theurbanwire.com: the 14th edition







HP Webmasters Interview

Jenna B.
DanRadcliffe.com

By Mary-Ann Russon UrbanWire
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3 Days before Daniel Radcliffe's birthday, we speak with the founder of DanRadcliffe.com, the leading fan site on the web dedicated specially to Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.

Jenna B. is a college student majoring in Communications at Florida Atlantic University. Together with a team of dedicated fans, Jenna keeps DanRadcliffe.com updated daily with exclusive Harry Potter-related audio and print coverage from around the world. They also bring fans across the globe together in a new project through interactive sections, for example, a section on Dan's favourite hobbies and how fans can pick them up, to How-Tos on becoming an actor and getting an agent, to e-cards, newsletters and calendar updates on Dan's appearances.

UrbanWire chats online with Jenna to find out how she managed to set up a site which takes up so much server space that it is - in her own words - roughly the size of the state of California.

When was DanRadcliffe.com started, and how did it begin?
Why did you decide to make a whole site about Daniel Radcliffe?
How did your staff get involved, and how do you communicate and work with them?
What are some of the big events you've attended because of DanRadcliffe.com?
How did you get invites to these events?
Have you met Daniel Radcliffe? If so, how many times?
Do you know other HP webmasters, like Melissa Anelli & Heidi Tandy, for example?
What future plans do you have for DanRadcliffe.com?
Well, don't keep us in suspense, what is it?
Wow - how did you come up with this idea?
So how does one get a copy of Aced?



UrbanWire: When was DanRadcliffe.com started, and how did it begin?

Jenna B.: "December 2001. The website started as a simple fact page on Daniel with a few photos from the movie. Then I started doing more research so I could add more information. I gathered more photos, articles and interviews, and the site progressively grew larger. About a year after I started [the site] I added our forum, which has grown tremendously since its opening. Right now we have close to 7,000 registered members, [and] when we first started out I think we had about 300. In the past year and a half we have added many features, such as Dan's Corner, Radnet Cafe, DR-TV, Calendar, and DR.com Newsletter."


UrbanWire: Why did you decide to make a whole site about Daniel Radcliffe?

Jenna B.: "When I first started out I really didn't want to do a general Harry Potter website, I wanted to do something different. I have always felt Dan did a tremendous job portraying Harry Potter, and he has always been very impressive in the way he handles interviews and the public in general.

"He has an honest and genuine nature which I think is exceptional, considering the magnitude of his fame and fortune, and yet his character has still been completely untouched and unspoiled. His generosity and kindness are …[superseded] only by his charm and his obvious concern and awareness of the world around him.

"I have been running this website since the release of the very first Harry Potter movie and I can only say, with every year that passes it has become more evident to me, there is no other person I can think of more deserving of my time and dedication than he."


UrbanWire: For such a big site, you must have a team of staff to help you. How did they get involved, and how do you communicate and work with them?

Jenna B.: "They all contacted me about being on the staff, with the exception of my system administrators. We get requests on a daily basis from people wanting to join the staff here on DanRadcliffe.com. Basically we have a staff community on the forum for staff to discuss things on the site in a "group" environment. I send out staff group e-mails when we do site projects to update everyone on the progress.

"My main source of support is my co-webmaster Allo. She and I basically do everything on the main site. She is the only other person, other than myself, that even has access to updated news or anything else. She started working with me before we were DanRadcliffe.com. She had sent me some photos for the website, and we started chatting from there. Now we talk on the phone, chat, e-mail... she has basically become a best friend. I'd be lost without her.

"I suppose the main thing keeping everyone on the staff together is me, really, because some staff really don't communicate with [each other]. For example, my translators do not talk to my forum moderators as they have different functions. Everyone is kind of busy doing their bit of the puzzle. It's like a well-organised machine and every piece has its place in the operation of the whole. Some of those parts may never work together but they all support one another to get the wheels turning and keep them going. I know a lot of people refer to the staff of a website as a necessity because they need them to keep their website functioning, but I need them because they have really become like a second family to me. I can't think of a more loyal or supporting staff [members] than those I have been blessed with."


UrbanWire: What are some of the big events you've attended because of DanRadcliffe.com?

Jenna B.: "Our website was represented by one of my staff at the New York premiere for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. We took photos, did a few interviews and wrote up a report. Since then I have travelled to London and visited the set of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the end of the production. While there I met and interviewed Dan, which was a really fantastic experience. This year I had staff attend the New York premiere and press conference on behalf of the site and myself and staff also attended the London premiere."


UrbanWire: How did you get invites to these events?

Jenna B.: "I was introduced to my first Warner Brothers contact by a producer friend of mine. After that everything sort of blossomed. I work with various people in Warner Bros. and have received invitations from them. I remember when I first started talking to the people over at Warner Bros I felt so nervous every time (this was a few years ago) and I would almost feel sick right before I dialled the number. Of course, after overcoming that initial nervousness everything was fine, and everyone I have talked to or worked with at Warner Bros has always been extremely nice and helpful."


UrbanWire: Have you met Daniel Radcliffe? If so, how many times?

Jenna B.: "Yes I have met him. I met him once last November (November 2003) on the set of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and I have received communication from him from time to time since then."


UrbanWire: Do you know other HP webmasters, like Melissa Anelli & Heidi Tandy, for example?

Jenna B.: "I got to know both of them through the website. Sometimes I send them tips on news or send them new pictures that I post up. Heidi actually lives close to me and we recently met for lunch and watched POA together for the 4th time each I think. Both Melissa and Heidi are extremely nice. I love them! They are great for bouncing ideas off as well. I have also met Emerson, who runs MuggleNet, and Jeff, the webmaster of HPANA. I know quite a lot of webmasters actually, like Matthew from Veritaserum, Hirame from Charmed by Dan, and Greg from The Snitch.co.uk."

UrbanWire: What future plans do you have for DanRadcliffe.com?

Jenna B.: "I have many plans coming up for DanRadcliffe.com. We are working on optimising all of the sections in the site, [and] are taking baby steps to really bring something unique to the table that has never been seen before in a fan-site - which brings me to Dan's birthday project.

"The first time we did a birthday project it was a scrapbook to Dan for his 14th birthday. Of course, this was not accessible for fans to see online. This time around, for Dan's 15th birthday, not only will Dan get a printed copy for himself, but the fans will also [get] the online version of what we did for Dan's birthday. The online version will [go] live on July 23rd [Daniel's birthday].

"We were basically looking to do something that had never been done before for anyone, anywhere. It is for Dan's birthday so everything will obviously be geared towards things Dan likes, but we also wanted to mix that in a way as to also appeal to guys and gals from all different types of cultures, age groups and interests. Not only is this a project for his birthday, but it is also an opportunity for fans as this section on the site will only grow and expand. As we move on with this feature I hope that it will grow and progress in such a way that teens and adults alike take on an entirely new perspective of media, entertainment and community. It takes on a new approach to the way we have done things in the past, and constitutes a whole new way of thinking."


UrbanWire: Well, don't keep us in suspense, what is it?

Jenna B.: "Aced Magazine - a new entertainment and lifestyle publication for Dan and [his] friends, [created from contributions from some 7,000 fans around the world], which will be released in both print and online from on 23 July. It is aimed primarily at readers in their teens and 20s but with appeal for people of all ages. This semi-annual magazine will feature celebrity and band interviews, reviews of albums, concerts, books and movies, an opinion column, original cartoons and online contests, all with direct participation from readers."


UrbanWire: Wow - how did you come up with this idea?

The Inaugural Issue of Aced Magazine

Jenna B.: "I came up with the idea for Aced as I was flipping through a copy of SPIN magazine whilst talking on the phone to a friend in London. Basically, there are all these teen magazines out there that are only about makeup and hair styles and are, quite frankly, for girls only. And then there are magazines for music and such, but much more for the "adult". I thought, "Gee I am tired of reading about "girlie" stuff all of the time and wouldn't it be nice if there were a magazine out there a guy could relate to as well?" And as I talked to more and more friends about this, I realized that there were a lot of people who agreed with this idea.

"I rounded up an editorial team comprised of members of the DanRadcliffe.com staff and forums and other friends from within the Harry Potter Internet community. The next task was to work out exactly what we were going to write about in this magazine.

"Believe it or not, the main inspiration for this magazine is Dan. We decided to write about some of the things we knew Daniel liked, because we knew a lot of his fans, our potential readers, would be interested in reading about them too, and we also wanted to print things that we thought would be of interest to him. Who better to write for the "typical teenager" than teenagers?

"This magazine is not run for profit. All monies collected from sales and advertising go towards operational expenses such printing and shipping. If, by any chance, there's any money left over, it will be donated in one lump sum to the Demelza House charity [Daniel's favourite charity]."

UrbanWire: So how does one get a copy of Aced?

Jenna B.: "I printed a limited edition - there were 35 copies printed the first time around. Hopefully, ads permitting, I will be able to print more next [time to] go round. Now that I have added quite a few people to the staff I won't have to write most everything and I can focus on the areas lacking before, advertising being the major area. I ended up paying half of all printing costs for the 35 that were printed. All the staff who worked full time on ACED will get a copy, as well as [the] 5 lucky fans who win the "Where in the World is Dan Radcliffe" contest lucky draw.

On Dan's birthday I posted up an online preview to ACED Magazine. The official website for ACED will launch next week. The online version will contain features, reviews, articles and things from the printed version, but it will also contain its own material, in addition [to] what was printed. ACED online will be updated regularly and will host projects for fans to contribute to the next printed version of ACED as well.

All photos courtesy Jenna B.

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