As Shelf Heroes reaches its third issue and first anniversary I thought it'd be interesting to get down in writing how the zine came into being, and how the project is beginning to evolve.
Without meandering too much into the past, films have always been a huge part of my life. Now, unlike the majority of my film buddies I have an atrocious memory for dialogue and pub-quiz-winning trivia, what always stays with me though is an impression of the experience of being immersed in the film. I can remember the cinema, and the seat I sat in for everything I've ever seen. I can remember the houses and flats I've seen things in. But overall, the way films make me feel always tends stays with me.
We all love films for broadly the same reason. This transportive quality, that removes us from our lives, placing our attention amongst characters and stories a world away from our own.
This is ultimately why I started up Shelf Heroes as a film review site a few years. I've got no background in writing or formal film criticism, but I've seen plenty of stuff (still not enough, though) and wanted to express these thoughts in a recorded form.
I love the writing, and it's a fantastic way of clarifying and assessing your own feelings toward film; but also a way of putting things into context in your own life. Every time you see a film you're in a certain mood, or stage of life – the moments we share with movies, and all art, are fleeting deeply personal ones. There is no right or wrong, good or bad. I've found putting these ramblings down in writing an incredibly satisfying process.
As I work full-time as a designer, and have shelves equally bowing from magazines and DVDs it struck me late last year that there was scope to combine my passions into a printed project. It was this spirit of personal reflection and reaction that I wanted to capture. And allow other contributors to do the same.
It has taken getting to my third issue to really clarify this in my own head. I knew what I wanted it to be, but not why. That's what's been great about working with so many fantastic illustrators and writers who have an equal passion for film, I've been able to give them creative freedom to express themselves in whatever way they choose. The zine is indebted to them, for producing so much consistently great, personal work.
In the first year I've all but sold out of the first two issues, put on a launch party, met tonnes of awesome people, and (surreally) been nominated for an award. It's all pretty humbling, and I'm so stoked that others seem to be as enthused by the zine as I am.
It's hard to say where the zine will go next, but I just hope everyone continues to enjoy both contributing to, and reading it. I'm hoping to get back to film writing, and plan to use this blog as a way of posting occasional reviews, alongside some features with the long list of contributors. Other than that, it's on to Issue D. Who wants Die Hard?
See you at the movies!