FNB Editorial: One Door Closes, Another, Inevitably, Opens
Well, it was bound to happen. After almost five years of covering the entertainment world, we’re ending publication of Film News Briefs today as we join forces with Studio System News starting tomorrow. Actually, to be fair, this little newsletter began in 2007, but I didn’t take over as editor until August of 2008, which is how I mark the time.
You may notice that, after a couple hundred of these weekly editorials in which the first person plural was used (or, as I like to call it, “The Royal We”), I’ve switched to the singular for this last FNB post. I’m no longer speaking on behalf of a publication, but rather as a proud departing editor moving on to other, hopefully greener, pastures, who wants to thank some people, pay some proper respects, and maybe possibly be funny in the process. We’ll see how that last one goes, I guess.
This whole thing began as an assistant’s attempts to summarize the morning news for her boss. Jessica Kantor started FNB as a service to then-honcho Harvey Weinstein, then tried to branch out with it, which eventually led her to me. I came on board the middle of that aforementioned August, and have been running this bake sale ever since. Jess was a pleasure to work with and I can’t thank her enough for bringing me on board to help turn her little brainstorm into something people actively looked forward to reading every morning.
Likewise, we wouldn’t have made it this far without Stephan Paternot, who came in with some much needed financing when we overhauled the site and rebooted it back in the summer of 2009. Steph became the operation’s publisher, on the one hand, and a good friend on the other. Working with him as closely as I have the past few years has taught me a lot and I value that attained wisdom highly.
Aggregating the news every day is a pretty arduous task, and for a long time I had to do it alone. It becomes drudgery after a while, which is why I eventually brought in some interns. People came and went, but one of my first ones, Cynthia Almanzar, stayed, as did a later arrival, Andrew Hurley. Both were promoted over time (Cynthia ends as a senior editor, Andrew as an associate editor), and each has been invaluable both to me and to the operation. Just as I couldn’t do this without Stephan, neither could I do it without Cynthia and Andrew.
It should also be noted here that their work is even more impressive when you consider that English is not the first language of either one. Cynthia hails from the Dominican Republic, while Andrew is, of course, from Wales.
(Believe me, if you had ever read any early drafts of the otherwise wonderful op-eds Andrew has written, filled with creative spelling and what appears to be a toddler’s understanding of basic punctuation, you’d find that joke a whole lot funnier. In fact, I’m pretty sure that sound you just heard is Andrew spitting up coffee on to his computer terminal and cackling like a hyena.)
Almost from the start, I wanted FNB to have a voice of its own, but because of the newsletter’s structure, I could really only do that in the headlines. That’s why I got so cutesy with them, which alternately served to entertain and annoy people over the years. While I often did it to entertain myself while putting the daily digest together, I have to admit I was also doing it to get laughs out of a friend to whom I occasionally shouted out directly. We see no harm now in telling you that Henry Jones is one of the most talented writers we know, and also one of the funniest, and he forced me to bring my A game every single day.
One of the great things about this job is that it’s provided me with the opportunity to meet some amazing people, who have not only become colleagues, but friends. The two who stand out are columnist Catherine Clinch (more about her in a moment), and Jason Scoggins, who provides one of the terrific-er services in this business, The Scoggins Report. I’ll say it one last time: subscribe. I do, and it’s totally worth it.
There’s someone else I need to mention, someone without whom I could not have done this: you. It has been an honor and a privilege to be in your in-box every morning, as well as having had the opportunity to correspond with so many of you, who helped me shape the way we do this thing. I always listened eagerly, and appreciated anyone who ever took the time to reach out.
While this is the last official editorial from FNB, it’s not the last time you’ll be hearing from either me or Catherine. Both of us will continue to write for SSN. I’ll be appearing every other Monday for the foreseeable future, but instead of being the voice of an entire publication, I’m now just going to be the voice of me, so be forewarned, the opinions I held back up until now are about to be unleashed, just like the Kracken.
It’s interesting to me how my attitude has changed over the years about this. I don’t really consider this journalism, but I did try to bring a certain level of integrity to the proceedings. I’m a screenwriter and indie filmmaker by trade — and yes, with all this extra time I will now have on my hands I am available for hire (and yes, I know how shameless that is, but if you don’t like it, start your own darn news aggregation service) — but I always took my work here very seriously, as I knew it was how a lot of people got a good chunk of their news. It was, and continues to be, a heavy burden I never once took lightly (even when I was being extra snarky).
Which brings us to the end. Well, the end of this ride, and now the beginning of a new one. I hope you will all come with us and keep reading along, now that we’ll be a part of the Studio Systems family. While you’re at it, read my new column when it comes out on Mondays, and write me a line now and then, telling me how much you love or — just as much fun — hate it.
Seriously. Stay in touch. I feel like we’re all friends now, and let’s face it: People who need people? Well, they’re just the luckiest people in the world, aren’t they?
Thank you again. For everything.
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