Origins: Top 10 Films

18 07 2010

Today’s “The Origins Project” post spotlights Dan of “Top 10 Films” (’s a site for all those who don’t get enough Top 10 list action each night on David Letterman.  It’s a site full of fascinating lists ripe for reading.  He’s just making an appearance on my radar, although I can’t speak for anyone else, as of a few months ago, but I can’t wait to read more from him.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?

Great question. My earliest memories of cinema are of the horror films that scared me as a child. Of course, I didn’t know it then, but they were the films that fully immersed me in the wonder of cinema. Spielberg’s Jaws and John Landis’ An American Werewolf In London were two of the most prominent films I remember from childhood. But I think the film that really began my love affair with cinema was James Cameron’s Aliens. I saw it when I was seven years old and it was one of the most exhilarating cinematic experiences of my life.

When did you start blogging & Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging in 2006 with my blog Strange Conversation. I had been a critic for DVD Times in the UK for five years and through a combination of finishing university and the desire to set up a website of my own, I started writing entirely for my blog. In 2009 I wanted to make use of the domain name I had bought over a year previously. So Top10Films was born – a site originally set up to post top 10 lists with paragraph-long reviews but has grown since then to include features on classics scenes, double features, film reviews, articles, reader’s votes, and more.

What has kept you going?

I think most bloggers are, first and foremost, writers. It’s that enjoyment of the written word and putting it out there for an audience – big or small – that keeps the passions burning. A friend once said being a film critic justified watching an unhealthy amount of movies. I tend to agree with that.

Has there been a particular person (or people) that has helped you along the way?

I wouldn’t say there has been one person who has helped me along the way. The encouragement I received while writing for DVD Times (now known as The Digital Fix) was great, and my time writing there certainly improved me as a film critic. It also introduced me to hundreds of films I hadn’t seen. Of course, receiving free DVDs to review was an added bonus!

What’s the best part of being a blogger? The worst?

The best part is the community you become part of. You meet like-minded people who appreciate your work. I suppose the worst part is the feeling that you’re not being read, or the fact there’s little monetary value to the hours of hard work. But it goes back to why you do it in the first place. If the passion is still there, you enjoy doing it, and you’re continuing to grow as a writer and a person, the good things far outweigh the bad.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?

Writing about film improves your appreciation of the medium and art in general. For this reason I think blogging can only increase your passion for movies.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?

Although the Meme awards are passed around like the common cold the first one I received after only a couple of months of the site been up and running was definitely a proud moment. To receive others since then really makes the hard work worth it. Total Film magazine in the UK put together its 600 Blogs You Might Have Missed and Top10Films is one of them which has certainly brought in a few more hits, and the site was also recently added to Flixster’s Certified Blogs list which was great.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow their passion? To someone starting a blog of their own?

You know if a blog is getting a lot of readers if it is receiving a lot of comments. Write about what interests you and know that blogging is as much a way of learning as it is an outlet for your creativity and interests. But blogging is also hugely communal and that means reading and communicating with other fellow writers. My advice would be to reach out to bloggers with similar interests – comment on their blogs, share links, offer advice. And if you want to get more readers use social networking as a tool for promotion. Twitter is great for this.



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