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Interview—Brodie Lancaster
Written by Sarah Booth — 19th March 2015

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When I found out that Brodie Lancaster (editor of Filmme Fatales and staff writer for Rookie Magazine, just to name a few) is an editor here at The Good Copy, I was a tad excited. I was even more excited when I got the chance to ask her about Filmme Fatales and the magical thing known as writing.

Sarah: Why did you start Filmme Fatales and what were your main influences?

Brodie: I started because I left a job editing a website and I realised I missed having somewhere to write about the things I was interested in, which were feminism and cinema. I was reading film magazines such as Little White Lies (which we stock in the shop) and Empire, film review websites and lots of feminist websites, such as Rookie, Jezebel and Bust Magazine. I wanted to do something that combined those two interests and really focused on women in film—something I felt I could talk about.

The first issue was published back in January 2013. Have the zines turned out how you expected them to?

I didn’t really expect them to be anything. I didn’t really know what I was doing … I still don’t, but I’m learning more as I go along. It’s nice because I went in with no expectations and came out with jobs and writing opportunities, none of which I could have expected or predicted.

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You’re obviously passionate about films. What do you love so much about them and what is your favourite film?

I have always enjoyed movies. When I was a kid I didn’t like going outside or anything too adventurous. I watched a lot of movies and television, and I still do. I like when you watch something really good and it makes you feel nice. Sometimes you can stop analysing and critiquing and just enjoy it, and other times I’ll watch something and can’t wait to write about it and process it. One of my favourite movies is You’ve Got Mail, which I watched a few nights ago because I had a really long, exhausting day. You know when you feel your body is craving vegetables, and you’re like, It’s telling me something, I need to eat some broccoli or some carrots because I know that is what I need? I knew I needed to watch You’ve Got Mail because it was going to make me feel so much better.

Do you have a particular genre that you prefer over others?

I don’t think so. I watched Terminator 2 for the first time last year and was immediately obsessed with it. I also like some sci-fi movies. I mostly like movies where people talk to each other about their feelings.

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Where do you hope to see Filmme Fatales in a year’s time? How do you think the zines will have evolved from current issues?

Issue 5 is my dream issue. I’m about to start work on issue 6 and all I want to do is make it a bit better than issue 5, so I can see some growth. If I can make everything of the same standard as issue 5, I would be really happy. The design was really good, I was more confident as an editor and working with contributors, I did some great interviews, it looks beautiful and we used a different printing process. In a year I would like to have more of a real-life and event focus to the magazine, and bring contributors out and have ideas from the stories in the issues presented in the real world through screenings, events and talks.

You’ve said before the mission of your zine is to ‘explore the places where film and feminism intersect’. How do you think the general public view of feminism has changed in the past ten years?

I don’t really know so much about ten years, but I think in the last year it has changed a lot because you have people like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift proudly wearing that label, whereas maybe earlier they rejected it because connotations, broadly, were of man-hating, aggressive, nasty women. I think the mainstream view of feminism is shifting, and people are aware of what it actually means as opposed to the kinds of things that have always been said to dismiss it.

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How did you get to where you are now?

I got an internship at a website, where I was writing for no money, and eventually that turned into a full-time job as the managing editor. After two and a half years I quit and worked in advertising. That was where I started working on Filmme Fatales. Everything kind of came from working on the zine; Penny offered me a job here at The Good Copy and on the very same day Tavi asked me to join the Rookie staff.

On your blog (brodielancaster.com) you have links to Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram. How do you think the internet has expanded your career?

I wouldn’t have a career if it weren’t for the internet. My first full-time job was writing for a website, and I learnt to write through blogging. I never studied writing or dreamt of being a writer. I’m still learning what it means to have that as a job. All the advice I got from people when I was learning how to be an editor was because of their websites or blogs. The work that we do here is mostly online. I sell Filmme Fatales online. No one would be able to buy it, read it or know about it if it weren’t for the internet. Everyone always uses terms like ‘the democratisation’ of writing, art, design and everything because information is so accessible, but I think that’s a good thing.

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Writing can seem like this huge, scary thing. How do you get past the terror of staring at a blank page?

I do the same stuff when I’m writing for The Good Copy, Rookie and even emails. For example, I did something on Kanye West a couple of weeks ago and I knew that there was one interview I wanted to mention, so I found that on YouTube, transcribed it and that was my starting point. I structured it in a way that made sense in my mind and I could see how it looked on a page. I get down all the important facts, because then a) you don’t have an empty page and b) you can see where everything is going, so even when you’re writing an introduction you know where you want it to go, and you can write with that in mind.

What’s your typical day as a writer, and how do you think it compares to the stereotype of a writer’s daily life?

I don’t think it compares at all, because a lot of writers don’t have full-time writing jobs. Even the work that I do here at The Good Copy can’t compare: yesterday I was in a meeting for half a day, I write emails, I plan, I work on Facebook, I faff about on the internet. I’m here from 9 to 5 so that informs a really big chunk of my day. The second half of my day begins when I go home. Last night I went through all the recent stories I’ve written, then created invoices and sent them to my editors. I went through my recent payments for freelancing and put them in a spreadsheet so that when it comes to tax time I know how much I’ve made. But sometimes it can mean watching Kanye videos and taking notes for research. I think my days are a bit limited because I have a full-time job, but that also informs a lot of my freelance stuff because I approach it more professionally now that I do professional work during the day.