• Editorial: A Brony Tale

    A while back -- late 2011, perhaps, Ashleigh Ball of Hey Ocean! fame received a friendly invitation to a convention in New York for January 2012. The subjects of that convention? Us.

    As it turns out, Ashleigh's subsequent journey from first contact to joining with the fandom was good enough to make into a documentary. More than good enough, really. Curious as to what's in it? Not much point in spoiling everything under a cut, but we can certainly give you a taste of things down below.

    By and large, principal photography for A Brony Tale took place over the months leading up to Bronycon January 2012. The film begins with Ashleigh explaining her voice-over background and how she came to MLP, before diving into the brony fandom itself.

    Most of the film from there alternates between different takes on the fandom -- the mass media blitz, curiosity from the psychology community, content creators and promoters, the fans themselves -- and Ashleigh negotiating with the sudden, unexpected, and frankly eerie fame her involvement with MLP had brought upon her. Societal attitudes toward bronies around the time Season 2 was airing were much more volatile than they are today, and Ashleigh makes no secret of having (had) no idea what to expect from us (rest assured the ending of this tale, though, is a happy one).

    The movie spares no expense ranging for perspectives, whether covering a meetup some hundreds strong on the beaches of Santa Monica to a low-key family outing in Halifax. Admittedly, some segments are better than others, but no matter the subject, be it Dustykatt's come-to-pony-Jesus saga or four undergrads holding their bi-weekly meeting on campus, every segment casts light on how MLP has shaped and reshaped outlooks and lives. Several segments featuring a military man, recently returned from service in Iraq, form one of the most poignant arcs in the whole film.

    I wanna give a special shoutout to best blog princess Phoe for representing Equestria Daily in the film, as well as for delivering one of A Brony Tale's closing statements to great effect. With a good two, two-and-a-half-years separating us from when this was filmed, the brony community has only grown larger, and the most interesting part of this film for me is seeing how we've changed (to ourselves, and to the show staffers) in that time.

    Once, Ashleigh Ball spent the good part of an evening before her first brony convention cramming as much of the fandom as she could into her head off of Youtube. Now we have M.A. Larson winning the adoration of thousands by applying his signature to airsick bags. With the walls torn down, I think the jury's still out on whether or not a bit of mystery between fans and creators makes their interactions more meaningful.

    If you're newer to this fandom, through, or if you have no idea what it's all about (and for that I would ask you how you came across this article in the first place), this film can definitely help you understand what once came before. For the rest of us, look forward to a bit of nostalgia. I think we've forgotten one or two things in the intervening years, and there's a lot of good stuff in this film we could afford to bring into the present day again.