The Department of English & Comparative Literature is home to a new undergraduate journal! Aspect: Journal of Film & Screen Media, which is a part of the Film Studies concentration within the ECL major, launched this fall. Aspect is “a student-led journal for criticism of film, television, video games and other screen-based media.” The journal publishes an annual volume of scholarly essays, as well as reviews, coverage of local festivals and events, top ten lists and more.
Last spring, ECL Professors Martin Johnson and Rick Warner began discussing and planning the possibility of an undergraduate film journal with several undergraduates. They currently serve as advisors for the journal. The journal’s editorial board consists of the founding undergraduate members: managing editors Veronica Chandler, Josh Martin, and Macy Meyer, as well as the designer, developer, and copy editor Halynna Snyder.
We talked with two of the managing editors of Aspect, Veronica Chandler and Josh Martin, about the process of creating and running the journal.
How did Martin Johnson and Rick Warner aid you in the process of creating this journal?
Veronica Chandler: “Both Professor Johnson and Professor Warner have been invaluable resources on how to make the site look professional and how to draft a style guide. They have also placed a lot of trust in us with the content we can publish on the site. During my time at UNC-CH, I have been in both of their classes and they are great teachers.”
Josh Martin: “Professor Johnson and Professor Warner have been essential [to] the process of getting this journal started. Prof. Johnson was one of the first people to discuss the possibility of a film studies journal; these conversations began in early spring … As the idea of the journal expanded and solidified, Prof. Warner emphasized the importance of assembling and editing an annual scholarly volume of essays, which comprised the bulk of our material at launch.”
How is the journal related to your personal and/or career interests?
Chandler: “I aspire to be a film producer and screenwriter. My involvement with the journal has taught me how to organize my thoughts and pitch my ideas in a succinct and professional manner. It has also taught me the value of collaborating with a team, which is a skill that is prized in any line of work.”
Martin: “I’ve been a film critic for several years, both professionally and non-professionally. I’ve written for Film Inquiry, Inside the Film Room, a personal blog, and I’m a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association, an organization of professional critics located in North Carolina. Writing and thinking about film has been a part of my life for a long time. Despite this background, I’ve recently attempted to shift from popular reviews to more academic criticism, as I’m planning to apply to graduate schools in film studies. Working as an editor for Aspect has given me a chance to think about film in a critical way, but it has also given me essential experience as an editor of work that isn’t exclusively my own.”
What are your long-term goals for the journal?
Chandler: “I want contributors to feel comfortable pitching their ideas to our editing team. I am very excited about the Shot-Countershot section on the website. The section is a designated space where students can debate topics in film, television, and videogames. My long-term goal is to have that slot filled with all kinds of pieces so readers can read either side of a highly contested issue.”
Martin: “I’m graduating in November/December of this year, so I’ve been thinking about the journal in a much more immediate sense (though I do hope to help out if I have time in the spring). That being said, I’d love to see Aspect flourish as a journal for a long time after the initial editing team graduates. I want this to be a space for film students to share their work, grappling with major issues in film culture, especially in conjunction with the expanding cultural scene of the Triangle. If Aspect becomes an institution at UNC, I’ll be really pleased.”
Aspect publishes an annual volume of critical essays selected by faculty advisors and journal editors, and accepts film reviews, editorials/opinion pieces, and festival coverage on a rolling basis. If you’d like to pitch an article, please check out the submission guidelines and Aspect‘s style guide. Direct any pitches, submissions, or questions about the journal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow @unc_aspect on Instagram to keep up with upcoming events and pieces!