The question was actually phrased as “not trying to start an argument, I’m just curious. Why do you want @FilmThreat to return to print media?” by @ReaperMattatt on Twitter, a friend of mine who I play street hockey with every year at the Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament in Brantford, Ontario. Pretty obvious question, right? And… did I ever address it? Why should Film Threat being heading back to print at all? Is it nostalgia? Rebellion without a point? Why, man, WHY!?!
Because I want to! But seriously…
It’s a combination of a lot of reasons. We’ve still got our Entertainment Weeklys and our Rolling Stones for the mainstream, and Filmmaker Magazine and MovieMaker Magazine do keep the more independent film conversation going in print, but Film Threat’s perspective, and voice, is not represented anymore. The magazine that I would read, either in print, on a Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Nook or the like just isn’t there. My values about film and filmmaking are not represented, and I don’t think I’m alone. Rather than whine about the lack of the magazine, I want to create that which I wish existed. That’s why Chris Gore created the original zine in the first place; his thoughts and feelings about filmmaking weren’t being addressed or represented anywhere. It was just commerce, blockbusters and gossip; it was like underground and independent film wasn’t there at all. Except it was, and Film Threat started a broader conversation.
Print magazines are an endangered species, I know, but the concept of a magazine should not be forgotten. I think we’ve gotten comfortable with thinking of websites and blogs as magazines, but they are not the same, regardless of the staff or talent associated. A magazine is a definitive snapshot of a moment in time. Websites are ever-changing, ever-evolving and everywhere. Film Threat’s sense of humor and love of movies is all over the web, but, again… not in print, and not as a magazine.
WNYC’s “On the Media” brought up a scary idea recently, while talking about news cycles and how they pertained, for example, to news about Libya or Japan. The idea was that, if The New York Times (and they are used as an example of a reputable print entity, not as a comparison to anything we’ve done) or other rare newspapers or news organizations weren’t still paying attention to stories long after public interest had moved on, no one would know much about what was going on, except for the juicy, sensationalistic bits. This is already obvious in film news, when big stories revolve around casting decisions and title changes for mainstream films, and most news is just repeated and re-purposed in a cinematic echo chamber, while the indie and underground are overlooked (unless they have some sort of mass crossover appeal somewhere). But just because very few write about something, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening or isn’t important or interesting. The movies and filmmakers I want to hear about aren’t represented in many places, and while I love that we can focus on that world on this site, I also want to bring word of those filmmakers beyond the website.
The website world is inundated anyway. Seems like every time you load your browser, there’s a new movie website or blog talking this or talking that… usually talking the same this or that as the next guy. You try to stand up and out in the noise, but the loudest voices usually win (and they’re usually being repeated), so the perspective is lost. A print magazine gives us something new, and something different, to help the world of filmmaking we’re talking about get more eyes outside of the crowd than if we stayed stuck within.
Finally, there’s the question of “Why not return to print?” Nowadays, the process necessary to prep and build a magazine layout for digital use on a reading device is the exact same process to prep and build a magazine layout for print. If you’re doing the work anyway, why not take that extra step and just do print as well. Sure, we’re raising funds because there is a cost associated, but those costs are more strongly tied with content payment and magazine design than they are in the printing of the magazine, and those costs would exist period. Film Threat began in print, and there’s no reason we can’t return to print. I own many books, I own a Kindle. I read both. It’s not an “either/or” scenario I’m proposing here. Folks who want the print issues, can read the print issues. Folks who want the digital editions, can use those. If people don’t respond, or read it, in the end… well, I can’t predict that. But I know I would, and, again, I don’t think I’m alone.
Film Threat magazine is coming back, one way or another, and you can be a part of that. It’s not a matter of “why” or “if” anymore, it’s happening, and I hope you come along for the ride!