“Lazarus breathes again” *

12 03 2011

Dear blogosphere,

I have a review for “Bridesmaids” open in another tab as I write this, and now I’m ACTUALLY prepared to say that I’m back for good.  I’ve been an unfortunate tease for the last two months, and I do apologize.  It’s just been one thing after another requiring my utmost attention, and the one thing that can wait is … you guessed it, blogging.  So I’ve been acting, singing, writing plays, studying for tests and quizzes, writing papers, and dealing with the general craziness of my last semester of high school.  I haven’t had much time to breathe – I made myself stop one day a week ago to take a deep breath and realized how little I had actually breathed.

So breathe easier, readers.  I’m back with my breath.  And with that breath, I intend to blow your mind (punny, I know).

I’m ready to earn your clicks and eyes again. So SPREAD THE WORD – I’m back!

Marshall

* Biblical allusion but also lifted directly from “Angels in America,” the play I’m reading in my English class/am totally obsessed with at the moment.

I’M BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!! After a month’s leave to write a play (yes, I actually wrote a play; it will be performed in a little over a month), put on a production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” and just deal with second semester senior year formalities, I am back to the world of blogging.  It sure feels good to be back!  I’ve missed engaging in such a vibrant community of film lovers and blog readers!

I’m headed for a lovely Spring Break in Hawaii and will have plenty of time on my plane flight to write loads and loads of reviews.  I’ve been watching plenty of movies in my absence, so you’re about to get hit with a tidal wave of opinion.  Heads up.

Thanks to those of you who still stopped by (as traffic didn’t totally come to a halt!) and understanding that I can only handle one writing job at a time.  For a month, I had to be a playwright.  But now I’m back to being a blogger.

So bring on Marshall and the Movies 2.0!

UPDATE: 43 days later, I finally get to work.  This post sure haunts me, “Mission Accomplished”/George W. Bush style.

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11 responses

14 03 2011
Darren

Cool. Is the text of the play on-line?

Good hustle. I can’t imagine any of that stuff was easy.

14 03 2011
James D.

So what was this play about?

22 03 2011
Fitz

I’m also curious about the play.

23 03 2011
Marshall

It is called “Facade or The Neon God They Made.” It is about Facebook and the fundamental shift in the high school experience. I’ll furnish copies by email if anyone is that curious…I’m still looking for suggestions and ways to improve.

29 03 2011
Fitz

I’d love to get a look at an email copy.

18 05 2011
Ripley

I’d also like to see the play, and it’s only a little because of my attraction to free shit.

28 03 2011
Tom

Good to have you back!

8 04 2011
Williams Stephan

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11 04 2011
mcarteratthemovies

Welcome back! Welcome back! Welcome back!

(Did you catch that? I typed it three times as an OCD joke. Which would make me a terrible person except that I have OCD tendencies too. So I totally can make fun of it.)

25 04 2011
John Wilpers, Global Blog Coordinator, Scripps Newspapers

Marshall
Marshall at the Movies

Dear Marshall:

Some good news for you, I think.

At The Christian Science Monitor, we have spent a long time looking for the very best arts and entertainment blogs in the world, in particular film blogs, and “Marshall and the Movies” is one of the most informed, intelligent, personable, and, above all, fun blogs about films that we have ever read, and we’ve reviewed thousands of blogs!

But what really makes “Marshall and the Movies” stand out from the film blogs we’ve read is a combination of your unique strengths working together:
• Your understanding of and command over the language of film reviews at such a young age;
• The clear passion you have for sharing your movie-going and -watching experiences with your readers;
• The astonishing frequency of your posts;
• All of the series’ you’ve created for your blog and your consistency in writing posts for each one;
• The charming nature of your “Random Factoid” posts;
• The unique perspective that you bring to your F.I.L.M. (First-class, Independent, Little-known Movie – love it!) posts; and
• Your use of an occasional poll to reach out to your readers and engage them in interactions with your material.

Here is what our primary researcher had to say in his initial assessment of your blog:

“I only caught on that the blogger is an 18-year-old when I read his post about Hitchcock and he admitted to never having seen one of the master’s movies in his eighteen years! Whoa! It took several posts to get there and by then I was already sold! Eighteen?! And Roger Ebert has already praised his work: ‘Bloggers like you give me hope!’ Great stuff!”

You “talk” to your readers in a friendly, passionate, and informed style. You write with a personable touch that makes every post a comfortable and engrossing read for your audience. Reading your blog is like having a conversation with a real film pro who’s sharing his insider knowledge with us over a cup of coffee.

We believe that your style of blogging makes you a valued author for your readers (almost a pen pal) whose posts must be awaited with great anticipation. Here are some of our favorite examples of you practicing your writing and reporting art:

• “I was invited to fill part of a time capsule in December 2000. What did I put in my bag? You guessed it … tiny little ads for ‘Cast Away’ and other movies that I can’t remember. There were only other things because my mom was able to persuade me to include them.”
• “While style is a crucial part of ‘Nine,’ the movie will be remembered for its phenomenal cast who turn in mostly solid performances but are thwarted by inept direction.”
• “‘The Lives of Others’ is the first film of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (a name which I copied and pasted from IMDb because I didn’t even want to try to spell it), but there isn’t the slightest hint of inexperience or amateurism here. He understands how brilliant movies are made – with layers of subtlety.”
• “The gold standard for the cat-and-mouse thriller is “The Silence of the Lambs,” which won Best Picture back in 1991. To be honest, it really isn’t fair to judge similar movies against it just because of how amazing that movie is. But nevertheless, I still have to do it.”
• “Curse you ‘Fight Club.’ You were a great movie, but you have forever changed the way I watch movies in the theater. Thanks to your sequence on the “cigarette burns” that projectionists put on film to remind them to change the reels at strategic amounts of time, I can never watch a movie without using them to judge how much time has gone by.”
• “‘Country Strong’ is Middle America bait, combining country music and rehabbed alcoholic singers a la “Crazy Heart” with a spunky heroine with a down-home charm a la “The Blind Side.” Coincidentally, both of those movies featured leading performances that won Oscars in 2009. So are we looking at a similar trajectory for Gwyneth Paltrow, the movie’s leading lady?”
• “Every three days, I’ll feature ten interesting facts about the ten Best Picture nominees of 2010 that would be fascinating to pepper into any conversation. My hope is that you will come away with an enhanced appreciation of the movies but also enjoy learning strange and interesting things about them.”

My name is John Wilpers, the global blog coordinator for The Christian Science Monitor, and I not only want you to know how much we enjoy “Marshall and the Movies” but I also want to invite you to partner with us so we can give you more exposure here in the United States and around the world.

The Monitor is an award-winning international news organization that covers news and feature stories from every corner of the globe. The Monitor has won hundreds of journalism honors, including seven Pulitzer Prizes and more than a dozen Overseas Press Club Awards.

In early 2009, the 100-year-old Monitor became the first nationally circulated newspaper to replace its daily print edition with its website plus a weekly print and daily email edition. Nearly six million readers visit the Monitor’s website every month, and that number is growing significantly every month. In the past year, we have more than doubled traffic to our site.

To keep the momentum going, we are expanding. We are looking for the very best, most compelling, most gifted bloggers writing about Arts and Entertainment, in particular about movies (a favorite subject of our readers). And so we were pleased and excited to find “Marshall and the Movies”.

The Monitor is creating a new entertainment blog that will collect and promote the best posts from the world’s best film and other entertainment bloggers. We think you belong in this elite company. And so we would like to extend an invitation to you to have posts from “Marshall and the Movies” appear on our new blog which will be hosted on our film page (http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Movies).

The cool thing is that we already know this kind of partnership works very well.

One year ago, we invited two dozen bloggers we’d identified as the best economy bloggers in the world to partner with us on our economy page. It was phenomenally successful, tripling the traffic to the Money page in just two weeks thanks to the quality of the blog posts, the exposure on a respected global media platform, and our professional SEO work with their headlines.

You can see how we present and promote our partner bloggers on the Money page (the blogs are very prominently promoted in the center content area just below the “Business” headlines and staff stories).

Two months after that, we launched “Cool Astronomy,” a blog with the world’s best astronomy and space blogs that is promoted on our Science home page. Since then, we and our Astronomy blogger partners have experienced success similar to that of the Economy bloggers for all the same reasons.

And last fall, we launched a Food blog (“Stir It Up”) with two dozen of the world’s best food bloggers. “Stir It Up” is promoted on the Culture home page and the Food home page.

In every case, we link to your own personal page on the Monitor website. Here’s an example of a post from one of our Food blog partners — We Are Never Full. Note the photo and bio info. Also note that we always link back to your own blog for all comments and interactivity.

We think this trade is a very good one. We offer you significantly more visibility on a highly respected global media site with almost six million monthly readers. This will enable you to expand your “brand” as a respected voice in the film commentary world, which could lead to other opportunities for you. The association with a respected brand like The Monitor is a very positive and effective form of brand extension for you and your blog.

Below, I have pasted a few testimonials from economy bloggers who’ve been partnering with us for a year. I have also included a CSMonitor Blogger Partner FAQ that I hope answers any questions you might have.

If you would like to partner with us, we will need your permission to republish your full-text feeds on our site and point back to your blog for reader comments. We would also need your permission to enhance your headlines if we think we can improve their SEO wording and get you more traffic. And finally, we will need your permission to repost your photos and your acceptance of our practices and parameters as outlined in the attached FAQ. If you have ANY questions, I would be more than happy have a phone conversation with you at your convenience. Please reply to me at: wilpersj@csmonitor.com and we’ll set up a time.

If you don’t have any questions and everything meets your approval, please sign the attached FAQ form to indicate your acceptance of the terms, and return it by one of these methods: (i) email a scanned copy to charipard@csps.com; (ii) fax it to (617) 450-2283; or (iii) mail it to the The Christian Science Monitor, Editorial Business Office, 210 Massachusetts Ave. PO2-30, Boston, MA 02115.

I look forward to hearing from you. I hope you choose to accept our offer. Again, if you have any questions, please let me know and we’ll chat.

Sincerely,

John

John Wilpers
Global Blog Coordinator
The Christian Science Monitor

CS MONITOR ECONOMY BLOG PARTNER TESTIMONIALS

“It’s been great. Absolutely… all three (more traffic, more comments, more visibility). While I have seen notable increase in traffic for particular posts (some of the more general interest and provoking posts) there is usually a pretty steady flow going to both my blog and my data site. I have even been linked to on occasion by larger econo-bloggers through the CSM… these are competitors who would typically rarely want to direct traffic to my blog but are doing so because it’s the CSM. Some of the other econo-bloggers have noticed that I’m there, too, and have e-mailed me… such fun.”

— Dave, “The Paper Economy” blog

“I regularly receive emails from people commenting on my CS Monitor pieces. Overall, it has been a great experience.”

— Matt Kahn, Professor, UCLA, the “Green Economics” blog

“The CSM exposure has definitely increased the number of comments on my blog. And several media outlets have first discovered my posts through CSM rather than from my individual blog. In short, it’s been working very well.”

— Donald Marron, Director, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, the “Donald Marron” blog

5 05 2011
Mad Hatter

(This is likely 100% redundant at this point, but I promised to make the rounds)

Hello, fellow LAMB. Just wanted to let you know that The LAMMYs are coming up and we are hoping for the best voter turnout for the nominations ever. Every LAMB #1-900 is eligible to vote (and to win!), and that includes you. To participate, please go to this site: http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/521956

Thanks!

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