Heather Norris Nicholson
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The rise of a hobby press
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Chapter 3 traces the development of a specialist hobby literature that was written by, for and about amateur film practitioners and their films. Focusing primarily but not exclusively on Britain’s two key serial publications, Amateur Cine World and its successor Movie Maker, this discussion explores the hobby or advisory press as a important and evolving source of contemporary written and visual comment on recreational film practice. Discussion acknowledges the self-promotional tone, its enthusiasm and self-advocacy, its wartime morale-boosting, its balance between humour, practical tips, news and analysis, and also its wider role in strengthening the direction, purpose, integrity and reputation of the hobby. From how film practitioners wrote about their interests, and sought to inform, sustain and stretch their readers’ cinematic and visual practice derive important insights into the aesthetics of amateur activity, its relationship with professional cinema, newsreel, television and advertising, men and women’s involvement, the role of competitions, international connections, and the interplay of technology, social, economic, cultural and ideological influences upon a specific leisure activity as cine equipment gained wider social use in different settings.

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Amateur film

Meaning and practice, 1927–77


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