There's a great story that Cameron Crowe tells about his real-life experience in 1973 as a wide-eyed teen covering his first big assignment for Rolling Stone magazine about the moment in which he realized he'd bridged the gap from being a mere fan to a journalist:
I was 16 when Rolling Stone sent me out on the road with the Allman Brothers Band. I spent over two weeks amassing interviews with all the band members and their roadies. The night before I was to leave, Gregg Allman – still mourning the recent deaths of his legendary guitarist-brother Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley – had a late-night vision that the FBI could possibly be using me to investigate his band. He demanded all my tapes back until further notice. I left the tour in an emotional mess and wound up catatonic in the San Francisco airport, where I ran into my then-stewardess sister Cindy. She cheered me up and sent me home. Days later, the tapes arrived at my house with an apology note from Gregg Allman. I never told the magazine. It was my first cover story.
-Cameron Crowe, Summer 2000
It was that experience that became the basis for Crowe's classic movie Almost Famous (2000). There are few films that capture what it's like to be a fan with such truth as Almost Famous, but there are few films that do as good a job of capturing what it's like to be a journalist, as well.
As the character Lester Bangs famously said to the young William Miller in the film, "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool," and that still holds true.
Rolling Stone was and is an iconic magazine devoted to music, pop culture, and politics. And while it has been around forever, it's not necessarily known to have been part of the spearhead of the digital revolution. But we still see it as a great role model for what we are doing here at Moviepilot. There are a lot of similarities between the state of movie journalism today and the music journalism of the 60s and 70s. Just as many entertainment journalists are jaded with the direction in which Hollywood is going now, old-school music writers of a few decades ago hated the new era of classic rock music and were reluctant to cover those bands. On the occasions they did cover them, those veteran journalists were so cynical in their reviews that those bands ended up hating Rolling Stone and refusing to work with the magazine.
Enter Crowe, Rolling Stone's new freelancer, a 16-year-old music fanatic who would bridge the gap between being a professional writer and a passionate fan. Music lover first, journalist second, he was the future. Because of his passion for the new music of the time, his youthful perspective, and his talent, he could land interviews and write pieces that older writers didn't want. As a teenager, he had his finger on the pulse of his generation and understood the zeitgeist of pop culture at the time in a way traditional journalists could not. And, in turn, his writing struck a chord within the younger fanbase with which the magazine had so far failed to connect.
The parallels between Crowe's story and what we aim to do for our fans at Moviepilot are many. The difference is, we don't want just one of our fans to have this opportunity - we want many of our fans to have this opportunity. Just as Rolling Stone once did, we want to discover the passionate fans of a new generation and then give them a platform to let their voices be heard. We want to support and develop the greatest writers among our readers to become influential voices in entertainment and pop culture.
Another site or print publication might say we're crazy for giving a 16-year-old kid the opportunity to write for us, cover a red carpet event, interview an A-list director, or represent us at a film festival.
We say, bring it on.
Because it's that fan, the one who is knowledgeable beyond a professional duty, who is absolutely thrilled to be able to speak to his or her favorite director, actor, or actress that we want doing the interview. Not the jaded industry vet going through the motions. The same goes for our in-house staff. We look for the true fans; we want people who live and breathe movies and pop culture. The medium of print magazines and newspapers may be dying, but there's still plenty of room for quality writing and magazine-like journalism online. It's not gone; it has simply moved. And the tone is changing.
Today's young fans, the coveted demographic that drives the movie business right now, are tired of snark. They're tired of cynicism and rampant negativity. When they share things on social media, it's because it's something they like, that they find funny, cool, or engaging, something they're passionate about.
So we're hard at work building the go-to platform for a new generation of moviegoers and fans and encouraging them to write, videoblog, create art, listicles, cover reviews, news, and interviews. We look for writers, staff or otherwise, contributors, and creators who create content about the things they love, that they deeply care about, who are honest and unique and have something to say.
Because fans aren't just the future - fans are the right now. And among them there are some talented writers, true diamonds in the rough. It's our goal at Moviepilot to identify and develop these creators and help them to become some of the greatest influences of their generation.
And we dare say that some of the best, most unique voices in entertainment journalism of the next few decades will one day look back at Moviepilot and say, “This is where it all started.”
Start writing for Moviepilot today. You're just one click away.