How smaller print film magazine have manage to survive

With the collapse of the economy, it’s been a very hard time for writers.

The hot trend in publishing in many places is not to pay people for their hard work, even if they were supposed to get paid. 

A lot of publications took a hit when Tower went under, and recently Borders closed over two hundred stores, which also can’t bode well for a lot of publications and book publishers.

There’s almost no movie magazines left anymore, not to mention there’s reports that big celebrity magazines also aren’t selling that well these days. 

When Premiere and Movieline went under, I figured one of my alma matters, Creative Screenwriting, would eventually be on the chopping block. But they still managed to survive, as have other smaller publications like Shock Cinema and Video Watchdog.


As Steve Puchalski, owner and publisher of Shock Cinema, says, “Shock Cinema took a small hit with the closing of so many Borders stores, as did all magazines. Unlike a lot of ‘big’ magazines, Shock Cinema’s extremely low overhead, a home office, using a printing plant and wholesale paper company we’ve known for fifteen years, plus l’l ol’ me doing all of the editing, layout, distribution, ad sales, website work, plus personally writing 14 pages of material for each issue, allows us to keep our cover price low and absorb the occasional setback.”

Tim Lucas, founder of Video Watchdog says the magazine “has experienced a decline in sales, like every other print magazine, but we have a loyal readership that includes a lot of filmmakers and video industry workers, and they look to us for indications of where their audience is moving, especially what they are moving toward. We still cover new releases, but we are paying less attention now to what’s new and more attention to what’s interesting, surprising and cutting edge. There’s nothing more wonderful to me than discovering a movie that’s cutting edge, completely unknown to my readers, and 25 years old.

“I like to think that what is on the decline is redundancy,” Lucas continues. “There are so many websites focusing on new releases, and in a timely fashion, that print magazines are left in the dust when it comes to this. Each magazine needs to stake out its own unique territory. If people only read your magazine because of what you cover, you’re in trouble; you have to offer readers something they can only get from you and your publication – a mood, a setting, a state of mind.”