Origins: Journalistic Skepticism

23 07 2010

“The Origins Project” today comes to us from Luke Tatge of “Journalistic Skepticism.” I’m just beginning to discover his site, but on the surface, it appears to be full of Oscar talk – which I absolutely LOVE. I look forward to seeing what he’s going to do in the future, just as I’m sure you are looking forward to his answers.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?

That’s a tough one to pinpoint. I guess one in particular comes to mind. Though I’ve sort of moved on from it since, I seem to recall the first powerful experience I had while watching a movie was a tearful end when seeing Apollo 13 in theaters. I remember thinking, “Why am I crying? I don’t understand.” That’s when I discovered how powerful a medium filmmaking is.

When did you start blogging?

I began blogging August 2009 – though it was several months before anyone noticed.

Why did you start blogging?

Honestly, I began blogging during my summer of unsuccessful job searching as a means of keeping my sanity, utilizing my writing/journalism degree (you don’t use it, you lose it), and reaching out to other lifelong film nuts such as myself.

What has kept you going?

It’s a great outlet for my film-obsessed hobby, and I’ve found quite a few kindred spirits out there. Film bloggers have got to be some of the most loyal colleagues and readers you’re likely to find!

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

Well I should probably acknowledge two of my very first (non-relative) readers – and fellow Actor Factor columnists – Andrew at Encore Entertainment and Jose at Movies Kick Ass for keeping my comment count (and my will to keep blogging) up and running.

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

The best – being able to write about your favorite thing on a daily basis and getting recognition for your time spent by your peers. The worst – I’m forced to do other far less interesting jobs to actually earn money. If only.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?

It has to be the former – having undergone so many viewing projects to increase my relevance and credibility within the blogging community has pushed me to see so many incredible films I otherwise might’ve put off seeing indefinitely.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?

Probably either my very first comment or perhaps the first time a fledgling blogger asked me for advice. Even though I hardly felt like an expert.

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

I know most people say this, but it really is the greatest tool at your disposal – you have to network. Your key to starting a readership is interacting with other bloggers. I’ve also found a lot of success by using unique graphical and visual content, interactive features such as games and contests, and running columns for readers to keep coming back for.

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Origins: Plus Trailers

22 07 2010

This entry in “The Origins Project” comes from Tom Clift of “Plus Trailers.” Tom is an Aussie who led one heck of a LAMBcast on Pixar a few weeks ago – so epic it had to be split in two!  His site is great too, looking at the future but also glancing back at the past.  Be sure to check out his site and read his answers!

What movie began your love affair with cinema?

My favourite film of all time is Christopher Nolan’s Memento – I remember watching it and then halfway through thinking to myself: “this is the best movie I’ve ever seen”. I’ve loved movies since I wasa little kid, but my passion for “cinema” probably began when I was about 14. I bought myself the book “1001 Movies You Have To See Before You Die” and read it cover to cover, and I started trying to watch as many of them as possible. Memento was one of the first from the book that I watched.

When did you start blogging?

December 2008.

Why did you start blogging?

In my second last year of high-school a bunch of us put together a weekly student newsletter, and I began writing reviews for that. It only lasted two issues, but I just kept writing reviews and posting them to Facebook. Eventually I decided I needed a better home for them, and so I started my blog.

What has kept you going?

Getting feedback from people. It’s always a great feeling knowing people are reading what you write. Also I just plain love writing and getting my opinion out there!

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

All the people over at the LAMB have been big sources of inspiration.

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

The best part is the sense of community. I’ve joined the LAMB, participated in of a couple of different movie podcasts, gotten pretty active on twitter, etc. It’s awesome being able to discuss films with passionate individuals from all around the world, and I’ve had the chance to interact with a lot of pretty cool people. The worst part is probably the sense that your site is never going to be noticed amongst the thousands of blogs out there.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?

Definitely increased. I see so many more movies now because I always want to have a new review up on my site. Being part of the blogging community has also made me aware of smaller movies that I might not otherwise have heard of, which I always appreciate.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?

Probably being part of the first ever episode of the LAMBcast. Getting to talk over Skype to bloggers on the other side of the world from me, who I’d never met before, was a pretty cool experience.

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

Don’t use white text on a black background! I’ve always regretted picking that template for my own blog, but I’m too lazy to overhaul the whole site now. One of these days I’ll get around to it. Aside from that, try and be as active in the blogging world as possible – if you want people to find your site, go and find theirs!





Origins: CyniCritics

21 07 2010

It’s another two-for-one special today for “The Origins Project” with Matt and Luke for “CyniCritics.” I’m only just discovering their site, but I sure do love their honest and often brutal takes on movies.  The two writers are good friends, and their two takes coexist beautifully.  They have a very versatile site that sports much more than just reviews.  They give especially great answers, and it’s fun to read them play off each other.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?

MATT: When I was really young, I loved Batman Returns and the Lion King. I think the “moment” when it happened was the beginning of the Lion King in the movie theater.
LUKE: The first film I went to on my own was Pirates of the Caribbean in sixth grade and I remember just how fantastic it looked on the big screen. The beautiful landscapes, the Hans Zimmer score and Johnny Depp were all too much for me to forget. I starting paying attention to how the movie was put together rather than just what entertained me, which ended up entertaining me in a whole new way.

When did you start blogging?

MATT: February 2010.
LUKE: That’s the date we started on WordPress with CyniCritics, but we blogged on MySpace years earlier unofficially with a few movie entries.

Why did you start blogging?

MATT: Luke and I thought it would be a good way to develop our skills for our (hopefully) future careers
LUKE: I saw a really nerdy friend on Facebook do music reviews on video and they were just awful. I figured it was about time I started doing film reviews now that there were better mediums than MySpace out there and I could for sure put together something better than that kid did. Besides that, I really like writing about movies.

What has kept you going?

MATT: I enjoy writing about movies.
LUKE: Matt. If I didn’t have him to push me this would never work out. On your blog you don’t get graded, paid or told what to do by your mother. With him around, I feel obligated to post things in a way. Also the success keeps me going. Knowing that when you put out something interesting or well written, people will read it and respond. That’s a good feeling.

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

LUKE: Like I said, Matt has help motivate me and does some proofreading for me now and then because I am awful at spelling and grammar.

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

MATT: The best part is having discussions about the things you are passionate about. The worst is that it doesn’t pay, and also when people view your opinion as stupid just because it’s different than their opinion.
LUKE: The best part is when you write something you know could be published in Entertainment Weekly or the paper. There are sometimes when I feel I could write seven pages about a movie, and it’s great writing. But the worst part is when it is the opposite of that, when you go to start a review or post and nothing comes after hours of sitting in front of the screen.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?

MATT: I would say it’s stayed the same, but my writing about them has improved a little bit.
LUKE: I have the same passion. I no longer have the passion to make them, but that is because of something else. Now my passion would be to get to write about them.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?

MATT: I can’t really think of a “proudest moment.” I guess I would say looking back at the beginning and looking at now and seeing improvements.
LUKE: My proudest moment is when our negative Fight Club review got a huge backlash. Matt’s analysis and discussion was too valid, educated and well written for a few people to be content with because they loved the film so much so they resorted to saying “you are the over-protective mother figure proud of her inbred child” which gave me a great laugh. It’s like whenever somebody like Lady Gaga becomes so unstoppable yet humble they spread teeny weeny rumors because they are defenseless. When somebody resorts to playground tactics like that, you know you are on to something.

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

MATT: Do it… if you’re starting a blog of your own, just write. That’s the most important thing, never mind interactivity or layout. The writing is what they’re there to see, and if it’s good the rest isn’t important.
LUKE: This is where I have to disagree with Matt. Nobody is going to find your blog based on the writing. You have to have the appeal, either an efficient site, networking skills or some type of promoting skills to get people to your site, otherwise nobody is going to be reading s**t. Once you hook them though, you better bring the bait.





Origins: Dan the Man’s Movie Reviews

20 07 2010

Today’s entry in “The Origins Project” comes courtesy of Dan the Man – or as his comments say, CMrok93 – of “Dan the Man’s Movie Reviews.” Gotta love the few 17-year-old movie bloggers out there, and Dan is doing it big over at his site. I really enjoy reading what other people my age can write, and I most certainly love reading Dan’s reviews. Want to know what gets other teens started? Read on, my friends.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?

The one movie that began my love affair with cinema would have to be “Saving Private Ryan.” The film had me so mesmerized by how great and beautiful cinema could actually be.

When did you start blogging?

I started blogging around the summer of last year. I had a terrible first site, I was part of Freewebs and it just didn’t work out, and since October of last year, I have been here, writing day in, and day out.

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging cause I wanted show people my love for films and most of all for writing. I had opinions on movies that I really wanted to get out there, and the best ways to let it out there, is by writing.

What has kept you going?

The one thing that has kept me going is the support I get from the viewers. If it weren’t for the fellow reviewers and viewers who constantly comment, and give me pointers on how to get better, my job would have been done a long long time ago.

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

Many people have helped me out, but the main person has to be Aiden R., from Cut the Crap Movie Reviews. He was the main person who influenced me to get into movie reviewing, and when he gave me tips on how to get better as a reviewer, and even better blogger, it was just perfect. It’s even weirder how he knows my sister, but hey it’s a small world after all.

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

The worst part is probably the time it takes up. Usually when you watch movies some of them are incredibly long, and can almost take up half of your day. However, the best part is actually getting to see your material finished, and see the people who respond back to it. Also, getting linked by other bloggers is cool, because you actually feel like someone took their time to read your certain piece of material, and put it out there for everyone to see.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?

Increased a buttload. I have never looked at films the way I do now. I know so much more about the detail, effort, and production that is put into film, and I have came to respect almost every film for what it is.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?

My proudest moment so far, has probably been getting accepted into LAMB. I was a blogger for over a year, and asked if I could join like 3 times, until I finally got in. I was so happy, I couldn’t believe it that I was now part of the big group. I know it all sounds dumb to some, but for me, as much as I tried, it was basically someone saying “here’s the credit for all your hard work, welcome”. I’m still waiting for that Lammy though.

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

Always write your exact feelings on a movie. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings if you hate a movie that everybody else likes, or a movie you like that everybody else hates. Keep on writing all the time, cause you’ll keep your material fresh. And most importantly, stay true to yourself. And never let other people tell you what to write or how to write it. Your heart and your soul is the one thing that should always go into your work.





Origins: Paragraph Film Reviews

19 07 2010

Today’s “The Origins Project” entry chronicles Paul of “Paragraph Film Reviews.” He’s been providing succinct takes on movies for quite some time now, and I love reading them as a nice change of pace to everyone else’s (often myself included) long and verbose reviews.  He even included his own screenshot for the post.  Now there’s a guy that’s on top of things.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?

Not one, but the entire James Bond series. Seeing such a suave character living on the edge, saving the world, getting the girl, kicking ass and trotting the globe was just the best kind of movie experience and escapism you could hope for as a kid. Watched the VHS box-set every year when I was a nipper and just bought the DVDs to re-run the fun and get a Bond feature for the site.

When did you start blogging?

July 2009; I had a few days of sickness at home and had been toying with the idea for a while so collated all of my short reviews from a local music forum then posted them up online.

Why did you start blogging?

Main reason for the site is to document every film I ever watch. At university I was hitting 3 per day and trying to remember which films were which (let alone good or bad) is a nightmare. Between a review and the tags I have a much better chance at remembering what ‘that good Asian cop flick’, ‘that one with the car chase’ or ‘that one good Ryan Reynold’s film’ was way down the line.

What has kept you going?

Being able to look back to my year-old reviews and remember watching a film like it was yesterday means the site’s serving its purpose. The community aspect is fantastic too, a lot of readers will tell you what they think of a film and your review – good or bad – which is always great to hear. Sure the site would still be going without the comments and contributions, but it would be hella boring.

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

My girlfriend’s been really supportive of the site; especially seeing as my new natural state is either watching a film or being hunched over the laptop writing / reading / commenting on the site and my awesome blogroll. She has also sat through some god-awful films, for which I could never repay her!

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

Best: having a legitimate excuse to get into advance screenings! Discovering new films through other review sites. Engaging with people that have as much passion about movies as you have. Being involved in huge arguments & debates.
Worst: Wish the reviews would write themselves. I always say that taking a page full of notes on a film then trying to cut it down to a single, concise paragraph is probably as time consuming as writing regular reviews. Also, thinking about your review in the middle of watching a film is also quite annoying.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?

Increased. Dramatically. I was always a film buff before but now I feel withdrawal symptoms if I go a couple of days without watching a film or posting on the site.The BluRay/DVD collection has expanded three-fold since starting up the site.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?

A small, self-serving, site like Paragraph Film Reviews will be under the radar forever. I don’t have major aspirations of going pro, getting published or winning awards (although wouldn’t turn stuff like that down if they came my way!!). Knowing there’s a hardcore of about 20 people who care enough about what I write to check the site regularly and chip in with their own comments and opinions is always reassuring.

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

Here’s a quick list of the stuff I wish I had known on day one:

Start as soon as you can; you’ll wish you’d done it years ago.
Don’t worry about your first few weeks/months; it takes a while to get into your stride and hone your own style.
Be honest with yourself; a lot of movie reviewers ‘go with the flow’ and mark a film depending on how it’s generally received. Don’t worry about being the stick in the mud, tell it like you see it and readers will genuinely respect you more.
Watch a film just before you review it: remember how awesome you thought a film was when you were ten years old, drunk or stoned? (you’re a legend if it’s all three) Watch it again to make sure you’re still in the same camp!
Review the movie, don’t re-tell the entire plot. Easily the biggest and most infuriating mistake of many ‘review’ sites – a sentence or two should cover the plot, any more and you’re probably in spoiler territory anyway.
Persevere; you won’t get 1,000 readers instantly, but once you’ve been discovered and indexed by google the growth is steady.
Drip drop; post semi-regularly instead of bunching reviews together. Start aiming for 2-3 posts a week to keep people interested and coming back to your site.
Most importantly, enjoy it! This should be a fun hobby, not a chore. If you ever feel like you may loathe watching films GET IN ZE CHOPPA and escape before it’s too late!!!!





Origins: Top 10 Films

18 07 2010

Today’s “The Origins Project” post spotlights Dan of “Top 10 Films” (.co.uk).It’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.





Origins: The Stories That Really Mattered

17 07 2010

Today’s entry into “The Origins Project” saga covers Katie from “The Stories That Really Mattered.” A valued reader and commenter for many, many months. I hope you enjoy reading her answers as much as I enjoy reading her site!


What movie began your love affair with cinema?

The first movie I can remember seeing in the cinema is Miracle on 34th Street back when my town had a cinema. The movie that really got me hooked in a big way though was (no surprises) Lord of the Rings. That was the first time I took a real interest in how the movie had actially been made and started learning about the production crew behind movies rather than just the people on screen.

When did you start blogging?

January 19th 2009. It was something I’d been thinking about doing for a while, because I needed to find a new audience to bore with all my random movie ramblings. So it became a new years resolution and I’ve managed to keep it!

Why did you start blogging?

I saw a lot more films when I got to university and I was desperate to find people to debate with. Friends can only put up with movie geekdom for so long before they stop talking to you, so I started writing reviews on Flixster. The format was too rigid though, and ideas kept coming to me for more general posts about soundtracks or particular themes, so the blog was born.

What has kept you going?

I don’t actually know! When I first started a friend of mine who had a blog (and gave me the idea to start my own) joked that I wouldn’t be able to keep it up. 18 months down the line I’m the one who posts regularly! I think a lot of what has kept me going is all the other bloggers. When I started out I never expected to get any readers, let alone regualr commentors who keep coming back. It’s all you lovely guys out there who make me think, “Jeez I haven’t posted in a while, Marshall will have nothing to read!” 😛

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

Well, I’ve kind of answered this above, but there are a few blogs who I think deserve a mention. Marshall has been an inspiration of late with some great ideas like this one, as has Andy over at Fandango Groovers. I will never tire of arguing with Ross McD and Ross McG and can always find something interesting to read over at Caz, Kai, Castor or Meredith’s blogs.

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

Having people who get just as wound up about movies as I do to talk to! And the worst, not being able to see anything new without an unavoidable compulsion to immediately write blogging notes for it.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?

Increased definitely. I pay more attention now to what’s coming out, and have plans to see some movies I never would have heard of if it hadn’t been for other people’s blogs.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?

Oooh I don’t know. I think probably the first time I got comments from people I didn’t know. It meant that people were actually bothering to read what I write and were interested enough to join in the debate.

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

Just write about what interests you. Original formats are a great idea, but don’t let them hamper your creativity. I started out with the Movies to See/Movies to Miss idea but I’ve meandered around it to other ideas and back. If you’d be interested to read about it then you might be lucky enough to find someone else who is too.

And stick with it! It takes a few months before people will start to notice you. But when they do it’s really rewarding