October 4, 2011 by Jon Slott
I’ve been interviewed for this magazine several times over the years. And some of those times, the guy on the other end of the phone was the Editor-In-Chief, and Owner of SCREEN, Andrew Schneider. With his efforts to create a community around his magazine, he’s reached out to BREED in a big way – and in that time we’ve become friends. A few months ago, I threatened to turn the tables on Andrew, and make him the subject of an interview for one of my articles. So this month I ambushed him with the idea – and he accepted.
Businesses in our industry always have unique people behind them, and there’s a lot about Andrew that I think his readers would be interested in. A little peek behind the curtain will show, that the guy who runs this joint is a human idea factory. First time I had lunch with the guy, I felt like I needed to whip out a pencil. The ideas came out furious and quick. It’s a trait that would serve him well on the other side of the glass – either on the agency end or the vendor end. I think that’s why the magazine has done so well with him around.
Put simply, he’s one of us.
Q: You worked for SCREEN. And now you own SCREEN. How does something like that happen?
A: I worked for a sister company of the magazine. Shortly after my son was born I realized that I’d like to take a big step in my life career-wise and I wanted to own my own company. Screen was an opportunity that I discussed with the ownership at that time and after a few chats we were able to make a deal for the magazine. That was July of 2010. I’ve been owner/publisher/editor ever since.
Q: What was your first job right out of college and what was your first job in the industry?
A: My first job ever was as a “paid” intern for a political candidate. He wasn’t successful. I was instructed to intercept people walking past the candidate so that he could speak with them. They’d try to avoid him if they could and it was my job to make him difficult to avoid.
My first job in the news business was as a reporter at a group of weekly newspapers covering Chicago’s suburbs. The roof leaked, the toilet didn’t work and the microwave had a hole in the lining so you had to microwave your lunch two to three times as long as usual. I did eventually work my way up to working for the Chicago Sun-Times. Covering an industry for a trade like Screen is a very different experience than covering any government. There’s no agenda, no meetings, no set schedule from which to derive story ideas. I really have to think about and hound sources for good stories.
Q: Did you major in Journalism? Advertising? None of the above?
A: None of the above. I was actually a political science major at the University of Illinois and graduated with a degree that basically certified me as having the ability to learn and adapt.
Q: Today by default, every print publication needs to have an electronically delivered companion. Do you see this as a blessing or a curse? Can you discuss SCREEN’s philosophy behind its electronically delivered content?
A: I feel it’s a blessing from a certain perspective. Any industry or individual that doesn’t constantly question the value they bring to the table, is going to end up in trouble in the long run. Print, whether magazines or newspapers, has been hit very hard by the arrival of electronic media, but I wouldn’t say that either form will supplant the other in the near to medium term. I think that electronic media has changed the way we look at print - not eliminated print from the equation.
For a publication like Screen, our efforts in the digital space deal with immediate, fast, breaking news. If it’s people moving, accounts moving, films starting production, etc., it goes there. I think it’s made us look at the printed magazine as something that needs to have a long shelf life. Our goal is to make the content in the magazine interesting whether you pick it up hot off the press or six months down the road. Of course, we also offer the magazine online, but it’s designed to be engaged with as a printed medium and I think it works best in that context.
Q: And SCREEN just developed an iPhone app...
A: We’ve created a great app for our Production Bible and it’s a great adaptation of data that’s normally interfaced on the web or in print. There are advantages to seeing a directory like the bible in the context of an app, which wouldn’t be the same for a website because it makes connecting the data, like emails, phone numbers, directly with your iPhone and cuts out the copy and paste step.
Q: I know that you’re an avid reader. What kind of books? How many do you read at a time?
A: I have to preface this: I’m a bit of a book nut. I read from a wide range of genres. I don’t mind tackling a challenge (I was trying to read Marcel Proust this year, for example, and am about half way through Wordsworth’s “Prelude”) but lately with a business and a relatively new son, I’ve been escaping a lot into vintage detective novels. Mike Hammer, Nero Wolfe, Philip Marlowe. They’re easy to follow even if you haven’t slept much. As to how many I read at a time, I have a fair memory and don’t mind jumping around, especially if I’m reading non-fiction. I’m into about seven books at the moment.