Thursday, March 13, 2008

Work, Links, Update

Ever fancied yourself as a magazine journo, y'know, getting a review in Empire or Total Film, or writing for Heat or Dr Who mag, summink like that? Well, over in his latest post, Monsieur Jason Arnopp* tells you how. All sound advice from the freelance journalist who's written for Every Magazine and Publication Known to Man.

I tried to get a gig on Empire when I first arrived in the UK, and had positive correspondence/phone calls with the editor and various sub-editors. They told me that they like to hire reviewers who have done something else for them on their mag - for example, interviewed a star or written an article, and work up a relationship so that they trust them to review the films. They liked my sample reviews and allowed me to pitch a few articles but ultimately, they didn't bite... Still, I was encouraged by their receptive reaction to my initial correspondence. Like Jason points out, a brief and to-the-point e-mail/letter, casually asking if they are looking for new writers (possibly followed up by a polite phone call) can go a long way.

In other news, Tim Clague has been busy with his new online venture, Mr Vista. Entirely self-funded through the advertising on his blog, Tim has taken a beautifully simple and comic idea, and plonked it on the net for everyone to enjoy. It's playing over at Daily Motion and is now even on iTunes. Way to go, Timmy boy.

And in a similar on-line fashion, a new interactive drama starts on Bebo called Sofia's Diary, for which, um, I have written the "webisodes" (web episodes, see what they did there?) for the first couple of weeks, and then more later in the run. It's been very exciting to be part of the team, so fingers crossed it goes down well! I think it has a preview launch tomorrow, Friday, and it starts proper on Monday 17th (St Patrick's Day, sláinte).

Oh, and my refurbished Macbook arrived in the post, two weeks ahead of schedule. Here it is, having just been turned on:-



I love it! I have even discovered I can do a podcast through the GarageBand software (steady now...) Thanks to everyone for their suggestions, links and advice. Special mention to James, Robert and Phillip for going above and beyond the call of duty. I certainly felt the love of the Mac community in my slight hesitancy and confusion over whether to buy or not. I'm still using a PC for my main 'desk work' but y'never know, I might fully convert to Mac if all continues to go well...

Thanks, too, to everyone who has sponsored me for the Bournemouth Bay Run (taking place Sunday 30th March). If you fancied throwing a few more quid my way on behalf of the British Heart Foundation, then follow the instructions on my fundraising page. Anything at all, £2-£5 (or more!) is very much appreciated. I'm off for a swim. Essential cross-training, y'know.


* He's not really French.

14 comments:

Piers said...

Yes he is. He just disguises it really well.

Jason Arnopp said...

Sacre bleu, Monsieur Stack, you 'ave forced moi (okay, okay, I'll drop it now) to join up with yet another networking site. I've signed up to Bebo in order to view the fruit of your brain-loins when Sofia's Diary starts tomorrow! So now I've got MySpace, Facebook, Linkedin, other ones I've probably forgotten about, and Bebo... blimey O'Reilly.

I thank you for mentioning the possibility of phoning magazines for work, because it's led me to amend my blog post - I don't think telephones are a good idea any more when touting for work. Not from magazines, at least. I just reckon that, in this age when people are used to receiving communications like e-mails and texts which don't require an immediate response, a 'phone call feels too insistent. Too pressurising - especially when an editor might be racing to meet a mag deadline. Maybe it's just me who hates calls from strangers, though...

Steve said...

Having been a magazine editor about 20 years (though not for the last 5) I can safely say that I *never* wanted to get phone calls from people I didn't know. And a lot of that was before the Internet.

Possibly I'm just anti-social.

Danny Stack said...

What I did was mention that I might follow up my email/letter with a phone call and then when I did call, politely introduce myself and remind them about the recent letter, which would be an 'in' for the conversation, as long as you don't sound like a nutter. The last time I tried this approach was eight years ago, though, so I may be out of touch...

Jason Arnopp said...

The grim reality, Mr Stackington-Smythe, is that many editors will hate even that. They'll see it as a tug at their sleeve - a polite way of saying, "Oi, fucknut! Why didn't you reply to my e-mail/letter?" Whereas a polite follow-up e-mail/letter doesn't feel like you're escalating the directness of your communications, and will be standing in their back garden any minute with a pitch fork.

It's not the way it should be, of course, but sadly it's largely the way it is.

Jason Arnopp said...

Just watched the first bit of Sofia's Diary. Wow, that sucker moves like a freight train. Lovely stuff. Nice to see a bit of Camden Tahhhhn in there too!

Danny Stack said...

That's just the preview/set up, Jase, the real drama, oo-er, starts on Monday. Come get some...

Jason Arnopp said...

Marvellous, sir. And just to clarify, DO you need to be a Bebo member to see it?

Danny Stack said...

Er... I don't know! I think the webisodes 'go live' daily at 5.30pm so if peeps can't access them thru a casual visit then I guess it's (free) sign up time...

Frances Lynn said...

You might need extra memory for your MacBook. If so, you can get some good offers at Crucial (at Crucial)

Tim Clague said...

mac - about time!

Berni said...

iStack

flats said...

Mmmm what do you think about the new mac book air? Do you think is it good? Im thinking about buying one but, im not too sure... cheers

Danny Stack said...

I think the Mac Air would be good for travelling businessmen and the like, didn't seem fully appropriate for me (writing/surfing/emails etc).