Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Sad Vagaries of the Magazine Business

I apologize to those of my readers who work in the magazine business and are familiar with its byways, but in order to explain the origins of my next post, I wanted to let people know how it came about, and why it's appearing here in OPC for the first time anywhere. A little while ago I proposed to Rolling Stone magazine, a biweekly published out of New York City, that they should let me write a story about the behind-the-scenes making of a DVD commentary. They, most pleasantly, agreed, and after a great deal of negotiating and failed phone calls, George Clooney's people allowed me to sit in with him as he recorded a commentary track for a film he had directed and was starring in that was just about to come out to no little buzz, buzz being, along with dollars, the prime currency of Hollywood: Good Night, and Good Luck.

So I spent a day out in Burbank and passed a most delightful afternoon with Mr. Clooney, which I wrote about for my pal Larry Smith's Web site here. I came back to Colorado, talked to a few other people with special experience regarding DVD commentaries, and wrote a very nice little story for this magazine. In fact, I thought (and still do think) that it was the best story I'd ever written. I had great material not just from George (although I didn't call him George to his face) but people like Austin Powers director Jay Roach, and erstwhile Wings star Thomas Haden Church, who is now knocking them dead in Spider-Man 3 and who recorded a shockingly hilarious track for his Oscar-nommed role in the movie Sideways.

And then, Rolling Stone killed the story. It wasn't that they didn't like it; they just never really found a place to use it before the DVD of GN,&GL came out, and once it did come out, my story was irredeemably stale. I was quite disappointed, but that's life in the big leagues, and I did get paid for the article. Plus I got to spend an afternoon with George Clooney, sandwiched around lunch at In-n-Out Burger and dinner on the Sunset Strip, and received a phone message from Thomas Haden Church that is still on my answering machine to this day.

But the biggest winner in this whole episode is you, the OPC reader, who now gets to read -- at no additional cost! -- about my adventures in the world of DVD commentaries. Installment No. 1 will follow shortly.

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