Feeling that I hadn’t had enough of magazine editing during the week, I went to see The September Issue on Sunday, RJ Cutler’s documentary of the making of American Vogue‘s September 2007 edition. (Our review of the film can be read here.) Prospect and Vogue have a lot in common, it turns out: we’re both monthly magazines, we both have editors who have been in post for a long time, and… that may be it.
Nevertheless, I think there is scope for a similar movie about Prospect. (Well, they made a film about the New Republic.) Admittedly it would be shot mostly in one small, cramped room in Bloomsbury rather than New York, Paris and Rome, but that would offer substantial cost savings to a documentary maker. And while Vogue took months to produce one issue, we like to cram it all into ten days, so it’d be a much shorter shoot, albeit with a few late nights. To this end I have put together a brief treatment, based around The September Issue.
Vogue editor Anna Wintour attends New York Fashion Week. The Prospect editorial team fight over our one stapler.
Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington conducts a photo shoot at Versailles. Prospect Creative Director David Killen searches online photo agencies for something to illustrate an article on constitutional reform.
Many shots of couture dresses. Many shots of nine people sitting in front of their computers and occasionally swearing.
Wintour and Coddington visit the designer Oscar de la Renta. Arts and Books editor Tom Chatfield telephones the publicity department of a publisher to try to get a review copy of a book but is put through to voicemail 17 times.
Wintour explains that jackets are in. Several staff members have a heated debate over whether the words “senate” and “congress” should be capitalised or not.
Sienna Miller tries on some dresses for a cover shoot. Assistant editor Mary Fitzgerald carefully checks all fifty or so of this month’s entries to the Generalist crossword competition and is blindfolded to pick one out of a hat.
Wintour meets photographer Mario Testino to discuss the shoot Senior editor Susha Ireland alphabetises the contributors page.
Wintour presents the magazine to Si Newhouse, boss of Conde Nast. On our final press night, we run out of printer ink and the internet goes down.