Friday, March 23, 2007

Introduction to Industry Basics, 101

I think sometimes I take it for granted that I've had excellent entertainment industry resources at my fingertips for the last four years. It is just as well that I often fail to remember that not everyone is aware of these things. Tonight I've decided to share a valuable database that I'm sure everyone knows of (or at least has heard of). Variety is an invaluable trade paper among the film and television circle- it is the water cooler talk and the quick off-the-cuff fact standing between a PA and their promotion. So it should come as no surprise that is almost as useful as (if not sometimes more than the magazine.

Possibly the most influential editorial voice in Hollywood, Variety has been going strong for over a century and its opinion spans from one coast to the other. Started in New York during the age of vaudeville, the company now features the broad-spectrumed Variety Magazine and L.A.'s Daily Variety in addition to the original Variety Gotham. A good majority of industry slang can be attributed to this publication; from phrases like "box office biz" to "sitcom" and "sex appeal", you can bet it was printed here first. As far as content goes, it covers the gamut of interests, from live theater to television and every film that anyone is working on. It is the highest profile spot for publicists to put their "please consider" ads for award season, and the first place that important information will be printed for the rest of the trade to see.

But, you may ask, if I read the paper, then why is the website so darn useful? Well, aside from the aforementioned facts, it's pretty much free. You can get your industry news in the comfort of your underwear, drinking your coffee and checking emails. Not only that, but the website is designed schematically like the magazine, making it an easy transition for old school subscribers. (And if you just have to turn the pages, there is the online PDF version for your ultimate enjoyment.) Then there are the extra perks you just can't get from real print: the great website links to other TV/film related sites, the frequent updates and features that are more often than once weekly, Variety Careers, the sister site that doesn't allow you to give up hope and get a desk job just yet, and V Plus, a section featuring all of the stuff that couldn't possibly be jammed into the fifty plus pages of already undersized print. If you're just curious and need a fun and informative place to start or can't figure out all the jargon, check out their slanguage dictionary. The website, much like the magazine, is a no-BS layout: simple, chic, and extremely functional. Everything is organized and tabbed, with small files and pages that won't crash even the oldest of IMacs*. But why believe what I say? Check it out for yourselves:

(*IMac claim made for humor value or the lack thereof and not guaranteed by author of article.)

No comments: