Monday, March 25, 2013

The Death of "Daily Variety" and the Return of "Creative Screenwriting"

Talk about yer good news/bad news! First the bad: Daily Variety, that venerable showbiz rag that informed the biz for the better part of a century, is now gone. Like The Hollywood Reporter did a year ago, the daily has ceased publication, and will be replaced by a combination of web/email updates and a weekly print magazine.

The trades, as we know them, have ceased to exist.

Now I can go on for hours about the logic of this decision. The cost of printing, paper and postage are ever-rising; the economics of a daily paper just don't make sense anymore in our bankster/military industrial complex-controlled society. Furthermore, Daily Variety by its very nature delivered yesterday's news every day. Obviously, websites like Deadline and of course and can be far more timely. With most of us getting our info constantly blasted at us via smartphones, a paper publication seems almost quaint.

Still, and please forgive a little rant, but this frickin' sucks. Some of us grew up with, and still love, the trades as we know them -- and that means on paper. You can't read a website on the subway or in a no-wifi zone. I like reading the trades every day over dinner and so forth. My partner and I read and talk about articles. It's fun. I can't see us doing that with a smartphone. And yeah, we can do that with the new weekly edition, but it's not the same of course, since it's not going to be there every day, now is it? There's a reason I canceled my Hollywood Reporter subscription when they went digital and switched to Variety. Now who am I going to switch to?


The cover of the very first CS, when it was a zine.
And now the good news. Erik Bauer, the founder and original publisher of Creative Screenwriting and the creator of the Screenwriting Expo and the CS Open writing tournament, has just purchased CS back.

As many of you know, both Creative Screenwriting and Script magazines also ceased publication last year (are you sensing a trend?) Creative Screenwriting had seen the brand get tarnished a bit in recent years, as management tried to keep the ship afloat without much success;  unfortunately, they couldn't make good on some promises in the final year or two. It was a sad end to a once-great magazine and platform for screenwriting education.

Not one to let his baby get folded, spindled and mutilated, Bauer has stepped back in and seized the reins. He plans to analyze the business carefully, then implement initiatives to revitalize the brand and hopefully rebuild any burned bridges.

What does this all mean for screenwriters? Is the Expo coming back? How about the magazine? Bauer says that right now the focus will be on rebuilding and restoring the website; he'll be making decisions on when/how to proceed with the Expo and the magazine in the future. Clearly, it's a brave new world out there, and online rules the day. Bauer wants to proceed carefully and make sure that CS will be as innovative in the new media space as it was almost 20 years ago when it became the very first print publication about screenwriting.

As a long-time columnist for Creative Screenwriting, I'm excited for the future and wish CS the best moving forward. The best is yet to come!

Jim C.

1 comment:

Jason Siner said...

Wow, that's great to hear about Creative Screenwriting magazine! One of the few magazines I really enjoyed reading from cover to cover.

I'm not so broken up about Variety. I always enjoyed reading them while waiting in the lobby of a agency/prodco/etc, but it really was old news and kind of defeated the purpose of getting them.

Then again, I'm glued to the internet ten hours a day...