The Digital Companion

The online journal to Offscreen — for all the things that don’t fit into the magazine. We regularly publish behind-the-scenes posts about the making of an indie magazine. Why not grab the RSS feed and follow along?

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Another issue in the making, another donation to the World Land Trust. You can help, too!

I remember when I first came across Ugmonk’s website. It wasn’t just the beautiful products that drew me in, it was the story behind them.

What seemed like quite a big fashion label at first, turned out to be a one-man show. Reading through Jeff’s journey, taking Ugmonk from side-gig to full-time job, running the entire operation from his parents’ basement, I felt inspired to create my own thing, too. A bit envious about what Jeff had created, I bought a tee (the Mountains shirt) to see what the fuss was all about.

The fascination with real products and creating my own brand lay dormant for another two years, when in 2011 I stumbled across a few magazines which reignited my enthusiasm for making something physical and selling it online. And the rest is history, as they say.

Ever since I first saw it, the Ugmonk brand has been a huge inspiration — and continues to be, as Jeff is launching more amazing products and is giving back with fundraisers.

That first shirt I bought from Jeff became one of my favourites, not least because it reminded me of Jeff’s story and what a single person can achieve if you work hard and don’t lose focus. And that’s why it’s such a pleasure and honour to announce the Mountains-Offscreen Bundle. For one week only, you can grab the legendary Mountains Tee, plus a copy of any available issue of Offscreen for just $32 (plus shipping). Needless to say, it makes for a great gift, too. So don’t miss out!

Issue No9 is still a while away, but I managed to secure the sponsors for this issue very early. As usual, I’m super proud and grateful for having the following companies support my efforts in making a great mag for you all:

What I learned about public speaking so far

As I’m going through a pile of receipts to prepare my taxes (the Australian financial year ends in June — we’re weird like that), I’ve just realised that I’ve been doing quite a bit of public speaking these last 12 months. Considering that I always thought of myself as an introvert — and still do — I’m just wondering how that happened.

Had you asked me two years ago to do a talk in front of 250 people, you probably would have seen me faint before you finished your question. So what changed? Not entirely sure, but here’s what I’ve learned about public speaking so far:

  • Speaking in front of crowds is a million times easier if you talk about something that you created and only you know most about. While I wouldn’t feel confident enough to do a one hour talk on publishing or editing or design by itself, I can very easily talk about how I did all of these things as part of creating Offscreen. There is no right or wrong, because Offscreen is what it is. You might have a different, more efficient process, but I have proven that what I do works for me. That simple truth gives me enough credibility to go on stage and talk about it. Seems obvious? It wasn’t to me, until I tried.
  • I have never met a speaker that wasn’t nervous before going on stage, no matter if it’s their first or their hundredth gig. Sweaty palms belong to public speaking like bacon to egg.
  • On a similar note, while walking on stage it’s totally normal to have thoughts like “Holy balls, what the heck was I thinking when I said ‘yes’ to this?!” In most cases this feeling turns into a “Hell yeah, that was awesome!” when you walk off. Talks are emotionally draining.
  • A few seconds of silence in between slides feel totally natural to the audience, yet extremely awkward to the speaker. It’s hard but important to remember that when on stage.
  • Strangely, I find speaking in front of larger groups (100+ people) easier than smaller ones. In an intimate classroom setting you have direct eye contact with pretty much everyone, which is hugely distracting. There is always that one person that is bored to death waiting to throw you for a loop.
  • Getting good feedback after a talk makes public speaking highly addictive. Getting no feedback at all, however, leaves you wondering if you put everyone to sleep and makes you want to never do it again. I therefore always tell people that I appreciated their talk if that’s the case and I get a chance. I now know that it feels amazing getting the thumbs up.
  • To conference organisers: before your event starts, get all the speakers on stage and let them introduce themselves in 10 seconds each. This way everyone in the room knows the face of each speaker and can ask questions before and after their talk. It just helps break the ice a bit.
  • So far, I have never been paid a fee to speak (unless it was a guest lecture at a college), and I don’t mind at all. I’m aware that my talk is kind of a promotion for the magazine anyway. Of course, this is different for a lot of other speakers out there. I found that not being paid a fee also lowers the pressure to provide ‘a great show’.
  • Last but absolutely not least: I love meeting readers face-to-face. There’s nothing better than attaching a real face to these Twitter avatars. And it’s a great reminder of why I started Offscreen in the first place!

Speaking of speaking: I’ll be doing another talk at this year’s The Modern Magazine conference in London in September. Come!

As you may know, I’ve recently opened up our Patron program for the upcoming issue No9. Around half of the slots are gone already, but we still have 13 to go. To sweeten the deal, I’m delighted to say that we’re giving away a couple of great prizes amongst all 25 final patrons.

My friends from Joli Originals have chipped in a set of their beautiful Cable Wraps and our loyal give-away partners from TwelveSouth have provided one of their amazing HoverBars. (Thanks so much guys!)

All patrons (including those who already signed up) will go in the draw to win one of the two prizes. Winners will be picked when I close the patron program or when all 25 slots are gone. Now you have even more of a reason to support Offscreen. Go sign up now!

Quick reminder that I’ll be speaking about the making of Offscreen at this year’s Forge Copenhagen on June 20th. There are still tickets left. Come and see me and much more talented folks talk about building things and being creative. Can’t wait!

I really like what Steve from Stack had to say about Offscreen in his accompanying Stack letter. I never really looked at Offscreen as a business magazine (neither does he, as he concludes). It’s certainly interesting to see how Steve (and many new readers, I’m sure) are struggling to put Offscreen in an existing category. It means I’m doing something right. :)

If you like discovering new magazines, Stack Magazines is a subscription service that makes locating exciting new publications easier by sending you a random mag every month.

I was so happy when Steve from Stack asked me if Offscreen issue No8 could be his May edition. And so a few weeks ago roughly 2,000 Stack subscribers found the newest Offscreen Magazine in their mailbox.

Steve just published a little video review in which he talks about my editor’s note and my ambitions for the magazine. I’m so glad to hear that my editor’s note was perceived as intended and I didn’t come across as too preachy.

Thanks for having me, Steve! :)

Our auction of the sold-out copies of issues No1-3 have raised a total of $311.00. It was just enough to complete the funding for Blessing, plus an additional small direct donation to Watsi. Thanks so much to all bidders, and of course, good luck to Blessing for her upcoming treatment!

The talented June Kim just sent me these lovely photos of the latest issue. Taken at Makeshift Society in San Francisco (which is also our local stockist).

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