Monday, May 26, 2014

The Boring Life of a Film Critic

This is the first post in my revised Movie blog.  This is formally where updates and random rants would be posted for my website The Movie, but I've decided to switch gears a bit because that approach wasn't working as well as I'd like.  I'm not much of an update person in the strictest sense.  With new reviews, articles, and YouTube videos displayed proudly on the front page of the main website I almost never made updates on this blog because it would be redundant to make blog posts to mention updates that people would likely notice before they got to the blog.  Most rants ended up being retooled for editorials.  That means for the longest time this blog has pretty much been here for me to occasionally say sorry when updates were slow or the website was down (which reminds me...).

I do get a lot of questions from people who want to know what it's like to have "the greatest job in the world."  While I am always happy to answer questions about my profession, I hear from enough people who are curious about what I do that really have no idea what the daily life of being a film critic entails.  They think it's all fun.  They think there's no real work involved.  Some of them look at you strange when you comment how you almost always want to do anything but watch a movie for fun at the end of the day.  Yes, being a film critic has many perks, ups, downs, and loop de loops.  It's just like any other job though.  There are times when the job isn't much fun.  Sometimes it feels like just that: A job.  There are some serious social side effects to having a job that only requires you to leave the house on occasion.

It's all very mundane stuff and most people really wouldn't find much interest in it.  Yet society is in a position where people want to be self employers, to do things they like to do for fun and get paid for it.  While film criticism as a job is becoming an endangered species this is (ironically) because the internet has given a new voice to a younger generation of people who love to write about films.  With Blogger, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter the phrase "everyone's a critic" is more true today than it ever has been.  The thrill of reading people's comments when they agree with your review is exhilarating (and the people who hate your review can be brutal).  Whether the reviews come in over 700 words or in less than 140 characters, there are more critics in the world than there ever has been before.

That doesn't mean a vast majority of the writing is good, but that there is enough of it out there to read for free that it's becoming more of a hobby than a job.  Though I don't claim to be making the Leonard Maltin money here, I do have a website that does bring in some revenue.  I have written some movie books that have become best sellers in their respective categories.  There almost isn't a day that goes by where I don't write about movies and any expenses I have when it comes to running my website is considered a business expense.  In other words I've (how kids say it these days) successfully "monetized" my site.  This is where the goal should be for many writers, but most either have no clue what goes into making their hobby a business or most don't care.  To make matters even more confusing, the internet is constantly evolving, so many people have trouble keeping up with the changing times.

I've been writing about movies since I was six years old and I've been doing so as a job for close to ten years now.  The purpose of this blog is to share my stories, my secrets, and my daily routines.  For those who want to do this for a living this blog might provide some insight into how you can aim for this to happen.  For others this may be more validation to keep your movie blogging a hobby and look towards other ventures for financial gain.  Whether you find value in what I have to say or not I do thank you for visiting and reading!


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