August 2008 Archives

Part 4: Shaping the Story

On July 23, we still didn't know if Kaufman would cooperate, and Jason still hadn't seen his new movie. But based on the early reports coming out of Cannes, we had some idea of what the themes and tone might be, and Jason and Nancy started thinking about how to shape the story in light of that. … MORE

Part 3: Negotiations

Before we can write a profile, of course, we need to secure the subject's participation. On July 17, Kaufman's representatives asked Nancy for a synopsis of the story we planned to write. It kicked off a brief round of negotiations: … MORE
Part 2: The Pitch

Part 2: The Pitch

The first step for any writer/editor/art director/photographer wanting to get a story into WIRED is the pitch. 

For the most part, our editors work with different stables of writers, though we also have some very talented journalists on staff. Jason Tanz is one of those writer/editors and has a CV peppered with accomplishments, including a critically acclaimed, profoundly personal chronicle of modern rap music titled, Other People's Property: A Shadow History of Hip-Hop in White America.

Part 1: Getting Permission to Do This Blog

At WIRED, we go through a number of steps before we even start working on a story. I'll get into these different movements as this blog continues, but for purposes of clarity, I wanted to show one key step somewhat out of sequence.

Though the true genesis of this Charlie Kaufman profile was on May 22, we needed to get permission to do both this blog and one on, from our editor-in-chief, Chris Anderson. So on August 18, I grabbed a video camera and sat down with Chris and WIRED senior editors Jason Tanz and Nancy Miller, design director Wyatt Mitchell, and executive editor Bob Cohn, to discuss the pros and cons of this project.

Below, a minimally edited video of that conversation. I can't promise that it's fascinating, but it is quite real.

An Experiment

When we started talking about building this site last year, one of the first ideas that came up in our brainstorming meetings was the need/desire to "pull back the curtain" on the process of making (writing for, photographing for, designing for, producing) magazines. As the SPD continues to grow and expand its mission deeper into educational realms, the notion of (radical) transparency has stayed front and center in my mind. Heck, our magazine wrote a cover story about the trend back in our April 2007 issue.


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