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A TALK WITH THE FATHER OF 'THE GODFATHER'

Why would a big-time Hollywood filmmaker create a Web site for no-name, would-be writers? To find out more about Francis Ford Coppola's new project at http://workshop.lather.com, Business Week Production Copy Chief Larry Dark recently interviewed the Oscar-winning producer and director via E-mail. Here's how it went:

Q: What were you hoping to create and get out of this site? What was your motivation for creating it?
A:
To access the great writing talent that must be out there, lurking in anonymity since no one will read their work, evaluate it, give them encouragement and putting them together with others of a like sort. As a company: To give us the first shot at great new writing.

Q: How would you assess the range of quality of the writing on the site?
A:
Like all art, you respond to life. If there's something alive, memorable, beautiful, that connects with you, that's what you are looking for.

Q: Does the subject matter of the stories reflect on the medium? The Internet?
A:
No, the stories are from their hearts -- the Net is just a medium.

Q: Are there types of stories or subjects that are common among the postings?
A:
So far, I wouldn't be able to say.

Q: Do you expect to check the site and read the stories often? Do you check the ratings and tend to read the higher-rated stories?
A:
Don't want to disclose the latter. Yes, I visit the site and chat with the members.

Q: Is there a story now posted that you think is particularly good and has a good chance of making it into the magazine?
A:
I haven't read all of them but I've read some quality stories.

Q: Is Zoetrope All-Story committed to publishing in its print version any of these stories?
A:
No, we are not committed. That is the at the discretion of our editor, Adrienne Brodeur.

Q: Do you see potential in the Internet as a medium for fiction outside of the print version of the magazine?
A:
Obviously, it is a new kind of publishing. In our case, we are an on-the-air magazine that is being contributed to and edited collaboratively by the workshop members. Something new under the sun.



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