Uncover the untold stories of your favourite sci-fi franchises with The Companion

Uncover the untold stories of your favourite sci-fi franchises with The Companion

Kickstarter Available Now

Digital production company and entertainment studio The Narrative, are excited to reveal The Companion, a membership-based app and website that will uncover the untold stories behind our favourite science fiction franchises across television and film.

With a Kickstarter campaign launching today, The Companion will offer a brand-new way for fans to connect with the science fiction stories they love, having assembled a team of expert researchers, writers and artists to bring exclusive interviews, in-depth analysis and original artwork to the platform. Running in 3-month content seasons, Season 1 will feature stories covering the films and shows of the 90s, with themes of robots, AI, CGI and of course, stories from the set.

Who Is Involved?

Season 1 Contributors

  • Tade Thompson is a critically acclaimed science fiction author. His novel Rosewater won the Arthur C. Clarke award in 2019, the most prestigious UK award for Science Fiction. 
  • Tom Hunter, Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
  • Bex April May, former MTV International Movies and Gaming Editor. She brings incredible in-depth perspectives in her writing as well as insightful and fun interviews from our favourite stars.
  • Hanna Flint, critic and broadcaster featured in Variety, BBC Culture, GQ, Front Row and more. She writes as passionately on the subjects of representation and diversity in the entertainment industry as she does the minutiae of sci-fi franchises.
  • Kambole Campbell, freelance journalist who has written for Little White Lies, Empire magazine, and The Independent. He will be bringing his expert knowledge and passion for anime.
  • Clarisse Loughrey, chief film critic for The Independent & regular stand-in for Mark Kermode on BBC Radio 5 Live’s ‘Kermode and Mayo’. A regular guest across BBC radio, she has written for BAFTA, GamesRadar, and Little White Lies.
  • Katherine McLaughlin, freelance writer and critic for the likes of Sight and Sound, the BFI, Vice, Dazed, The List, Film4, SciFiNow and BBC Radio Scotland, and covers film festivals around the globe including Cannes, Berlin, TIFF and Venice. 

Season 1’s Artists

  • Mike Collins, storyboard artist for Doctor Who and Good Omens amongst others. He’s also a prolific comic artist for Marvel, DC, and 2000 AD drawing Judge Dredd. Mike is illustrating an original piece for us as a Kickstarter Reward! 
  • Sam Gilbey, an amazing artist who is illustrating our print for Season 1: the 90s – also available as a Kickstarter reward! Sam is a frequent artist for film studios drawing Alien, The Avengers, Back to the Future, ET, Jurassic Park and more!
  • Max Degtyarev will be working with our staff to create an original infographic based on our 90s stories in his unique style.

The Companion will seek to challenge readers with content that explores science-fiction both old and new, to spark imagination, open up conversations, and connect with fellow fans, one franchise at a time.

“Without a doubt, science fiction has broken through into the mainstream. By every box office metric, commissioning budget or streaming figure, it’s the biggest category. Perhaps it’s because of the imaginative worlds, the questions they ask, and the ability to introduce new perspectives and yet, the genre is still perceived as a niche, even a bit weird.

 We want to change that by creating a quality platform with a premium user experience. No ads and no clickbait. Just a place to tell rich stories, feature amazing art and bring together conversation in the way the sci-fi community deserves. You have our eternal thanks for taking part.” – Lawrence Kao, CEO, The Narrative

The Kickstarter campaign will run until 28th June with an early-bird tier available now! All members will be able to choose incredible original Art Prints by Mike Collins or Sam Gilbey, in different poster sizes (A3/A2/A1) dependent on the reward tier. 

For a full list of backer rewards please visit the Kickstarter page.

The Companion – Official Website: https://www.thecompanion.app/

About The Narrative

The Companion is the sole focus of The Narrative, a digital production and entertainment studio. Previously, we created original short, mid and long-form content with major broadcasters and studios. We’re the studio behind BBC Worldwide’s first-ever digital series commission, partnered with MGM on their content platform: Stargate Command, and developed an original series for the Wizarding World platform. 

Every project we create is built on the foundation of our data driven processes, unrivalled understanding of online audiences and the platforms where they spend time. The Companion is the culmination of all of our experiences to create one sustainable platform for an awesome community: Sci-Fi fans. 


Save our print copy and thank you.


Hi, as you will tell if you have watched the above video it’s short and to the point, truth is Norwich Nights Magazine is fighting for survival in these uncertain time our slogan is and always will be that this is the magazine Norwich deserves, the magazine was started to celebrate all that Norwich has to offer and to bring gaming into the mainstream media we still hold true to those goals, currently I have been investing in producing the print copy of the magazine at my own cost, I can’t afford to do that anymore. It seems very likely that to ensure our future we need to crowdfund, we need support and make changes until we are back on our feet again. It was a difficult to make but I feel that we owe it to everyone who supports the magazine or ever has regardless of how to do everything in our power to save it and ensure the future moving forward there’s still so much we want to do but for now I am proposing for the rest of the year the magazine will be bi-monthly it cost £420.00 per issue to release the magazine in its current form, so should we not raise enough money the next step will be to move to online magazine only, which is a move I am hoping to not have to make. if you can support us in any way we would be very grateful – even just sharing social media posts helps us especially during crowdfunding campaigns.


January 2020 update and Kickstarter campaign.

Now that the Kickstarter campaign has finished, I felt it was a good time for an update. Unfortunately we didn’t meet our target and therefore got no funds from the campaign, I wanted to take this time to thank everybody who has not only supported the Kickstarter campaign but who has supported the magazine, also a huge thank you to Rob Turner from Reynard City who has backed and supported the magazine from the beginning including being our first Patreon supporter.

So where do we go from here: in one sense the failure of the crowdfunding campaign won’t have a huge effect, but it has highlighted some key areas for development, the first of which is growing the social media channels and audience, a huge thank you to everyone who supports Norwich Nights via our various social media channels your support is invaluable it is the general public and community in Norwich that enables me to bring the magazine to you, so each one of you is greatly appreciated. So, while working on our social media channels, things will continue as planned just within limits and the differences will be listed below:

The online version of the magazine will be launched on February 1 as planned, print copies may be ordered either via email or the Patreon page. A basic print copy will cost £3.50, the cost had to be recalculated to cover basic production costs, I will leave both the email address and Patreon links below.

The aim is to introduce a general print copy later in the year, when we are in a financial position to do so.

No change is planned to the content of the magazine, although initially without the extra funding it reduces the ability to pay writers for there work and costs will be initially kept as low as possible until additional funds are obtained. It is very likely there will be a future crowdfunding campaign building on the lessons learned from this one.

Also, I am considering that the printed issue of the magazine when released may be a paid magazine, production costs would be covered by sales and subscriptions rather than a combination of sources.

I am currently hoping to recruit a Sub-Editor, unfortunately now I am not in a position to pay what I would like to for this position I do think the addition of a sub-editor will have a great effect on the quality of the magazine.

As pointed out unfortunately the funds are not available at this time to pay extra writers to write for us, but if you would like to consider writing for us as an unpaid contributor, please email me with a sample of your writing.

I hope you will all continue to support the magazine, as I navigate through the issues that unfortunately many small business encounters in these economic times, I look forward to sharing The first issue of the magazine with you.

Email: norwich-nights-magazine@outlook.com

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/norwich_nights

Making the Magazine!

Given the feedback I got on the ‘How to support us’ post. I have decided to write a blog post on the process of creating Norwich Nights Magazine, the thing about the magazine and journalism industry in general is they tend to be viewed by outsiders as glamourous and mystical and extremely profitable. Don’t get me wrong they can be all those things for the very successful magazines or journalists, but honestly in my experience that takes years of hard work, luck and support from the general public (yes, you), timing is also key. If I could choose anywhere to launch a creative project, it would be Norwich. The city is ideal in terms of a supportive atmosphere to create in.

The initial decision to launch the magazine here was a natural one, I wanted the opportunity to write in three areas food, theatre and gaming so the content structure was also a straight-forward choice. But having an idea was just the beginning, I started to consider what skills I had, what contacts I had, how was I going to do this in reality, The biggest question of all how was I going to finance it and of course in the current market of magazines available what made my magazine idea different and why should people read it.

Here’s what I came up with, during my work experience with both Buzz magazine and Cardiff Times magazines I learnt a lot, after teaming up with Carl Marsh (Entertainment columnist for Cardiff Times) I had a fair idea of what it was magazine journalist did and needed to do to survive and also the running of a magazine from an office perspective.

  • From Buzz Magazine, I learnt a lot about the things I didn’t want to do: 1. I wanted to produce and make my own images where possible where not to source images direct from the companies I worked with or their PR representatives, 2. I didn’t want a magazine that was listings heavy, I much prefer a one event at a time approach and plus Outline magazine in Norwich pretty much have that covered and do an excellent job. I didn’t want to repeat content everyone was writing about and having a positive approach to content was very important to me. 3. I wanted the word count to be reasonable and not restrictive.
  • From Cardiff Times, I learnt practical skills, and lots of them I will forever be grateful to Cardiff Times for giving me experience and a solid foundation in Journalism. So, I knew how to format pages, I knew I had no intention of selling advertising all day, so that would need to be limited. I knew about competitions, and emailing contacts, putting blog posts and social media posts together with confident as well as what content to put where and the extensive time requirements to do it properly as well as the expense and problems that can come with distributing your magazine.
  • Carl Marsh taught me about confidence, how my avoidance of photographs doesn’t always work, all about making contacts as well as assessing situations as well as having a thick skin in reference to comments and feedback (seriously, Carl open a journalism school already! The Carl Marsh School of Journalism is my nickname for all the great advice he gave me whilst working together).

Once I finished analysing all this, I figured I was in a pretty good place to start making this project I reality. I had been reading Outline and Iceni Magazine for quite some time by this point. The model I then put together follows:

  • The Magazine would feature, a food column, a theatre column and a gaming column as well a diary of 5 things to do in Norwich each month, A night out diary based on an actual night out.
  • Only ¼ of the magazine would be available for advertising with charity rates which are 10% of the regular rates.
  • The first issue will be contained to online distrubution + pre-ordered printed copies and restricted to 20 pages in length.
  • Funding would be provided by a mixture of crowdfunding, advertising revenue and capital income and subscription income and sale of gift packs.
  • Content including reviews would be honest, responsible and positive where possible, negativity for the sake of negativity is strictly prohibited from Norwich Nights Magazine.
  • Social media channels, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are used everything is posted to Twitter first.
  • The magazine would support the buy local ethos in the city but also support local businesses and charities on social media and extra advertising is available via our blog.

So, I now had a business model, it was time to consider what I needed to make it work. Now my model is mine every publication works differently, but this is the model Norwich Nights will work to.

So now to put together all the elements, raise funds and make a launch plan sounds simple right? The first step was,

I took to WordPress and built a website – it was time consuming but as a writer is was enjoyable plus I had already built my author website so I knew how, now the plan always was to start with a basic site and to upgrade as funding came in to do so.

I design a front cover and later content pages to display and started the social media channels, then came a Patreon page for subscriptions I set a launch date of February 1, 2020. Then devised a funding-raising campaign on Kickstarter things were going well, till I realise I didn’t have the audience need for the kind of exposure needed to run a successful crowd-funder campaign, although people like and share they don’t necessarily pledge funds. It was time to get flexible, I needed two plans one that relies on a crowd-funder to produce the first issue and the launch and a back-up plan to ensure the magazine could still launch on a restricted budget.

So, I started researching, printing costs, advertising and marketing costs, computer software to produce and provide online distribution, costs of events to reviews and a timeline for production. With a new plan in mind I continued to promote the crowd-funding campaign I set a deadline to start actively writing and producing the magazine on 2 January 2020 to give myself a month get the magazine ready for release.

By now you will be noticing how long this post is you’re now up to date with my process the Kick starter campaign closes on 2 January and funds only get paid if it reaches our target of £10,000. This may seem a lot but honestly it takes a lot to fund a new magazine.

Cost of producing the first issue of a magazine:

  • Equipment              
  • Software                 
  • Website                      
  • Writer’s Wages           
  • Editorial Fee            
  • Printing                        
  • Advertising                
  • Launch                         
  • Promotional                  
  • Distribution                
  • Expenses (reviews)     

Total: £10450.00

This is why an alternative budget is likely to be set if I do not reach the target of the Kickstarter campaign, the figures are based on my own research therefore may vary with other publications. Lucky enough future issues will also be cheaper to fund at an estimated: £5750.00.

That’s our process for now, more updates coming soon.

Charity Tuesday

Head over to our Twitter account and comment the name of your favourite Norwich Charity and the most popular two charities will be offered an free advert in the first issue of Norwich Nights.

Ways you can support us!

I wanted to create a magazine based on certain values, a magazine that supports the community it is in, a magazine that wasn’t just about the advertising, original, interesting in content while being useful to its readers in their decision making.

The only way to ensure all these qualities exist in my writing and a publication was to manage that publication myself, below is a summary of what you will be supporting if you chose to back Norwich Nights Magazine.

  • A entertainment magazine that focuses on Theatre, Food and Gaming.
  • A Magazine that provides honest and responsible reviews and information.
  • A Magazine that supports the local community with charity advertising rates that are reduced to 10% of the normal rate. 
  • Online advertising at cheap rates for all, 
  • A Magazine that celebrates Norwich and its community.
  • A Magazine that seeks to support and encourage local business, entertainment and responsible journalism.

Yes, there is a current Kickstarter campaign, but there are other ways to support us too,

Follow, like and share our Instagram, Facebook and twitter posts – this is probably one of the biggest things you can do for us.

  • You can subscribe for a Patreon.com reward package as well as pre-order the magazine their too.
  • Share our fundraising posts,
  • Comment on our social media posts.
  • Tell your friends and family about us too

All support is greatly appreciated, one of the hardest things is visibility, the more visible the magazine is the more it is likely to succeed.

Many Thanks to you all

Melissa Compton – Editor.