“Yeah, Rupert!!! Weeeeeee…. I’m hungry.” (AJ, slightly off-topic)
As you know, Ice Cream Man operates by the motto “For the fans, by the fans”, so we decided to give you an exclusive look “behind the scenes” of our website for this first edition of Grintastic!
All of us staffers are huge Rupert Grint fans from all over the world (in case you want to know more about us, go here) and all of us are doing this for fun.
This means we are forced to juggle working on the site with our private lives, which happen to include work/school and family, so occasionally one of us has to take a few days off because a kid is ill or because an exam is coming up.
It also means that we’re doing this not only for free, but actually have to pay for things like our host, new layouts, travels and also for some of those high-res pictures everyone enjoys most.
Being fans also means that we’re forced to switch between the fan-mode (“THUNDER THIGHS!!!”) and professional-mode (“Inquiry: Interview with Robert Sheehan”) when we are writing official emails while browsing the forums at the same time.
As all of us live in different places and time zones, we have the advantage that we can almost always have a staffer online; but it also makes things difficult when the person you desperately need to talk to is asleep.
When you’re a staffer, one of the most important things is, of course, posting news. So, whenever you’re online, you need to simultaneously
- check your emails regularly for “Submit News” emails,
- browse the forums,
- read the comments (in case someone posts news there,
- browse our partner websites, and
- google for news,
because you never know where the news might appear.
Once news come up (and it deserves a “New Post” instead of an “Update”), the panic begins (as Neglo put it once, “I was literally shaking when I typed that up!”). Sometimes, when we decide that a news piece is not too urgent, or needs checking, one staffer will prepare the draft and then someone else will take over and publish it later.
The staff exchange about 127 emails a day (!), not to mention PMs, text messages, and an occasional panicky phone call.
“Jo you made me a mod, I think. But I don’t see any of the controls or anything like that. What does the plus next to people’s names mean?” (Dove, on being a forum moderator)
Aside from that, we’re also busy reading the forum threads, posting ourselves and answering questions, PMing and giving out passwords. You all know how busy the forums are, so imagine you are almost obliged to read everything to capture news, keep track of discussion, calm people down, dismiss rumours, set things right, or try to help people find links or pictures. Sometimes you can even pick up ideas for things you might do in the future on the site (and be assured, some of things you are/have been talking about are currently in the process of coming to life).
Next are the regular updates on the site. These include: redoing the Gallery (which went slightly wonky during the Berlinale frenzy and eventually crashed a few weeks ago), updating the Rave Reviews (whenever a new review appears), updating the Media Section (and converting the files into different formats so that everyone is happy), keeping the pages on the main site up to date and making sure that the Rupert Facts now include Bill Murray as one of his favourite actors.
Our other sites also need to be up-to-date, so we regularly have to work on our three Myspaces (ICM, Cherrybomb and Wild Target), Live Journal, Facebook (shamefully neglected), and now even Twitter! And from time to time, we also post our news on Popstar (We should mention here that someone actually submitted our own Popstar post to ICM as a news tip… thanks for that!)
Then there are of course the “big events” we are working on, like the Cherrybomb screenings in Berlin, Dublin and Belfast, or the Preview of the Harry Potter Exhibition. That does not just mean booking the train/plane and getting a hotel, but also scheduling the time there, organising interviews (or filming location tours) and coming up with good questions, getting tickets and background information, having technical devices (camera, camcorder and dictaphone) at the ready, and making sure that the staff at home is up to spending the day online to post news and upload the images/videos as they come.
We have already started planning the Half-Blood Prince coverage, and with three events in three consecutive days, try to imagine our current dilemma of having “only” nine staffers to cover the Japan, London and New York premieres, plus having someone online 24/7. Any ideas? Help is always appreciated!
Furthermore, we are constantly working on new things. As you can see, we have now launched Grintastic, which has been in the works for exactly a year (lol, we’re slow!). Not only did we need a layout (and had long discussions about what it should look like), but we also had to decide what to include in the first issue, and finally write up the damn articles!
A number of other things are currently in the works, none of which we can talk about just yet. These are things that take time to be set up and need a lot of organisation on our part. We don’t want to rush them either, and with the “other things” going on, those new things sometimes do have to wait. Stay tuned, though, and you’ll be in for some surprises in the future.
“Karma is a b*tch.” (Ivana, re: someone-who-must-not-be-named)
To give you an impression of how we work, here are some scenarios that have happened in the past three months:
1) 6am, you have just gotten up to go to work and you go online before even taking a shower. Tired as you are, you check if any of the bands from the Cherrybomb soundtrack have replied to your emails yet, and there is indeed a message, from none other than David Holmes: “Call me tonight at 7pm Belfast time, and I’ll do your interview”. That’s less than 14 hours, and you’re gonna spend 9 of them at work. Send message to staff: “HELP! I need questions!”
2) It is 10am on a February morning, you’re in the middle of a hospital ward round with Senior and Chief Consultant. Your mobile beeps (embarrassing enough) no less than 3 times. All of them texts from Jo, who is trying to secure tickets for the Cherrybomb World Premiere:
Text No1: “Site’s down! Can’t order tickets!”
Text No2: “All sold out! Didn’t get tickets!”
Text No3: “DID YOU GET THAT!!!”
3) It is 10pm, February, and you have only slept four hours total for the past three nights because you were doing stuff for the site. Jo sends a message to all staff: “Unfortunately Rupert won’t be able to come to Dublin because he’s filming, but GUESS WHAT!!!! RUPERT JUST FINISHED A PHOTOSHOOT AND INTERVIEW!!! And we’ll get more information on that tomorrow, including a PICTURE!”
A few hours later (after almost no sleep due to excitement of the upcoming news), you’re at work. A helpful text from Jo, whom you had asked to text you about the news as soon as they come up: “THE PICTURE!!!” And this is supposed to help you spend the next five hours WITHOUT internet???
4) After a web-free weekend in April, you’re back online and read the exciting news Ivana posted: One of us has been invited to the Preview of the Harry Potter Exhibition! Michelle manages to get off from work, and see all those Harry Potter objects before anyone else. You’re tempted to jump across the Atlantic just to hug her for this amazing opportunity.
Then you read that Michelle wonders what to wear…
5) You’re at the Belfast Film Festival and have just seen Cherrybomb with the entire (well, almost) crew in the same room. In the foyer, the Cherrybomb crew is still around and you get to talk to David Holmes and Glenn Leyburn. Some minutes later, you leave the cinema about to burst with excitement, because David and Glenn have just invited you to join them at the private aftershow party. By 2am, you and the rest of ICM girls are in the middle of the Cherrybomb crew, dancing and singing: “Hello daddy, hello mum, Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-CHERRYBOMB!!!”
Many of you have little idea of all the hard work done behind the scenes, because you only get to see the final product after weeks or months of work. In a way, it feels weird, because you, as the members of “ICM Street Team” and “Rupert’s Army” contribute more than you might realise to help with what this site is, and what we have been able to do. That is why we owe you a big THANK YOU!
We hope you continue to enjoy visiting ICM, and any ideas, thoughts and criticism are always welcome.
Stay tuned for what’s to come, and don’t forget to Keep Calm And Carry On!
Your Ice Cream Team