#12: Behind the scenes of Sixtysix Issue 06
A few notes on how we made this issue!
The new issue of Sixtysix was just released!
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look on how we made it.
We always stress out about the cover. Generally we look for a few things for a great cover image:
· Includes work / studio space
· Clean enough to run our masthead
· Is “pick-up-able” (old magazine logic says if someone picks your magazine up they’ll likely buy it / read it—so make sure it gets picked up).
This image of Mr. Flower Fantastic by Winnie Au checked all the boxes, and we were really happy with how it came out.
We were a little concerned that the Kobe jersey might make us seem like a sports magazine, but we thought MFF’s masked appearance and body language overpowered that. It’s a nice composition.
We wanted the purple to pop off the page and perfectly match the jersey, so we ran a PMS spot color. It’s also a new textured paper stock from Mohawk (the paper market right now is absolutely crazy), and we are obsessed.
Our cover story on Mr. Flower Fantastic was written by NYC-based writer Tasnim Ahmed.
Tasnim and our managing editor Laura Rote did an amazing job with this profile.
A major reason I still dedicate so much time to print journalism is the pace and rigor it affords you. This profile went through no less than a dozen revisions and multiple fact checks and follow-ups with MFF and his team. (Navigating a conversation with an artist who really, really, really doesn’t want to give too much detail about who he is is no small feat).
Like most stories, the final draft was improved 10 times from the first draft. Maybe even more than that. That’s almost always the case with features.
During the process I drove everyone crazy with revision requests. That’s essentially my job—to drive everyone crazy.
That type of teamwork and revision generally doesn’t happen with web stories, where you can chase a fast SEO phrase with a few hours of quick copy.
Hundreds of hours and more than a half-dozen people worked on this feature alone. I have no idea what the long-term economics of media are going to be, but I hope feature writing like this doesn’t disappear for good.
Side note: We still don’t know MFF’s real name! So I can’t tell you too much about him other than he was so nice to our entire staff and seems like a good guy. And, of course, what you can learn about him from our exclusive feature.
Laura Rote pitched Bartees earlier this year, and the timing for everything just worked out.
If you haven’t heard his music you can watch his Tiny Desk Concert he recorded at his home studio in Falls Church, Virginia, which is also where we photographed him.
Jared caught a few photos of his dog Miss Bobbie, too, so of course we had to run one.
This is the first issue where we printed all of the “In The Studio” department on glossy paper. I think it came out really nice and helps pull it out from the rest of the book.
I love comedy, so I was thrilled when Heidi Gardner from SNL agreed to let us photograph her in her Brooklyn apartment. I think she is hilarious.
Heidi is also really into fashion, so I sent her a pull letter so she could borrow some fun clothes for the shoot. I love that she’s wearing not one, but two different versions of fluffy pink slippers.
I love Noah’s opening photo. That ridiculous phone!
Now, if we can only get Bowen Yang…
I’ve wanted to get Magnus in the book for a while. His career embodies a lot of what I love about unique creative people: Gamble at starting your own weirdo clothing line, gamble again at buying a run-down old warehouse in a rough part of town, blow all your money on old cars you love—and in the end have it all work out.
We also ran a photo of Magnus’ dog Willow. I’m one step away from starting a celebrity pet magazine…
When I assigned the shoot to photographer Chantal Anderson my main direction was to capture his soft side. She nailed it.
I was on the road almost the entire production of this issue, which kept me from doing too many interviews.
Most of my contributions for this issue were completed while working on my laptop from a plastic folding table in my parent’s guest room in their Florida house. #balmain
But I did get to speak with Jannik, who has 1M followers.
I’m old, and a skeptic, and I find a lot of the streetwear chatter obnoxious and boring. But Jannik’s account stood out to me for being so fun and innocent. His photos are somehow well considered and silly at the same time and his Gramps seems like a blast.
Jannik was also really nice, which is not always the case with Instagram-y type people.
It’s funny that I interviewed two Germans in this issue.
Dirk’s motorcycles are absolutely amazing. He’s absolutely single-minded in building great bikes.
He also speaks almost no English and we had to use a weird translation app to make this happen. Is he friendly? Talkative? I don’t really know. But damn these bikes are fine!
I love Neri&Hu’s work (I just got these lights) and have been wanting to tour their Shanghai studio.
To share a touch of gossip, we had a ton of trouble with this feature.
It’s not easy to shoot in China right now. We were finally able to manage COVID and travel restrictions and tour their Shanghai studio, but after all that we ended up not being able to run the images.
It’s a long story (our fault) and kind of a bummer.
We ended up running supplied art, but their work is so great I think the feature still works. Plus, the story is fantastic.
Viet was another one of Laura Rote’s pitches, and we were thrilled when he agreed to let us into his home for a tour.
Viet’s really into cocktails, and we originally had this whole “drinking at home with Viet” angle, but we eventually scrapped it.
If you’re not familiar with Viet, he’s a guy who worked for years and years and years writing a book, and when he finally published it won a Pulitzer Prize! It’s such an amazing story.
I did terrorize Laura Rote a bit before the interview by asking her, “Are you prepared to interview someone so brilliant? What can you even ask him?” Ha!
It was worth it, and their conversation turned into a great feature.
I have been wanting to publish more of the design work coming out of India.
This is the work of Utharaa L. Zacharias and Palaash Chaudhary, designers from Kochi. Their work is really nice. They told us if they’ve had a good day they like to celebrate by “dancing inside with the lights off.” Also nice.
Maybe when the world calms down I can go for a visit (admittedly I had to look Kochi up on map).
There’s lots more in this issue, you’ve got to see it for yourself.
Sixtysix Issue 06 is available now on our website and newsstands worldwide.
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