Do we need a new editor for FVM?

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GeraldMee
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by GeraldMee » Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:07 pm

Gerald, will you please forward this for me as I am not a registered member of the forum.....

I note the request on the institute web site for any suitably qualified person to quote for the production of the institutes magazine.
At this stage, I would like to put on record the vast improvement of the magazine since Garth Hope became the editor. I am aware of the considerable unpaid work that he regularly undertakes on behalf of the organization, not to mention his brilliant promotional logo's for the institute that he has created over the years.
Whilst cost is a concern of every organization, we shouldn't loose site of what we get for our money, the lowest quote can, from my own experience often backfire when it comes to comparing like for like.

Philip Dorman FACI

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Dave Watterson
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by Dave Watterson » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:35 pm

Support for the status quo is always to be expected ... and as Garth has kept our magazine going so long he deserves respect and appreciation ... but let us not get too carried away.

Peter Donlan began the change from an A5 duplicated newsletter to a proper magazine format many years ago. Liz Donlan (no relation) in her turn enhanced that especially by adding much more colour and introducing new regular columnists. Garth took over at little notice and picked up the reins ably.

But you do not have to look far in these forums to find complaints about the magazine ... the way articles are split up, which ones get colour illustration and so on. There have been many minor mistakes. Garth is good but he ain't perfect. Nobody is.

As for costs - for decades the magazine has eaten up around half of the IAC annual budget - the other half being mainly devoted to the office and admin staff. If the magazine could be produced more cheaply maybe competition fees would not keep rising, help for clubs would increase, national publicity might be begin again, subsidised training weekends could be arranged and so on and on ...

I, for one, am delighted that National Council seems to be pro-active in seeking ways forward rather than letting the present systems drift on unchanged. (I have no connection with the Council!) I have never been a supporter of change for its own sake, but complacency is a much more dangerous approach. We all recognise that our movement is in decline, although public interest in video making has increased enormously. IAC needs to keep probing, exploring and trying new ideas.

-Dave

ned c
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by ned c » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:42 am

Editing any magazine/newsletter is a major task and Garth has done a good job under difficult conditions. No matter how much we love it the print media is faced with a massive challenge which it is slowly recognizing. As advertising moves more to the internet then the financing of magazines becomes increasingly difficult and F&VM has little attraction to major advertisers due to its limited and specialist circulation. To spend half of the IACs income on print and distribution of the magazine seems a huge waste of resources.

Where do I think the money should go? (yes, we've been here before a few times).

1. The website; this is the ONLY public face of the IAC and should be promoted with links to as many sources/resources as possible. It is now excellent, so PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE!!! Promote the Forum as well, I have never counted how few peole use it but I guess it is less than 100 which I assume (I hope) is less than 5% of the IAC membership!!

2. The BIAFF; add a student section with prizes worth having; this is where the future of the IAC lies. Get rid of 'amateur' from the title.

3. An annual distribution of the winning films on DVD(s); so there are potential rights problems; overcome them! Making a couple of thousand DVDs and distributing should cost less than a couple of issues of the magazine and be of greater interest.

4. Haver a regular magazine section on the website with readers letters; except for this it pretty well exists all ready.

5. Under NO circumstances use money to fund/support clubs; they are yesterdays model.

For those who want a print version then print out the pages that interest you from the website, I know its nice to have something to read in the bath or wherever but there are signs that most print media will have migrated to the Internet within a few years as the iPad; Kindle etc. take over; no matter how much you dislike them.

For those members who don't use computers? Well, tough, sorry about that but this is the 21st Century.

ned c

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Mike Shaw
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by Mike Shaw » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:44 am

For those members who don't use computers? Well, tough, sorry about that but this is the 21st Century
A bit of 'archaic' thinking there, Ned, don't you think?

I have a computer. I have access to an on-line Video magazine. So I guess I'm in the 21st century. But ... The last time I read that magazine (as in 'could be bothered to spend the time sitting in front of a computer reading a magazine') was back at the beginning of this year. Life is busy, and I simply don't have the time when 'on the computer' to indulge in reading. And when I do want to read it, I am nowhere near the computer. Yes I could print out the articles I'm interested in. Can't be bothered to waste the time sorting though the 'pages' picking and choosing, then printing before I can enjoy reading it. I like to browse - so that would really mean printing everything out. And knowing me, run out of ink or paper in the process... I'd far rather buy off the shelf. Or on subscription.

For me, and suspect many others, it isn't a case of being 'handy', its a case of being totally inconvenient. I can't take my computer with me - and have no desire to carry a laptop or Ipad for that matter - wherever I go, so that I can open it up and read a magazine when I have a few minutes spare. I know one can now get (at quite a considerable expense) 'book reader' gizmos that can hold an entire library of books for reading anywhere and any time. Maybe one day they will be the only way to read a book (perish the thought) - but for me, I'd rather browse through book titles or flick through magazines at a store, to make a choice, than have to sit on the computer looking for titles.

The inconvenience of computers as reading machines goes further - batteries have to be kept charged, they don't always display well in bright sunlight (favourite reading place for many - in a deckchair on the beach), and so on and on. And these days, there is always the danger of theft - a computer gizmo costing multiple times more than a book or magazine, is a more attractive object for the ungodly light-fingered gentry.

I use a PDA. I boast it reminds me in advance of appointments whereas a paper diary doesn't - and so on. But it is a pain, really. I'm invariably the last one to find if I am free on a certain date - by the time I've switched it on, selected the 'appointments' function, selected the date - examined the days round it and so on, the others are putting their old fashioned 20th century diaries away.

I'm all for progress. But lets not lose sight of the 'feel' of a magazine, and the feeling of anticipation when FVM drops through the letterbox.

By all means find a cheaper way to produce it. But lets not have it drop out of the 'paper' system - as indeed every other
video editing magazine has done over here.

tom hardwick
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by tom hardwick » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:18 am

Beautifully put Mike, and I'll back every single well thought out word. The magazine is always going to cost us dear as a group, but magazines in general are tremendously popular items as any supermarket, corner shop, HWSmiths, newsagent and airport terminal will attest.

I rather dislike reading from the computer screen and I'm not really sure why. I can enlarge it, scroll easily through it, reformat it and generally play about, but even so I much prefer the printed page.

There may be ways to reduce the printing costs of FVM. I know nothing about such technology, but it appears to be printed on very high quality paper and there might be savings to be made in that department. It does seem a shame that so little of it is in colour when every page of my daily newspaper manages this, and with colour pages at such a premium it limits Garth's artistic layout options tremendously.

If you open 'DSLR magazine' you'll see that the colour bleeds into the type face and fonts, adverts and photos and a flick through FVM will show how 'valuable' the colour pages are in that text is almost invariably banished from our few colour pages. It's these constraints that make Garth's layouts look somewhat dated - but again I'd stress that it's constraints imposed from above - the IAC's finance dept.

tom.

Arthur Bates
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by Arthur Bates » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:26 am

I am very happy with the FVM as it is and give my full support to Garth. I think it is very important to support our magazine especially now when there is no commercial magazine at present on the market which deals with our hobby. From a personal point of view, Garth has always been most kind and helpful and I hope he continues in the post which he says he enjoys. Regards the printing, this is a diffrent matter and if a better deal can be reached it is all to the good but I would not like to see a big deterioration in the quality. Arthur Bates.

ned c
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by ned c » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:40 pm

"Archaic- marked by the characteristics of an earlier period; primitive, antiquated.' (Oxford Dictionary; in respect to the originator I didn't use Websters.) I don't think I am archaic, perhaps the opposite.

However,

1. If you imagine all those magazines lined up on the shelves at W H Smiths are supported by the subscribers you are mistaken, they are supported by their advertisers. The real problem is that 50% of the IACs income goes on supporting a magazine and there is almost no relief to be expected from potential advertisers, we are too small, too limited. Witness the demise of the commercial video magazines, readership too small to attract advertisers. It would be great to have a printed magazine as well as the other services of the IAC, but in my opinion it is just too big a drain on our resources.

2. The IAC is an organistaion dedicated to a very specialized branch of the audio/visual arts; non-commercial movie making, not the written word. Now that it is relatively inexpensive to produce DVDs and easy to load a/v files on to the net is it right that such a large part of our income should be spent on a print magazine?

3. Are you really happy that the IAC is seriously constrained by the financial demands of the magazine? Neither Mike nor Dave addressed my other points; alternative, and in my opinion, better use of the funds released by discontinuing the magazine. I see the role of the IAC as to support and further the interests of non-commercial movie makers and its assets should be directed to that end, currently its visibility in the n-c world is minimal, the magazine does not help this as it is available to members only. The Festival is the centrepiece of the IAC; may I suggest listing on Withoutabox? Not inexpensive but staggeringly effective.

I believe this issue is more than the magazine; it does involve the role and the future of the IAC. If the IAC is to be very limited "club" with no ambition beyond survival in its present form then I withdraw my comments and will remain a member for purely nostalgic reasons.

ned c

ned c
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by ned c » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:21 am

paragraph 3 shoul read "Mike or Tom", apologies to Dave!

ned c

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Mike Shaw
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by Mike Shaw » Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:27 am

Oh dear. This has all the makings of becoming one of those Internet forum wars, which is not what any of us want. But I do think there are serious considerations here.

We all have our ideas on where and how IAC money should be spent - and yes, I'd go along with some of them - and add a few more. However, the topic in this thread is about Garth and, by implication, the magazine.

A vast majority of the members do not go to the festivals (around 2000 members, about 200 make it to BIAFF for example). That's their choice, you might say - but if they don't want to go, or cannot go for whatever reason, then one has to ask, what are they getting for their membership fee. The opportunity to show their films to a wider audience? Perhaps. The chance to use royalty and copyright music at club/festival showings. Maybe.

But, if that were all members received, then I suggest the membership numbers would drop substantially. Of course there are other benefits to membership - having a forum to ask questions and discuss techniques for example (but - is IAC unique in the video field for that? Not by a long chalk). They could get advice and help from a local club, without having to pay for IAC membership.

The one thing that ALL members benefit from is the magazine - whether they're on the Internet or not. Whether they belong to a video club or not. Whether they make 'winning' films or not. I see it as the single most important visible and tangible attraction to being a member. Yes award more prizes to this group or that group, yes make the trophies truly wonderful, something to aspire to, yes make winning films available on DVD (? don't they already do that ? ). But the one thing that everyone benefits from - and what many, from my own experience, look forward to receiving is the magazine. Put it on line, and you cut out the vast majority of members, not because they don't have computers but because reading magazines on a computer is not what its all about (do you read your daily newspaper on a computer? Would you like to see newsagents at railways stations vanish because 'everything is now readable on line?).

It's my honest opinion that to lose the magazine would be to chop the membership numbers down drastically. Which makes the magazine pivotal to the IAC's activities.

Lets briefly take the individual points

1. If you imagine all those magazines lined up on the shelves at W H Smiths are supported by the subscribers you are mistaken ... I was in advertising for nearly 50 years. So no, I don't think shelf magazines are supported by subscribers for one nano-second. And yes, FVM's readership (which is a different figure to its Circulation) is far too small to attract advertisers - unless the cost per thousand is made attractive enough. And a viable cost for the advertisers would not be viable for the magazine's publication or support its publication costs. But, as the 'Voice' of the organisation, disseminating information about the activities of the IAC etc., nothing else would or could replace it. Including Internet based alternatives (which not everyone has or uses to read magazines - but they do have letter-boxes). It may be a drain on resources - but it is the cement that holds the organisation together, and not the once a year festivals, which are enjoyed by only some of the membership.

2. The IAC is an organization dedicated to .. / .. not the written word. Now that it is relatively inexpensive to produce DVDs and easy to load a/v files on to the net is it right that such a large part of our income should be spent on a print magazine? Yes, of course it is. I can't believe you're suggesting that because IAC is a video making organisation its material should be solely 'published on video/DVD - or the Internet. Perhaps broadcasting companies should only promote their programs on air, and not use print?

3. Are you really happy that the IAC is seriously constrained by the financial demands of the magazine? Yes
... I see the role of the IAC as to support and further the interests of non-commercial movie makers and its assets should be directed to that end I'd add the word 'all' to that, and then point to the magazine as being the prime link.
currently its visibility in the n-c world is minimal So - the aim should be to increase membership and readership, not cut out one of its benefits
the magazine does not help this as it is available to members only. The Festival is the centrepiece of the IAC; may I suggest listing on Withoutabox? Not inexpensive but staggeringly effective. Of course it is available to members only - and if the Festival is the centrepiece and nothing else is to matter, then say bye bye to all but a handful of members. Withoutabox ... back to Internet users again, and how many current members would visit that as an alternative?

I believe this issue is more than the magazine; it does involve the role and the future of the IAC. Yes, more than the magazine is involved. But the magazine is the one thing that every member receives and can enjoy - should be able to enjoy. And it is the subject of this thread.

The magazine isn't the be and end all of the IAC's purpose or aim: but it is the tangible and visible face of the IAC that every member can see and respond to.

I have views on what its content could be - it could (should?) for example include articles from people outside the IAC - leading film directors, prominent editors, even actors perhaps - on the skills, techniques and art of their work. (ADDED) Yes - that could cost money - but it may be possible to persuade some such people, linked to the IAC maybe, to provide articles freely... or for a notational fee.

One has to offer a hook for people to join the IAC - and the opportunity to enter a festival restricted to members isn't it.

Learning how to make better films, is.

In my opinion

Peter Copestake
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by Peter Copestake » Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:41 pm

I appreciate the magazine as it is. It is a major part of the benefits I get from membership.
It is cheap compared with going to a festival and has a lower carbon footprint.
If anything has to be done via video/DVD I hope it would be the festivals.
The fora (I hope my Latin is correct!) are a good way of getting instant information and help and I'm glad we have them but I don't think they replace the mag.
I hate reading more than brief letters on the computer.
I have found Garth helpful and polite.
The quality is very good and I would have thought quite good enough.
The only parts that I tend to skip are the 'serialised' articles on the experience of one film-maker or another overcoming problems in production. Each production is different in my experience and one person's experiences are unlikely to be much help to the rest of us (though I seem to remember my own were published once! Can't remember any feedback though)
BUT if the IAC can do it more cheaply to the same standard we should be glad.
Peter Copestake

Brian Saberton
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by Brian Saberton » Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:14 pm

I've just returned from holiday and have viewed recent postings on this thread with a mixture of perplexity and irritation. Irritation because that old chestnut of replacing the printed FVM with an on-line version has raised it's head again. I'm very much in the computer age for both digital stills, AV and video work, the internet, on-line ordering, e mails etc, etc, but I think on-line versions of magazines are simply impractical and I certainly wouldn't want to be wasting valuable ink and paper printing bits off. A printed mag is far more versatile and useful. Also, it's hard enough trying to recruit new members without eliminating one of the IAC's best selling points i.e the magazine (the other being the copyright scheme). Unlike still photography we are desperately ill-served by the commercial sector, none of whom seem to have a clue as to how to produce a half way decent magazine for movie makers, and have any of you seen the price of the latest magazine to come onto the market? £9.99, that's right £9.99!! I don't know if it's monthly, but even if it's every other month that's much more annualy than the IAC subscription.

My perplexity is over what is actually happening here. I commented earlier that it looked like the IAC were seeking fresh quotes for the printing of the magazine, which I thought was a sensible thing to do, but now I see that this includes the editing of it as well and I don't understand why. The revised statement on the web-site talks about the current contract (did anyone know that this was an actual contract rather than an on-going agreement?) coming up for re-negotiation (i.e. implying that this would be with the current printer) yet seeking fresh bids from others. As far as the editing is concerned, maybe I've got it wrong but I thought that Garth responded to an appeal from council for a volunteer to take over the job when Liz Donlan gave up, so I'm confused as to why this is now also considered to be a "contract" and Garth is having to put in a bid for it.

As far as the distribution and printing goes I'm assuming that a detailed specification of requirements has been prepared so that potential bids can be analysed and compared on a like for like basis, so as long as appropriate weighted award criteria are used to assess the bids on a best value basis that side of things should work out ok.

I think Garth has done a superb job with the magazine. It's a massive task to produce something of such quality 6 times a year so I hope that common sense prevails and he is able to continue his good work.
Brian Saberton

Lee Prescott
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by Lee Prescott » Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:46 pm

"Do WE need a new Editor for FVM"? The answer to that is a resounding NO!
First, they're talking "Editor" not Printing!There is more than something not right here - and I reflect. From the days of Garth's predecessor Mrs. Liz Donlan and until quite recently I was volunteer Advertising Manager for FVM. So I (claim to) know what I'm writing about. For quite some time the acquisition of advertising was very reasonable - until 1. the present business climate set in. 2. The IAC membership started to decline. 3.The print run of FVM reduced. 4. The published costs of the advertising. I proffered advice / made comments to the ""hierarchy" via certain members thereof at various times. The result: it would seem that I was considered critical and "rocked the boat" - something that is very much disliked I was privately informed. The upshot was that I was told:"since I was unhappy I should leave"! Of course there was already someone else in there to do the job. So look at FVM. terrific lot of external paid for advertising in it insn't there? Gordon Bullock has my sympathy.
So, what has this to do with Garth and the Editorship?
There are many "good" comments in this Forum. I would mention those by Tom Hardwick, Gerald Mee and especially Mike Shaw. Producing and editing FVM is a fraught, most times difficult, very time consuming and I would state a virtually thankless task! I think that I should also add a very probable / possible an undeclared restriction on what is known in democracies as "free speech"! Not disrespectful remarks or comments, just "Free Speech". In other words - some form of "politics" exists? Something in the Magazine someone "up there" doesn't or didn't like???

Garth does and has always done a superb job. There isn't any other magazine anywhere in the world to match it for "Amateurs Film / Video Makers" .... I am repeatedly told that from locations abroad.

If Garth looses the "job" for any reason what-so-ever any new incumbent is going to have a very, very hard act to follow.

As to Ned Cordery's comments "On Line - PC wise": So are we in the 21st Century? Has every mortal thing got to be "On Line"? In this respect Mike Shaw is absolutely correct. Squatting in front of a PC screen to "read" a multi page production just is not on. Apart from the vision and eye sight problems, (now being suffered by many youngsters here in UK.) which would affect older people as per the IAC Membership more adversely, there's also several other things - close radiation, electrical power supply problems at times. Ned might be very happy to spend hours in front of a PC screen but many others are not.

Checking these IAC Forums right now the following are quoted: "Most users ever on line = 56 at 5.39pm on the 28th. June, 2010. Forum memnbers 260. Compare that with the total memberhip of the IAC, Clubs and "Visitors" planet - wise.

Finally what do we get for our IAC contirbutions of £37.50. a): Music licences applicable in UK....and...b)."Film and Video Maker". BIAFF demands an entry fee per film plus costs if one attends. The AGM requires over a hundred quid payment etc. etc. as does almost every other "event"!

Garth has my full support and any enforced change to that "Staus Quo" as my friend Dave Watterson puts it - is not only a slap in the face for Garth but frankly, in my view, a slap in the face for all members considering the work he does - few of the membership have any idea on that score at all and the quality of the magazine.

Lee Prescott. FACI.

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Mike Shaw
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by Mike Shaw » Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:17 pm

Hear hear Brian! It seems we are well and truly not alone on the need (let alone desire) to maintain a healthy printed magazine. Not wanting to suffer the inconvenience of reading magazines on a computer has little to do with which century we're living in.

As far as Garth and editing it is concerned, I have a sneaky feeling there may be far more to it all than meets the eye. Maybe once the dust has settled one way or the other, someone from the upper echelons will explain what is happening, or has happened here. Whether we hear or not, though, is totally unimportant compared with maintaining continued success of the magazine as the vehicle and voice of IAC business.

Lee's comments regarding the advertising content reflect my own opinions - it was tough enough in the great commercial market in my day (even worse now, I'd imagine) to attract advertisers and FVM simply doesn't have the readership - even though that readership is a highly focused target market. Commercial video publications couldn't stay alive - and as ned c so crisply pointed out, they rely totally on advertisers, not subscribers.

I don't envy anyone having to sell ad space in FVM - either the rate card prices have to drop or the magazine has to be lifted through yet another level or two and its circulation substantially increased. Which potentially means increasing membership ... another story altogether.

FVM isn't the only society magazine to have these problems. I recall that Mensa magazine went through similar traumas some 20 years or so ago. It is now a flourishing article packed read with features by people on the fringes of and outside the organisation - as well as by members of course - but remains a non-bookstall publication, with very limited advertising content.

Fortunately, I honestly believe that FVM will remain a printed publication, and will continue to be enjoyed - as a printed read - by 99.999% of the membership.

brianr
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by brianr » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:55 am

Very surprised to hear about this - fortunately it was raised on the IAC NLE user group list which i read daily.

Garth has in the view of the many readers done a great job in lifting the magazine to a new level.

I have to believe that it is a financial consideration which has made the management go out for bids to try and reduce overheads. I just hope they don't make the mistake of thinking lowest bid is best!

Normal business practice with a supplier that you are happy with and has an open ended arrangement would be to talk to them and table the issues of concern whether they be quality or financial issues and negotiate a mutually acceptable way forward.

I presume the management are going to take the same position with their financial auditors who are regularly re appointed without going out for bids or is the magazine being singled out for treatment?

It is of course the directors duty to ensure that we the members get value for money but they should also be mindful of what the views of the members are. I for one would confirm that Garth has done an outstanding job in most areas and it is sad that he is being asked to bid to keep the job he loves doing for us.

BrianR

Lee Prescott
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Re: Do we need a new editor for FVM?

Post by Lee Prescott » Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:04 pm

With regard to the further comments from Brian and Mike re FVM "On Line". I receive the Australian FAMM magazine which is only totally available "On Line". It runs to at least 64 pages rarely less.OK it's quarterly, thats irrelevant but it's literally "hell on earth" for me to even try and read it on the PC screen! I therefore set about printing it out, 32 full pages of A4 paper to say nothing of cost of the inks. (Full colour). Oh yeah, to hell with my "carbon fooprint" so called! Cost-wise such exercises only transfer that factor from A to B!

** Now, even IF FVM went "On Line" it'd still need to have and require an Editor! So back to square 1.

You guys in the "hierarchy", (Do any of 'em read these Forums?), from whom by the way in this insular organisation we Members are rarely if ever informed of the proceedings. Stop and change this Masonic style of procedure and Publish all the Minutes of every meeting so that we Members, who also pay for the privilege, know fully just what is going on and who, by name, motivates and supports all matters. Oh and don't mention printing costs - this could be done "On Line"!!!

Regarding the "forumised" question of the pages of Full Colour in FVM. Obviously it is not known but apart from the front and back - pages for colour are limited to six (6) by the Printer - not Garth - and is related to cost!

What is needed is a far more open approach to all matters in the IAC or as Mr. D. Cameron PM. would say ---"Total Transparency". Perhaps I and you should try an approach through the "Freedom of Information Act"!

As a fully paid up member and since I know that Garth does not want to resign and as he states in this Forum, then I demand the hierarchy gets off his back - now!

Lee Prescott. FACI.

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