13 November 2009

How To...

...make a really good zine

Makyla Curtis and Ya-Wen Ho on Potroast





Makyla: I studied Performing and Screen Arts, majoring in writing and directing. My husband is a sculptor, and I dabble in the visual arts so I have also gotten involved in Fine arts, organising several exhibitions before coming to the UK. I was one of the creators and organisers for Metonymy08. I was a regular at Poetry Live, and have published a couple of chapbooks. I am currently writing short stories for a collection and comic scripts which my husband is drawing.

Ya-Wen: I'm currently a fourth year BA/BFA student at the University of Auckland. Breaking this down, I study English Literature, Economics (and implicitly, maths!) under my BA and I've worked in several mediums from illustration to video to installation under my BFA. I've always written, but it's recently that I've been developing this in public!

Makyla: The Philosophy! Well, I might be best leaving that one to Ya-Wen. But essentially we're trying to provide a medium for visual and literary artists to showcase their work. And of course we're working to build a coherent tone with a high standard of work for Potroast.

Ya-Wen: Potroast wants to support emerging writers and artists who are working experimentally. We like to get fresh, innovative work that may have a hard time finding publishing opportunities because it's not conventional. We also like our contributors to have fun!

Makyla: Support? Well, none really. The zine culture is really the only support. People who are interested will hopefully further promote Potroast.

Ya-Wen: Within the zine community there's a lot of respect for taking the plunge to start a zine. Whether your zine continues to receive respect depends on its own worth and merits. I guess if it's a bit camp, people will politely refer to it as your 'hobby'. My biggest fear for Potroast is that it may become regarded as such, but thankfully I think we've gotten off to a good start and are building a good reputation.

Makyla: The hard part of publishing is time. It's always against you. And on top of that, once we get our edited proofs to people, we need confirmation of the changes before we can print their work. The other hard part is giving critique to people that is constructive and will actually be useful. And then hoping they'll still send in new works, even if we didn't accept the last one - It's such a fine line between useful critique and just offending someone.

Ya-Wen: What's next? Well, Potroast is a long term project. Eventually I want to apply for Creative NZ funding and to do so Potroast will need a formalised organisational structure. Things like setting up a decision-making board, making sound financial records and making these transparent so our readers and contributors know where their money is going. I was managing director under the Young Enterprise Scheme in 2005 so it'd be quite awesome to do that again with Potroast i.e make it a registered business so when either Micky or I decide to move on we can pass Potroast on more easily and reduce the chances of Potroast just disappearing.

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