Writing Diary, Entry #24
If I haven't yet asked my local readers to go out and buy a copy of the November 2010 Atlas TV Guide, that's because I'm a little embarrassed about a colossal mistake I made when typing up the movie review I sent my editor for this issue.
I had to review a Romantic Comedy this time, which meant I wasn't writing to my strengths; and it didn't help that it was a pretty bad RomCom, even by the most generous of standards. (But of course I didn't say that . . .) Here is the first part of the article, with the unfortunate paragraph that I wish, with all my passion for letters, I could do over:
If you were a seasoned relationship guru, would you be optimistic about the romantic future of the following couple . . .
She is a polished professional with her own radio show, newly launched book, and the admiration of women all over New York City. He is a rough and tumble man's man whose fiancée just called off their wedding because of something the first woman said. She thinks she knows it all; he is determined to prove that she doesn't. They're a compatible couple, and yet, thanks to a quick hack into the city’s records, they are also officially married . . .
And so that you can share in my mortification, let me spell it all out for you . . .
Question: What word is missing from the second paragraph?
Answer: . . . "NOT"!!!
That is, the fourth sentence should begin, "They're not a compatible couple . . ." (Oh, snap!)
But despite all that, I'm still going to ask you, if you live in the Philippines, to buy a copy. (You can get one at most bookstores.) Or better yet, subscribe for a year! It will be a bigger help to this struggling publication than you think--as my editor-in-chief always reminds me.
"But Enbrethiliel, nobody buys a monthly guide to TV programmes halfway through the month!"
I do realise I should have brought this up earlier in the month, but I didn't get to my first writer's meeting until last week. It was my first time meeting all my fellow writers and the first time my editor-in-chief was so frank about why our humble publication isn't doing so well. I can't tell you everything we discussed, of course, because they are "confidential" and I occasionally like to pretend I am a "professional." But here are some tidbits . . .
Another writer said that he tries to get all his friends to buy the magazine, but they all eventually complain that it's not a reliable guide to what is on TV and stop buying it. And well, they're justified in that. Many channels make last-minute changes to their schedules that are impossible to predict--and the fact that Atlas TV Guide comes out every month (and not, like the original TV Guide, every week) means that most of these changes are never reflected on its pages.
(I confess that that has never really bothered me. I've always bought Atlas TV Guide for the articles first and for the timetables second--and if you're my friend, so should you.)
Then we discussed changes in the way people watch movies. Does anyone still flip through the programming guide hoping to find a good movie at a convenient time? Why do that when you can "fileshare" and pick your own movie and decide when to start watching it?
I pointed out that media is much more interactive these days. Whether someone watches a movie on cable or on YouTube, when he's done, he'll probably go to some online forum to air his opinion on what he has seen. He's going to prefer a review which allows votes and comments to a review that just sits there on a printed page. For a magazine to compete with that, it will have to be as interactive as possible.
At least our magazine has already made a start, with its monthly contests for fun prizes. Watch the featured Movie of the Month, answer the trivia question, e-mail your answers before the deadline, and win a great prize pack. But when I heard the rough description of the demographic most likely to enter these contests--the sort who send in ten to twenty separate entries because they get everyone in their family and even some of their neighbours to join--I knew that, as wonderfully enthusiastic as they are, we needed another draw.
So I made some suggestions based on what has proven popular on this blog. (Bwahahahahaha! But really, what else would I know?) Of course, I'm not about to reveal what they are! But there's time for my editor to pick them up in time for the January 2011 issue--and by that time, I really hope I shall be able to plug the publication not just because it prints my movie reviews, but also because it picks up my quirky ideas. =)
Image Source: The Accidental Husband DVD