Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Write Stuff

ASIFA-East logo design by Fran Krause.

Two weeks ago I delivered a third contracted animation book to my publisher, Allworth Press. When I dropped off the manuscript, which was written over the course of a very busy year, I got to meet the editorial assistant and publicist that will be helping edit and (later) promote the book. The president of the press exclaimed, "We're excited to read this." I responded, "I'm excited to get rid of it." And, everyone had a good laugh.

Don't get me wrong––I'm very happy the way it came out, but it is such a relief to pass it off to someone else for a while. It might be as long as two months before the editorial assistant gives me a copy edit to read. And, by then I'll be happy to dive in again and make any necessary corrections.

The new book won't hit stores until November, so it's premature to share any other details. But, I will say that this book feels like the end of a trilogy. With all of my books I tried to fill a void, to write books on areas of our industry that had not yet been written, or at least not written from the animation artist's point of view.

Writing continues to be a growing area of my business, with a new deal to write an art-of style book next. I was not a writing major (or minor) at school and I never dreamed I would have these opportunities. But, I know exactly why and where to trace it to: ASIFA-East. When I finished my first indie film in 1998, then-ASIFA-East newsletter editor Maria Scavullo asked me to write an article about the experience. Although I enjoyed writing the article, I found it a bit terrifying to think that ASIFA veterans would be reading my words, so I didn't really write again for ASIFA until I became president in 2000 and had to write the monthly letter from the president column.

Suddenly I was forced to write, find, and research topics that might be of interest to the readership. Little by little I started to enjoy myself and gradually my confidence grew as I started to find my voice. By the time I pitched my first book in 2004, I had five years of steady articles to my credit, some of which were used as samples for Allworth Press.

In June 2009, ASIFA-East decided it was fiscally irresponsible to continue printing the newsletter, especially when it could have such a more vibrant life online at a fraction of the cost. A digital newsletter is interactive, reaches more people, is more up-to-date, and can feature color graphics, video, and audio. Since June, ASIFA-East board's Web committee (under the guidance of Web site manager Adrian Urquidez and Exposure Sheet blog editor Dayna Gonzalez) has been working hard to relaunch our newsletter as a modern paperless magazine.

Today, on February 1st, ASIFA-East has issued the following press release:
"ASIFA-East is very excited to announce the upcoming debut of the aNYmator online! Moving from print to online, the aNYmator will feature a full team of bloggers reporting on the animation industry. Come February 1st, we are expanding to cover much more than the usual events reportage seen on the Exposure Sheet –– everything from film reviews, to feature articles, to member's animation. Richard Gorey will be our new Features Blogger, covering all feature articles and stories, including posting articles from our membership. Elliot Cowan will be our Community Blogger, posting links to members' news and animation. Dayna Gonzalez will continue in her role as Blog Manager and Events Blogger, handling all reporting on local animation industry events. The Exposure Sheet will be hosted on our website at  Along with the Exposure Sheet, the aNYmator will include Animondays from ASIFA-East President David B. Levy, The International Update from our International Representative, Ray Kosarin, the Events Calendar, and archived original aNYmator print publications."

Many of the original aNYmator newsletters were edited by Mark Bailey who served as our most recent editor until the final June 2009 issue. I'm thrilled his wonderful work can still be shared with a new generation of ASIFA-East members through our new archive. There's a lot of content in there that you can't find anywhere else. Take some time to check it out. And, look for more newsletters from decades past to join the archive soon.

Most of all, I'm very excited that our new digital newsletter will continue the tradition of providing writing opportunities for veterans and newcomers alike. Who knows where such writing might lead? You might write the next trio of books, knocking mine off the shelf.


Dagan Moriarty said...

BIG Congrats on the trifecta, Dave!
And kudos for your 4th, "art-of style" book, as well. I am excited for both books # 3 and 4!

The news about aNYmator Online is also very exciting. That's a crack-team of contributors, and I know that the site will be stellar.
This will be a great source of info and entertainment for the NY scene.

(BTW, good luck with your new round of pitches, too!)

roconnor said...

The ASIFA home page says the Norstein event is the 15th, the events pages says its the 16th.

I like to point these things out the boss so he can unleash his fury on the lackeys.

Anyway, although -like everyone -I "like" printed media, how the discovery of an old article or magazine gives a solid sense of connection to the past, it makes too much sense for ASIFA to ditch the mailer for the website.

It's a good move, for economics and outreach. I hope there's still at least an annual publication for posterity.

David B. Levy said...

Thanks for pointing out the snafu on the Norstein event listing. It should be Monday the 15th. We are correcting it. : )
Glad you are welcoming the digital newsletter, too.

Hi Dagan,
Thanks for the good wishes on the books and on the ASIFA business. And, we'd welcome your contributions to the newsletter any time you've got the time. My pitches with Xeth have been a blast. We've got two pitches ironed out pretty well now and start the round of pitches next week. Fun stuff!