FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

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Cathy Poole
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FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by Cathy Poole » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:24 am

I have been reading the IAC ‘Film & Video Maker’ for about ten years now.
The first issue I can remember was dated December 2009.

In ‘The Chairman’s Chat’ on page 5 of the February 2019 issue, on paragraph
two, it states that, ‘He (Garth Hope) has moved into the modern magazine
era and made a product that is worthy of a place on any newsagent’s shelves.’

I have to disagree with this immediately.

Firstly, the front covers never quite looked like a film-making magazine.
Most of the time the covers could and would be mistaken for, a nature,
a gardening, a wildlife, or a botanical magazine.

Very rarely was a camera or a piece of film-making equipment shown.

Is the IAC really proud of its FVM covers?

Do the front covers really show that a potential reader is about to pick up
a film-making magazine off a newsagent’s shelf?

I really don’t think so.

Also, the back covers of FVM haven’t changed at all in the last ten years.

Have they?

Take a look for yourself.

Every issue for the past ten years (apart from one, published in October 2011)
has remained virtually the same, apart from slightly different versions of exactly
the same thing.

The same people holding the same cameras, with the same lovely, attractive,
and enchanting smiles.

Issue after issue, after issue, after issue.

Are these people on the back cover in any way related to Linda Gough the
president, and could that be the very reason for never changing the back cover?

Much as I’ve tried to find out, nobody has ever given me a satisfactory answer.

But that’s not the real problem.

The real problem is that the magazine is showing a video camera,
on the back cover that appears to be over twenty years old.

That wasn’t a misspelling. That camera that is shown is at least twenty years old.

Has no one ever pointed this out to the people in charge of the magazine?

I’m amazed, because the back cover has always looked very strange to me.

This camera uses, or should I say used, if it still works, a cassette tape.
Is it a Video 8 tape? I can just about remember them, just as I can remember
Super 8 film cartridges, and 8mm film spools, nine-point-five and 16mm.

But who would buy a camera using a cassette tape today?

Probably only members of the IAC and readers of FVM

I’m sure that the readership and membership would increase if the people
running the IAC and FVM magazine, joined the 21st century and started showing
modern equipment, and made the covers more relevant to film-makers of today.

After all, the SD card has now been invented, but it seems that some people
working on your magazine are still living in the dark ages, probably still in their
darkrooms.

If a photography magazine showed a Nikon, or Canon from 1998 on the front cover,
apart from ‘a history of cameras,’ subject, I don’t think they’d sell many copies
that month.

I hope my comments will be taken seriously.

I’m only trying to be helpful and save the magazine from a loss of future readers.

It’s because I care and love the magazine and the IAC that I have written this.

If I’m wrong in any way, then please let me know through this forum.

Thank you,


Cathy Poole

Michael Slowe
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by Michael Slowe » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:04 pm

Cathy, mostly relevant points, if rather sourly put. How about you applying for the vacant editor's chair?

Ken Wilson
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by Ken Wilson » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:51 am

I don`t know whether I have met you Cathy? We have been to all but one of the BIAFF/ IAC Movie weekends over the past 25 years, so we may have done if you have attended.
I read your comments with interest and agree with Michael that there are some relevant points here but I feel they are made rather harshly.

As a regular writer for FVM over many years, in fact ALL the years that Garth has been editor, I have of course corresponded with him by e-mails and spoken many times over the phone. I too am puzzled sometimes by the way things are done within the IAC circles and can shed little light on decisions made by the committees.
But what I do know is that unlike the rest of us who are volunteers (unpaid) Garth is an employee and as such of course he can`t do exactly all he may wish to do. Perhaps Garth chooses the images for his covers of FVM without any interference, I don`t know. I have featured on the front cover just twice in over 15 years, but to be fair I don`t send images which would be suitable very often.
I do agree that a change is needed to the stale back cover, which I think is now underway as I understand it. I also agree that the front cover rarely has film making imagery which would attract a new reader. But on the other hand, the magazine cannot be bought in a newsagents or in a supermarket. It doesn`t NEED to attract a buyer as Movie Maker, or any other magazine has to do. Not that this should prevent a suitable film still, location movie shoot or new camera image appearing on the front of the magazine. I agree it should. But as mentioned, Garth`s decisions have to comply with the opinions and demands of others.

Some time ago I was told that the style of my articles were to change by decree. Random text from the piece were to be enlarged in block text highlighting a specific paragraph. I was told it wasn`t Garth`s idea but a suggestion to be more "modern" looking. It was tried in a couple of issues and I then told Garth I didn`t like it at all in my articles and would prefer it to return to as it was. It was agreed that it would no longer appear on the material I wrote.
So any creative process, whether in a magazine or a film, is mostly a collaborative effort. Not everyone will agree with anything and often it is more than one person making decisions. Garth may not be totally in control of the issues you complain of Cathy. Overall. I think he has worked well with the material he is sent and perhaps restricted by complying and answering to others.

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Willy
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by Willy » Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:30 pm

Imagine there would be no FVM! The IAC would lose some of its charm. In a previous message Ken said that he has e-mailed Garth to say that he feels sorry he is leaving and he wonders what's going to happen next. And Michael calls it a disaster. The magazine is the mainstay of the IAC! Yes, we are all grateful to Garth that he did such a wonderful job all those years. I am sure that he enjoyed his job, but he will certainly feel more relaxed in the future. There will be no pressure. Every two months a new interesting issue of FVM. That's not simple.

However, we must not ignore Cathy's criticism. Her words are a bit sharp, sometimes, but we must accept some of her feelings. Do you remember that there was a time when this forum was buzzing with news, interesting topics and various (sometimes very heated) discussions? Also about FVM. That's what Ken, whose articles in FVM are much appreciated, told us some time ago. Ken added that the critiques may have gradually worn Garth down and now he has enough. I do understand this.

But maybe Cathy has a point. I fear that the younger generations don't find our dear old magazine not modern enough. However, in my own club the ones who are still in their fifties, always say "wow" when I show them the newest issue and they start reading it with interest. But what would teenagers and the ones in their twenties and thirties and forties would think? Of course, Garth cannot be blamed for it! On the contrary! I am a grumpy old man myself (72), but I think that the younger ones don't/ didn't contribute to our magazine. I am sure that Garth would have been thankful to receive articles from younger people to make his FVM more sexy and contemporary. Now we only see photos of old people in our magazine, just because our filmclubs have not gone any rejuvenation in the course of all these years. Who is to blame for it? Nobody. Times have changed, that's all!

I understand that many clubs have magazines on the internet now. They are much cheaper than the printed ones, but "long live Film and Video Magazine" in its present form, and thousands of congratulations to Garth and his successor. In Belgium we had a magazine with a modern look. It was a magazine for filmmakers and photographers. But it stopped last year. The filmmakers didn't get a chance to read more about their hobby and they didn't want to pay for it anymore.
Willy Van der Linden

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TimStannard
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by TimStannard » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:33 pm

Whilst I agree about the back cover (which you have raised several times, Cathy) I think this does more to affect the possibilities of sales of merchandise than affect the "sale" of the mgazine, which is only (so far as I'm aware) available by subscription and therefore guaranteed sales anyway.

Front cover images of cameras/gear would, in my opinion, give a false impression that the magazine is skewed towards equipment reviews, which it is clearly not. Each issue contains Tom's impressions of the latest gizmo he's managed to get his hands on, and occasionally another bit of kit, but that's about it. The magazine is much broader.

For what it's worth, I've subscribed to PC Pro since issue 4 in 1995. This is primarily a magazine about the uses of tech in business - and a significant part is devoted to equipment reviews, but rarely does something "tech" feature on the cover nowadays, unlike 20 years ago when beige boxes were de rigeur. They leave that to the rather more geeky gaming magazines.

All that actually matters is the content and I rather like the balance between:
  • Reports from festivals, competitions and regions

    Reviews of equipment and books

    Makings of

    "Back in the day..."

    Announcements

    A day/week/month/year in the life of...

    And the occasional rant.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

Ken Wilson
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by Ken Wilson » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:49 am

Whilst I guess that Cathy`s intention was possibly not to create a heated debate or even a mildly warm one (!) finally the forum has some serious issues to debate, in other words, the future of FVM.
As many people will know from my articles, I am not an equipment freak by any means and only buy a new camera, microphone or computer when I absolutely have to. It`s all about the testing and learning to use a new bit of kit that I hate as it slows me down from actually making movies, which is what I want to do.
But on the subject of the front cover of FVM, my point was to agree that it does look like a gardening magazine rather than a film magazine. A selection of "On location" shots, stills from a particular move (which the botanical stills may actually be but give the wrong impression) or rotated with a camera in use would seem to be a better bet. I wasn`t advocating lots of tech gear on every cover, just something more in keeping. These were the images that "Movie Maker" and "Making Better Movies" used. But as I said last time, our FVM doesn`t need to "sell itself" on a newsagents stand as we are subscribers and get the magazine anyway. I don`t have any real serious issues with the cover but a change would be "nice."

It would be very sad to lose it altogether and though I do spend hours every day (yes EVERY DAY) sat here at one of my computers either writing or editing, I really don`t want to read the magazine this way and agree with Michael that having the printed copy in my hand is so much better. But let`s see what the future brings. I am about to send my next article to Garth for the last time. Nothing stays the same forever does it.

ned c
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by ned c » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:57 pm

As an occasional contributor to FVM i have some thoughts on the magazine and its future. First; editing/creating any purely voluntary publication is a thankless task and we must acknowledge the outstanding work Garth has done in regularly providing a readable publication. I suspect that there has not been a rush of volunteers to replace him. The IAC provides its members with three assets; the magazine; BIAFF and the music licence (although this is becoming less important). The magazine is the visible representative of the IAC and it should be available to more than the membership; I have no idea how this may be done other than an on-line version; perhaps cut down to act as a taster. I agree the back cover needs up dating or replacing.

ned c

Michael Slowe
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by Michael Slowe » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:53 pm

On the subject of the magazine's cover, I have often, when submitting articles for publication, asked Garth would he like a film 'still' to accompany my piece. He said yes but there were problems regarding the aspect since any still was in the 16:9 aspect which is quite unsuitable for the magazine cover.

My final questions on this subject (and I couldn't agree more with Ned that the magazine is "the visible representation of the IAC), is, who is going to be the next appointed editor? Why did Garth's long reign come to an end? We are entitled to have answers to BOTH questions.

Cathy Poole
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by Cathy Poole » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:15 am

The subject of the outdated FVM magazine was started three weeks ago
on Saturday 19th January 2019.

Now, three weeks later, the same people who always write on the forum
anyway, are the only ones who’ve replied, made any comments, or responded.

However, nearly all of them, I notice, also write or have written in the past
for the FVM magazine.

It’s quite sad therefore, that:

The Webmaster: Jan Watterson
The President: Linda Gough
The Chairman: John Howden
The Vice Chairman: Ivor Rose

and

The Advertising Manager: Mike Whyman

have shown no interest whatsoever in this subject.

They have all kept totally silent about this very important matter.

Interesting, don’t you think?

If these people showed any interest in the future of the IAC and the FVM
magazine, then surely, by now, all these people should have expressed an
opinion on this subject?

You could ask yourself what’s the point of this forum if the people running
the IAC or who are in charge of it, take no notice of what’s going on.

Hasn’t anybody who writes on the forum told the elite this, and notified them
of what exactly is going on?


Thank you for reading this,


Cathy Poole

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Dave Watterson
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by Dave Watterson » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:47 pm

I know what you mean, Cathy, but officers are always reluctant to get into long discussions on the forum, which can sometimes turn nasty.

Bear in mind that there is a small team of people working on the committee and they are having to run BIAFF themselves this year. With the judging weekend coming up they have their work cut out. They are also involved in longer-term planning for 2020 when Britain hosts the international UNICA festival.

My guess is that everyone want to allow Garth to complete his final issue of the magazine, before making any announcements. He deserved a chance to complete his long run as editor with dignity and not in any flurry of discussions about the future.

I am pretty sure there will continue to be a paper magazine at least for a few more years.

Cathy Poole
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by Cathy Poole » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:22 am

Yes Dave, you’re right, quite right.

I do understand that the committee is very busy and have a lot to do,
and as you say Dave, they are having to run BIAFF themselves this year,
and with the judging weekend coming up, they have their work cut out.

And, as you say Dave, they are also involved in the longer-term planning
for 2020 when Britain hosts the UNICA festival.

I have every sympathy with the committee. Really. Please believe me.

I can remember some time ago when ‘I ran out of petrol, I had a flat tyre,
I didn’t have enough money for the taxi fare, my evening dress didn’t come
back from the cleaners, an old friend came in from out of town, someone
stole my car, there was an earthquake, a terrible flood, locusts…’


The problem is, that this problem isn’t new.

Back in the December 2014 issue of FVM Magazine, Doug Collender wrote,
about the back cover,

‘It pictures two youthful ‘videographers’ (not a term that I favour)
looking extremely happy and elated while clutching a video camera that
Cash Converters would have removed from their shelves many years ago!’

I’ll just repeat the bit.

‘that Cash Converters would have removed from their shelves many years ago!’


How right Doug was.

And the reply from Linda Gough, the President of the IAC, was,

‘We are trying to update the pictures used but the merchandise is kept in my loft.’

What kind of excuse is that?

And remember, this isn’t a recent problem. This discussion first came up just
over four years ago.

So Dave, please don’t make excuses for the committee, they’ve had four
years to look into this matter, not four months.

Cathy Poole

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Dave Watterson
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by Dave Watterson » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:01 am

My remarks were intended to deal with questions about how the magazine may be produced and who would replace the editor.

tom hardwick
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by tom hardwick » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:21 am

An interesting thread you've started Cathy, though like you say the contributors to the thread are mainly contributors to the magazine, and not the IAC hierarchy or even the editor himself.

Sometimes I've sent Garth a link to take him straight to a topic that mentions him, but unless I do that he doesn't visit the forum at all. Like others have said, he has been a (much needed) IAC employee, is a stills photographer, and has to work with articles that volunteers have submitted. As he's told me, many articles are submitted by enthusiastic members who are not necessarily gifted writers, and those articles take a lot of 'sorting out' before publication.

I've offered to submit cover photos more in keeping with the contents and the IAC's philosophy, and more in line with commercial magazine production, but my offer has never been taken up.

As has been pointed out here, the mag is only for fee-paying members and isn't intended for public consumption, so in a sense doesn't need to do any more than enclose the contents. This is a shame, as affiliated clubs are sent copies of the mag and therefore the 'general public' (ie non IAC members) get to take the mag home from their club. And yes, if the cover makes it looks like a horticultural magazine it won't be given a second glance.

In my talk to clubs I often ask for a show of hands as to who in the audience reads FVM, and I'm invariably disappointed in the response. Just maybe a more grab-me cover picture would get the mag lifted off the table.

And on this point I've often given away copies of the mag to folk who've lent me equipment for review, and I've felt a whiff of embarrassment that the cover in no way reflects the moviemaking ambitions of the recipients. When copies have been sent to firms that have supplied equipment for test (Samsung, BenQ, Sachtler, SunnyCam etc) my embarrassment quotient has been even higher.

I agree entirely with the thought that the IAC merchandise adverts are horribly dated by the equipment on show, but my offer to reshoot them involved costs that weren't deemed necessary or acceptable. I'm fine with that; updating the adverts will only update the magazine's looks, I'd be surprised if it sold any more sweatshirts or cufflinks.

I've spend the whole weekend as part of the BIAFF judging team up in Durham, and it's been fascinating to see what people have submitted to the competition. In the tea breaks and meal breaks I've talked to the IAC hierarchy about all sorts of IAC topics and I can tell you all this: they're a very hardworking bunch of people. They do it all for love, not money, and in reality the production of the magazine is but one part of running the IAC. All of us here on this thread may feel the mag is the most important IAC topic that should be addressed, but there are very many others crying out for their attention.

ned c
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Re: FVM MAGAZINE - FEBRUARY 2019

Post by ned c » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:55 pm

The production and distribution costs of the magazine according to the 2017 Financial Report are around GBP 30,000 of a gross income that year of 72,000. With a declining membership (noted in the report) is this a wise expenditure of 50% of the IAC income? (Admin costs were about 32K and a loss was shown on the year).

BIAFF now with its own website and a growing importance could usefully use additional investment both for promotion and expansion of its offerings. So in my view adherence to a mail distributed paper magazine for a declining audience is an expenditure the IAC cannot really afford. Yes; it's nice to hold the magazine and I look forward to the arrival of my copy here in the American West but I am growing used to on-line magazines and it is possible to restrict access. An on-line magazine is not free but surely a saving of at least 40% can be expected.

With a new editor it is traditional that publications are re-thought and this seems a good time to expand the discussion beyond the cover pictures and the back cover promotions.

ned c

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