Today, there are a million and one, maybe a million and two, ways to learn about the entertainment industry. From websites to blogs, to podcasts and social media, a day doesn’t go by without an announcement or spoiler, or peek behind the scenes.
But back when I went to NYU, there was none of that. Good god, only a small percentage of students even had computers.
As if living among the dinosaurs wasn’t hard enough.
Then, in the summer of ’87, the life of a film student changed. That was when the very first Premiere Magazine came out in the United States.
It was unlike anything my friends and I had ever seen before – an oversized, glossy magazine exclusively devoted to movies and moviemakers. Our paperback vision board.
In addition to the stories on upcoming films, directors, actors and producers, there were a bunch of cool recurring features to look forward to every month.
One of the oddest, and therefore awesomest bits were the baseball card-esque Movie Cards.
In a page-sized, glued-in cardboard insert, were four perforated cards with movie poster images on the front and production info on the back.
Granted, this particular feature didn’t last past 1988, but while it was around, it was pretty special.
There was also the beloved Flavor of the Month. Despite the negative ephemeral connotations, it focused on an up-and-coming player in the business.
I think every film school student identified with the notion of a big break, and dreamed of finding themselves in one of those articles one day.
I suppose some of us even did.
If a Flavor of the Month had some staying power, they might land on an upcoming year’s The Power List, which ranked the industry movers and shakers. Industry trades like The Hollywood Reporter and Variety were a bit dry for most undergraduates, so this was a cool way of getting a lay of the land we were preparing to journey into.
While The Power List itself seemed a bit out of reach while at school, I still almost kinda found my way onto other pages by proxy.
Friend and fellow student, Tim Bogart, pitched the magazine a story idea about the trials and tribulations of making a student film. The people at Premiere were interested.
I was a producer on the student film in question, so I was petty stoked about the chance for a mention or photo. It seemed like something amazing was about to happen before I even graduated.
Tragically, it was not to be.
While I can’t quite remember the specifics, melodrama ensued. I think a fellow NYU student was interning at the magazine and somehow sabotaged the story.
A disappointment to say the least.
Oddly enough, while researching this post, I actually discovered that a guy I played softball with out here for a decade was writing for Premiere just a few years after I finished school.
If I could go back in time, maybe we could get this all sorted out with my “inside man” from softball and have that student film article published after all. I’ll have to start saving up for a DeLorean.
Premiere’s dominance in the marketplace started to get challenged by the time 1990 rolled around, when a new kid in town called Entertainment Weekly showed up.
While it was pretty cool too – and four times more frequent – it also covered television, music, and books, preventing it from somehow holding the same mystique. It was also smaller.
After I moved to Los Angeles, I actually scraped together enough cash to get myself a Premiere subscription. I didn’t have to go out and get it anymore, now it came right to me.
For a Halloween party in 1993, a group of us dressed up as the Three Musketeers. While taking pictures to capture the moment, we made sure to mimic the Premiere cover of the same. We were virtually identical. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
Come January of 1999, a friend from NYU made it onto the pages at last, as Mike Thompson and his writing partner were featured for having made some crazy ten million dollar spec screenplay deal. Which I wasn’t jealous about at all. AT ALL. Very happy for them. SO HAPPY.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, Premiere.
As you may have heard, all good things must come to an end (not really, of course, but certainly in this case). Print media had been dying for years, and Premiere was not immune.
In April 2007, the last print edition was released in the states, as Premiere moved to an online-only edition.
By 2010, it was gone completely.
I guess my point here is that it’s important to find your own metaphorical Premiere magazine.
The hard work, the networking, the learning, is all absolutely essential to making it in this business.
But so is pursuing something magical and a bit unreal. Maybe even silly. A goal like making it into the pages of your favorite magazine.
Today, maybe it’s a podcast, maybe it’s a industry website, maybe it’s a guest spot on some influencer’s streaming show.
But find that something and add it to those motivations that keep you pushing when the days are the darkest and the dreams seem out of reach.
It’s tough out there. We can use everything we can get.