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Pulping FSM Backissues

Here’s an unhappy memory: taking Film Score Monthly overstock back issues to the recycling center.

I always tried to print the FSM magazine—and, for that matter, our CD releases—in large-enough quantities that they wouldn’t become ridiculously expensive collectors’ items. I wanted people to be able to afford them.

But more times than not, we made too many, and there are still hundreds of copies of some CDs at Screen Archives.

As for the backissues, the good news is that we have a complete, free pdf library of all the print issues on our website. The search engine always ends up crapping out, but the issues are all there. Many thanks to our longtime art director Joe Sikoryak for doing this massive scanning and archiving project.

When we had our Culver City office (1999–2005), we quickly outgrew the space (because of all the CD releases) and rented storage units around the block—first one, then two.

I drove a two-door, stick-shift Subaru Impreza for some 25 years, which was a terribly inconvenient car for transporting boxes. Nonetheless I used it to schlep boxes of magazines and CDs in and out of storage as the need arose. (This is giving me flashbacks.)

When we left the Culver City office, I rented a tiny, one-person space in Hollywood, at “Television Center” on Cahuenga—but I kept the storage unit. Eventually, however, spending hundreds of dollars every month to store stuff that we’d never need or sell grew frustrating. (All our CDs were with SAE by then.) The biggest use of space were the FSM backissues.

So I remember a very painful day of taking a van full of FSM backissues to a recycling center in Santa Monica. I remembering thinking, okay, I’ll just keep one box of each issue. I don’t think the above picture is from that day, but it might be.

These were my babies, my dear creations, that I had carefully moved around for years—and I had to just put blinders on and trash them. It sucked!

In 2011, I moved in with my girlfriend (now my wife) in Los Feliz and I moved out of the Television Center office at the same time—and I really wanted to completely get out of the storage space in Culver City, too. It was a money drain and bad karma.

My friends at La-La Land Records very generously let me use a couple of pallets in their back storeroom to keep my old FSM junk. They’re good guys! So I again downsized the FSM backissues. I was like, okay, I’ll just keep 20 of each issue.

I think the above picture (dated October 24, 2013) is from a subsequent consolidation of the inventory at La-La Land, when I said, okay, I’ll keep five copies of each issue.

When our kids (twins) were born in 2014, in the weeks before our apartment became baby-land, I did a massive scanning project of dozens of bankers boxes I had of magazine and CD production files. I bought an EPSON DS-510 scanner (good machine!) and spent maybe three weeks just methodically scanning everything. I’m glad I did!

When our kids started to crawl and walk, my wife and I realized we had to get out of Los Feliz—the apartment and neighborhood were not kid-friendly—and we rented a lovely house in South Pasadena, where we still live. Around the same time, the La-La Land guys told me that they needed the room, and I said of course I would get all my junk out of there.

And I went through the backissues and said, “Okay, I’ll keep two copies of each issue.” Which is what I did.

Except, I should add, for the “original” black-and-white issues (1990–1996), which still have sentimental value for me. Those I saved and have in our garage.

I don’t think there’s really a point to this story except that time moves on and I’ve always been grateful for technology that lets us keep the print library on a website.

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