Thursday, December 29, 2011

One year and counting...

WOW! I can't believe a year ago today I started reviewing movies. And what a year it's been.

Many may not know that this was just supposed to be an experiment - a learning tool for me. I was not planning on becoming a movie reviewer at all. In fact I wanted to change careers and become a screenwriter ....

Wait, perhaps I should back up a bit...Nearly three years ago I went though a pretty scary medical issue and I had time to really think about my life as I was recovering. Soon I became restless and unsatisfied with the status quo, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what to do about it. So I started writing. Something inside me was screaming to get out; I just didn't know what yet but writing helped immensely.

In fact, I fell in love with the practice of thinking and then formulating those thoughts into a cohesive sentence, paragraph, etc... It began with writing a book about my own experiences and then it evolved into screenwriting and creating stories. However, I was in the middle of my third screenplay and got stuck on how to continue it. It's not surprising. I wrote my first two screenplays without having gone to film school or picking up some sort of manual on how to write a screenplay. I did end up working with a professional screenwriter to help me with my first two scripts, but I felt like I finally got the hang of it when I started on "No One", the third script.

Alas, writer's block hit me and it hit me hard. Instead of getting frustrated staring at the screen waiting for the words to come, I went downstairs to watch a movie and relax. Also, I read somewhere that if you want to learn how to write screenplays you must read a lot of scripts and watch a lot of movies. The latter was easy for me to accomplish.

As the ending credits started it hit me, "Why not review movies to learn the craft of screenwriting better?" I bolted up from my horizontal position and nearly hit my head with the palm of my hand like the old V8 commercials. Brilliant idea! I ran to my laptop and started creating a new blog site...but what to call it? I hadn't a clue so I just started writing and the words came out faster than I could type. My thoughts about movies and my love for them poured out. I shocked myself on how quickly I wrote and about the thoughts I actually had about movies. It was almost like a confessional. For years, decades actually, I kept my passion for movies to myself. Well, that day, I informed the world who I really was...

"I am a movie buff, lover, and fan…whatever you want to call it. I LOVE MOVIES! I know I am not alone here but there may be a few things that sets me apart from other fans and why I decided to start this blog...
FIRST: I am tired of the previews telling me the whole story before I get a chance to see the movie..."rest of Why This Blog? (12/29/10).

By the time I wrote that third sentence, everything I thought I was going to do with the rest of my life changed. I just didn't know it yet. (Okay, this might make a good story for a script...hmmm)

Although I was long-winded with my first blog post I decided that I wanted to keep my reviews short and without a lot of detail about the movie's story. A few hours later I posted my first review: Moon. I wrote a brief paragraph or two because I knew I was not a professional writer let alone a trained movie reviewer. Watching the movie, researching it and then writing about it made me really think about not only the structure of how a screenplay was written but how the whole movie came together. It was exhilarating to really think about a movie and then voice my opinion about them. I couldn't wait to watch another and talk about it. 

Was anyone listening (reading)? I had a few page views in the beginning and even received a comment on my first post - albeit from anonymous. However, the lack of views and comments didn't phase me. This blog was for me in the beginning. I was allowing myself, for the first time ever, to be open and honest about my greatest passion and I was happy.

By the 12th review, The Social Network, I supplied some personal information to show I had some biased feelings regarding the story. It didn't cross my mind that you shouldn't do that and no one told me differently. So without realizing it I started to put myself into more reviews. And by mid-January the reviews became longer, more personal and a structure formed into what finally evolved to the format that I have now. (Question, Favorite things, Review rating, etc...) 

I am unclear on when the movie reviews took over as a career possibility, but it was quick for I went searching across the internet in order to social network as much as possible. I joined mom blogs, networking blogger sites and I started following and befriending other bloggers. By that Spring I joined an online newspaper and was asked to give my thoughts on a soon-to-be launched movie website's blog. Over the next few months I quickly discovered that watching movies and reviewing them made me happier than I have ever been in my entire life. I found my proverbial calling and people seem to respond. That shocked the heck out of me. Why? Well, if you read my reviews you know I don't write the typical kind. If you haven't read any go ahead and read a few and come back...I'll wait.

Conversational writing...that's what many have called my style. I just sort of sit and pretend that someone is sitting with me while I describe the movie with an aspect or two on why I liked a film or not. Again, no one showed me how to do this, and I will confess that I hardly ever read reviews prior to my venture. Most reviews and previews share too much, in my opinion; and one of the best parts of the movie experience, for me, is the discovery of the story with little or no information about the film. That is my intention with my reviews - entice but don't reveal too much. And I suppose people like that because some of my reviews now appear on IMDb and have been featured on Rotten Tomatoes.

So a year has passed and I have decided this is what I want to do for the rest of my life: watch and review movies. Well, now I not only review movies but I started adding other kinds of posts: soundtracks, previews I think do a good job and random thoughts on movies. The evolution of my blog keeps going...Also, I am now involved with another online newspaper that officially launches early next year; and this is something I am VERY proud of because of the people involved in it. 

Have I picked up screenwriting again?, but I do think about ideas that pop in my head from time to time. I may even write another script someday. However, for now, this makes me happy and this year I have vowed I am doing everything I can to stay that way. 

One last point before I head off to watch another film...if it weren't for this little adventure I fell backwards into, I would've skipped over a lot of films. Luckily, I have fans and friends who share what they like; and I now have a deep desire to see as many movies as possible. Expanding your horizons on any subject matter is always a treat and filled with surprises. Here are a few of the "surprise" films that I was fortunate enough to view this past year:

The Escapist - The discovery of a certain actor who is now one of my favorites - Brian Cox
(I ended up watching The Good Heart and Red because of this movie and he was fantastic in both)
Never Let Me Go - One of the most profound movies I've ever watched.
127 Hours - Best acting I have seen on film to date.
Midnight in Paris - A treat through and through. I will own this movie.
Flashbacks of a Fool - It affected me and that's all I will say about that.
Fright Night - Not so much for the movie but the experience was one I will never forget.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - My first foreign film review.
The Perfect Host - One of the biggest surprises so far.
Love - A great movie by a first time director. I enjoy discovering newcomers to this industry now.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me over this past year. This truly has been one of the best years of my life because I now feel like I am doing what I was put on this earth to do. It is a very empowering feeling. And even though I started this out for me, I now do it for you all.

Also, I hope you find who you really are, what makes you truly happy and pursue it because it is all worth it - trust me!

Now I am off to watch a movie.

1 comment:

Jen and Tonic said...

Wow! Happy 1 year anniversary :) Time flies when you’re having fun…

“…if it weren’t for this little adventure I fell backwards into, I would’ve skipped over a lot of films…and I now have a deep desire to see as many movies as possible.”

You have given THAT to ME. I said before I’m not a huge movie watcher, but I think I’ve seen more movies in the last six months than in the last few years. Thank you for expanding my horizons :)

I’m so happy you get to follow your passion!