Origins: Marshall and the Movies

30 07 2010

Here it is, folks.  The Project that is perhaps the most responsible for making July 2010 the biggest month in my history comes to a close with a look at my own origins.  I’ll answer my own questionnaire, which has taken some people minutes and others days.  Then tomorrow, expect a wrap-up of the entire project, sharing what I’ve learned from everyone’s unique responses.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?
I don’t know if I can point to one specific movie.  I talked to the director of my nursery, and she said that even at three years old, I could name directors, producers, and writers of movies.  So to start at 1997, when my memory of movies really begins, would be cheating.  A lot of those Disney movies were my favorites growing up, such as “Hercules” and “Mulan.”  And gosh, I sure did love “George of the Jungle,” which may be why I still love Leslie Mann so much.

When did you start blogging?
July 28, 2009 – a year and two days ago!

Why did you start blogging?
I saw the movie “Julie & Julia” and was inspired by Julie Powell. She turned what she loved into something that would ultimately become her career. I wasn’t exactly thinking about a career when I started blogging, but something about the line, “I can write a blog. I have thoughts!” resonated deeply with me. So that’s the spark that lit the fire, and it’s been ablaze ever since.

What has kept you going?
Christopher McCandless, the subject of the book and subsequent movie “Into the Wild,” wrote this profound statement before dying: “Happiness only real when shared.”  I feel such a bliss watching movies, and it wasn’t until someone came up to me a few weeks after I had started and said, “I saw The Hurt Locker after reading your review and it was AMAZING!” that I realized that my joy could be spread to other people through this blog.  I began writing a weekly series, the “F.I.L.M. of the Week,” that suggests a great movie for the average reader that they might not have known about.  My hope is not necessarily that they will scorn watching corny and contrived movies (because I sure haven’t!) but that they might find the same happiness that I get from watching movies.  Ever since that day, I guess you could say I’ve kept blogging for other people to experience movies like I do.

Has there been a particular person (or people) that has helped you along the way?
I didn’t get into blogging for the community, and it took me a long time to realize how strong it was and also how much I needed them to make my site more widely read.  I definitely had some reluctance, thinking I could do it on my own, but eventually I was set straight.  Thanks to everyone who read me during this obstinate phase, particularly M. Carter, who has been my oldest consistent reader.

What’s the best part of being a blogger? The worst?
The best? Every time someone tells me that I’ve influenced them in some way, be it that they have seen a movie I recommended or seriously reconsidered a philosophy that I’ve examined.  Everyone wants to feel important, and I get that feeling every time someone comments here on the site or tells me in person.  Thank you, everyone who does so.  Without you, I’d only be serving myself here.  I love knowing that I can be a part of your life, no matter how small.

The worst?  I can’t count the number of times I’d rather watch a movie that write a review or a factoid.  There really is no rest for bloggers because we always have to stay on top of our game.  We’re either writing our own content or looking at other people’s to see how we can improve our own.  Internal improvements are never-ending.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?
It has for sure increased my passion. I had worried at the outset that moviewatching would become something so routine that it might become monotonous, but that has absolutely not happened.  Without blogging and finding these other incredible sites, I never would have seen some of the movies I’ve seen this year.

Although I will say, at the same time, blogging has increased my distaste of bad movies. Knowing that I’m throwing away two hours of my life to watch a horrible movie stings even more now because that time could have been used to write a blog post..

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?
The single proudest moment is still getting the nod from Ebert. But I get a kick out of every time someone pings back to one of my posts, someone adds me to their blogroll, someone mentions that my opinions matter to them, and someone considers me in the same league as these extraordinary writers out there.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow their passion? To someone starting a blog of their own?
Do it! Blogging may not be your thing, but find some way to share your passion with others. While we are still seeing what’s going to come out of “Marshall and the Movies,” you never know what your outcome will be.  Maybe it connects with a new career, or with people who share your interest, or perhaps it’s just an outlet for you to share everything that’s going on in your life.  But there’s something so exhilarating about blogging, not knowing where you’ll end up.  It’s fun to be along for the ride.

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Origins: Ross v Ross

29 07 2010

It’s the last entry for other blogs in “The Origins Project,” and what better send off than with “Ross v Ross,” the blog that’s as much about debate as it is movies.  Two lads from across the sea that share the name Ross engage in some very interesting discussions, and they are all fascinating to read.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?
ROSS McD: My dad told me when I was about 7 in a pub (yes, Im Irish) that there was a film on on the TV in the corner that I’d probably like. It was called Return of the Jedi. He was right.
ROSS McG: That’s a hard one, but the film I remember watching more than any other when I was really young was Alligator.

When did you start blogging?
ROSS McD: Uh, around January 2009 I think…
ROSS McG: We started blogging in January 2009.

Why did you start blogging?
ROSS McD: Me and Ross McG were a bit bored and a bit peeved at some creative stifling in our jobs as journalists, and threatened for a very long time to start a movie website, which we deduced some rich person would buy of us for millions of pounds/euros, and we would move to Sausalito in San Francisco. Man, when I read that last bit back its sounds rather gay!
ROSS McG: To give me an outlet to tell Ross McD he knows nothing about movies.

What has kept you going?
ROSS McD: Ross McG’s constant nagging.
ROSS McG: Telling Ross McD he knows nothing about movies.

Has there been a particular person (or people) that has helped you along the way?
ROSS McD: I guess I have to give Ross McG some credit. The whole movie blogosphere have been very kind and helpful to us actually, the likes of M. Carter, Katie, Kaiderman, Aiden R, Heather, Fandango (sorry to anyone who’s not off the top of my head) – I bet everyone has written the same mushy crap for this one!
ROSS McG: Ross McD – without him knowing nothing about movies I would be unable to find new ways to tell him he knows nothing about movies.

What’s the best part of being a blogger? The worst?
ROSS McD: You know when you watch a totally awesome movie or a totally shit movie and you instantly think: ‘Aaaaggghh I wish I had some kind of outlet to tell/warn people’ – having that. The worst? Deadlines! You know whe you just don’t feel like writing, but Ross McG said he will kick your ass if you don’t? Does he do that with everyone else?
ROSS McG: http://rossvross.com/2010/06/03/what-are-the-best-and-worst-things-about-being-a-movie-blogger/

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?
ROSS McD: Increased I suppose, if only to force you to spare yourself the embarassment of admiting you havent see a particular classic…
ROSS McG: Increased I would say.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?
ROSS McD: Getting a TV gig out of it? Having a weekly newspaper column? Making the IMDb hitlist or WordPress front page is always a thrill…
ROSS McG: http://rossvross.com/2009/08/13/top-five-best-taglines/

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow their passion? To someone starting a blog of their own?
ROSS McD: Get an angle I suppose, try not to blend in or you wont get noticed! Visit as many similar blogs as you can, great for meeting friends (sniffle) and robbing ideas!
ROSS McG: Find someone who knows less than you on a certain subject. Make sure they have the same first name as you. Stick a ‘v’ in between your names and put it into a URL.





Origins: FlixChatter

28 07 2010

Today’s entry into “The Origins Project” comes from Ruth of “FlixChatter,” who writes one of the classiest blogs out there.  Some complain about WordPress’ boring themes, but I just get this professional vibe from her site design.  Looks aren’t everything, though.  Her content is great too.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?
I’d like to think that movies is in my blood, as my late dad was a screenwriter/director back in the 60s and early 70s in my home country Indonesia. But the credit really should go to my late mom who took me to see Superman when I was a wee girl and I just fell in love with it. She was a movie buff also who would bring home various VHS movies from her vacation abroad, which fueled my early love for cinema.

When did you start blogging?
June 9th, 2009.

Why did you start blogging?
I got an assignment to design a blog for my client, which finally compelled me start my own movie blog, something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I actually started jotting down the name I wanted for my blog (luckily FlixChatter was still available at the time!) and what I want to put in it. Seems like I had always been emailing people about all sorts of flicks news/commentary so a blog is the perfect venue to combine my passion for writing and the movies.

What has kept you going?
Well for one, I’ve come to really enjoy blogging. But the biggest motivator to me is getting responses from readers and fellow bloggers alike. My eyes light up every time I see a comment on my post, not much else perks up a blogger’s day quite like it 🙂

Has there been a particular person (or people) that has helped you along the way?
I have to say my friends at work Becky (Prairiegirl) and Mike B. were my supporters from the get go, they had bookmarked my blog when I was still struggling to get barely 50 hits a day. I’ve also learned a ton from fellow movie bloggers who encouraged as well as challenge me to be better every day. My husband’s been a great supporter also, for putting up with the seemingly endless time I spend in front of my laptop! 🙂

What’s the best part of being a blogger? The worst?
Best part? Being a part of a community of people who share a similar passion and making friends along the way. It’s also a great feeling when someone tells you they like a movie you recommend, or seeing your post get quoted or referenced by other sites, it may seem trivial to some, but it’s huge for a wee blogger like me. The worst? Well, the time it consumed! I wish I were a better writer that I could write things, especially reviews, in half the time! Oh, and when you spend so much time writing a post and nobody comments on it 😦

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?
Definitely increased. The more I write about them, the more I appreciate it more as an art form rather than simply a piece of entertainment. For sure, it has broaden my movie ‘horizon’ if you will, as I learn about certain genres that weren’t on my radar. Of course, there are still movies I simply refuse to watch out of principle, and nothing would ever get me to enjoy horror/slasher flicks.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?
Seeing my post(s) referenced (or linked to) by other blogs or professional sites are always thrilling, not to mention being asked to participate on a blog event (so thank you Marshall!).

IMDb has been kind to me for featuring several of my posts on the HitList section, especially the few times when I hadn’t submitted my posts via the HitList forum. The first time it happened I jumped up and down in my cube and ran over to Mike and Becky to share the good news, I could hardly contain my giddy excitement 🙂 It’s awesome to get recognition from a site that I visit every day, and seeing my blog stat shoots up never fails to add an extra spring in my step.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow their passion? To someone starting a blog of their own?
Go for it! It’ll make your life all the richer and more fulfilling because of it. Blogging has certainly make me happier as I get to channel my creativity and passion, and gives me something to look forward to every day. If you’re inclined to start your own blog, write what you love and write from the heart. Be patient when things don’t take off right away, I didn’t let lack of hits/comments stop me from writing the first few months. Eventually people will find you and you’ll watch your blog grow in no time. Oh, and for any blog, content is KING, that’s what keeps me coming back to other blogs!





Origins: Cinema Obsessed

27 07 2010

Today’s entry in “The Origins Project” comes from two spunky bloggers, Chantale and Angie of “Cinema Obsessed.” After doing an episode of the LAMBcast with them – which was cut criminally short due to technical difficulties – and I was instantly won over by their unbelievable wit.  Their site is beautifully diverse, covering just about anything and everything.  They go further than podcasting; they have YouTube videos!  How awesome is that?!


What movie began your love affair with cinema?
It started at such a young age that we can’t even remember! Our Dad is really the one that started picking out gems and showing them to us to see what we thought. That’s how we ended up seeing movies that most 5 and 7 year olds don’t get to see. That’s really how we were introduced to films from other generations, and how we developed our appreciation for every type of film.

When did you start blogging?
One of us had a blog about nothingness really, then we kind of decided that since we already had the know-how, that we would create a blog about our true passion. So CinemaObsessed.com was born in June 2009.

Why did you start blogging?
To channel the obsession and to find other people like ourselves. It was a way to talk about the thing we loved, and it’s always fun to find other people who agree… hell, even people who disagree are fun!

What has kept you going?
The support of other bloggers and movie buffs like us!

Has there been a particular person (or people) that has helped you along the way?
Our friends and family were really supportive from the start, but it has really helped that we have each other. We always have a second brain to pick, to pitch ideas to, and to bounce ideas around with. Blogging together has been a great sibling activity!

What’s the best part of being a blogger? The worst?
The best part has been finding people who feel the same way we do about movies. So far there hasn’t been a worst part, as everything’s been positive! Ok If we have to pick a “worst part” it’s staying up way too late at night working on posts and obsessing over our content.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?
Increased, by far! Our tastes have expanded and we appreciate the little things so much more.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?
It’s a tie between being named a Blog of Note by Blogger, and securing our gig with Hot 89.9 fm, a local radio station that comissioned us to create video movie reviews for their website.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow their passion? To someone starting a blog of their own?
Blog about something you love, and you’ll never run out of things to say!





Origins: Let’s Go to the Movies

26 07 2010

As “The Origins Project” chugs towards its end, I figured it was time to revisit an old friend, Caz of “Let’s Go to the Movies,” one of my first readers/commenters.  She runs an eclectic site, drawing from all sorts of sources to create posts that are always fun.  I always love visiting the site and being surprised as to what the most recent posts will look like.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?
While I have always watched films, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” has to take credit for really getting me into cinema and beginning the love affair.

When did you start blogging?
February 2009.

Why did you start blogging?
I was going to the cinema a few times a week and have hundreds of DVDs, so thought blogging my opinions on all of those films would be a good idea.

What has kept you going?
Getting feedback from people and the great group of other movie bloggers I have met over the last year and a half.

Has there been a particular person (or people) that has helped you along the way?
Again this has to be the fellow film bloggers who’s blogs were started around the same time as mine and we helped each other along the way.

What’s the best part of being a blogger?
When you get invited to previews of films a few weeks or month or so before the actual release. Even if I haven’t been able to go to any yet!

The worst?
When you totally lose being able to come up interesting blog posts, and stop posting for a while – writers block!

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?
I seem to go through phases depending on what movies are due for release and what projects my favorite actors are in. But overall it has to have increased my passion.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?
This is a tough one, I think it has to be when someone says they like my blog as that means the hard work I put in it hasn’t gone un-noticed.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow their passion?
If its your passion you have to keep it your passion so that means go for it, don’t let anything or anyone stop you.

To someone starting a blog of their own?

Don’t give up! As starting off your blog has to be the most difficult time. Just keep working at it, and read other peoples blogs. Don’t be afraid to ask fellow bloggers for advice.





Origins: The Soap Box Office

25 07 2010

Today, “The Origins Project” takes a look at a new movie blogger, Brian of “The Soap Box Office.” I found his site after he found mine, and I’m certainly glad he did.  After taking a look at his site, I can tell you that it’s very professional, and I look forward to seeing what’s coming in the future.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?

The original “Star Wars” saga. Isn’t that the answer for pretty much every nerd? When I was a kid that’s all I even thought about. But I guess “Shawshank Redemption” changed the way I thought about movies. Before that all movies were just entertainment, “Shawshank” made 12 year-old me understand how significant movies could be.

When did you start blogging?

I started back in 2006. I slowly transitioned to writing solely about movies and that spawned The Soap Box Office, which has been working itself into game-shape for a couple of months now.

Why did you start blogging?

As a movie freak, I got sick of hearing my friends say they didn’t want to see this movie or that because some published critic said it wasn’t good. So many of the “real” critics, it seems, are out to impress only themselves and their colleagues. I, on the other hand, am just a dude who happens to watch a lot of movies. If I can give friends, coworkers, and seventh cousins a reason to go see a movie that they might have skipped because Armond White or someone like him said it sucks, then I’m happy.

What has kept you going?

I always get a little rush from an acquaintance or friend of a friend stopping me to say they liked what I had to say about “Movie X.” It’s a small ego boost for any of us I would imagine. Plus, at the end of the day, I just like to write. It’s my release from job stress and a better hobby than puppy kicking, which I gave up years ago.

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

Life in Equinox was the first blog I stumbled onto within the LAMBs. I’m not really one for asking for help and advice, but the opportunity to study some of the high quality blogs the group has to offer has been a great help.

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

I just like having the platform, even if no one is reading. For a guy like me who has always been better at writing than talking, blogs are an outstanding thing. The worst I would say is the intimidation factor – there are so many wonderful writers out there pouring their hearts into movie blogs and at times it’s tough not to wonder if anyone is paying attention to mine.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?

Definitely increased. I’m an all-in kind of guy. If I’m going to rank all the movies I saw at the end of the year, I want to have a well balanced list to present to my mythical readers.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?

I honestly get a kick out of every comment, whether on the site or in person. When someone says my review made them want to see a movie or, even better, that my review made them appreciate the movie more than when they originally saw it, I consider it an accomplishment.

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

Find something that differentiates you a little. I try to find a personal connection or anecdote to tie into every review I write. Some people like that, some people don’t, but it (at least hypothetically) stands out a bit from the standard review. And try to find a decent format for your site. I can’t tell you how many times I click on a site and the color scheme and format are so painful that I bail out immediately. They could be great writers but I’ll never know because the site makes my eyes bleed.





Origins: Pompous Film Snob

24 07 2010

We’re getting close to the finish of “The Origins Project,” but there are still plenty of interesting entries, such as that of Frank Mengarelli of “Pompous Film Snob.” I’m pretty sure we discovered each other at “Anomalous Material,” bonding over our dislike over “The Blind Side.”  Then he came and backed up my hatred of “Punch-Drunk Love” on my site, and he’s been someone I’ll always listen to ever since.  He’s got a thing for Jeff Bridges (which doesn’t really show up here), too.  And don’t let the name fool you – it’s a great tease because he’s neither pompous nor a snob.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?

I would say that seeing “Batman” in theaters when I was 4 really, really got me into film and as I got older, I watched a lot of films with my Dad. Mainly Scorsese and John Ford films and once I got to middle school, that’s when I really began to branch off into the world of independent film and saw “Reservoir Dogs” for the first time.

When did you start blogging?

I started blogging days before Christmas 2009.

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging because I have a much deeper take on films than most people I know. I could talk about the decade of the 1970’s films forever. I can also talk in depth about the film “Cop Land”.

What has kept you going?

Lately it’s been other bloggers. Whether I agree or disagree with them, that’s what keeps me trucking.

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

Not really, I tend to go my own way.

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

The best part are comments from other bloggers/readers who make insightful comments on my posts, maybe it’s a post on a film they’ve never seen before, or something in a film they never noticed. The worst when people comment just to comment.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?

Not one or the other, I have a very high level passion for film, and if I’m really passionate about a particular aspect of film, I scuddle off to my blog and write.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?

When my blog gets linked on other film websites (IMDb).

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

Be kinder than necessary because everyone is fighting some sort of battle.