8/22/10

Screen to Script

Nothing's ever as it appears in the movies. But that doesn't mean it's all fantasy. Perhaps there are still lessons to be learned about the publishing industry from some of my favourite films and television shows.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days 
In this rom-com Kate Hudson's service column takes over her personal life. 
Lesson: Sometimes you have to take your work outside the office. When I met Teen Vogue's Jane Keltner de Valle, she also mentioned this particular lesson. Going out is part of the job, meeting people and finding new sources of inspiration. 

The Devil Wears Prada
This story about an editor-in-chief's assistant involves both highs (trip to Paris) and lows (picking up dry cleaning) that I've never experienced. 
Lesson: No day is ever quite the same. I was once asked to walk to the nearby dollar stores in search of a gold medal to present to an editor.

The Hills
Is this even work mentioning? When I started my first internship I was frequently asked, "Is it just like The Hills?" For me, two lessons stood out during those early seasons at Teen Vogue.
Lesson #1: Lauren learned that Paris, with it's galas and vespas, will always trump Malibu with it's jail-bound heartbreaker. A trip to Paris should be a no-brainer.
Lesson #2:  Whitney presented her ideas for the Young Hollywood party in a strapless dress that would've probably looked more appropriate in the club, rather than the office. Dress for the job you want, and save certain stand-out pieces for the weekend.

The City
When Whitney made the move to New York, she learned the differences between the uptown crowd and the downtown gang. But more importantly, viewers met Olivia Palermo. The impeccably-dressed "social" taught us week after week what it means to not work.
Lesson: Follow through when you agree to complete an assignment. Also, storming out is only for entertainment value. 

Running in Heels
This docu-series followed three Marie Claire interns, all vying for a position at the magazine.
Lesson: When Talita (the eventual winner) contacted Rihanna's people before speaking with her editor, she taught aspiring magazing contributors a simple lesson. Pitch to the editors before making promises on behalf of the magazine.

Cover Girl
This 1944 classic is about the search for the brand new Vanity cover girl. 
Lesson: When "Stonewall" (my favourite character) is frustrated with the search for a new face, she has to anticipate what her editor's looking for. His only instruction? "I want a girl with a story in her eyes!"

Shattered Glass
Hayden Christensen stars in this film based on the true story about Stephen Glass.
Lesson: Glass fabricated stories, quotes and sources - teaching readers and writers that fact-checking is golden.

Funny Face
Think pink! Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire star in this musical love story between a fashion photographer and his model. But the most memorable lines about working at a women's magazine come from the Quality's editor, Maggie Prescott (played by Kay Thompson).
Lesson: Prescott believes the magazine has to speak to the reader, and so do I.

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