November 14, 2003
Got a call from Paul Hutton this morning, who saw The Missing last night. Howard & Co. gave a special screening in Santa Fe for all the people who worked on the film. According to Paul it is an excellent film, very scary and historically fulfilling. Granted Paul was the historical consultant and may be a tad prejudiced, but he regaled me with all the attention to detail on weapons, forts and soldiers that would have been in the vicinity of the story. He also raved about how uncompromising the film is. Cate Blanchett’s character is a racist (she hates Indians) from the beginning and she doesn’t change. There is no redeeming speech at the end where she realizes we all have to respect each other, etc. As for the movie bombing, Paul says absolutely not, adding, “I know turkeys when I see ‘em.”
Got the page proofs from the printer this morning (January issue). We are still having color problems with our covers. This one seems too orange. Went into Photoshop and compared colors with match proofs and a postcard color that Abby had done which we really liked. Robert has been on the phone all morning with Bart at Banta trying to make sure we get the color we really want. Robert sent all the work-up files and Bart is putting his best crew on it. Got my fingers crossed. I hated the color on the Best of the West issue (“Billy’s Back!”).
Still working hard on cover ideas and concepts for 2004. After studying the new issue of Sports Illustrated (they printed all 2,548 covers), and all of our back issues going back to the beginning, I came up with seven types of covers that seem to really succeed on the newsstand. Here’s a couple:
• The Big Face: A celebrity or historical icon, up close and personal.
• Action: riders, shooters & narrative (the sub-genre of this is the image that tells a story— think Norman Rockwell, or the True West treasure in the cave cover). We have really gotten away from this and my suspicions are it’s so out it’s probably in.
• Typography only: No image, just type. The best example of this is the Sports Illustrated cover where they just ran the lead to the article on cocaine in the NFL. Very powerful and effective. Use sparingly, though.
”When in danger, ponder. When in trouble, delegate. When in doubt, mumble.”
—Robert Wagner, Jr.
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