Sunday, 25 April 2010

48 Hour Interview

What did you do with your weekend? This was the question posed by Reg Gordon on the strobist forum a couple of weeks ago. My weekend wasn't all that, I was recovering from a chest infection, but Reg's weekend was spent putting together an extraordinary project. Reg pulled together a team of people to create a magazine from scratch in 48 hours. It was such an inspiring project that I decided to ask Reg a few questions about it.

Where did the inspiration come from to do the magazine?

The inspiration came from Tuffer's magazine (24 Hour Magazine) plain and simple. I looked at it one evening while watching tv and went to bed thinking about it. The following day I woke up and decided it was just what I needed to give myself a kick up the ass, but I didn't want to just copy it so I spent a few days brainstorming till I could come up with a spin. I'm very aware of the small community in Galway and the lack of coverage of anything that isn't advertising related so that was to be my focus..

How important do you think it was to have such a tight timescale?

The timescale was vital. If it wasn't done in 48 hours it would just be another magazine. Also since everyone donated their time, in reality a weekend was all I could ask for.

How did you put together your creative team?

What amazed me was how easy it was to pull the team together. I called a meeting in a local pub one sunday evening and put it to everyone and the look on their faces was something Ill remember for a long time. A look of incredulity followed by a slow smile as they realised how cool it could be. One person turned me down as he didn't think it could be done.....

Did you all know each other well before you started?

Id say I knew everyone there but no-one well. We had all worked together in a professional capacity in various newspapers so I knew they could get it done. What shocked me was how easy they made it and the fact that it was WAY above what I imagined.

I imagine it being like some sort of big brother house task. Once everyone was in the room how quickly was it before people were able to run out and start pulling together content?

We started pulling content straight away. The first shoot was at 12 am on Friday. I was back in the office at 8 am and Dave Ruffles came in at 9 with his market images. 915 I was in another room picking out fonts. 10.30 someone was working on a logo......

There's a focus on the arts, did you already have the contacts in place or were you cold calling to get your interviews?

We pretty much cold called everyone but some people came to us a lot of clothing stores wanted to get involved but we didn't want to go down that route.

The Blue Teapot asked for coverage and I didn't think twice. I've met the guys a few times and what they do brings a tear to my old cynical eye. All the images are taken with either a 50 mm or a 24 mm and the actors didn't lose focus once.

When you were looking for people to interview and photograph where the people you asked receptive or did you get many rejections?

Like I said we only got one rejection and even they said they'd love to be involved but couldn't commit 100 percent. You've gotta respect that

Was everyone in a creative role or were you able to get some people to volunteer for donkey work?

We all did everything. That was my favourite part of the weekend. The complete lack of egos. Everyone just worked together. It really was the most perfect example of teamwork I've ever been a part of. I don't know if it was the lack of money involved or the fact that we were all there with the same goal but no one was in anyway possessive of their work. A designer could be working on a page and someone else would walk over " why not try a ......" and it would be tried. If it looked better it stayed. Like I said no egos.

Galway City is quite a small town, compared to say London. Do you think this made it easier for you?

Yeah the size of Galway was a big part of it. I'm quite well known in Galway so once I called people, even if they didnt know me they knew my name so doors opened quickly. If I lived in London Id try to keep it local too. I'm sure there's a lot of boroughs in London with bigger populations than Galway with just as much going on.

What was your biggest challenge? Would you do anything differently next time?

The biggest challenge came at 5 pm on Saturday when I realised that we had a s*** load of content but had nothing laid out. I printed out all the photos Id picked for inclusion and laid them out on the floor in front of me. It was at exactly that moment that I realised the enormity of the task. I looked up and saw all the designers looking at me, waiting for me to make a decision. I was in charge.

I came VERY close to walking out, I don't think I've ever felt such pressure. I actually went blind for a few seconds, screwed up all my courage and BOOM off we went

If some other crazy person were to attempt to do this, what advice would you have for them?

If someone else wants to do this I say go for it. You really wont regret it.

The one thing I'd advise is get a really good office manager who will keep you focussed .Keep them away from creative and keep them practical. Don't go out drinking till the last night. Be prepared for some MASSIVE moments of self doubt. Remember that its fun.

If anyone want to contact me for advice feel free

You can read 48 hour magazine here if you want to be inspired. If you want to get in touch with Reg you can contact him through his flickr account

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