THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO HAS GOT US OVER THE LINE. Every extra penny will be spent on the magazine. Thank you thank you a million thank yous.
Film Stories Jr: a movie magazine for under 15s to write for and read
In June 2018, the Film Stories podcast launched, telling the stories behind the movies (over 50 episodes and counting can be found here).
In November 2018, following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Film Stories print magazine launched. A brand new monthly mainstream film magazine (that you can read more about here), built on a foundation of giving people opportunities for paid writing work. Backers had the magazine within weeks of the Kickstarter ending. Issue 7 goes to press whilst this Kickstarter is running.
Now, we want to extend that opportunity to write about film further. And we need your help.
We're launching FILM STORIES JR, an entirely separate film magazine that's aimed at under 15s. It'll be primarily written by them too, and they will be rewarded for their work.
- The Basics
Film Stories Jr will be A5 initially, 52 pages, and published four times a year. We're an independent publishing company, and so are being careful not to overstretch ourselves. Increasing the frequency and size are conversations for the future, though, if the magazine hits.
It will primarily be written by its target audience. Some of the wraparound material will be written by us, but the aim is that old cliche: a magazine by and for its target readers.
Everyone who writes for the magazine will be rewarded. Writers who get articles published will receive gift vouchers as payment for their work. We are paying for these vouchers, not getting them for free. It's a little bit muddled paying cash to under 15s, which is why we've gone the voucher route. But the important golden rule of Film Stories follows through to Film Stories Jr - nobody (apart from us!) works for free. Writing has value, and can and will be paid for. In this case, via vouchers: book tokens or cinema vouchers.
The magazine will talk about mainstream film, and will offer opportunities for young writers to interview filmmakers and acting talent for it. It will also give tips for youngsters looking to get started in making their own films.
It will not be loaded down with tatty free gifts that belong in the bin. We want to give under 15s something to read, not some rubbish toys.
The magazine will be subscription only in the first instance, following the model of Film Stories. It costs thousands to get a magazine into newsagents (sadly). Small retailers interested in stocking the magazine(s), do feel free to get in touch though.
As with Film Stories magazine, we cannot do Film Stories Jr without your support!
- The Longer Version
When we launched Film Stories magazine back in November 2018, we made key promises. We promised at least two writers every issue would be getting their first paid writing work. We've smashed that target (23 in the first six issues). We've kept to our monthly frequency. We've delivered 100 pages a month, as promised. It's been very difficult, but we're proud as punch of the magazine, and the feedback it's received.
Film Stories Jr goes to the heart of our ethos of opportunity. Where is the current opportunity not just for youngsters to write about film, but be rewarded for it? Where's the outlet for a youngster to talk about the movies, and be shown that their words have value? And where's the magazine for them to read, that's aimed at them?
Film Stories Jr will be closing that gap.
Here, then, are our promises.
1. At least 75% of each issue will be written by under 15s. We'll edit the work and source pictures of course. There are some sections where it's not always practical for someone under 15 to write the material: a film director giving tips on how to get into the industry, for instance. But 75% of editorial copy is our target.
2. The drawbridge of opportunity is lowered. As long as you fit the age bracket of the magazine, pitch your ideas. You can do that now: email@example.com. For safeguarding reasons, we won't be using full names of authors in the magazine. Thus, Simon Brew would be listed as Simon B from the West Midlands, Hedda Archbold would be Hedda A from London. That's the format we're adopting. Please remember we can't use every idea. If we get utterly swamped, then it'll be a lovely problem to have, but inevitably, we'll end up disappointing some people. Note that before being published, you'll need to sign a straightforward consent form, for safeguarding purposes.
3. The magazine will be age appropriate. Ages 0-14 is clearly a broad church, but our focus will be on films that have a U, PG or 12A certificate in the UK. For young writers aged 15 and over, why not pitch to the existing Film Stories magazine? You won't be the first!
4. We will try and give UK productions a leg up. As with Film Stories, Film Stories Jr will be a magazine with a mainstream leaning to it, but one that will celebrate British film as and where it can.
- Finally, then...
We've also built in subscriptions to our monthly Film Stories magazine as reward tiers, that's aimed at a slightly older audience. We're still trying to grow that and get the word out, and your support is hugely appreciated. It's agonisingly close to breaking even.
Finally, we can't do any of this without you.
If you believe in what we do, what we've done, and what we're planning, please support us if you can. Back us, help spread the word, anything.
Likewise, if you're very well off and want to contribute a sum to the Film Stories projects, or are a movie company who thinks what we're doing is of value, please do get in touch. We believe hugely in what we're doing, believe that opportunity has been lacking, and are putting our careers on the line to do something about it. We've not taken a penny out of Film Stories thus far - quite the opposite - and we'd love to be able to fully get it onto a commercial footing.
Thank you again. We've jokingly called this Project Career & Commercial Suicide, and if we had our time again, we'd do it all again. With Film Stories Jr, we feel that it's something that's been missing, something that's important, and something we're going to move heaven and earth to do.
Thanks for your time.
Risks and challenges
The risks are that launching print magazines comes with costs, and not small ones. That apparently nobody is interested in print magazines anywhere, and you'd be flat-out mad to launch one, yet alone two.
But then we have launched one. We delivered it to people inside a month of our Kickstarter appeal closing. And we're six or seven issues in.
As I wrote when we launched Film Stories, "Furthermore, I'm in this for the long term. I want this to be the first in a series of magazines that mitigates risk by cutting the cost of the newsstand out of the equation. The model relies on subscribers and word of mouth. But it's on me to make the magazine good enough to make it work. And I'm working with an amazing group of people to help me do just that".
That still stands. It's been incredibly difficult working in independent magazine publishing, I'm not going to lie about that. But I've got a long history in doing magazines, I utterly believe in them, and with your support - and the support of as many other people as you can tell - I really believe that Film Stories Jr can be a success.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (26 days)