As the idea for a digital magazine continued to brew in my head, many concepts about its format and organization came to mind–too many actually. So I turned to established publications from entertainment magazines, lifestyle, fashion, and everything in between for reference. In terms of planning an issue, fashion and entertainment publications have the advantage of distinct seasons through which upcoming “products” can be introduced. Lifestyle and travel magazines can focus on a particular place, topic, or trend. But how does one go about organizing an interview magazine? It was too easy to get caught up in endless planning, but I had to forge ahead and begin actually conducting interviews. That had to take priority as a means of just putting the project in motion, but somehow tying together the interviewees remains an idea I hope to implement.
As a result of what I’ve experienced so far, the concept for the tenth issue came about quite organically…

(Themed Issues cont.)

Given the quarterly (planned) release schedule for the magazine and that building up a backlog of already completed issues prior to launch means some of the interviews I’ve done are a couple of years old, I believe revisiting filmmakers from the first five or six issues should be a worthwhile way of celebrating such a milestone. Finding out what has changed, what hasn’t changed, as well as receiving an update on projects they’ve completed since their initial interview could give a snapshot of the state of the industry. I also want to task my first contributor; someone who I believe will have good insight of the independent film scene from a specific point-of-view. I am familiar with this person, but they may not be familiar with me. Therefore my task leading up to the 10th issue is to make sure both myself and Indievisual have gained their attention so they would gladly accept an invitation to contribute an article.
Some other ideas for issues with a specific theme include:

  • A focus on non-Japanese filmmakers who have decided to base themselves in Japan. Personally, I would love to find out why they have chosen Japan to make movies, what are the advantages and disadvantages of making movies here, etc.
  • “Mothers in moviemaking”: a profile of female directors who also raise a family. Their perspectives and the stories they want to tell could be very enlightening.
  • An “Under 20” issue which profiles high school students gaining attention as up-and-coming moviemakers; perhaps even younger such as award winners or organizers from children’s film festivals such as the Ibusuki Children’s Film Festival.
  • “Independent Animators”: a showcase of animators who do all the work themselves or with a very small team. Weather traditional hand drawn, full CG, or a little bit a both, the issue would look into the independent animation scene through the eyes of unsung talents and prominent figures such as Shinkai Makoto (Voices of a Distant Star, 5 Centimeters Per Second, The Garden of Words, etc.) or Ishida Hiroyasu (Rain Town, Fumiko’s Confession, etc.)
  • I have had the pleasure of working with filmmakers from the Kansai/Kyoto area. I feel there is something special going on in the independent film scene there so it would be a pleasure to dedicate an issue to creators from the region and possibly filmmakers whose works came out of local production support organizations such as Cineastes Organization Osaka (“CO2”) as a reminder Japan’s film scene does not reside exclusively in Tokyo.

There are a few other ideas, an issue could obviously deal with a specific genre of movie (horror, action, etc.), but for the time being, my focus will be less on tying the filmmakers together and more on working out the nuts and bolts of digital publishing. Therefore, the lineups to the early issues will be based on who I can make offers to at this time–primarily friends and clients–but “cold calls” offers to filmmakers are becoming more frequent and ultimately necessary. As the magazine becomes more known among Japanese filmmaking circles, or in the very least I have accomplished to turn out a number of issues so that I have a tangible product to which I can point when making offers, I’ll have a larger pool of creators from which to conceive themed issues. As stated before, building a network will be key to turning this particular ambition a reality.