Saturday, 16 June 2018

My Fanzine

The Vile Fanzine

Last year, the Vile Arts produced two fanzines, The Edinburgische Dramaturgie, with financial help from the artists who were featured. This page explains the idea behind the fanzine, and gives a rough idea of what might happen in 2019, as I'd like to have another go at the project.

Why am I doing this?

In the past, I did a 'dramaturgy database' - free to be included, and all a company had to do was answer a series of email questions. It was a great success, allowing artists to speak on their own terms about their show, and giving me a really good idea about which shows were well-considered and vibrant productions, and those made by lazy chancers. I also found out that some PRs are really lazy and don't reply to theatre editors, despite claiming to represent clients.

I've stopped that now, because I don't need it for my research at Glasgow University anymore.

But I am keen to develop my publishing skills this year. So, the fanzine is a solution. I am giving artists a chance to support criticism, and possibly have a lovely souvenir of their time at the world's largest arts festival. There are a few other reasons, but I'll get back to them.

What will it look like?

Ideally, each issue - I shall do up to four, depending on support - will be 24 pages long. The cover will be colour- and have a lovely illustration on it. The inside pages will be in black and white, to keep costs down.

It will be the size of a comic book.

Ideally, each issue will contain four articles of four pages about four companies. That gives me  spare pages for a editor's note (by me or one of my critic pals), think pieces and sundry acknowledgements. 

The articles will be a similar format to the old dramaturgy database: email interview, press release... and little critical commentary from me. It has the same intention as the DD - to let artists speak in their own voice. There will be pictures, too, and probably some of my comic book detournements.

This fanzine will be paid for by contributions from the featured artists. The payment is not for inclusion, but the cost of printing: each company will receive a number of copies, proportionate to the amount that they pay. 

The cost to artists will be in multiples of £130. For each £130, the artist will get 90 copies of the fanzine, which they can distribute in any way they chose. They can sell it at their shows for a couple of quid or so, maybe £2.50. They can give them away in the street instead of flyers. And yes, they will be supporting themselves and the other featured artists. That is what I like: artists helping each other.

There are possible ways of doing this at lower rates: a couple of shorter articles, say 2 pages, for a lower financial contribution and less copies received (perhaps 45 copies for £65). But the important thing is that the payment is for printing and production costs: the fanzine is being made for the companies to distribute. Overall, I want to be able to do reasonable sized runs - it gets very expensive making runs of less 100 copies. 

The cash will go towards paying me a fee, paying other writers I ask to contribute and printing. 

It is about co-operation!

I am not taking adverts, because they are better placed in The List. I won't be quoting other critics in the articles, either. But I like the idea that artists can make an effort to support a bit of critical experimentation, and get a nice thing to have as a kind of programme for their show, and can actually, by distributing the fanzine, show solidarity with other artists, whom they have probably never even met but with whom they will share the pain and pleasure of the Fringe experience.

I am worried about that - it might seem a bit steep. Last year, I did distribute the majority of the copies printed myself. 

But that's why I don't mind people deciding to sell them. That way, they can recoup their expenditure. But each £130 pays towards a print run of at least 400 copies. That means 400 issues featuring a four page (comic book sized) article about the show, and I reckon they are pretty rare in the Fringe. 

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