If you’re counting, we’re up to chapter 15.
15 of 40.
Except chapter 15 dropped out.
So we’ll jump to 16 for the moment and come back to 15 when we’ve considered our options, rethought the structure and commissioned something new.
Nobody could ever predict how an edited book might turn out. Not the publishers and definitely not the editors. It’s a strange relationship, truth to be told, in which we herd, cajole, hunt, negotiate and compromise for a year or two and hope that the final thing holds together. For what it’s worth, here are some of the things we’ve learnt about editing a volume as challenging as The Routledge Companion to World Cinema.
- Make sure the publisher is responsive and right behind you, not in a pushing deadlines kind of way, but in a ‘got your back’ manner that means they’re invested and involved.
- Test the publisher’s designers. This could be as simple as checking the books on your shelves. People not only judge books by their covers but you can judge publishers by them too.
- Stock up on big names, but be prepared to negotiate and compromise with these very busy people on content, deadlines, the lot.
- Stock up on emerging scholars too. Fresh minds can often provide the most exciting chapters. Keep close to the grapevine and keep in mind impressive doctoral students from conferences.
- Give strict deadlines, with secret extensions built in.
- If also contributing a chapter, write it later rather than sooner as your chapter can often be the glue that ties others together.
- Write the introduction last.
- Let the incoming chapters dictate to some extent the structure of the book.
- If co-editing, keep checking in with each other, split the duties clearly and don’t make any decisions without consultation.
- To some extent, let the volume drift to its completion. Fire-fighting should only happen at the final proofs stage. Before then, a project like this has to be understood as organic.
So where were we?
Oh, yes, Chapter 16.
On Latin American cinema.
We asked Dolores Tierney, she agreed and a few months later we had our informed and informative, perfectly calibrated chapter. Dolores is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies in the School of Media Film and Music at Sussex University. She has published widely on Latin(o) American and Spanish media including articles in Screen, Quarterly Review of Latin American Cinema, New Cinemas, and Studies in Hispanic Cinema. She has published one single authored book on Emilio Fernandez (2007) and two co-edited anthologies Latsploitation (2009) and The Transnational Fantasies of Guillmero del Toro (2014). She is currently finishing a book on Latin American transnational cinemas.
This was her abstract.
Transnational Filmmaking in Latin American Cinema.
The early 1990s dismantling of state infrastructure and support for national film endeavours across Latin America (with the exception of Argentina), initially sent the subcontinent’s filmmaking into decline. Subsequently however, the continent has enjoyed an art cinema renaissance, with many films (La teta asustada, La libertad, No) and directors (Alonso, Trapero, Llosa, Larraín), winning critical acclaim and prizes from important international film festivals. Although, in many countries the state has returned to supporting the national cinema, (and in the case of Argentina, it never really left) via a system of grants, loans, and subsidies, it is now the case that many art cinema films can only be made thanks to a complex patchwork of transnational support from European television stations, institutions, funding bodies multilateral funding agreements, and Motion Picture Academy member companies which is actively encouraged and sought out by the state. Focusing on South America, this chapter looks at how these transnational funds work, how the state foments filmmakers’ involvement with them, and the realistic aesthetics that abound in the films that result from these partnerships. It also considers the function of realism in these films and how it may connect to the cultural imperatives of a transnationalized global film culture.
So you see, having said all that, sometimes the task is easy!