Support Linotype: The Film

Posted on 12 August 2011 in:

“Linotype: The Film” Interview Excerpts from Linotype: The Film on Vimeo.

Dough Wilson, director of the upcoming Linotype: The Film, has just launched a Kickstarter project to help him and his team get over the top. If all goes well, the film should premiere in 2012. I kicked in $50 because Dough is pretty awesome, and because Linotype: The Film is a documentary that I want to see.

Here is the info straight from Doug:

Linotype: The Film is a feature-length documentary centered around the Linotype typecasting machine. Called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, the Linotype revolutionized printing and society. Very few people know about the inventor, his fascinating machine, or the revolution it sparked. The Linotype brought about a change in communication as dramatic as Twitter today.

The film tells the surprisingly emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world. We have discovered that the Linotype was more than just a machine – it was a career, a skill, and a passion. Even in the face of modern technology, many still believe it to be the best way to create beautiful typography.

Although the film is about a machine from the past, we have found that the Linotype is still a relevant piece of printing technology that has something to say about the future of communication and news.

Current Film Status

After the original successful Kickstarter campaign, we spent six months traveling the United States and Germany interviewing people and gathering amazing footage for the film. We have interviewed 45 people and had 26 separate shoots. Now that shooting is complete, we are in need of funds to finish post-production.

Because of the generous support of our initial Kickstarter backers, we were able to expand the scope of the film to include people and locations not in our original plan. This has been extremely beneficial and has guaranteed that our production will be the definitive film on the subject.

Why We Need Your Help

Honestly, our original film budget was a bit naive. Thankfully, the Kickstarter community gave above and beyond our goal and the money raised was exactly the amount of money we needed to fund the filming portion of the film.

Post-production is where the film really takes shape. We need your help with the expenses of editing, color-correction, sound mixing, motion graphics, music acquisition and archival footage. With your help, we can deliver the highest quality production possible.

The film will premiere in early 2012 and screenings of the film will tour around the world shortly thereafter. The DVD will be released in the spring of 2012.

A few of the people we have interviewed

  • Matthew Carter – type designer & former Linotype employee
  • Frank Romano – preeminent Linotype historian
  • Carol Knopes – former editor at USA Today
  • Carl Schlesinger – former New York Times Linotype operator
  • Bill Boarman – Head Printer of the United States
  • Nadine Chahine – type designer & Arabic specialist at Linotype
  • Klaus Trefzer – curator of German Linotype museum

In 1886 a German watchmaker named Ottmar Mergenthaler changed the world by inventing the Linotype machine. Called “The Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, the Linotype revolutionized printing and society.

Suddenly, newspapers could be printed daily, books could be produced faster and cheaper, and one typesetter could do the work of six men composing type by hand. The Linotype sparked an increase in speed of communication that can only be compared to the invention of the internet. It can be said that the Linotype was the Twitter of 1886.

Although these machines were revolutionary, new technology began to supersede the Linotype in the 1960s, and over the following decades they were scrapped and melted down by the thousands. Today, very few machines are still in existence.

The Linotype Today

The highly skilled operators of the Linotype are in a battle against time. If their skills are not passed along to a new generation of operators, the machine will die out completely. This stalwart group of former operators, historians, book printers, graphic designers, and concerned folks are doing everything they can to save the Linotype from the scrap yard.

Some see this as a fool’s errand, or as a hobby for those remembering their glory days. And some say it’s more than that…

Here’s the Kickstarter link one more time: