For the sake of transparency, I’d like to write about how we chose the 2012 Fight Boredom Zine Residency participants. You can view the application on the website here. The idea was based on the zine residency program at the Roberts Street Social Centre in Halifax (which I’ve been accepted to – I’ll be in Halifax for the last two weeks of July). I travel around a lot for zinefests and stuff, and I thought it was about time people made their way to Montréal.
As soon as I announced the residency, applications started coming in. We received twenty-eight applications in all – twenty-six via email and two via snail mail. A few days after the May 1st deadline, Stefanie and I sat down to look through all of ’em. Some people were automatically eliminated. We decided that it wouldn’t be fair to consider the three applications that came in past the deadline. We also eliminated a few applications that we felt had no correlation whatsoever with Fight Boredom Distro’s submission guidelines, nor the Ste-Émilie Skillshare’s mandate. When it got down to it, there were still about twenty projects that we were totally in love with, and we realized it was gonna be a very difficult task. We then eliminated “applications” that weren’t really applications. Some people just emailed a couple of paragraphs about themselves and their zines, and even though they seemed like really great people, it was important to us that the applications be filled out properly. After all, we asked all of those questions for a reason. Having a Q&A style application made things a lot easier when we were narrowing it down to fewer participants and we wanted to check back on various information, for scheduling and the like.
We sat at the kitchen table reading over applications together. Each of us had a notepad and a pen, and as we went along, we wrote down each applicant’s name with whatever notes we thought were relevant, plus a Yes, No, or Maybe. Afterward, we compared our Yes, No, Maybe lists to each other’s. This is when things got really, really tricky. We’d narrowed it down to about eight or nine people, however we each had the same three “strong yeses”. And all three of them were only available during the same time period in September. We knew we could only choose one. So we set that list aside for a bit, and went to work on the June and August residencies.
Our first two choices for June couldn’t make it after all – one had found a job and the other had family visiting. Our third choice was available, so they quickly applied for a passport and bought a Greyhound ticket at an advanced discount. There were two people that we were considering for August, and I went with my gut on that one – I’m really excited about the project and I feel like the Ste-Émilie Skillshare and Fight Boredom Distro are the places to make it happen. I’ve told our second choice that they can be on standby in case something were to fall through.
Back to September. This was the toughest decision to make. In the end, the person who was chosen was one of the two people who applied via snail mail. They sent us a typewritten letter in a hand-sewn envelope and they were one of the first to apply. We’d been excited about their project since the very beginning and just couldn’t resist. Our other two choices know that they will be re-considered if something falls through – we’re really sad that they can’t all be here.
I can’t stress enough how difficult the decision was. Almost everyone had excellent proposals, and I wish they could all stay at the Tulip Farm. There are some projects that I’m really stoked on and even if they can’t create them in Montréal, I wanna do whatever I can to support them and of course add them to the distro catalogue in the future. And hey, maybe we can even become pen pals! I’ve alerted those who were not chosen, and if they’d like some more information or critiques, I’m into it.
I’d like to turn this into an annual event if I’m able to. Anyone who didn’t get in this year can certainly apply next year, and so can you, dear readers. (This year’s participants are listed here).