There would be so many puns about the name of this one, but this will be a totally serious post!
This May has seen the debut of a few more quality productions in the world of erotic magazines. I'd say 'porn', but as we had to point out many times, one of the most palatable concept when it comes to making a SL mag is to put together a 'lifestyle' publication. In the case of this new Attention Magazine, the mix of marketable mainstream attractions and openminded recognition of the sexy and sexual side of SL, is a very fruitful one. And it couldn't be any different, with the kind of names this magazine has in the staff, beginning from the co-owners Athena, Jon Demen and Rachel Avro.
Now, Athena has been so kind to answer my third degree interrogation, so I'll leave room to her interview!
- First and foremost, congratulation at what I consider a fantastic first issue. You already matured a certain experience in SL magazines: tell us when did you and your crew get the idea to make a new magazine and what made you think it was an idea worth pursuing?
" I had the luxury of being introduced to the SL magazine world by Edvard Taurion. I will always be grateful to him for taking a chance on a newcomer. I learned a lot about the SL world in general and magazines in particular. My time on SL Connoisseur is something I'll always cherish and I'll never take it for granted. There is no question in my mind that I would not be in the position I'm in without him and I would like to publicly thank him.
However, after five months, the time had come for us to go our separate ways. I had no intention of starting my own magazine, but my boyfriend Jon Demen, as well as some close friends encouraged me. Yana Grau in particular. So, I sat down with some old photos I had taken and tried out a few things. I discovered my love of making a magazine hadn't died and I felt like I still had something to offer. So, I talked to Jon and Yana and Rachel Avro and some other folks and suddenly, I had a magazine. "
The talented Rachel Avro is the cover photographer and co-owner of the magazine
- As you said in the introduction, you aim to be 'eclectic yet cohesive, and a lot of fun'. Share with your readers if you please how your first issue was born.
" There are so many different ways to live a Second Life. The magazine aims to show different ways different people have done it. As I talk to some of the various people who appear in the magazine, I find that no two stories are alike. We have a charming article coming up in the June issue that's going to make everyone say "Awwwwwww." I'd like to think that without Attention, no one would have dreamed this particular person is such a sweetie pie. I feel privileged that we get to show this side of him and that he trusted us to do it properly.
One of the hardest parts about giving birth to that first issue was coming up with a name to encapsulate it all. First of all, all of the good porn possibilities were taken. How I wish Busted or Aroused had been available as choices! I wore out the online thesaurus looking for different ways to say what I wanted to say. I had a pretty active campaigner in Brea Brianna suggesting "SL Hot," which might have been perfectly acceptable. Then "Attention" got into my head and I couldn't let it go. I can't imagine it being called anything else.
The first important decision I made was not to try to put out a first issue for April. I needed time to decompress. I also wanted to take my time on things. Jon and I kicked around a lot of thoughts and ideas. One day, he said "You should cover automobiles and boats and trains. Things that move. There are a lot of people who like those kinds of things on SL." I said, "Great, you're hired!"
The magazine features personalities from our 'porn' world in particularly interesting interviews and articles.
Anyone who knows me in SL knows I can't even ride a bicycle. The only real experience I have is looking good on a boat while my former partner and I sailed around. I said, "Try Bandit Boats." So Jon goes to one of the most successful boat makers in SL, Analyse Dean. To our utter shock, she agreed. Jon and I pretty much stalked Dutch Harbor, taking picture after picture of boats in varying windlights. That was the first article and really set the tone. He wrote it himself and then I edited and re-edited it until I had the look, font, and feel that I wanted. Everything else in the magazine grew out of that one article.
I was really excited when Rachel Avro decided to come on board. We have a similar aesthetic, I wanted her as the lead photographer to create the cover. I was very clear to her that she would have the final say in who she hired. Her first choice for the first issue was Louise Kristan-Faulds. I didn't even know her! I had never talked to her, but it was important to Rachel, so I told her to book it. I think the result of our first cover speaks for itself.
That's my philosophy. I trust these people to take good pictures. Period. I can't babysit them, nor should I have to. They are all talented adults. If I don't trust their judgment, I have no business working with them. I try to walk the line between providing support vs. smothering them. I never want them to groan when I log on. Our magazine staff group is a place for jokes and letting off steam, asking each other questions and just general chit chat. They give me some great work and in return, I try not to screw up the work they give me. It's a give-and-take relationship. They are all super.
As to the "eclectic yet cohesive" aspect, you're going to see that come together in subsequent issues. Think of an apple? You can eat an apple, you can paint one, you can turn it into a pie, make juice. You can give it to your teacher. You can write a story about Johnny Appleseed. Apples represent a lot of different things to different people. So we're going to take one idea and look at it from a lot of different directions.
Whimsical Aristocrat brings her solid photography and writing experience to the team
Regarding building the team, I had a couple of people I was leaving behind on SL Connoisseur (Whims and Isle) and felt I owed to them personally to let them know of my plans. Sadly, they were also thinking of leaving and were both excited about some of the ideas I had been kicking around.
I had worked with Partee before, she was a natural choice to work in fashion. Rachel brought her on board. Then Jamie joined us to cover builds. I was super excited to work with BeeQueen Smythe agains as well. If you look at a single page of one of her comics, there are 9-10 pictures there. She always does a minimum of 3 pages, so that's a lot of work! Moreover, her comic really tied the whole first issue together. She's fun to brainstorm with and brings a whole European perspective to the team.
The final hire was Brunella Voelisa. She had wrapped up her work for Isa Cheviot and was looking for a new project. She was another hire by Rachel and is so easy to work with ... always professional and polite. She just likes to interview people, tell their stories in their own words. She's our Barbara Walters ... she's going to be introducing you all to a lot of cool people.
My secret weapon is Brea Brianna. OMG, that girl could sell an ice cube in Alaska. She's just unreal. She was the one who landed the Chop Zuey article for May. That article was probably my favorite .... although it's a tie between that one and the article with Sasquatch Rhino. They both represented a big jump for me creatively and for the setting the tone of the magazine as a whole.
We have a surprise or two up our sleeves for June. Stay tuned! "
Brea Brianna has a very factive collaboration with the magazine, and of course appears also as model
- A professional presentation is very important, and your magazine has a very well made layout, with some lovely touches. What sort of tools do you use to 'make' the magazine, and do you have any advice to give to anyone with the ambition to make a new magazine (and there are many!)
" The first thing I did was buy some of my favorite magazines and really looked at what they looked like. I pretty much had to scrap everything I had learned in my time editing the previous magazine I worked on. I didn't want to be accused of plagiarism.
I work primarily in Photo Shop, with some occasional tweaking with a free Internet program called iPiccy. PhotoShop is such an amazing program, I learn something new about it all the time. My edited skills have skyrocketed, which is great for my own photography. Instead of constantly having to reshoot or ask my photographers to reshoot it, most things I can fix now.
(Except for hair. Does anyone know how to fix hair? I have a job for you!)
One of the 'test' covers laying the foundation for the finished look
My biggest advantage is my close friend, Eleni Criss. She works in advertising in RL and had some really great insight into how a professional publication should look. When I was creating that first Bandit Boat article, I would send her every version of every page and she would go over it with a fine tooth comb.
At the end of the day, though, it was my creation. Some of her advice I took, but sometimes I stood my ground. One example was the font. I got hooked on Times New Roman pretty early. With the exception of the signature on the second page, it's the only font used in Attention magazine. Fortunately, it comes in regular, italics, bold and bold italics, so we can vary it up a bit. I like it. It's crisp, clean and very easy to read.
The best advice Eleni gave me was using white background behind the text. We use two colors for text, black and white, depending on whether we're typing on something dark or light. I think it gives everything that same crisp, clean, professional look we were looking for.
Amia Jordan is one of the sexy models brought in by Partee for her article. Also featured, Erinyes Celestalis and Aerala.
Let's face it ... my staff is killer. I have some super artists working for me. You don't take a picture by Partee Mytili or Rachel Avro or the rest of them and scrunch it down so you can't see it or distort it beyond recognition. That's another premise of Attention: The pictures are the star.
My advice to someone new would be to think about your concept. What are you creating? Are there magazines like them in the real world? Buy some and look them over. You could create a magazine about grunge music and use a pretty, flowing font, but it wouldn't look right or excite your reader. Make a dummy page and show it to people. Get their feedback. Try it a few dozen ways and then go with your gut.
Finally, don't go into the magazine world expecting to make money in SL. If you break even at first, great. Worry about the work, the product. Create something beautiful that you can be proud of ... if you make money, that's just gravy. "
A personal choice as highlight of the issue, as mentioned by Athena: a look at the 'Make me pose' magic by Sasquatch
- After just one issue it is probably too early to ask, but i am curious if after the feedback you received you already have new ideas about the magazine. Also, please remind our readers what they can/should do to appear in Attention, as models, writers, or perhaps to promote their initiatives?
" The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. My biggest goal is that every member of my staff would feel appreciated and want to stick around for the second issue. I can't afford to pay them. Jon and Rachel aren't just my right and left hands. They are my right and left lungs. The three of us talked a lot about what was important and what wasn't important. I made them co-owners of Attention, which is very much a shared vision. That a magazine has thee owners may sound like a hot mess, but it really works for us.
Secondly, I want a staff that feels inspired. Instead of finding reasons they can't do something, I find reasons to say "yes." I can't think of anything that someone pitched to me that we didn't run with .... our philosophy become, "If you can do it in SL and it's not a violation of the TOS, I want to cover it."
If you're a model looking to appear in Attention, we created a model's group. You can find it here:
Another draft for a cover. As you can see, it can take different tests before you get to find 'the' look for the magazine.
If you're a writer/photographer and you're interested in either doing a one-time feature or joining the staff of Attention, please drop me a notecard with your ideas. We have one of two specific areas in which we want to cover. Who knows, we might be thinking in the same direction. I want people to pursue the things they are interested in, however. Jamie Wolf came to me from Flickr. We had shared a few mutual admiration messages there and when I told him I was starting a magazine, he was interested and came aboard just like that. He's invaluable and his photography has been growing daily.
That leads me to the most important idea behind Attention: A staff that is creatively inspired will produce wonderful things. I encourage them to do their own things and follow their creative muse where ever it leads them. It can be a shock to the system, but I think they all love it. Partee Mytili just finished an exhibition. Brea Briana just finished a movie and is opening her own club. They all have active Flickrs ... yet they give me 110% when it comes to their efforts for Attention. I really can't speak highly enough of the whole team.
Finally, we do have a presence on SL Marketplace. https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/183312
We have a goal to have an Internet version of the magazine as well. Stay tuned! "
Stay tuned indeed! The next issue of Attention will hit the virtual stands in barely a week, and it will be packed with content, and launched with a Pornstar Party at Club Yana
As usual, feel free to contact me anytime in-world your work for a blog feature!