Have you ever thought about how often magazine offices appear as settings in movies? From writer Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” to Andrea Sachs’ (Anne Hathaway) stint as an editorial assistant at Runway magazine in “The Devil Wears Prada,” movies are filled with characters who dream of making it big in journalism.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at this list compiled by Rex a few years ago and you’ll see how often it really is.
And it’s not just on the big screen. One of my favorite shows (“Ugly Betty”) is all about the making of a Vogue-esque magazine and the crazy people who help put it together.
Novels use magazines, too, as evidenced by my stack of chick lit at home. At least two-thirds of them feature a protagonist who (surprise, surprise) works for a magazine.
So what is it about magazines that make them great settings for compelling stories?
Is it the glamor? There’s nothing glamorous about Betty Suarez. Is it the fast-paced world with make-it-or-break it deadlines? Maybe, but everyone in this world, no matter where they work, understands deadlines.
So what is it? I’d like to think it’s for the same reason that “Space Camp”—in which young campers exploring careers as astronauts accidentally end up on a shuttle headed for outer space!—was one of my favorite movies growing up: Being an astronaut was something I knew nothing about, and it was fascinating.
Sure, it might be a stretch, but in a way, magazine people are just like astronauts: Everyone knows what they do, but how they do it is a mystery.
Some magazines—no matter how long they’ve been on the newsstands or how often people say “Print is dead”—never go out of style. Tried-and-true favorites like The New Yorker and my personal favorite, People, have been sitting on our coffee tables for years. And although we read our favorite magazines from cover to cover each month, most of us have no idea what goes on behind the scenes.
For example, a story about the Sahara Desert in National Geographic (or a pictorial on Angelina Jolie’s growing baby bump (!!!) in People) seems like it’d be the most exciting thing to work on, but maybe not if you’re the person checking it for spelling and grammar errors five times before it goes to print. But that’s neither here nor there.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to the fascinating life I lead. And by that I mean Jamie just put something on my desk to proof.