Talkin’ with The Kid
Mixing things up a bit today.
So The Kid from The Kid in the Front Row‘s been making the rounds with some of us movie bloggers lately, asking us about our respective sites and what compels us to write so damn much about movies? Being that I’ve asked myself that same question, I jumped at the opportunity and done got myself interviewed.
Thanks to The Kid for asking the questions and all the kind words to boot, so without further ado:
KID: “This is going to be a pretty long project since no one told me that blogging is a freakin’ black hole of a commitment.” I love that. When did you realize you’d lost your life to blogging?
ME: Oh, man. I don’t know if there was ever a moment where I looked at my life and wondered, “What have I become,” but very early on it hit me that this was gonna be a hard thing to stop. It’s not as all-consuming as it once was though. When I started, I was cranking out anywhere from five to seven reviews a week. It was pretty much all I did with my free time. I used to have a job where I worked from 1pm to 9pm, and every morning I would watch a movie, start a review by lunch, and finish it during my dinner break. I did that five days a week for almost a year. Madness.
Now that I’ve toned it down though, the whole process has become far more enjoyable. I’ve got more hobbies than I know what to do with, so it’s nice to have the time to pursue other interests simultaneously.
Did you design the logo banner at the top? I love it.
Wish I could take credit for that, but my friend Ben Bishop is the man responsible. He’s an artist/graphic novelist (not sure if that’s a thing) up in Maine, and as you can tell, he is the man. I just told him who I wanted him to draw, and he took care of the rest. I don’t like to brag about anything ever, but yeah, it’s awesome as all hell. Seriously, check out/buy his stuff. He’s no joke.
You blog a lot. Do you find it easy to keep your writing fresh and to a standard you’re happy with?
It has gotten easier, and I think a lot of that has to do with, like I said, moderating how much time I put into it. That being said, I’m very much my biggest critic. I can’t even read some of the earlier reviews I wrote, and some of those Verdict catch phrases make me hang my head in shame. Then again, I’m pretty sure a lot of people feel like that about their work. I used to have a couple reviews that I was really proud of and would keep in mind as a standard, but I’ve come to realize that some movies just foster better reviews than others. It’s much easier to write about really good movies or really awful movies than it is to write about something mediocre.
It’s also easier to focus on the quality of what you’re writing when you’re not doing it for the sake of doing it. Took me a while to learn that.
I like the idea of your site, to write in the way, like you say, “The way I would talk about them with my friends.” But, the more you write, I’d imagine the better you get technically, as a writer – so do you find it hard to keep to that approach?
It’s hard in the sense that the site has grown into something almost contradictory to what it started out as. With a slogan like “…for people who don’t read movie reviews,” it doesn’t really make sense to have reviews that are over 1000 words long. That used to make sense when the reviews were clocking in at 500-800 words, but I feel like I’m shortchanging the movie if I don’t write down everything that came to mind while watching it, which is apparently a lot more stuff than it used to be. But I do try to make up for it with what I’m actually saying about the movie. And unless I just finished a six pack or am talking with a fellow film junkie, I almost never ramble at length about a movie the way I do on the site.
But the tone of voice, the way nothing’s very highfalutin – that is how I talk about movies with my friends, and that’s gotten better. It’s absolutely true that the only way to become a better writer is to keep writing. I don’t know, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I’ve learned a lot about why I like and dislike movies in the process. That’s been a huge payoff that I never really expected to gain.
You seem to pretty much catch every new release that’s out there. Do you do that on purpose, because of the blog; or is that something you would do anyway?
Totally ‘cause of the blog. I watched a crap ton of movies before this all started, but it’s reached a whole new level of unhealthiness over the past few years now that I actually have a reason to watch them. These days, it’s rare that I miss a movie I want to see, and the ones I don’t get to are usually a hot piece of cheese anyway. Nonetheless, I’m open to anything and am a firm believer that every movie deserves a fair shake. But, again, moderation is key. Borderline o.d.’d on movies and reviewing after the new year. Just too much of a good thing, was stressing me out like whoa.
You interact a lot with comments – is that something you enjoy doing?
Totally. If people weren’t commenting, I would have stopped this a long time ago. I think for anyone who writes, it means the world to know that people are reading, even if they disagree with you. I’ve never considered myself an authority on movies anyway, so it’s always great to get a discussion going with those who wanna talk.
You’ve won lots of Lammy’s and awards and things. Regrettably, I never really interact with the whole LAMB thing. Do you think I’m missing out? What do you get from being a part of it?
I was big into the LAMB for the first couple years, not so much now, unfortunately, but being a part of it has been awesome. Met some great people along the way and it was integral in gaining the readership that I have now, not to mention how the site looks and reads. Cut The Crap owes a lot to the LAMB.
I just saw your ‘Best Movies of 2011‘ post – and you have hundreds of likes and comments, where did they all come from? Were you featured somewhere?
Yeah, that was nuts. The powers that be that control the Freshly Pressed page on WordPress have been very kind to me in the past, and when that one went up, homeys went crazy. What can I say, man, people love lists. Just hope it got folks to check out some great movies that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
What do you do outside of blogging?
I play too many video games, I’m learning the banjo, I’m training for my first half-marathon, and I’m also writing screenplays, watching movies, and reading avidly. As for work, I’m actually on the prowl since I’m moving to Vermont in a couple months, but if anyone wants to paying me to write reviews for a living, I am all ears.