Hello and happy new year!
This section of the site is going to be dedicated to the making of issue 04 of Letter to Jane. I felt that this is a better and more direct way to keep all the supporters and those interested on the progress of the app. So speaking of the app, I know you’d all like to know how it’s going. I’m really in the middle of all of it right now and everything is firing on all cylinders.
I know how stupid this sounds, but I’m such a work focused person I completely forgot to factor in the holidays and the fact that people will be busy with that so that was a bit of a delay, but that hasn’t stopped things. There are 9 interviews in the works right now and I’m still getting more set up. Features are being finished and this weekend I’m shooting the biggest part of the app: the video and the photos. I’ve got a great team assembled to work this weekend and I can’t wait to get to it.
The video and corresponding soundtrack have been a big struggle the past month because no matter if you’re going to be a fan of it or not, it sets a big part of the tone of the issue. I knew from the get go I didn’t want to fall in the trap that so many fashion/culture publications do with their videos. All these hip cool videos these days are fueled by having to show off merchandise and clothing lines and that really limits what you can do, and that’s why that recent video for Jalouse was so brilliant. They were able to point a finger at everyone who’s just thinking about making something viral instead or just making something good. I want to make something more real and dark, but not in a depressing or emotional way, but more similar to life without giving up any style.
Creating a more mature, personal tone with this issue has always been on my mind since the start of it. I just think it’s funny how we all get tired of watching lighthearted pop films and listening to bubblegum pop songs, we like to enjoy a great variety of moods, but I feel that so many culture magazines just stay in a pop area. Every month we flip through some stylish looking publication that updates us on how rich, beautiful people are passing their time. That’s fine and has it’s place as does everything pop, but real life can be beautiful too, and that’s what this issue is about. If you’ve seen my new project American Friend, then you are already seeing a bit of how Letter to Jane is shaping up. That project came about from working on this issue and it felt good enough on its own so I let it be that and hopefully I’ll be able to make a book out of the project next year.
Now about the meat of the app, the code. The coding is going pretty smoothly, but it’s going to other areas at the moment. I was already committed to work on the next iPad app for Port Magazine, and we’re days away from wrapping it up. A lot of my ideas on how to code Letter to Jane were worked out in this Port app. I can’t really talk too much about the app other than to say it’s gorgeous and I’m really proud to have been a part of it again, and I think everyone will be very happy that I was able to do that project and sharpen my skills some more before finishing up this issue. I’ve settled on how to lay the app out finally. It’s tough to find the balance quite honestly. I don’t want to make the app really complicated because then it just looks a mess to someone who’s new to programming. I don’t want to make everything in code, because a magazine changes grids and styles throughout so you have to do some of it graphically. I also didn’t want to make it too simple because I would be sending out sloppy code and the app wouldn’t be that dynamic.
After testing around a couple models and refining the code down with the Port app I think I found the right balance. I’ve been able to cut out a lot of needless code in this app so things will look cleaner. I’m also more acquainted with iOS 5 and coding with ARC which is pretty slick to say the least. I’m trying to write this app so that functions are self contained and you can easily see how to do things. Wondering how to play a video? It’s all right there and clearly labeled. What to play a song or change the screen a certain way? It’s all right there so you can take that block of code and apply it to your own ideas. I spent a time looking at possibly writing the app using storyboards but declined against it. If you’re using more than a couple viewcontrollers it just gets really messy.
Well I will be posting all my thoughts, updates, behind the scenes, and asking any questions here so I encourage all the donors to bookmark http://four.lettertojane.com
This seemed like a better way to keep everyone up to date rather than constantly emailing you all. For big updates I will send out an email and for specific donor levels I will be getting in touch with you soon individually. As usual thank you for your support.