You might have noticed something different about the magazine and website: a new look, some new features and a fresh attitude. This is the start of a new era for LWLies.
When we started LWLies in 2005, we wanted to make a magazine that reflected the world around it. Not just in the way it went beyond movies to talk about art and music and pop culture, but in the way it responded to the rise of the web and the cosy status quo of mainstream film mags.
But times change. Seven years later, new platforms, tools, technologies and opportunities have changed the media landscape. And LWLies is evolving, too.
We’re constantly fine-tuning the magazine to make it as beautiful and compelling as possible. But over 42 issues of incremental change, we’ve never really gone back and questioned the fundamentals: how does LWLies reflect the world around it today? What do people want from a film magazine in 2012? What is possible now that wasn’t possible before? Are we doing everything we can to make LWLies the best film brand in the world?
Yeah, the ‘b’ word. For the past seven years, we’ve described LWLies as a ‘bi-monthly film magazine that gets under the skin of cinema’. But LWLies is more than a magazine now. It’s a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, an app, an events space, a film club, a content partner, maybe even a TV show and, of course, a passionate community of film fans.
We don’t just want LWLies to be the magazine that helps you choose what film to watch this weekend. We want LWLies to be a platform that connects you to the films you love in a useful and tangible way, because we love them as much as you do.
Imagine a world in which you read a review in the new issue of LWLies for a film coming out later that month. You like the look of it so you check out the trailer on the website and give it a 5 for ‘Anticipation’. Later, you’re on the bus home when the LWLies app buzzes in your pocket. It remembers you’re looking forward to that film and it knows your favourite cinema is close. It tells you there’s a screening in 15 minutes and you can make it if you get off at the next stop. It’ll book tickets for you if you want.
Afterwards, you can rate the film for ‘Enjoyment’, and a week later the app will ask what you think ‘In Retrospect’. Then you can join the discussion on the Facebook page, or check out an AV piece with the director to go deeper into the movie.
We believe that in the future, the best and most successful magazines will be the ones that embrace technology with the same passion they have for print. LWLies will always be about ink and paper, but it’ll be about so much more than that, too. We don’t know how to do everything we want to. Some of it isn’t even possible yet, but it will be, soon, and we’re determined to be in the right place to take advantage of it when the time comes. (Just to show you that we're serious, we made a fancy infographic that explains the wonderful new world of LWLies in awesome visual form...)
What does this mean right now? Well, in print, you’ll have noticed that the Lawless issue looked a little different. We’ve restructured the mag into three ‘Acts’ and lost some sections along the way. We’ve expanded reviews to put the focus on great writing and deep insight, with new feature space and more flexibility.
But each issue is still inspired by a cover film and we’re going to crazier lengths than ever to do the kind of unique stuff that print excels at. All of the feature illustrations in the Lawless issue were hand-carved from Japanese plywood; and we typed our On the Road articles onto a single scroll. We're also changing the way we pick those cover movies, treating the front of our mag as a timeless, almost sacred space that will only reflect the films that matter to us.
But there’s much more to come – starting with the website you’re looking at now. Our tech and design teams have rebuilt the site from the ground up, focusing on functionality and responsiveness as well as the usual LWLies visual razzle dazzle.
The new site recognises whether you’re accessing it from a desktop, tablet or mobile (try resizing your browser window if you’re on a desktop and see what happens); a clean new aesthetic makes it easier to find the information that matters; and of course there’s a complete archive of LWLies film reviews, browsable in a whole number of exciting new ways.
And this is just V1. We’ll be adding new bits and bobs and next level functionality throughout the year, and we’ll be listening keenly to your feedback at all times. This is the age of agile creativity, and we intend to embrace that ethos to the full.
There’s more, too. We're proud to announce the launch of V2 of our app, in collaboration with Stella Artois, on both iPhone and Android. There's much more to come on this, but for now we can tell you it represents a major step in our ability to connect you to the films you love, with a reviews archive linked to data that gives you the ability to ‘favourite’ your local cinema and book tickets. That’s just the beginning – we’re already planning rich community functionality for V3.
With our new events space, 71a, we can also bring LWLies to life at special screenings and exhibitions, bringing the community together in a unique environment.
Some things, of course, won’t change. LWLies will always be independent, honest and unmerciful. We’ll always be passionate about the cinema-going experience. We’ll always strive for authenticity. And we’ll always believe in Truth & Movies.
Speaking of honest and unmerciful, this is your community and we're ready to listen to what you think, so let us know either in the comments below or in the usual social media spots.