the captain's chair, says, "Captain, we have visual", and is not seen again.
Karl Urban was a hardcore Trekkie growing up. He was cast as Dr. McCoy in Star Trek. He also does the most faithful impression of the original character out of the entire cast.
Simon Pegg is also a major fan of Trek, and he has said that he was placed in the Star Trek (canonically the eleventh) to disprove comments his character made on the sitcom Spaced:
"Sure as every odd-numbered Star Trek film is shit."
In his book "Worlds of Wonder" writer David Gerrold states he was one of these already during the show's original run.
Seth MacFarlane is another admitted fan, and he guest starred in two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. And then got to have the entire Bridge cast of The Next Generation be guest stars on Family Guy. Twice!
Jason Alexander has credited William Shatner for him wanting to be an actor and watched the original series growing up. He guest starred in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager and played a comedic version of Kirk in The Ultimate Trek special.
Dwight Schultz was a big fan of Star Trek — in fact, it was the first show he ever watched in color television as a child. He worked with Whoopi Goldberg on the movie The Long Walk Home and told her how big a fan he was of the show and her part in it. She had a word with the writers, resulting in Reg Barclay.
Tim Russ, most famous for his role as Lieutenant Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager, was a devoted Trekkie long before that and had already had several small roles in other Star Trek series.
Almost happened to Tom Hanks, yet another long-time Trekkie, who auditioned for the role of Zephram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact. He was very disappointed when he was already committed to another project, and the role went to James Cromwell.
Christian Slater, a huge Trek fan, got his role as a serviceman in Star Trek VI reportedly because he begged his mother, one of the film's casting directors, for the chance to appear in a minor role.
Kind of an example: King Abdullah II of Jordan is a giant Star Trek nerd. In 1996, when he was still Crown Prince, he appeared in a non-speaking role on Star Trek: Voyager.
The 90% of the development staff of Star Trek Online are this. Al Rivera, Daniel Stahl, Thomas Marrone and Jeremy Randall being the most prominent (the last two being Promoted Fanboys of STO proper) and are notable for getting the game released after Perpetual didn't do anything with the license and didn't want to see it die. Also Enterprise-F designer Adam Ihle, who has since gone on to be put along side other ship artists like Andrew Probert, Matt Jeffries and Mark Rademaker.
Peter David was a longtime fan of the original Star Trek series. After starting a career as a comic-book writer, he began writing the official Star Trek comic for DC Comics, and later leveraged that into writing numerous best-selling Trek novels. And on top of that, even wrote a few episodes of TNG!
Samuel L. Jackson, aka Mace Windu, was a huge Star Wars fan before getting the part. He's even on record saying he would've played a generic Stormtrooper if it meant being part of the franchise at all.
Ryan Weiber, one of the creators of the popular Star Wars fanfilms Ryan Vs Dorkman. While he doesn't work for George Lucas or ILM, he did work for LucasGames for a time; currently he is doing special effects work in Hollywood, notably on Heroes.
His partner, Michael Scott, is also a budding filmmaker.
Matt Sloan, the voice of Chad Vader on the YouTube series by the same name, was eventually noticed for his uncanny impression of Darth Vader and eventually landed a role as Darth Vader himself in various video game spinoffs of the Star Wars franchise, specifically The Force Unleashed, the Empire at War expansion, and Vader's Guest Fighter appearance in Soulcalibur IV. And later having Vader act as the Banker (albeit staying visible) in a Deal or No Deal special.
After making Troops, Kevin Rubio went on to write Star Wars comics, and now is working on episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Steve Sansweet, who has the largest personal collection of Star Wars related material in the world, was eventually hired by Lucasfilm itself to be their Director of Content Management and Head of Fan Relations, a position he held from 1996 until 2011.
Hayden Christensen always was interested in Darth Vader in his childhood. In Revenge of the Sith the original intention was to have a large stuntman in the Vader suit but Christensen convinced them to build the suit for him and use various camera tricks to make him appear to be the 6'8" David Prowse size. When he strolled onto the set clad in Vader armor, the crew cheered.
In 2005-2008, Star Wars fan club members competed to write databank entries for obscure characters that weren't covered previously, or covered very slightly. The winning writers of the entries were then rewarded with having their ideas be a part of Star Wars canon.
And it got even better for some. As of June 2009, three of those authors were later hired by the company to write short fiction stories for the website.
"I've been waiting nearly twenty years to have my own light saber. Nothing's cooler than being a Jedi Knight."
In 2003 a fan named Ara Roselani metTimothy Zahn at a convention. She was cosplaying as the Chiss Admiral Thrawn in his white uniform, and they became friends. When Zahn wrote Outbound Flight he included the character Ar'alani, a female Chiss admiral in a white uniform.
His character has reappeared twice in season three, despite being killed in his original appearance, due to the non-linear nature of many of season three's episodes, and his character being the sidekick to Ensemble Dark Horse Cad Bane.
David Tennant also counts, being a fan of both Doctor Who (for which he has a long entry further down) and Star Wars, getting a guest role in the fifth season.
Curtis Saxton, physics PhD and writer of the infamous Star Wars Technical Commentaries, a very extensive site meant to figure out how the physics of the universe worked, was hired as a technical advisor for the prequels and eventually wrote some of the various Incredible Cross-Sections books, giving the Star Wars fans a massive edge in the Star Wars vs. Star Trek debates in the process.
They have come under fire, however. Particularly when Gary Sarli, Star Wars RPG writer and fellow scientist and Star Wars aficionado, pointed out the huge inconsistencies that went into making the books, specifically how Saxton's calculations for the Base Delta Zero command underestimated the number of ships involved by at least an order of magnitude, the amount of time required by at least an order of magnitude, and overestimated the thoroughness of the attack by about 3 orders of magnitude. Then he used these massively inflated numbers for the basis for almost everything else.
Modi is the pseudonym for a Hungarian fan who had been making unofficial maps of the Star Wars galaxy for years. When Lucasfilm decided to publish The Essential Atlas, they hired him to make some draft maps that professional artists would finish. His work ended up being such high quality that they scrapped the "professional artists" plan and just used his maps as is.
Grant Imahara was but a wee child when he first saw R2D2 on the silver screen. Almost thirty years and one electrical engineering degree later, he became Artoo (or rather its pilot and main technician).
ILM visual effects supervisor Ben Snow remembers reading an article in a special effects magazine about Dennis Muren's work on Empire Strikes Back, and wanting to work with Muren - he got his wish when the prequels came around.
Fanboys was a short fan film before it got turned into an actual Hollywood picture (with typical Hollywoodifacation, of course).
Warwick Davis, who played Wicket the Ewok was a Star Wars fan when his grandma heard that Return of the Jedi are looking for actors under 4 feet. He had a big set of Star Wars action figures, which Mark Hamill completed for him.
J. J. Abrams, who has always been open about being much more of a Star Wars fan growing up than a Star Trek one, will be directing Episode VII.
Since Doctor Who has been running since 1963 (hiatus not withstanding), there's an entire generation of people who loved the show enough to be considered fans and work their way into the industry and onto the staff. Some of the more recent fans were even born after the show had started running. Though some of them also ended up Running the Asylum.
David Tennant. He has said that it was because of Doctor Who and particularly, Peter Davison's performance as the Fifth Doctor that he wanted to be the Doctor. He even got into acting specifically to play the Doctor.
In 2007, Tennant appeared as the Tenth Doctor and in the special episode "Time Crash", Peter Davison guest-starred as the Fifth Doctor, while the Tenth Doctor met his earlier self. At one point, the 5th Doctor takes a close look at the 10th and laments "Oh no. You're a fan!" Near the end, the 10th tells the 5th that he "was [his] Doctor." The whole episode is David Tennant and Steven Moffat gushing in-character about the earlier doctor.
And now that Tennant has married Georgia Moffett — Peter Davison's daughter, who also had a role as the Tenth Doctor's "daughter" in one episode — he's gone rocketing past mere "Promoted Fanboy" and it's possible a new Trope needs to be invented just for him.
And before the two even met, Georgia's son said that David Tennant was his favorite Doctor. David adopted him when he and Georgia married, so now Tyler's favorite Doctor is also his father. They're a whole Promoted Family.
Tennant, like everyone else, loved Sarah Jane Smith. Not only did he get to work with Elisabeth Sladen during "School Reunion," but he got to be the one to give her the heart-melting "Goodbye, my Sarah Jane," that Sarah Jane waited decades for.
Building off of Tennant's promotion? The Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison himself, was also this - having been a massive fan of the Second Doctor's run on the series. That's right, the Second Doctor crafted the Fifth Doctor, who in turn crafted the Tenth Doctor. Expect another Doctor in about 20 to 30 years based on Tennant...
Sixth Doctor Colin Baker is also a big fan of Doctor Who before and after his run - and still watches the show to this day. He's gone on record saying that The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances are the best episodes the series has ever produced.
Inverted with Matt Smith, who became a hardcore fan while playing the role. Watching the Second Doctor influenced his costume choice (particularly the bowtie), and he apparently wrote a fanfic where the Doctor meets Albert Einstein. He also apparently called up Steven Moffat in the middle of the night to rave about "Tomb of the Cybermen" after watching it.
Peter Capaldi was also a lifelong fan of the series before getting the role of the Twelfth Doctor; his fan exploits during the 70's included writing a fan letter concerning the Daleks to the Radio Times, founding an official fan club and sending many letters to the production team during the 70's, which led to him meeting Jon Pertwee. In his first interview after his casting was announced, he said that he hadn't played the Doctor since he was nine (although he was in a 2008 episode of the program). What's more, not only was he a fanboy, he was Fan Dumb - his constant begging of the BBC to allow him to run the fan club, which already had a runner, annoyed the Doctor Who producer's secretary so much that she wrote a letter to the fan club president in which she said: "I wish the daleks [sic] or someone would exterminate [Peter C.] or something to that effect".
Russell T Davies, the ex-lead writer and ex-producer of the new series, was also a tremendous fan and had actually sent in scripts during the show's original run, and in the mid-1990s actually wrote an officially licensed Doctor Who novel for the Virgin Books New Doctor Who Adventures line. For years he'd stated that the only reason he would return to working for The BBC was if they were to start up Doctor Who again and let him run it (this is debatable as before signing on to do Doctor Who he was committed to produce a production of Casanova for the BBC). As early as 2000 there had been talk of him doing a revival, too. He also seems to have a knack for pulling in other Who fans to work on the revived series.
There's a reason there's a Steven Moffat quote at the top of this page. In fact, Moffat appeared on TV once to discuss the show's failings at the time from a fanboy perspective. He later wrote short stories for the officially licensed Doctor Who Virgin Books line, and in 1999 wrote the Comic Relief spoof The Curse of Fatal Death.
Many of the people writing for the Doctor Who Expanded Universe and the revival television series had an involvement with the AudioVisuals fan audios series starring Nicholas Briggs as his version of the Doctor. One of the more prominent AudioVisuals creators, Gary Russell (who had auditioned for the part of Adric), has script edited for the Whoniverse shows and Briggs has voiced the Daleks, Cybermen and sundry other monsters (in both the new series and Big Finish Doctor Who, the latter of which he is also the executive producer of) and appeared in person in Torchwood: Children of Earth.
Neil Gaiman described writing "The Doctor's Wife" as the closest thing to being God he will ever experience (and gushed over both the Moff and Rusty in a blog post after the episode aired).
Mark Gatiss is the only person to have the distinction of having written for every "New Who" Doctor and having appeared on the show as an actor twice. If you count Big Finish audios and the Virgin Books novels, he has written for seven Doctors, and he's also the only person to play both the Doctor and the Master.
Derek Jacobi, who, when he played the Master in the episode "Utopia", announced being in Doctor Who was one of his two unfulfilled ambitions. (The other was being in Coronation Street, which he fulfilled with a background cameo appearance in 2012.)
When Jamie was introduced, a young actor called Hamish Wilson was watching the episode, and thought: "I could do that." Two years later, he did.
The most notable example from the original series run is Andrew Smith, who at seventeen submitted a script, "Full Circle", to the production team. For the only time in the show's entire 50 year plus history, they took a spec script from an unknown writer and produced it.
Jon Culshaw, an impressionist and Doctor Who fanboy who openly admits that his noted taste for velvet jackets is swiped from the Third Doctor, and who played the Fourth Doctor in several Prank Call segments on Dead Ringers. He got to play the Fourth Doctor for real in the Big Finish story "The Kingmaker" as well as in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.
The extreme amounts of these in the revival of Doctor Who was spoofed in this sketch from John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme which follows the career path of a child whose dream is 'to be the man who makes the noise of the TARDIS'. As an excruciatingly brutal Brick Joke.
David Willis, author of the Walkyverseweb comics, is another long-time Transformers fan, who has been hired by Hasbro to produce convention art. He also got to create Shattered Glass Ravage, who has become a canon character.
Josh Nizzi produced a movie-inspired design for the Constructicon Dump Truck Long Haul. He was not only brought on to Hasbro, but Long Haul was the first new design for the Revenge of the Fallen toyline and he went on to design several more for the movie.
He was also name-dropped (by his internet handle) in at least one episode.
Waspinator: Not wacko — wonko! Wonko the Sane!
Shane McCarthy, a small name writer and another asylum runner was hired by IDW publishing to take over the Transformers comic series from veteran Simon Furman. However, he did not have Wyatt's popularity, mostly due to his writing and the attitude he shows when someone critiques his work. Though especially if you have a Nostalgia Filter or you like Darker and Edgier stuff since his story is essentially a grimmer, Decompressed Comic version of the G1 cartoon series.
Nick Roche and James Roberts are a pair of UK Transformers fans who became co-writers (with Roche also doing art) for IDW's Transformers comics. Their first collaboration, Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers, was very well received, especially since they have much more fan-friendly asylum-running tendencies than McCarthy. And Roberts' current work Transformers: More than Meets the Eye has also been garnering a lot of positive buzz both in and outside the fandom.
Brazilian voice actor Guilherme Briggs was a Transformers fan in his childhood, and later dubbed Optimus Primal in Beast Machines and all subsequent incarnations of Optimus Prime except Animated.
During the Dreamwave Comics period, a lot of Transformers fan-artists were hired to work on the comics, apparently out of love for the series. That didn't go quite well. Most still remain working for IDW and/or Hasbro.
Masahiro Inoue, the lead actor in Kamen Rider Decade, is a long-time Kamen Rider fan, especially Black and Black RX (Hell, he's even part of the franchise's Periphery Demographic both before and after Decade). When Decade's journey took him to Black RX's World, Inoue made a blog post in which he effectively geeked out over the entire situation.
Inoue's co-star Ryouta Murai got this quite literally. As a child he was a huge fan of Kamen Rider Kuuga; jump ahead nine years, and he gets to be Kuuga (well, an Alternate Universe incarnation of the character) in Decade.
Decade promoted another long-time fan, pop musician Gackt, by giving him the role of Badass NormalJoji Yuki, AKA Riderman in All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker; he even appears in-character in the music video for the film's theme song, "The Next Decade".
Steve Wang and his brother Mike Wang are avid Kamen Rider fans, particularly of the Showa era television series. Then in 2009 they became the co-executive producers, writers, and directors of Kamen Rider Dragon Knight. Steve himself stated in an interview that producing Kamen Rider Dragon Knight was a dream come true for him.
Renn Kiriyama, the lead actor in Kamen Rider Double, is like his predecessors a huge Kamen Rider fan. Specifically, he's a fan of Black, which might explain why Kamen Rider Joker, his character's solo Rider form, performs poses and finishing moves just like Black.
Eiichiro Oda, author of One Piece, was a massive Dragon Ball fan; heck, he loved all of Akira Toriyama's works, and that's what inspired him to become a manga artist. Eventually, he ended up working at Shonen Jump, the same magazine that Dragon Ball was published in, and even collaborated with Toriyama on a DBZ/One Piece crossover manga.
Shiori Teshirogi, the author who writes the Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas manga, is actually a shoujo author who once met Kurumada. Saint Seiya was always her favorite series and she jumped at the chance of making a new story when Kurumada pitched the idea to her, and what was originally thought to end up being a rather brief series has exploded in popularity. To put it simply, she is writing a non-canon doujin, getting paid for it, and getting an OVA deal for it. Not bad for someone's first shonen story.
Shoji Kawamori was an aeronautical engineer who had a family member on Macross production crew. Apparently he has an addiction to those little wooden Mensa puzzles that are all about compressing multiple components into objects with much smaller external surface areas. When toy companies realized he "had a gift" most designers still can't do elegantly today (IE: transformations tuck limbs against the body and end up looking blocky), he was making more selling transforming robot designs than he was in the very dry aerospace business. Needless to say, he works as a Humongous Mecha designer now.
After holding panels at some conventions and posting some essays on the Internet, Neon Genesis Evangelion fanboy Sean McCoy was invited by ADV Films to record some of the commentaries for the Platinum release of the series, giving him three full episodes and two special feature segments to share his incredibly elaborate theories (some might say ridiculouslyelaborate) about the meaning behind the show's abstract symbolism alongside ADV honcho and English dub director Matt Greenfield. Strangely, after this "promotion", he has barely been heard from again.
Along similar lines, self-proclaimed "Eva Monkey" Taliesin Jaffe co-recorded commentaries for Death & Rebirth and The End of Evangelion alongside dub director, writer and voice actress Amanda Winn Lee and her husband Jason. Jaffe's situation differed from McCoy's in that Jaffe had actually worked in the anime industry already and voiced extras in the movies, and in that he spent his time on the commentaries offering various suggestions as to what the symbols in the movies could mean, as opposed to detailing his own theories as to what they "do" mean.
Mike McFarland, ADR director for the English dubs of the Rebuild of Evangelion films, was a fan of the series for the better part of a decade before he had a chance to actually work on it.
Voice actress and biker enthusiast Yuko Goto is a big fan of Fist of the North Star, particularly of the character Souther. She is also one of the editors of the Hokuto Musou series of games based off of the anime/manga series.
The HeartGold/SoulSilver miniarc in Pokémon had Lyra's friend Khoury voiced in the dub by Chris "Kirbopher" Niosi. Though she was already a promoted fangirl by the time she made her mark, Cristina Valenzuela as Layla also counts.
Mark Simmons and Keith Rhee, two Big Name Fans of Gundam, were hired by Bandai, Simmons working on the localization of several series and Rhee on the official website. Furthermore, the Federation male custom pilots in the Encounters In Space game are named after the two of them.
Studio Gainax, who got their start by producing a well-known pair of independent anime shorts (the DAICON III and IV Opening Animations) for a Japanese science fiction convention in 1981 and 1983.
Lianne Sentar had been writing over 3,000 stories of Sailor Moonfanfiction since she was 13. She was hired to write the Tokyopop novel adaptations distributed in North America for only this reason.
Jason Griffith managed to accomplish this by accident. According to him, he was a big fan of Sonic the Hedgehog and auditioned for the role of Chris Thorndyke in Sonic X so that he could "know what it's like to be Sonic's human friend". Imagine his surprise when he got the role of Sonic himself.
As children, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, better known today as Daft Punk, were fans of the anime series Captain Harlock. After recording their breakout album Discovery, they would work with Captain Harlock's creator Leiji Matsumoto in making it's visualization, the rock-opera anime movie Interstella5555.
Bryce Papenbrook is a hardcore fan of Attack on Titan and even wanted to be a cast member of it. Funimation was declared that it would be the licensor for the English Dubbed release. Many fans were expecting their usual cast like Josh Grelle and Greg Ayres as well as Micah Solusod to voice Eren since they are their usual voice actors of choice for leading protagonists but as of 2014-03-22, it was announced that he will voice him.
Nicolas Cage is a HUGE Ghost Rider fan, who's always wanted to portray the character (he even has him tattooed on his arm). He got his wish, even though that meant he had to cover the tattoo to portray the character.
Kevin Smith is probably the best known promoted fanboy on the planet. The sheer amount of knowledge he has about comics (and in turn how many he's written) is evidence enough.
Ian "Potto" Flynn. Current writer for the Archie Sonic comic series, was once a fanboy with his own fan comic. Other notables from the Sonic the Hedgehog fandom who went into doing stuff for the line are J. Axer and Dawn Best.
The future Freedom Fighters from Sonic Universe #25-28 might look awfully familiar to anyone who read that fancomic.
Mark Gruenwald. He was a lifetime Justice League fanboy who spent his whole career at Marvel. Though he didn't create the Justice League analogueSquadron Supreme, he did write their highly-acclaimed limited series.
Jim Shooter started writing Legion of Super-Heroes when he was 13. He's been in the industry ever since, including becoming Marvel's editor-in-chief.
Don Rosa. Like so many people of his age he was a big fan of "The Good Duck Artist". While he didn't get any education in art or narration, he wrote and painted Donald Duck series for various fanzines, as well as several LTE:s. He even corresponded to Carl Barks himself from time to time. After a new publishing company got the license to make Donald Duck comics, Don Rosa applied for the job as an artist by sending in a mail. He wrote that he was born to make new Donald Duck stories in the spirit of the old Carl Barks comics. He got the job, added some massive Continuity Porn to the series (against Barks' wishes) and dedicated all his stories to Carl Barks.
E. Nelson Bridwell of Pre CrisisSuperman comics got the job of his dreams and loved every minute of it.
Gruenwald, Bridwell and Shooter are some of Waid's major influences.
Geoff Johns first suggested to DC that Superboy should be a clone of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor in a fan letter as a kid◊. Now he's basically DC's #1 writer and the man behind some of their most successful books and events as well as the company's Chief Creative Officer. And in his breakthrough first arc for his Teen Titans run, he did indeed reveal that— contrary to what we all believed all these years— Superboy is in fact cloned from Superman and Lex Luthor.
Tristan Huw Jones was a huge fan of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics as a kid in the 1980s; when Mirage relaunched the series in the 2000s, he became one of the main writers (and frequently hailed as one of the best of that crop).
Dave Gibbons was a fan of Dan Dare as a child. When Dan Dare was revived by 2000 AD, he was one of the artists who got to draw it, much to his delight.
And of course, the fathers of the superhero genre, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, were reportedly huge, stereotypical nerds in love with science fiction, and with their creation, they ushered in that subgenre of sci-fi/fantasy.
Joss Whedon was a fan of Runaways long before he got to write his own arc, and was rather vocally upset at the idea of it ending at 18 issues: the letter he sent was included in the first TPB.
"Last issue? What do you mean, LAST ISSUE? What the hell does that mean? Did you type it wrong? Were you thinking of something else, like maybe the Sub-mariner or the Smurfs? How can there be a last issue when the story is obviously going to continue for years? You're some kind of wrong person. Have it looked into."
Matt Frank, an artist who was known for his popular Godzilla Neo fanart, is now doing writing and artwork for offical ''Godzilla comics.
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe didn't cover everything. Enter the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe, a completely unofficial website that tried to chronicle every single thing that the official books either didn't cover at all, or didn't cover to a full extent. The senior staff has since been hired by Marvel Comics to write the newest versions of the OHOTMU.
As a child, Steve Blum read comic books at a store his uncle owned. These days, he does voice work for a great number of Marvel Comics characters, most famous of which being Wolverine.
Andrew Garfield is a lifelong Spider-Man fan and credits the character with being his inspiration. His co-star in The Amazing Spider-Man, Rhys Ifans also describes himself as an "Obsessive fan".
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW): Both Andy Price and Katie Cook had plenty of G4 fanart on their deviantART pages before the series was announced, and Katie has said she was a fan of the original G1 series. This leads to such things as Derpy being featured prominently and being fond of muffins, “flank” being used as a synonym for “butt,” etc.
Amy Mebberson, Heather Nuhfer, and Heather Breckel were also all big fans before working on the comic. Pretty much everyone involved is a brony/pegasister!
Mark Hamill was a comics and sci-fi fan before becoming a voice actor for characters like The Joker.
Japanese voice actress Megumi Hayashibara is a big fan of Peanuts and she got the chance of voicing Marcie in the dub of some animated specials.
Annette O'Toole loved reading Superman comics. Eventually, she landed a role in Superman III, as one of her favorite characters-Lana Lang. Some time after that, she played Martha Kent in Smallville. Reportedly, she knew even more about Superman than the writers did. (They didn't even know that Annette O'Toole had a major part in an older Superman adaptation until she told them.)
Sergio Aragonés was an avid reader of MAD Magazine while he was still a student in Mexico. Not only did Sergio later became published in MAD after moving to USA, he is one of the most prolific contributors to the magazine, having been published non-stop for over 50 years and counting!
Stephen De Stefano was originally just a mega-fan from Queens who would send lots of long letters and drawings to DC Comics. All the mail attracted the eye of Bob "The Answer Man" Rozakis and the two struck up a friendship. Before long, Stephen was a summer intern at DC and some of his characters started showing up in comics. A few years later, he and Bob co-created 'Mazing Man. Since then, he's done comics and tv storyboards for several companies.
Peter Jackson started to experiment with special effects as a teenager, inspired by such artists as Willis O'Brien, got all the way to making his own high-budget version of King Kong.
Ditto Stephen Colbert, who has vocally expressed his Tolkien fanboyism for years before getting a brief, silent cameo in The Desolation of Smaug.
Tracie Thoms was a RENThead in her younger years, and ended up cast as Joanne in the feature film.
The A-Team: Sharlto Copley was an A-Team fan from a young age◊. He stated in an interview that he got to show his audition tape ("Things Murdock Would Do in a Hotel Room") to Dwight Schultz, the original Murdock, who both laughed and cried when he saw it. Sharlto must have had a nerdgasm of epic proportions.
Famed aviator and industrialist Howard Hughes was a big fan of movies. So big, in fact, that he bought the film studio RKO Radio Pictures in 1948. Unfortunately for RKO, love for cinema doesn't necessarily equal being a good studio head. Hughes ran RKO into the ground during his seven-year run, firing 75% of the staff in his first few weeks and shutting down production for six months in 1949 in order to investigate the politics of the remaining 25%. Hughes left RKO in 1955, and the studio went out of business two years later.
As a child, BRIAN BLESSED used to play Flash Gordon with his brother, and used to actually pretend to be Vultan. Then he got to play Vultan in the movie. He later said that it was one of the most embarassing moments of his life when he shot his first action scene and "I had this big bazooka, and I flew in, shouting "Follow me, Flash!" *boom* *boom* *boom* *kaboom*. And the director shouted "Cut! Brian, we will put in the special effects".
Billy Dee Williams appeared as Harvey Dent in the 1989 Batman. He was a fan of the comics who signed on hoping to play Two Face in a sequel. Unfortunately, when the time came for Two Face to appear in Batman Forever, he was replaced with Tommy Lee Jones.
Fortunately, he had a pay-or-play contract, so he got a big check for it anyway.
United States Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is an avowed fan of Batman, and has since had cameos in Batman & Robin and The Dark Knight: the former as an extra, and the latter as a guest at Bruce Wayne's party who stands up to the Joker. Since he could have been playing himself or an Expy thereof in The Dark Knight, also counts as Politician Guest Star. He also appeared in "The Dark Knight Rises."
Noomi Rapace is an admitted fan of the films of Ridley Scott and credited him as an inspiration for her acting career. She would then get the lead role in his film Prometheus.
AJ LoCascio has been a huge fan of the Back to the Future films from when he was a kid. He now gets to voice Marty McFly in the Telltale games — and has also gotten to meet Bob Gale, Christopher Lloyd, and even Claudia Wells. He has yet to make contact with Michael J. Fox, though.
Evanna Lynch grew up as one of the biggest fans of the Harry Potter series, even going so far as to name her cats after characters in the books. When she was selected to play Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenixmovie, her resemblance to the character went a long way toward hyping the movie for fans. Her performance, lauded as one of the best in the film series, led to even more praise for her and the movie. She was such a huge fan (and aware of her resemblance to Luna) that she made herself a custom Luna Lovegood outfit for Halloween, complete with homemade radish earrings. Then she wore the earrings to the audition. Then she wore the earrings — which, again, she made because she was that big a fan of Luna — in the movie, as Luna. Ms. Lynch is the ultimate Promoted Fangirl.
J. K. Rowling herself has admitted that Evanna Lynch was such a perfect Luna that she made her way into her writing as the only actor from the films ever to do so. She even says to have heard Evanna's voice in her head while writing.
J. J. Abrams had grown up making his own movies and being a huge fan of Steven Spielberg's early work. After being featured in a newspaper article about a Super 8 film festival, Abrams was contacted by Spielberg's assistant and was given the job of editing and restoring his idol's own 8 mm movies. Abrams got to work directly with Spielberg on Super 8, which was the former's love letter to the latter and which was produced by Spielberg himself.
Andrew Garfield has wanted to play Spider-Man since he was three, and gets his chance in The Amazing Spider-Man. Garfield invoked the trope when he appeared at Comic Con to promote the film dressed in a poorly-made costume and mask, and only revealed himself as the actor who would play Spider-Man when he removed his mask to join the panel onstage.
Van Ling was a nerdy film school graduate who loved sci-fi, especially the Alien series. Around the time that Aliens was released, he and two film school buddies built a working power loader costume that was could be operated by one person, and was completely mobile. James Cameron's then-wife, Gale Anne Hurd, heard about Ling's project, and had him demonstrate it in the 20th Century Fox parking lot, and eventually referred him to Cameron himself, who hired Ling as a creative liaison and researcher for The Abyss. He would go on to play a large part in many of Cameron's projects, including design and visual effects work for Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Christina Perri is a big Twilight fan, so she was absolutely thrilled when the filmmakers asked her to write a song for the movie (which included a free early showing)
Rob Bottin was a big fan of horror and monster movies growing up and he admired the work of Rick Baker, one day he sent him a letter along with some monster drawings, Baker was impressed and trained him in and he became one of the most famous special effects artists of all time starting at age 14.
Famous author Isaac Asimov became interested in the Science Fiction pulp magazines sold in his family's candy stores when he was a child. He began writing when he was eleven, and managed to get published when he was nineteen ("Marooned Off Vesta", 1939).
A fair number of Sherlock Holmes fans have gone on to write canonical (or as close to as is possible when the guy who owns the fandom is dead) material that have been published, performed on TV or radio or had some other decent stamp of approval. Working out who was a fan and wasn't is tough since there's a LOT of latter day writers. However, at the very least Stephen King and the above mentioned Isaac Asimov have written published Holmes stories and were fans.
Kingsley Amis was a noted fan of James Bond, writing a number of books on the subject, and finally was asked to write a canon novel for the series. Similarly, Raymond Benson had been fond enough of the series to write unofficial works before approached to write in canon, and eventually contributed six original novels. Notably, Benson ignored much of the earlier continuity.
Live Action Musical and Opera
Andy Mientus was known for being the creator and maintainer of the first Spring Awakening group on Facebook, which had been granted official status. Several years later he was cast in the touring production of the show as Hanschen.
In a recent documentary on Matt Lucas, he mentioned how he had been a lifelong fan of musicals and of Les Misérables in particular, and had always wanted to have a part. He was cast as Thenardier for the 25th anniversary concert.
Tom Chambers, known mostly as Sam Strachan from Holby City, has a history in musical theatre and his adoration of Fred Astaire's drum dance number in A Damsel In Distress led him to record his version of the number and send it out to various casting directors (which landed him his Holby City role). In 2011, he got the lead in the stage adaptation of Top Hat, aka. Fred Astaire's character.
"I watched his films constantly from the age of ten upwards. I love his dancing style, his imagination and choreographic creativity. He is the reason I have fought for so long to work in this industry. He has kept me going and he is responsible for me getting my first big break."
A sixteen-year-old Richard Wagner attended a performance of Beethoven's Fidelio in April 1829 starring the actress and singer Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient (1804-1860). He was so impressed that he sent a note to her afterwards saying that because of her he would now devote his life to creating opera. As it turned out, Schröder-Devrient would play leading parts in the first performances of Rienzi (1842), The Flying Dutchman (1843) and Tannhäuser (1845). In the latter two cases Wagner got to conduct her himself.
Tim Minchin has stated that the part of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar was the only theatre role he had any interest in growing up, and his dream came true during the 2012 UK arena tour of the show.
Michelle Trachtenberg guest starred in the the episode of House, "Safe". She revealed on the December 22, 2006, episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien that House is her favorite show, she is friends with one of the producers and she asked to be a guest star. Trachtenberg also said she has a crush on Hugh Laurie, and during the scene in the elevator in which House searches her genital area for a tick, Trachtenberg said she played a joke on Laurie by putting a note between her legs that read "I Love You."
She also claims to have been a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer before joining the cast as Dawn Summers, and was even quoted gushing to Joss Whedon: "There was never a Buffy episode that sucked. I love you!" Joss's response: "So, next season, more Michelle, less Nick..."
In the 2008 American Gladiators, promotion to Gladiator in the second season was one of the grand prizes.
Actor/comedian/author John Hodgman, a Battlestar Galactica fan who wrote a New York Times Magazine article about the franchise in 2005, got a cameo as a neurosurgeon on the show's final season.
Almost half of the Muppeters from Sesame Street: Or their interest of puppetry starts with Sesame Street (Kevin Clash, Steve Whitmire), or they have interest in Sesame Street as a show (Joey Mazzarino) or they liked puppetry for other reason, but their puppeter hero is Jim Henson (Caroll Spinney).
J. Michael Straczynski, once a science fiction fanboy extraordinaire, became a major science-fiction pioneer with Babylon 5, which arguably changed the genre (on television, at any rate) permanently.
Graphic artist and Mad Men fan Dyna Moe illustrated a Christmas card for her friend Rich Sommer, a member of the show's cast. In advance of the third season, AMC hired Dyna to create promotions for the show including a online avatar-generator.
This worked both ways with Amy Ryan's recurring role on The Office. Ryan was a big fan of the show and the people behind the show were all big fans of The Wire, even throwing a Shout-Out to it a few episodes before she showed up.
Richard Hammond was a devoted follower of the original Top Gear when he went to audition for the revival with Jeremy Clarkson. He claims that he finished the audition thinking what a great job it would be and fiercely envying whatever lucky sod finally got it (he did).
Rich Koz, the current Svengoolie, who applied for a writing position and became the show's star in both revivals when the original Svengoolie, Jerry G. Bishop, decided he didn't want the job back and gave Koz his blessing.
Kevin Smith spent the early '90s watching Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High on PBS at work, and is a huge fan of the franchise, giving it several Shout Outs in his films and even naming a character in Clerks after his favorite Degrassi character. So when the series was revived, Smith jumped at the chance to direct the last three episodes of the fourth season — and he wrote himself into a brief romance with Caitlin Ryan, the character he grew up infatuated with.
The Megaoptera from Primeval were designed by a 16-year old fan of the show called Carim Nahaboo, who'd won a competition to design the most interesting creature.
Rod Roddy, the announcer on The Price Is Right from 1986 to 2003, had previously attended a taping of the show in its early years to seek advice from original announcer Johnny Olson on how to find work as a television announcer.
The same thing happened with Rod's successor, Rich Fields, who took over in 2004. Rich attended a taping when he was 18, and during a commercial break, he asked Johnny how he could get an announcing job.
Mandel Ilagan was the founder of the newsgroup alt.tv.game-shows and a contestant on the 1998 revival of Match Game. By 2000, he'd become a writer for Greed, and later worked as a producer for Fremantle Media (while there, he created one of Price's pricing games) and then Fox Reality Channel.
Joss Whedon is a fan of Glee, and is particularly fond of the character Brittany. When he finally got to direct an episode, he couldn't help but gush about how much he loved the character to actress Heather Morris.
This is the entire purpose of The Glee Project: to find a brand new actor and character (and maybe more than one) for at least a guest arc on Season 3.
As a kid, John Kassir read and collected Tales From The Crypt comics, which became one of his all-time favorites. Years later after becoming a professional actor, Kassir was called in to audition for and then cast to voice the Crypt Keeper himself.
Daniella Monet grew up a huge Nickelodeon fan and said in an interview that getting to work on the hit Nick show Victorious is like a dream come true for her and she sometimes has to pinch herself just to make sure she's not dreaming.
Victor Buono was a huge fan of the Batman comics, and agreed to play King Tut in the old Batman TV series because of it. Buono enjoyed playing the villainous Tut so much that, aside from the actors playing the primary four villains (Julie Newmar as Catwoman, Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, Frank Gorshin as The Riddler, and Caesar Romero as The Joker), he made more appearances than any other guest-star. He was once asked why he did the show so often and said, "Batman lets me get away with doing the one thing that we're taught not to do in drama school... overacting!"
Kevin Clash was a big fan of Sesame Street growing up he even made his own puppets, eventually he met with the crew and they liked his audition so much he was promoted to puppeteer eventually becoming one of the most prolific Muppet performers.
Power Rangers Wild Force writer Amit Bhaumik was a long-time fan of the franchise before he got hired. However, he ended up causing a Broken Base when he attempted to insert elements from his fan-fiction as canon.
Nirvana's Kurt Cobain was a huge fan of indie rock music and his journals were filled with lists of his favorite bands and albums. After he became famous, made sure to never go an interview without gushing over some obscure twee pop or punk band that he adored. In fact, his love of bands like The Raincoats, Beat Happening, The Meat Puppets, Shonen Knife, Young Marble Giants, Melvins, Scratch Acid, Gang of Four and Millions of Dead Cops gained these bands (many of them long broken up) a major resurgence and increased album sales. His favorite band of all time, Scottish twee pop act the Vaselines, were signed to Sub Pop several years after they broke up for the release of a greatest hits album that was created solely from consumer interest spurred by Cobain's constant praise of the band. He even named his daughter after their guitarist Frances Mckee.
Cobain also averted this trope by auditioning to play bass for the Melvins before Nirvana was formed. He was so nervous that he forgot all their songs and ended up settling for being a sometimes roadie for them until his own success. Cobain later co-produced the Melvins' only major label album, Houdini, in 1993.
Apparently, Courtney Love managed to convince Kim Gordon to produce the first Hole album by sending her a letter about how much they admired her work and in particular "the SST album" note Which one of Sonic Youth's twoalbums for SST was never specified.
Dave Grohl. And he still somehow manages to convey a "Gee! How lucky am I?" rock geek persona after winning numerous Grammy awards and playing to sold out stadiums (including Wembley!) with Foo Fighters, occasionally with his musical heroes from bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen and Motorhead joining him on stage. Yeah, Mr Grohl has this trope down pat.
The whole concept of Grohl's Probot project was working with the metal vocalists he idolized as a teenager (such as Max Cavalera, King Diamond, and again, Lemmy). He also got to play on Killing Joke's 2003 Self-Titled Album after being a longtime fan note Yes, the same Killing Joke who once sued Nirvana due to "Come As You Are" sounding too similar to their own "Eighties", and apparently declined to be paid for it.
And now, having said that The Beatles were responsible for him wanting to be a musician in the first place, he has recorded jam sessions and performed concerts with Paul McCartney!
Russian keyboard player and Yes fan Igor Khoroshev got to do session work, and then became a full-time member of Yes (1997 - 2002) as a result of sending them a demo tape. Come to that, the Buggles (vocalist Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoff Downes) were both Yes fans (they also shared a manager), were both pleased when they were asked to contribute to the group, and both stunned to find out that they were to replace the departed Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman.
Benoît David. He became the lead vocalist of a Yes tribute band called Close To The Edge in 1994. In 2008, he was selected by members of the group Yes to stand in for an ailing Jon Anderson
Inverted by Trevor Rabin he was putting together a band called Cinema which gradually had more and more members of Yes join. He never wanted the band to be called Yes and did not want to be seen as Steve Howe's replacement.
Dan Whitesides, current drummer of the Alternative/Punk rock band The Used, was reportedly a big fan of the band since its debut album and was thrilled to be let in as the drummer.
John Frusciante, a devoted follower of the Red Hot Chili Peppers during their early career, became the band's guitarist in 1988.
Also the case for Steve Mazur, who became Our Lady Peace's guitarist in 2002.
So is the case of former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted. Unfortunately, his reception had been rather lukewarm, especially considering his replacement of the late great Cliff Burton, and he eventually left the band due to, among other things, never completely fitting in with them.
And then there's Zak Starkey, who was a childhood pupil of Keith Moon, and grew up to take his place in The Who for their tours in the '90s and 2000s.
Keith Moon is almost an example himself: he was in the audience at one of the Who's early gigs, marched up onto the stage after their set finished, and announced that he could drum better than their (soon to be fired, as it turned out) drummer could. He was invited to prove it, and did.
And then he collapsed at a concert and The Who got a fan from the audience to be the drummer for the rest of the show.
Mark Webber, the secretary for the fan club of British alternative rock band Pulp became the band's guitarist in 1995.
Later, after being fired from Judas Priest to make room for Halford, he joined Iced Earth, another band he is apparently a fan of. He was then fired from Iced Earth to make room for the returning Matt Barlow. Later, he lampshaded his tendencies to get fired from bands in an interview with That Metal Show by joking that he started his solo project so he could have a band he couldn't get fired from.
Which was then further lampshaded by another member of the band, who said "Actually, we were gonna fire him after the festival".
Quite possibly surpassing Ripper Owens is Henry Rollins. Rollins was a Black Flag fan who, while watching a show, was invited to go up onstage and sing "Clocked In." Eventually, he was offered an opportunity to be the band's fourth singer and he accepted. Rollins was the longest-serving and the most well known Black Flag vocalist.
Rollins had a standup bit about desperately trying not to fanboy out upon learning that he'd be working in the studio with Adrian Belew (as part of the William Shatner song "I Can't Get Behind That").
Arnel Pineda was asked to join the hard rock band Journey after Neal Schon (guitarist) saw some of his vocal covers on Youtube.
A lot of modern pop-rock bands stem from this. A major example is the group Panic! at the Disco, who stalked Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy on the internet before Wentz signed them to his label.
Wisconsin musician Sean Carey joined Justin Vernon's solo project Bon Iver after approaching Vernon during Bon Iver's first show. Carey had "learned all of the drum parts and all of the harmonies," and ended up touring with Vernon for over two years.
One can only imagine how awesome Lim Jeong-hyun, a.k.a. Funtwo (of "Canon Rock" fame, the dude in the Youtube video simply titled "guitar" and arguably the first Youtube celebrity) must have felt when he got to play a live concert with Joe Satriani.
The members of Disturbed are all massive fans of Pantera. Imagine their suprise when the Abbot brothers joined them on-stage to perform a cover of Walk for the first time (this became a semi-tradition whenever the Abbots were nearby).
Not exactly a literal example, but it still fits: The Beatles were working on the song "Across the Universe", but John Lennon wasn't satisfied with how it was turning out. Paul McCartney suggested they bring in two female fans loitering around Abbey Road Studios, Lizzie Bravo and Gayleen Pease, to do backing vocals. While their backing vocals did end up on the original version of "Across the Universe", Lennon wasn't satisfied with this development. Phil Spector later erased the backing vocals for the version that ended up on Let It Be, replacing them with a choir.
A slightly better, though still-not-quite-right example: Jimmy Nicol got to be a Beatle for about two weeks when, during a tour, Ringo Starr had to be hospitalized with tonsilitis.
Ringo Starr joining the band in the first place was both an example and an inversion of this. Starr was a fan of the Beatles in their prefame days and sometimes filled in for Pete Best (their original drummer); but at the same time, Paul and George saw Ringo—then drummer for a more popular band called Rory Storm and the Hurricanes—as cool older kid (by a couple of years, anyway) coming down from on high to help them out. When he finally joined, everyone was happy... for a few years, anyway.
Mark Lewisohn went from winning a Beatles trivia contest, to writing the officially-sanctioned book The Beatles Recording Sessions, to writing liner notes for Beatles CDs, to working directly for Paul McCartney.
Dan Aykroyd was a huge fan of Chicago blues music, and ended up introducing his friend John Belushi to the genre (Belushi's previous musical interest tended toward heavy metal and southern rock). The two ended up forming the Blues Brothers band as a sideline, and as a result revitalized interest in the blues as a musical form when The Movie was released.
Later he helped found the House Of Blues. A chain of restaurants that featured live blues concerts.
Brian Nelson became a fan of Alice Cooper in the early '70s and owned a huge collection of Alice related stuff before even meeting the man. He eventually got hired as Alice's personal assistant in the early '80s and kept the job until he passed away in 2009. He never stopped collecting and was generally considered to be the biggest Alice Cooper fan in the world.
Jon Stewart is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, was overjoyed to have the chance to interview him on The Daily Show in 2009. Later that year, Stewart gave the presentation speech for Springsteen at the Kennedy Center Honors.
Carlos "Indio" Solari, better known in Argentina as the lead singer of the band Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota, is a self confessed fan of Andres Calamaro, to the point of even recording a Cover Version of one of his songs in a Cover Album. Also Calamaro himself also loves Solari's work on both his solo career and with his former band. He was invited by Solari to sing on his own album, and then to sing said song, the Cover Version and other songs in a pair of gigs.
Zakk Wylde was an enormous Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath fan who got hired to Ozzy's band partly for knowing practically every Ozzy and Sabbath song released at that point. He often cites former Ozzy guitarist Randy Rhoads as his hero and the reason he plays the way he does and he is so devoted in his worship that he played the same model and color guitar as Rhoads (which he had his now trademark black bullseye painted on so the imitation wouldn't be so obvious to Ozzy fans), spent every hour he could mastering Rhoads' songs until he could hit them note by note, even built a shrine to Rhoads in his closet and eventually named his kid after him! To this day he still enthusiastically expresses his love for Rhoads and has a few custom built replicas of Rhoads' other guitars. As for the gig with Ozzy, it lasted for 20 years (with a few breaks) and Ozzy is the godfather of his kids.
Trey Williams was a drummer for a couple lowly Baltimore-area death metal bands, and the high points of his career at that point were a brief Canadian tour and opening for Fetus a few times. That all changed when he received a call from Sean Beasley shortly after Duane Timlin left asking him if he wanted to join and become their new drummer. Trey even acknowledged that he was flabbergasted by how much of a leap it was.
Helen Love is a bubblegum pop-punk band that writes about almost nothing but the lead singer's crush on Joey Ramone. Joey Ramone did guest vocals on their song Punk Boy.
Ron Wood has stated that when he first saw The Rolling Stones, he said to himself that he wanted to be in that band someday. Years later, he became their lead guitarist.
Speaking of Reznor, he's a big fan of David Bowie, and was influenced by the album Low when recording The Downward Spiral. NIN would later tour with Bowie in 1995, and Reznor himself would feature in the video for "I'm Afraid of Americans", which was based around one of his remixes.
Ed Crawford was a fan of The Minutemen who heard a false rumor that the band were looking for a new guitarist and vocalist after D. Boon's death, found Mike Watt's phone number, and called to express his interest in trying out. In fact surviving members Watt and George Hurley were still too despondent over Boon's death to even consider continuing to make music. However, Crawford and Mike Watt kept in contact with each other through mail, and Crawford's persistence in wanting the two to keep making music eventually paid off in a big way: He made an unannounced trip from Ohio to California and convinced Watt to let him "audition". He then became the guitarist and vocalist of fIREHOSE, Watt and Hurley's next project.
Goth chanteuse Jarboe first heard the band Swans on an Atlanta-area college radio station in the early '80s and liked them so much that she went to the radio station and stole their copy of the record. She later joined the band herself. Swans disbanded in 1997, but reformed in 2010. She was not included in the 2010 lineup, so does that make her a Demoted Fangirl as well?
AFI guitarist Jade Puget was originally a fan of the band.
Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance. When MCR started, he was in his own band (Pencey Prep), but was such a fan of MCR that he sold merch for them, shared a practice space with them, helped book their first shows, shared his band's van...and eventually he became their second guitarist (and he still claims to be MCR's biggest fan).
Da Yoopers, a Michigan-based comedy band, frequently lets local musicians get guest parts on their albums. One of them, "Cowboy" Dan Collins, was promoted to an official member for a few years.
NRBQ fan and hobby drummer Tom Ardolino sent a fan letter to the band, which led to a lengthy correspondence with keyboardist/singer/songwriter Terry Adams. When the band's then-drummer Tom Staley elected to sit out the encore at a show that Ardolino attended, Adams invited Ardolino to fill in. When Staley quit in 1974, the others invited Ardolino to replace him full-time, and Ardolino stuck with them for the next three decades.
Current Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Greg Puciato and drummer Billy Rymer were both originally fans of the band before being invited to join.
Derek Boyer and Bill Robinson were both founding members of Decrepit Birth, who were heavily influenced by Suffocation and whose early work was highly reminiscent of said band. When Suffocation reformed in 2004, Boyer wound up being the man who they chose to fill the bass position; eight years later, Frank Mullen was unable to make the European tour, and guess who got to fill in for him on vocals? Bill, that's who.
Jane Wiedlin was a fan of Sparks as a teenager, and supposedly was even president of an unofficial Sparks fan club. Once she became well-known in her own right as part of The Go-Go's, she also got to duet with Russell Mael for two songs on Sparks' In Outer Space - "Cool Places" and "Lucky Me, Lucky You".
Jeremy Deller collaborated with the Williams Fairey Brass Band to create the album Acid Brass, consisting of brass band covers of classic acid house and techno songs. One of the songs they covered was The KLF's "What Time Is Love". When Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty of the KLF heard the acid brass version of their song at a live performance, they liked it so much that they contacted Jeremy Deller so they could incorporate it into their satirical comeback performance "Fuck the Millennium". Then when they released the "***k the Millennium" CD single, the acid brass version of "What Time Is Love" was included as a b-side.
Neil Finn was a huge fan of his older brother's band Split Enz, and when Phil Judd left he was invited to join.
Leon Russell was a major influence on Elton John's piano playing, singing and songwriting, and Leon was an early supporter of Elton's career. Elton returned the favor in 2010 by collaborating with Leon (then frail and struggling to make it in the club circuit) on The Union (featuring Leon originals and songs co-written by Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin), an album that essentially revitalized the careers of both Elton and Leon.
Before, Elton, a childhood fan of the football club Watford F.C., used his riches from the 1970s to buy the club. His work as honorary chairman led to Watford becoming a first-division team by the mid-1980s.
Rappers Kid Cudi and Big Sean, as well as singer Estelle, all first came on industry radars by bumping into Kanye West and handing him their demos. Within 5 years, the former 2 are members of West's collective GOOD Music, and Estelle is a close friend.
The members of Avenged Sevenfold are all fans of Dream Theater. Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater had offer to fill in for the recently deceased Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan for the rest of Avenged Sevenfold's Nightmare tour.
Arin Ilejay, in turn, has been a long-time fan of Avenged Sevenfold — and The Rev, in particular. He was the second replacement for The Rev — and is still performing with the band.
The Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch was a long time fan of Bad Brains - when the self-titled Bad Brains album was reissued on CD, the packaging included a quote from Yauch calling it "the best punk/hardcore album of all time". Yauch ended up becoming a friend of the band and produced their 2007 album Build A Nation (as well as playing percussion on some tracks). After Yauch's death, Bad Brains paid tribute with a song called "MCA Dub".
Mike Doughty needed a vocalist to do harmony on his song "Holiday (What Do You Want?)". He called up Rosanne Cash (daughter of Johnny), and to his surprise, she said yes without hesitation. Turns out, they're fans of each other. Rosanne has since worked with Mike again, on his cover of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads".
Actress Tilda Swinton is an avowed David Bowie fan, dating back to her first viewing of his acting breakthrough The Man Who Fell to Earth. In 2013, she got to play his wife in the music video for "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)", which came complete with references to the movie!
In 1968, Tim Staffell and a friend formed the band Smile. Another friend of his (and fellow Ealing Art College student), Farrokh ("Freddie") Bulsara, became one of the band's greatest fans, soon pestering the band with suggestions for their shows and repeatedly stating his wish to become a rock star himself. When Staffell left the band, Smile was about to disband. Bulsara stepped in and, changing his name to Mercury, persuaded the remaining Smile members to 1) continue, 2) allow him to join as lead singer, and 3) change the band's name to Queen.
Jason Martin of Starflyer 59 has long been a fan of Daniel Amos, citing their album Vox Humana as one of his all-time favorites. Eventually, he got to work with DA's frontman Terry Scott Taylor. First, Taylor produced Sf59's 2001 album Leave Here a Stranger. Then, Martin conducted an interview of Taylor which appeared on DA's collection When Everyone Wore Hats.
Record producer Stuart Price cited the Pet Shop Boys as an inspiration for getting into the music industry. PSB turned to him to produce their 2013 album Electric.
Duke greatly respected Louis Armstrong and wrote a song, "Azalea", in hopes that Louis could someday sing it. Several times, Duke and Louis crossed paths, but events conspired to prevent them from recording together each time. Duke despaired of working with Louis and tried to record "Azalea" with other jazz singers, but none of them could do the song justice. Finally in 1961, Duke and Louis got a two-day recording session together and recorded "Azalea", as well as enough other material for two LPs.
Duke Ellington and Count Basie were both fans of each other—but Basie practically revered Ellington. They and their big bands recorded an album together in 1962. On the first take of "Take the 'A' Train" (the Ellington band's Signature Song), Duke suggested that Basie play the piano intro. Basie panicked and fled from the studio.
Yolanda Saldivar was such a huge fan of the Tejano pop singer Selena that she pestered the singer's family to start a fan club; she then worked her way up from fan club president to manager of Selena's boutiques and paid personal assistant to the singer. She was considered a close friend of the family by the time all hell broke loose.
John Popadiuk, who went from designing his own pinball tables at the age of six, to producing several hit Physical Pinball Tables, to running his own studio creating hand-made pinball machines for die-hard collectors.
Jon Norris, who created his own pinball game, distributed flyers for it, then secured a job as a designer at Premier.
Roger Sharpe was simply a top-rated pinball player, then got called to appear in court and make the Skill Shot that saved pinball. And that was before he become a pinball author and designer.
Slash of Guns N' Roses was already a pinball player and collector (he owned over twenty tables at one point) before he took his idea for a Guns N' Roses pinball game to Data East.
Black Hole was originally conceived by Joe Cicak, a pinball player from Pennsylvania, who gathered up some friends to build the prototype and present it to Gottlieb.
Special mention to Edge for winning the tag title with Hogan.
Rob Naylor was a fairly well known name in the Internet wrestling community for quite a while before getting gigs doing commentary for various indy promotions. At one point, he was namedropped during an episode of Raw by CM Punk and not long afterwards was officially hired by WWE. He currently works as the ring announcer for their developmental promotion Florida Championship Wrestling.
AJ Lee went from an anime, video game and pro wrestling fangirl living out of motels with her family as a kid; there's a video from a WWE produced piece (back in 2001) of Lita at a signing for a just released video of hers and a teenage AJ shows up very visibly emotional at getting to meet who was presumably her idol. Now she's arguably the centerpiece of the entire Divas division, having multiple storylines involving her on-screen dating multiple superstars to becoming Raw GM to becoming Divas Champion.
Current WWE referee Charles Robinson idolized Ric Flair all his life (notably coloring and styling his hair to resemble Flair's), and after several years in the business got to work for WCW in 1997; in 1999 they finally acknowledged this on TV and made him a biased ref in favor of Flair. Many years after they both started working for WWE, Robinson received the honor of refereeing Ric's retirement match at WrestleMania 24.
Fans of MTV's The Real World were introduced to young Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, who wanted to go into professional wrestling and would cut wrestling promos on the show for the hell of it. As we all know what happened next, young Mizanin got a crack in the WWE, paid his dues, and eventually ascended to becoming WWE Champion, including headlining WrestleMania.
When Scott Garland a.k.a. Scott Taylor/Scotty 2 Hotty was 14 or 15 years old, wrote to the WWF asking what professional wrestling school the WWF recruited their wrestlers from and attempted to call Vince McMahon himself. He would go on to have his first match with the company as a high school junior.
Occasionally, a fan reaction goes viral, and WWE takes notice of it. The most famous examples are the young girl who was angry at The Miz's WWE championship victory and the African-American who witnessed the Undertaker's WrestleMania streak come to an end.
Just about every pro athlete (unless they were raised/groomed from birth by a pr -athlete parent) fits this trope, particularly the "big four" team sports in the United States.
ESPN held the "Dream Job" contest, where the winner would become a SportsCenter talent. Mike Hall, who won the first contest, now works for the Big Ten Network.
Bill James, baseball statistician, got his start developing his Sabermetrics system of baseball statistics while a night watchman in a pork products factory. In 2002, he was hired by the Boston Red Sox and helped them pick up two World Series trophies in 2004 and 2007.
He's not even the biggest example on the Red Sox. Theo Epstein grew up less then a mile from Fenway Park and dreamed of working for the team his whole life. Then he was hired on as the General Manager (the youngest in history) and assembled those same Championship squads.
Interestingly, a Bill James fan started doing statistical analysis on the 2008 Presidential election, putting his Sabermetrics expertise to work analyzing voter polls. Nate Silver is now the head of the enormously well-regarded FiveThirtyEight blog on the New York Times website, making him a promoted fanboy in a completely different field from his original interests.
Many of the people involved in running the Scripps National Spelling Bee were winners when they were kids.
In a rather odd example, Chilean economist and politician Jaime Estevez was a big fan of the Universidad Catolica soccer club. Guess who is the current executive president of the club?
Keith Olbermann has one of the largest collections of baseball cards in the world (over 35,000) and had his first baseball book published when he was 14. He's now a consultant for Topps and writes an official blog for MLB (oh, and does that other thing).
Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton started angling for his hero Ayrton Senna's seat at by age 9, copying the Brazilian's helmet design and approaching team owner Ron Dennis. And then there's this video.
Indy Car champion Dario Franchitti adores Jim Clark. Many people have a piece or two of memorabilia. Franchitti has an entire room full of it. And when offered an opportunity to drive Clark's Indy 500 winning car, he made sure he dressed in a replica of Clark's own overalls and period appropriate gear.
Suk Hyun-Jun of AFC Ajax. He essentially showed up at Ajax's practice fields with a pair cleats and repeatedly asked to join the team. After being allowed to practice with the teams reserve squad the trainers were impressed enough to offer him a 1 year contract.
Jon Miller, radio announcer for the San Francisco Giants and former longtime voice of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, grew up idolizing announcers like Russ Hodges and Vin Scully and pretending to "call" the simulated baseball games he played on Strat-o-matic as a kid.
Chad le Clos was a huge fan of Michael Phelps while growing up and his biggest dream was to race against him one day. Not only did he get the chance to do that at the 2012 Summer Olympics, he beat him for gold! Afterwards, he went up to Phelps and told him, "You're my hero."
These two photos◊ are of Johan Goosen standing next to Jean de Villiers, a member of the Springboks (South Africa's national rugby team) - in the first one, he's just a boy; in the second, he's a Springbok himself.
Derek Jeter didn't jut want to be a professional baseball player. He specifically wanted to be a shortstop for the Yankees, his favorite team growing up.
David Freese grew up in the St. Louis area and was a big fan of the Cardinals. In 2011, he became both the NLCS Most Valuable Player and the World Series MVP playing third base for...the St. Louis Cardinals.
The 3rd Edition version of D&D's Ravenloft setting, produced by Arthaus under license from WotC, was crafted almost entirely by Promoted Fanboy writers. Arthaus recruited them from the "Kargatane", a web-based group of fanzine writers. (TSR's original Ravenloft design team took its name from an in-game secret police force, the Kargat, and the Kargatane are their brainwashed mook underlings, so....)
The best Exalted freelance writers come from the forums; by 2011 it'd got to the point that the majority of the writing team and at least one of the developers had started on the forums.
Aurora Nikolaeva made a complete Age of Aquarius career from a fan to a leading developer.
Kelly McKiernan, once an administrator/webmaster for the BIONICLE fansite and forum BZ Power, was temporarily hired by LEGO (the makers of BIONICLE) in 2007 to serve as webmaster for the official Bionicle while the then-current webmaster was on maternity leave. Even after the main webmaster returned to work in 2009, he stayed on at LEGO as the toy line's co-webmaster.
Dean "Rocket" Hall was an ARMA 2 modder hired on by the developer Bohemia Interactive to work on ARMA 3 multiplayer, but on the side was working on an "persistent open-world" project called DayZ — when its hype (and ARMA 2/Operation Arrowhead sales) took off, he became the "celebrity" of the devs and by far the most famous, and is rumored to have been removed from the dev team to work on the mod full-time.
"Smookie" is another modder — most known for his "SMK Animations" mod — who was hired on for ARMA 3 development, and is the inspiration for (if not personally implementing) the revamped animations systems.
Many people may have been introduced to the ARMA series from the YouTube videos put out by Andrew 'Dslyecxi' Gluck, founder of the ARMA group ShackTactical. He is now making several video guides for ARMA 3 as well as creating a Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures guide for the game which is available free online or as a paid PDF or physical book (both of which have extra content the free version lacks).
Tigole and Furor, or Kaplan and Alex Afrasiabi respectively, were famous as elite EverQuest guild leaders. Both were hired by Blizzard to work on World of Warcraft as game designers.
Valve likes to hire the makers of successful fan-made mods. Both the makers of Team Fortress and Counter-Strike have been hired in this fashion. Also hired was Adam Foster, who single-handedly created the Minerva: Metastasis single-player map.
Another Valve example. Portal was developed in its earliest guise by a team of game design students as part of their course. Valve liked it so much, they reportedly hired the students to make a full version for the company. You no doubt know the rest... They did this again, hiring another team from the same game design school for implementation of new gameplay elements in Portal 2 (more precisely, the gels)!
Left 4 Dead fan and mapmaker Matthew Lourdelet impressed Valve so much with his map pack "Evil Eyes" that they officially hired him to create the "Cold Stream" campaign, and added it to their official rotation of online maps.
Steve "Guinsoo" Feak, creator of Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars, a very popular Warcraft 3 mod, became a designer for Riot Games' League of Legends. Steve "Pendragon" Mescon, creator of the DotA fansite www.dota-allstars.com, became the Director of Community Relations at Riot Games. As mentioned in the section on Valve, Dota developer IceFrog, who keeps his real name private, was hired to work on Valve's Dota 2.
id Software's ranks consist of many developers who started out modding for Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake such as Tim Willits, lead designer of Doom 3 and creative director of the company, who started off his career making custom levels for the original Doom and getting noticed by id.
Before joining Konami and making a name for himself as the character and mechanical designer for the Metal Gear series, Yoji Shinkawa was a big fan of Gradius. When working on mechanical designs for the second Zone of the Enders game, he went on to include Gradius's flagship, the Vic Viper, as a Transforming Mecha, having always imagined the two protruding front sections of the ship as a mech's legs.
Epic Games, which is still one of the biggest examples about hiring people from their own community. Look at the Unreal page for the details. Another example would be Lusted, long time Total War modder and author of one of Medieval 2's largest mods, who was hired by Creative Assembly to work on their next TW game.
Neverwinter Nights is all about its custom editor. BioWare regularly skims the community for their most famous works and offers them jobs. Some groups formed around mod-making may also develop into studios, such as Ossian Studios.
Dominic Armato was a fan of the first two Monkey Island games, which may have given him his edge over the other guy when they were casting Guybrush Threepwood's voice actor.
Russian cosplayer Anna "Ormeli" Moleva did such a convincing job at recreating Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite that Irrational hired her to do promotional material. They even made modifications to the character so as to match up with Moleva's appearance.
Earlier, and even more remarkable: A Magic player named Gregory Marques showed up at the sidelines of a major tournament in 2003 with his own custom-designed expansion set of Magic cards, cheerfully inviting fellow players to try his cards out and give him feedback. Rosewater was impressed with Marques' design ambitions, and he had Wizards of the Coast hire him to join the design team of an actual set (which ended up becoming Fifth Dawn).
Heck, Mark Rosewater himself was once a mere fanboy. Also, many other members of Wizards R&D are former Pro Tour players.
The Unwashed Villagers, a group of Interplay's original Fallout forum goers who dealt with spammers and trolls, were included in a special encounter in Fallout 2 where they battle a notorious troll of the forums.
Roshambo, a then-moderator of No Mutants Allowed who was vocal of his criticisms of Fallout Tactics during production, was included in said game as a crazy old man and Brotherhood of Steel paladin who warned the Brotherhood of Steel elders that the storms would bring down the airships, which they did. His appearance in the game might as well be more of a Take That at his Fan Dumbness though.
Actor Matthew Perry has stated in interviews that he was a very big fan of Fallout 3 and played the game fanatically to the point his hands started aching. This led to him getting a role in Fallout: New Vegas as Benny, a major antagonist.
Nintendo Power writer Steven Grimm gave Animal Crossing: Wild World an amazing 9.5 review and mentioned that he loved the game. Nearly three years later, you can spot his name in the credits of Animal Crossing: City Folk.
That was only in 2003, though (he, alongside several of SNKP's other artists, also drew art for the Updated Rereleases of '98 and 2002). However, Falcoon did became the producer and main artist for the Alternate Continuity of the main KOF series, the Maximum Impact series. As of late, it seems that he's left the employment of SNKP (for reasons unknown; those who dislike the MI series probably claim that he was Running the Asylum with the somewhat nonsensical/poor plot).
The Kingdom Hearts Japanese-only novelizations have been stated by Tetsuya Nomura to be non-canonical and simply, like the manga, an adaptation authorized by Square. However, the novel writer, Tomoco Kanamaki, became a promoted fangirl when she was brought on to write the scenario for Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (however, in fears of any Running the Asylum happening, Nomura did actually edit and rewrite the whole thing himself after she was through).
City of Heroes has Dr. Aeon, the new developer in charge of the Mission Architect system, who was a longtime player and prolific author on that system.
Before that, the developer Castle was just a normal player that managed to get into the development team and became a popular presence in the forum community. A few years after he joined the staff, the Castle character was created and appeared in one of the comics as well as being permanently added to the game as a trainer in Peregrine Island.
The player Ascendant became popular in the community for appearing at tram stations at random times and doing elaborate sketches in which Ascendant dealt with cell phone calls to people such as his mother, his agent/uncle, and other people that vexed him. After some time, the devs acknowledged the popularity of the sketches with random NPC dialog that suggested people seeking Ascendant were calling the wrong number. In Issue 19 of the comic, Ascendant appeared (along with fellow Promoted Fanboy Castle) in a short scene with Positron.
Successful entrepreneurs sometimes succeed in the very themes they wanted to be in since childhood or work on what they've wanted since joining the workforce. Tycho and Gabe of Penny Arcade are gamers who now host an exposition for gamers and make games with Hothead Games.
Sean "Day" Plott, a once-progamer and strategy analyst for StarCraft and a long-time fan of the game, is now promoting the expansion Starcraft II Heart Of The Swarm through "Battle Reports" - replays from the expansion casted along with Rob Simpson, a Blizzard-employed caster.
Ben Croshaw a.k.a. Yahtzee made, considered and ranted about games for years, and begged the industry at large for a job before coming up with Zero Punctuation. One month later he's in The Escapist and at some point he ended up writing for PC Gamer as well.
Nobuhiro Watsuki, creator of popular anime and manga such as Rurouni Kenshin, Buso Renkin and Gun Blaze West, mentioned early in Rurouni Kenshin that he was hooked on the Samurai Shodown series and bought a Neo Geo CD just to play it. In 2003, SNK hired him to design new characters for Samurai Shodown V.
Reportedly, this is how Neversoft took over development of the Guitar Hero series: when Activision bought RedOctane but MTV bought Harmonix (the series' original developers), Activision was apparently wondering what to do with the Guitar Hero license, at which point Neversoft stood up and said "Hey, we're such big fans of Guitar Hero that we played it on breaks while we were working on Tony Hawk! We can totally do it!" Reactions to their treatment of the series has been, well, mixed but it worked out in Activision's favor big time... for a short term duration.
Much like the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix example above, a couple of old school Street Fighter players have gone on to bigger things:
Joey Cuellar, a.k.a. Mr. Wizard, runs Shoryuken.com as well as the EVO Championship Series. The latter has gone on to become one of the biggest fighting game tournaments in the world.
Tony Cannon, a.k.a. Ponder, developed the GGPO netcode to allow fans to play emulated fighting games online without lag time. The system was so successful that Capcom has licensed it and even had Ponder as a consultant for some of their games.
David Sirlin was the lead designer for the aforementioned HD Remix.
Probably the biggest success is Seth "S-Kill" Killian who once worked for Capcom as their Community Manager and ran their official blog/forum site, Capcom-Unity. The (SNK) boss of Street Fighter IV, Killian, was named after him as well. He was also the "Special Fighting/Combat Adviser" for Capcom's fighting games from Street Fighter IV to his departure.
Recently made a move to Sony Santa Monica where he is now in an actual game design position.
In a similar (non-Capcom) vein, arcade stick fanatic Mark Julio, a.k.a. Markman, was hired by controller manufacturer MadCatz to work on their Street Fighter IV-branded controllers. Julio's knowledge of arcade sticks and guidance made the company's FightSticks the premier American-manufactured arcade stick for fighting games.
1UP.com's Neidel Crisan used to simply post his own articles on fighting games on sites like Shoryuken.com and iPlayWinner before being hired to do fighting game reviews for the aforementioned site. His reviews on 1UP.com are now considered to be the only ones worth reading when it comes to fighting games.
He was then eventually, alongside fellow player Peter "ComboFiend" Rosas, hired by Capcom to act as community managers after Killian's departure.
Skullgirls features vocal talent from many a Big Name Fan, such as Cristina Valenzuela (previously mentioned in the "Anime and Manga" section of this page) and Kira Buckland, who got her start on fandubs and web animations such as the Metal Gear Awesome series.
ZONE, a rather famous Rule34 flash animator, was hired by Mike after he saw an animation she did of the game's default hero Filia, she's now an animator helping work on the DLC characters.
Although IIDX has still never seen an arcade release stateside, one of the most prominent composers who works on the series visited the Tokyo Game Action arcade and bowling alley in Rhode Island (back when it was still in business) on several occasions to put on a concert for the western fans who were lucky enough to be present. It has recently been discovered that this composer sampled some of the background chatter during this event, and inserted some distorted voice samples into a track called ICARUS in a subsequent release. If you know what to listen for you can actually hear several U.S. east coast community members get namedropped in the game itself. Which is, you know, pretty damn cool.
Likewise for Sanxion7, who produced many songs and fan remixes for Stepmania, before contributing the song "Eternus" to DDR Supernova 2. He has since appeared more on U.S.-developed Pump It Up games (i.e. Pro 2 and Infinity; ironically, said song also appeared there)
The Mechwarrior series is being rebooted by Jordan Weiseman, who started the (critically acclaimed) series himself and has bought back the license from Microsoft themselves.
Shizuka Ito followed suit, working really damn hard to get herself a role in Super Robot Wars, doing several roles in the Mecha genre before getting a role as an Original Character in Super Robot Wars Neo. Now if she wants a role in Gundam Generation, she will have to be voicing at least one role in Gundam (Only one voice actor of the original cast didn't have a Gundam related role. Everyone else did at least one major Gundam role in their careers.)
After the Halo IP was given to 343 Industries, the writers of the Halo-related blog Ascendant Justice got hired to work on several articles on Halo Waypoint concerning Halo canon.
Frank O'Connor, head of 343 Industries, is a specific example - he started off as a Halo fan, and is now practically in charge of the Halo canon, and was the general director for Halo Legends.
Kana Ueda is a big fan of Halo and other Western FPS. She later got the chance to voice Saydy in the Japanese version of Halo 3: ODST (as well as being the dub voice of Alena Vorshevsky in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3).
Nate Bihldorff quickly climbed the ranks from studying creative writing in college, to being a playtester for Nintendo, to writing for Nintendo Power, to working on localizing games for Nintendo, and today he is the head honcho of Nintendo of America's acclaimed localization department.
After The Guild 2 Venice stand alone pack was made, several German members of the Guild 2 Modding Forum (Jowood is a German Company) who worked on the major mods of the Guild 2 on The Guild 2 Renaissance which became an official addon approved by Jowood.
Jon Shafer grew up playing Sid Meier's Civilization, became a well-known modder for the later installments, was hired by Firaxis to work on an expansion pack for Civ IV, and is now the lead designer of Civ V. At age 25.
The more recently added Gas Powered Games forum staff were selected from their community, as opposed to being hired to manage the forums as they originally were. One member, who was really only there because he loved the off-topic board was promoted to a moderator for that very board.
Gas Powered Games have also hired a modder known in the community widely for his highly improved Supreme Commander skirmish AI's. He was also one of a pair of modders who created the first uploaded mod, at least as far as is known on the official forums. The other modder he was working with? See the next example.
The Transcendence community's websites are run in pretty much the same manner, where the developer promotes members of the community to help out as staff on the sites, ranging from moderators to administrators.
The aforementioned Supreme Commander modder became one of the administrators of the forums for his work on an unofficial expansion and has helped develop the backstory, balance, and planned content for various factions in the canon universe based off of his own Fanon work. This same person nearly had his ship graphics created for his unofficial expansion licensed for use in an in-development commercial game, though the talks fell through when it was discovered there was an incompatibility between the game's engine and the format his models had been made in, as they were designed simply to be rendered into sprites that Transcendence could use. He then went on to begin development on his own game, while still actively fulfilling his duties in the Transcendence community.
Arenanet often use the names of Guild Wars wiki contributors for newly-introduced non-player characters.
Christian "The Taxman" Whitehead, a well-known member of Sonic Retro, created an physics engine that was faithful to the Genesis games, and once even created a tech demo of Sonic CD on the iPhone that proved it was possible to do an iPhone port that was faithful to the original. This got noticed by Sega, who hired him to remake the game for everything except Nintendo consoles with said engine.
Stephan "Lordus" Dittrich created a homebrew Sega Genesis emulator for the Nintendo DS. However, after years of no new releases of said emulator or contact with Lordus on the Internet, the Sonic Classic Collection was announced for the DS, a port of the first 3 Sonic games to the platform. It is believed that Dittrich's emulator was used as the base of the collection, with him being credited as the lead developer.
IGN's Jessica Chobot has been a huge fan of the Mass Effect series from the beginning and she was cast in Mass Effect 3 as Diana Allers, a reporter embedded with the Normandy.
This was also the case for Freddy Prinze, Jr. as James Vega for Mass Effect 3.
Randall "Frigidman" Shaw, who produced several network maps for Marathon 2, as well as later contributing to the total conversion EVIL, was hired to do the Vidmaster's Challenge levels for Infinity, along with some of its multiplayer maps. Ditto for Randy "Ydnar" Reddig, who created the M1 map Pfhactory and others before joining Double Aught and turning that into "Aye Mak Sicur", the final stage.
Craig Mullins came to Bungie's attention through Marathonfan art he posted online. His digital paintings subsequently featured in Marathon 2 and many other games.
Hat Films, a trio of British fans that make videos, edit them to great effect, and risen to popularity with their videos of Minecraft had gotten the attention of Mojang, the developers of Minecraft. Hat Films are now usually asked by Mojang to produce trailers for the next major update for Minecraft.
Dr Zhark, creator of the Mo' Creatures mod, is helping Mojang add horses to the game for patch 1.6.
Erik West, known as Immok the Slayer online, is an example of this with a strong dose of Tear Jerker. After discovering Erik's extensive knowledge of Oblivion, Bethesda had invited him for a tour of their studio during the making of Skyrim. Sadly, Erik died of cancer prior to the release of Skyrim. There are people who would adventure with Erik the Slayer, and ensure to make him "essential" as well.
Interestingly enough, his character fits this as well. Erik was just a farmer's son who loved adventuring but didn't have the means to do so. You have the option to help him become an adventurer, and then hire him to be your companion.
Old Man Murray started out as a personal game-review site run entirely by two game fanboys, Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw. Today, both work for Valve, with Chet Falszek working heavily on the Left 4 Dead series, and Erik Wolpaw writing for the Portal series.
Everyone who donated at least 1 USD to Nyu Media's The Tale Of ALLTYNEX Kickstarter for the series had their name displayed on the Roll of Honor on the official website. In addition, everyone who donated at least $15 had their names in the international release of ALLTYNEX Second. Finally, anyone who donated at least $1,000 would've been eligable to appear in the ending sequence of ALLTYNEX Second under the War Record section of the ending sequence, but no one donated that much.
When the original artist for Erfworld, Jamie Noguchi, left after the end of Book 1, then fan Xin Ye was hired as the new artist after she sent in fanart◊ for one of the intermission updates.
Andrew Hussie of MS Paint Adventures wrassled up a sound team consisting of the best composers from the MSPA forum for Homestuck, who compose music for the flash animations. They now have their own indie record label under "What Pumpkin". Later, to widen the variety of art found in flash animations, Hussie gathered an art team to draw various pieces found in animations and sometimes static pages, and they also sell art prints (Ascended Fanart, basically.) of stuff the art team has done. All in all, Hussie's team almost entirely consists of fans with the exception of himself and Lexxie.
Also, for each official song that is released a piece of specialized album art accompanies it. Originally all the songs just had the main album artwork, and then there were pictures from the comic itself, but now most of the artwork is drawn by fans.
Jeffrey Wells wrote an extremely long and suprisingly good fanfic for the Narbonic comic. It was so good that author Shaenon Garrity not only featured it as filler during most of Narbonic's run but also wound up working with Jeff to write her later comic Skin Horse. Neither of them are exactly sure how, tho.
One fan of Enjuhneer cosplayed one of the characters at an anime convention, ran into the creator of the comic, and was put into the comic for being the first cosplayer that the creator had heard of.
For the first Electric Wonderland comic, Peter Paltridge enlisted a fan of some of his older series, Jesse Barboza, to provide drawings. One of Jesse's solo webcomics, Forever 16, also became a regular feature in Peter's periodical, BANG! The Entertainment Paper.
The Life of Nob T. Mouse features a meta example where series writer/artist Zoe Robinson originally made The Life Of Nob T Mouse as a fanfiction comic for The Blobland Band, before meeting the franchise's creator, Hubert Schlongson, and winning ownership off him in a game of poker.
Its Just Some Random Guy is known on YouTube for his I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC videos that use Marvel and DC action figures to parody spots comparing Marvel and DC movies in the style of the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads. While not hired by Marvel or DC, he was hired by New York Comic Con to do bits in the style of his videos, which were approved by Marvel.
The case of the almighty union of They Might Be Giants and the Homestar Runner creators is an odd one. They're fanboys of each other and came together out of a mutual excitement for the other's work, with the result of the H* R creators doing music videos for TMBG, and TMBG writing and performing music for H* R.
Many fashion bloggers, ie: Tavi Gevinson, Brian Boy.
James Rolfe is a huge film geek, particularly B and horror movies. He became an amateur filmmaker himself, and after one of his movies involving bashing video games turned him into an internet hit, most of his productions are available on his website, and he does film reviews and countdowns on both his site and Spike TV!
He's also making a short appearance in the upcoming remake of Plan Nine From Outer Space.
Arglefumph, famous for his Nancy Drew walkthroughs, entered a photo contest to have a cameo in the remake of "Secrets Can Kill." The results of said contest? Well, check out this video. Also qualifies as a funny moment.
Most people working for Rooster Teeth after the first few years fall into this to some degree or another. Most notably among them are Barbara Dunkelman, who organised fan events for the group before being officially hired, and Gavin Free, who, as a fan turned forum moderator turned intern turned Red Vs Blue Director, might just be one of the biggest examples in the entire history of this trope.
Most of the current authors for the Whateley Universe started out by writing fanfic for the universe and then being asked to join the 'canon cabal'.
Worm has Interlude 19, focusing on a web forum within the story made up of thinly disguised versions of regular posters in the serial's comments section.
Actor Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) expressed his fondness for Marble Hornets on Twitter. Years later, he would be cast as the Operator in the official Marble Hornets movie.
Many famous videogame countdown artists (such as Speedyman157 and Maverick Hunter Zero 75) started out as fans from works of other famous countdown artists (Speedyman157 said that the reason he made countdowns was because he was a fan of peanut3423 and Maverick Hunter Zero 75 made countdowns because he was a big admirer of Itionobo2)
Supposedly M. Night Shyamalan approached the people behind Avatar to create a live action movie because he was such a huge fan of the show. Based on the outcome, however, you could be forgiven for thinking the opposite.
Janet Varney, who plays the voice of Korra, was a big fan of Avatar before even hearing about the auditions for the lead role in the sequel. She said in an interview that after she auditioned for the part, she couldn't even watch the original show anymore because it would make her nervous about whether or not she'd land the role of Korra.
Superstar women's tennis player Serena Williams is a huge fan of the show; she ended up voicing Iroh's kind prison guard in Book 3's The Day of Black Sun.
What about the guy who makes the Puppetbender shorts? On the Korra DVD, a special feature is an interview with the series' characters in puppet form.
Fanartist Nina Matsumoto a.k.a. Spacecoyote drew a manga-styled picture of The Simpsons' cast. The pic quickly became an internet sensation, to the point where it caught the eyes of someone at Bongo Comics (publishers of The Simpsons' comic books), leading to her drawing an entire story ("Bartomu") for Bongo's 2008 Free Comic Book Day special (and promises of more work to come).
Including a Death Note parody for the recent Treehouse Of Horror, which managed to win an Eisner Award.
She is currently writing Yokaidan, a comic published through Del Ray Manga.
As this article revealed, a lot of the people working behind Godzilla: The Series grew up with Godzilla and were huge fans of the character. This is one of the big reasons why the cartoon turned out to be a lot more faithful to the original Japanese franchise compared to the American movie it was spun off from.
Similarly, Zachary Levi stated in this making-of video for Tangled that getting to play the hero in a Disney film is like a dream he's still scared he'll wake up from.
Also from Tangled is Mandy Moore. She has said in interviews that she grew up loving the Disney Princesses and is thrilled about getting to play one. She has stated that Ariel was in fact her inspiration to start singing in the first place.
And Kristen Bell, who played Anna in Frozen. She was a huge fan of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, saying that she "had one of them on a loop in my house at all times".
Also, Jon Cryer has stated that he has always wanted to play a role in a Disney movie, and was ecstatic when he landed the role of Dusty in Planes. Unfortunately for him, he has since been replaced by Dane Cook.
Animator Katie Rice was a big fan of Ren and Stimpy growing up, she eventually got to animate for the Adult Party Cartoon version.
The majority of the new voice actors for the Looney Tunes characters are big fans of the original theatrical shorts. Bob Bergen in particular went as far as to track down Mel Blanc himself for voice acting lessons.
Jason Marsden is a big fan of Disney; he even named his pets after Disney characters, and he got to play Kovu in Lion King 2. At the end of Behind the Microphone, he was really jazzed about how he can't believe he gets to be in a Disney movie.
He also got to be Max Goof in A Goofy Movie, a role that he continued in for years.
An episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian", was written by Renee Carter, Sarah Creef, and Amy Crosby, who at the time were only 13. As this article from the time reveals, they had sent the script to the show on a lark and by sheer blind luck, the script was actually read and sent along to Steven Spielberg, who decided to run with it. The show called attention to it both within the script (including a gag where Buster argues with the girls about his fear of planes) and in the promotion leading up to it.
In 2011, Teddy Antonio submitted premises to Hasbro and was called by current showrunner Meghan McCarthy to work on an idea for an episode where Fluttershy and Discord become roommates. He was ultimately credited for the episode's story, which eventually became "Keep Calm and Flutter On". Not only is Antonio a brony, but he was only 15 years old.
Controversy arose around the Hungarian dub of South Park, when the fans noticed that the dubbing script for one of Season 9's episodes matched the translations of a Fan Sub created (way earlier) by a fan called "vito" word-for-word. Unfortunately, as copyright laws don't quite tend to favor unofficial fan works, the dubbers got away with the deal. But something still happened, as beginning from Season 13, vito has been working on the real scripts for the show as its official translator. And he's also credited under that name.
At various times on the bonus features of the Batman: The Animated Series DVDs, the various crew members admit to being "hardcore comic book geeks" who appreciated the old comics. One could say that the fact that they tried to make the series more like the comics they so loved was the main reason that the series is so well-done and fondly remembered.
To add to this, in one of the books about The Joker, Mark Hamill was asked to do the foreward. He mentions that the primary reason (in his mind) he was asked to play his most iconic role was due to showing off such enthusiasm for the project when he came in to voice the Corrupt Corporate Executive in "Heart of Ice".
Ciro Neili was a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles growing up; he even collected the comics before the 1987 cartoon premiered. He is now the show runner for the 2012 version on Nickelodeon, and he is even using original characters he designed when he was a kid.
When Christopher Lee read for his part as King Haggard for The Last Unicorn, he arrived carrying a copy of the book with notes on what parts he'd like to see kept in.
Simon Pegg is a big fan of the Strontium Dog comics, and got to voice Johnny in the CD adaptations.
The user Avan on the Furtopia forums - who is also mentioned under the video game folder in the Transcendence entry - is the likely, and only mentioned, candidate to join the staff in the proposition of taking over the free web-hosting services with his own server, with the only other option being to shut down the web-hosting services.
Jakayrta became Cornova's beta/co-writer after he left a deep review on the first chapter of Poké Wars: The Incipience.
The Internet is full of this: if you're a fan of a long-standing website, you might be surprised at how many of the administrators and/or writers were once commenters on the same site.
Ryan O'Connell used to drink lots of wine and read books about wine and, despite a total lack of formal training, he now operates O'Vineyards in the south of France and runs a wine blog that allows him to hang out with all the famous winemakers and wine writers he admired from afar.
In 2005, Steve Wade, a Tasmanian-based Saab fan, launched a blog about his favourite car. Six years, 5400 articles and 50,000 comments later, Saab formally credited SaabsUnited with helping to save the company, and employed him in their newly-formed global social media marketing team (based in Melbourne, Australia).
Unfortunately it didn't seem to last long or save the company.
Gossip journalist David "Spec" Mc Clure was fascinated by Audie Murphy's military career and arranged to meet him when Murphy was filming his first supporting role in a film. The two became good friends, with Mc Clure co-writing To Hell and Back, both the book and the movie script, and acting as an informal press agent for Murphy. Murphy's second wife, Pamela, was also something of an Promoted Fangirl. She had been trying to meet him ever since she saw him on the cover of Life magazine in the mid-forties, and finally succeeded in the early fifties. They dated steadily while the divorce from his first wife was finalized, married shortly thereafter, and despite some rough periods remained married until his death.
Matt Ward is an infamous example. Every Codex he's touched has had its fluff tortured, turned into Mary Sues, turned into a tabletop sweeper or any combination of the three. The only codex that he wrote that isn't universally despised is the Necron codex, and that's because there were two editors to keep him from breaking the game and the fluff. Despite that the Necrons still had their ancient Egyptian influence heavily Flanderized.
The Sisters of Battle codex that he wrote had the opposite of the usual problems. Though Games Workshop prevented him from having all the sisters get massacred all the time in order to fuel his obsession with sexist snuff-fics he still whacked the sisters with the nerf bat until they were a fine paste.
Ironically, he seems to not go quite so overboard with Fantasy armies. With the exception of his 7th Edition Daemons update (a book so broken that it, and the resulting attempts at Power Creep, ultimately necessitated a massive rules shift to fix), most of his Fantasy books aren't badly written fluff wise and are mostly mechanically stable.