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Film Magazine Start-up


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#1 David Sweetman

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 02:06 AM

I've been kicking around this idea for a while, especially since getting into film theory. I've posted a little about it here:

http://losangeles.cr.../259258420.html

First of all, do any of you think that this is a good idea; second, is its niche already provided for anywhere in english format (besides the British "Screen"); and third, would anyone be interested in collaborative start-up and writing. At this point it's in pre-production; I'm just trying to get a feel for what kind of response the idea generates, and trying to assess whether or not it would be a viable and worth-while venture.
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 02:33 AM

I think you're eather a filmmaker or a magazine publisher. There's nothing inherently bad about being eather one. They're both exciting and glamorous jobs that require brains, luck, persistance and sacrifice. Writing and editing a magazine is a lot of hard work and will give you little time to devote to the almost OVERWHELMING task of getting a film made, IF you plan to do eather one well. I personally would do some soul searching a decide which you REALLY want to do. I, myself, would support eather decision. Both would give something back to the world and both would be artistically fulfilling. It's really a choice only you can make and and other people's opinoins are quite frankly, unimportant. If someone tells you your idea sucks and you shouldn't do AND you don't do it because of what that guy thinks, then you really shouldn't do it, not because of what he said but because you don't have the passion to say "Screw you! I KNOW I can make this work", see what I mean? B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 08 January 2007 - 02:34 AM.

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#3 David Sweetman

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 02:51 AM

Well I think I might be able to do both, many writers for Cahiers du Cinema certainly did, as they were also the source of the French New Wave (Godard, Truffaut, etc) and both their films and their words are still regarded as a huge part of film culture, such as Truffaut's origination of the auteurist method of criticism.

Thanks for the advice and input. I won't be tossed by the opinion of a few people, but on the other hand, "there is wisdom in a multitude of counsel," so I want to get an idea of what other people, and especially what other film people might think.
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#4 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 05:47 AM

Yes, but they were established and respected filmmakers before they wrote for the magazine and they weren't PUBISHING the magazine. If you wanted to write a few articles for Cahiers du Cinema (assuming they would accept them of course) AND make films as well, I have no doubt you COULD do both, perhaps even do both well, but that's not what you're planning to do. You're planning to PUBLISH a magazine not simple write for one and in order to do THAT well, you will HAVE to devote a great deal of time to the persuit, however far be it from me to tell a man what he is or is not capible of doing and if you feel honestly you can do two full time jobs at the same time AND excel at both then you're a better man than I and I salute you, but I'd still think long and hard about diving into a project that's gonna take up whatever time is left over from your filmmaking endevours and the 6 to 8 hours you spend sleeping each day before I jumped in with both feet. Who knows, you may want to spend time with a woman or watch the occational football game or shoot some a rack of 9 ball with your friends for quarters, maybe even enjoy sitting down to a plate of roast chicken and potatoes au graten with out some Yahoo on a Alltel dropping a dime to inform you the printer has screwed up this month's issue of Cinema De Jour and the interview ith Herzog now has a picture above it of Daffy Duck in drag where Werner's headshot outta be , 'course, that's just me. B)
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#5 David Sweetman

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 06:05 AM

Well, actually they were all writing and critiquing before they were filmmakers at all. But that doesn't really change the point. The advantage that this type of magazine would have is that there isn't as much neccessity to be "on top" of the very latest changes in the industry, and while I'm sure it would be a lot of work, it would also be a lot of fun, and the work would be spread around multiple people.

I'm not really talking about "jumping in with both feet" at this point, more "testing the water" to see what it would be like, if there would be a market, how much work it would take, what the budget might look like, etc.
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 01:22 AM

So you want to DABBLE in publishing? What are you, a Kennedy? Thust me, the work will be spread out among you and that's IF you pay your people, otherwise the articles you need to meet deadline will come floating in half finished and 3 weeks late. Any filmmaker who gets a gig is gonna push your pan to the backburner and set it on simmer until he get's back from his shoot and any decient photographers are already getting paid so they're gonna take those jobs first because thier families have grown accustom to ingesting food on a regular basis. In order to keep the mag within the guidelines you propose, YOU'LL have to assume the mantle of editor and chief and when you start doing your job by taking out the part of a submitted article where some unwarrentedly paasionate writer who believes his words flow from the the very mouth of the All Mighty himself to tell your readers which films are worth watching and which are not, he'll quit because you're a Philistine who can't possibly appreciate his genius and has the unmitegated audacity to delete a portion of his perfectly worded essay, your not paying him anyway so screw it, he'll go to the mall instead. Yes it can be a lot of fun but if you plan to make it a success it will require fanatical devotion, because after all, a mag like this will have a limited readrship appeal and building a circulation through constant promotion will be manditory, unless you're just planning to let your friends read it. It's not like you're trying to launch a new vrsion of Vogue, People or Playboy. People who read this rag will be hardcore movie folk, let me re-phrase that film connoseurs and filmschool students. Your income will be advertisments so you'll spend entire blocks of months doing nothing but emailing and calling potental clients doing your utmost in an uphill battle to convince them that the ONLY way to sell thier products and services is to invest a full page ad in your brilliant new enterprise. There are several flegling filmmaking mags out there with excellent, slick composition that GIVE their mags away to keep circulation up so advertisers stay happy and buy the ad space. And as far as not being "on top" of the very latest changes in the industry, you mag's still gonna be about SOMETHING, I.E. :

To provide an informed perspective in a hardcopy format concerning today?s cinema, incorporating a breadth of facts, theories, and reasons for the conclusions which are reached by the reviewer of the film, the advancer of the theory, or the advocate of the analysis. To interpret films, not only in the common superficial way of determining their quality or lack thereof, but also to find the meanings of the films, be they objective or subjective. To actively seek out new film theory, and to harmonize with established film theory.

Articles will be written for the purpose of :
1. Critical comparison of two objects, be they films, directors, eras, visual styles, or any number of other subjects.
2. Advancement or establishment of theory.
3. Critical overview of one object, be it a director, an era, a visual style, etc.

and if you intend to present said material in a visually pleasing and functionally accessible array, and to arrange it in as professional a manner as possible that still means work, and a LOT of it, if you plan to compare and compete with the other film mags out there. I'm sorry but I can't imagine that level of professionalism can be achievible on a part time basis. You could throw together some half assed, bi-monthly newsletter that way but not the kind of thought provoking, insightful and lntellectually stimulating publication you so eloquently discribed in your mission statement. So as I said before you won't have time for that AND filmmaking which is even MORE labour intensive. But that's just my opinion B)
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#7 Keneu Luca

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 02:15 AM

I don't know much about you David. Ive read some of your posts and sometimes your opinions do coincide with mine. You seem to have a genuine curiosity and interest in filmmaking. But it seems like one would need all that and TONS MORE just to generate the interest in others to collaborate with you (im not just talking about talented intelligent writers, but sponsors too) and follow you down this road, as well as your readers.

Im talking about credibilty and reputation and experience. What separates you? I think these are some things anyone who wants to do what you are talking about needs to ask themselves.

Money helps too. :P

I am in no way questioning these things of you. Like I said, I dont really know you at all.

Edited by Keneu, 09 January 2007 - 02:16 AM.

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#8 David Sweetman

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 02:34 AM

let me re-phrase that film connoseurs and filmschool students.

Hey, thanks that's a great way to describe the intended market. The market is important to identify, and I hadn't given much thought to how to describe who would read it.

I'm sorry but I can't imagine that level of professionalism can be achievible on a part time basis.

Well I think you may have misunderstood the intention of the "test the water" remark; if I decide it's something I want to do then I'll definitely jump in with both feet. My point is I that haven't decided conclusively, but I know I really like the idea. It would start very small, with low production values. I'd write with my film buddies, and some faculty I know, and no one would get paid at first. But I like the idea of entrepeneuring something and trying to grow it into a successful institution.

Im talking about credibilty and reputation and experience. What separates you?
I am in no way questioning these things of you. Like I said, I dont really know you at all.

Ha, heck go ahead and question, I haven't got the lot. But I do have a lot of ideas which I think could sustain the paper with interesting and engaging material.

Thanks for all the input, and for the genuine and helpful thoughts in your remarks.
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#9 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 02:38 AM

Well I think you may have misunderstood the intention of the "test the water" remark; if I decide it's something I want to do then I'll definitely jump in with both feet. My point is I that haven't decided conclusively, but I know I really like the idea. It would start very small, with low production values. I'd write with my film buddies, and some faculty I know, and no one would get paid at first. But I like the idea of entrepeneuring something and trying to grow it into a successful institution.


Well, if that's all you're planning on doing, give it a shot. I STILL think you'll find it's more work than you want to deal with if your serious about becoming a filmmaker, but what the Hell, you're not going to lose a lot of money should you decide to quit, it may help o timulate your creativity and explore your concepts and who know, you might just make it work. You could even cut costs further by doing an online magazine, no printer's fees, no mailing charges, potental for world-wide circulation AND people from all over could act as contributers. Just a thought. B)
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#10 David Sweetman

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 02:52 AM

You could even cut costs further by doing an online magazine, no printer's fees, no mailing charges, potental for world-wide circulation AND people from all over could act as contributers. Just a thought. B)


The original idea was to do an online magazine, but I'd really like it in hardcopy instead. The first issue or two would probably be offered free online, so people would be able to become acquained with it and see if they liked it. I've also got an idea where registered users could not only read the articles on-line, but also would be able to comment on the articles, much like the system employed by the IMDB or Amazon.
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#11 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 03:39 AM

Well send me a copy when you get it done B)
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#12 Kim Sargenius

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 04:49 PM

The original idea was to do an online magazine, but I'd really like it in hardcopy instead. The first issue or two would probably be offered free online, so people would be able to become acquained with it and see if they liked it. I've also got an idea where registered users could not only read the articles on-line, but also would be able to comment on the articles, much like the system employed by the IMDB or Amazon.



IMHO it sounds like you're looking at an all or nothing approach - you want a fully fledged Cahiers du Cinema or nothing at all.

My personal take on it would be to start as a blog - if nothing else you'd get good essay writing practice for your studies :)

I think the key to success would have to be very strong editorial direction and focus - keep a very close eye on the signal-to-noise ratio.


My 2c worth :)


cheers,

Kim Sargenius
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#13 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 05:36 PM

Publishing a full-size glossy mag about anything is a difficult undertaking for anybody to attempt (sort of like making indy flicks and hoping for Hollywood attention... hmm, maybe there's a corelation between your creative outlets). It sounds like you have the background and the passion to put out something like a 'zine or (the aforementioned) web-zine though.

My advice: screw advertising, screw credibility, find yourself access to a free (read: hijacked) photocopy machine and knock this out as a garage operation. Hook up with a young talented graphic designer who will benefit from doing this kind of work for free (as a student you should be able to find like-minded people). Adopt a POV or slant for the mag, even if it goes beyond film -- since you're not going to be the "NAB/product development/interview with Altman's corpse" magazine (which would be f'n brilliant by the way), you really can do anything that interests you/kinda sorta relates to your interests.

I do believe that there is a gap between film mags aimed at beginners (Kodak Student Filmmakers mag, for example, which Kevin Zanit writes for occasionally) and film crit/trade mags. Giving a voice to up-and-coming, innovative young filmmakers should be encouraged (if you can find any worth listening to that is!).

Good luck with whatever creative venture you decide to pursue, but beware the many pitfalls of each seperate one. Also, don't be afraid to fail. Take it all in stride and do what you can do when you can do it.
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