The mail today included a notice that Film Score Monthly, a magazine I’ve written for, is one issue away from Issue Last. Printing costs killed it, despite cost-cutting measures put into place during the past year. FSM began in 1990 as a few Xeroxed sheets written by Lukas Kendall, then a high schooler; it grew from there, with more fans, more collaborators, and eventually (the big time!) advertisers…plus much beautifully bitchy, prickly, hilarious commentary on the use of music in films. (Appropriate for the often prickly, bitchy people of the film scoring industry, come to think of it…)
I discovered FSM in 1994, and very quickly got copies of every issue from #22 (Lukas’s pick for when it actually became a worthwhile publication) onward. By 1995, I was contributing articles and reviews; in 1996, Lukas (I’ve called him “Mr. Kendall,” and he’s younger than I am!) helped me get interviews with composers Michael Kamen and Paul “12 Monkeys” Buckmaster, so I could quote them in my college thesis on the use of music in Terry Gilliam’s films.
And Lukas Kendall has done very well for himself, too. He got into CD production, starting in 1993 when he wrote liner notes for that big 4-CD box set of original Star Wars trilogy music; more recently he worked to restore and release Alex North’s landmark music for Cleopatra. While still in college he started an FSM CD company, and while at the time he didn’t plan on becoming a full-time producer, he did; FSM has issued 120 CDs since 1996, representing over 150 films and TV shows. So far. That’s because the music-release side of FSM became the moneymaker, and while the physical publication is going away, the music company is going to do just fine. So will the website, filmscoremonthly.com: “We will maintain our Internet presence, and if anything increase it,” Kendall wrote in his letter to the subscribers.
(As a “thank you”/easing of the pain for subscribers, we can cash in our remaining subscriptions for FSM CDs. I’m eligible for three. These are damn well put-together collections of big, dramatic music. Trust me: this is my crack. In high school I wasn’t rocking out to Metallica or Motley Crue, but to “Attack of the Batwing” by Danny Elfman, Bernard Herrmann’s brutal “Death Hunt” from On Dangerous Ground or Kamen’s beautifully mad and baroque Baron Munchausen score. Now I’ll get more of this. Heck, I can even get the full score to On Dangerous Ground…)
I’m fond of this magazine, and proud that I added to it. It sucks that it’s going away, but it taught me a lot, it gave me an outlet for my writing and one of my hobbies, and it even proved that excellent composer Elliot Goldenthal is intelligent and articulate when hammered out of his gourd. (Lukas interviewed him in 1993 while the composer was oh so drunk. “You can sort of tell from the transcript; it’s really obvious on tape,” he later said.)
FSM is dead. Long live FSM.