Fluxing miscellany. If you're looking for top 10 film lists, click here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Status update

Nearly a year ago, I started blogging for IFC. It's been a blast; among other things, I learned how to write at a demon-on-speed pace, and discovered more about the internet than I thought possible. But all good things must come to an end, so 566 entries and 1,353 comments later (many of those latter variants on "The author did not mention Groundhog Day and is clarly [sic] a fool"), I'm no longer blogging for IFC. Consequently, I have a lot more free time and an urgent need for work. I'm putting this announcement out there/here because hey! New media! Why not. I've learned to (not) be surprised by unexpected things taking off sometimes. It's not really my style to self-hype and beg for work publicly, so I'll just do this the once. I am actually e-mailing people, rounding up options and so on; I just wanted to cover all my bases, just in case I have fans in high places who want to give me work whose e-mail I don't have or something. I don't really know myself, honestly.

That said, I'm not completely myopic. I realize there are many, many film writers out there who are older, more experienced and better writers than me; I hit a roll sometimes, but I'm not consistent. The existence of enthusiastic "amateur writers" (i.e., as respected on the internet as anyone professional) proves that, really, I should go off somewhere, get a real job and come back in ten years. And I am looking (in a fairly half-assed way at the moment) for some kind of part-time work that doesn't involve writing, which is tricky because I don't have any real skills or experience; the closest I ever came to a real job was doing phone tech support for xBox 360 for two weeks once. (No, really.)

Anyway, I don't think anyone really gets a big kick out of this kind of online self-whoring, so I'll leave it at that (hopefully); my contact info is vadim dot rizov at gmail dot com if anyone wants to entertain me. There'll probably be more writing up in here (at least for a while) so I don't get out of the habit of writing daily, which is a good one. For the sake of value for money, here's a short list of stuff I learned about myself/online writing while blogging:

* Writing about blockbusters is fun. The name of the blog was "Indie Eye," but nomenclature's always arbitrary anyway. I'd been vaguely aware of this for a while — I never took more notes at anything than Terminator 3, I swear to God — but movies with too much money tend to inadvertently throw subtext at the wall, which is perfect for blogging. Smaller films tend to be more focused (they have to be) and demand criticism; blogging isn't criticism, unless you're sneaky about it.

* A personal voice creates the illusion of meaningful disclosure. I struggled with this for a long time, because we live in the age of oversharing and all that crap. I guess I could blame Emily Gould for this (again!), but for me a big moment was Chuck Klosterman's chapter in Fargo Rock City about how he drinks too much. I used to try to emulate this and work in all kinds of garbage because I thought it would make things more "personal" and interesting, but it's not something I'm really capable of for a lot of reasons. But it is possible to write in a colloquial, low-key way that sort of sounds like I'm telling you something meaningful about myself, even if I'm really not. It smoothes a lot over.

* If you need to make a list, use IMDB keywords. The internet pretty much runs on lists with YouTube embeds, and that makes sense: people at boring desk jobs pretty much have the easily-amused attention spans of chronic stoners anyway. I used to hate them, but I've kind of come around: if you give people the clips of stuff they already know and love (i.e., The Big Lebowski and Children of Men over and over and over until we're all dead), you can sneak more obscure fare into there. This is the best way of maybe leading otherwise reluctant people to movies they might love. Using the sketchy, uneven but undeniably amusing IMDB keywords search function is the best way to kick-start your memory.

* If someone asks you at a gathering what you do and you say "I'm a blogger," you'll immediately want to down your drink and get another as fast as possible. Trust me on this.

* "Eventually we must talk of everything if there is enough time and space and printer's ink." That's an Andrew Sarris quote Dan Sallitt has at the top of his blog, and I didn't really latch onto it until three or four months into blogging. 12 posts a week is a lot; there simply aren't 12 news items to talk about every five days, even if you stretch your definition of "news" to be as elastic as possible. What I learned is that everything is fun to write about, especially if, say, you're just over at your friend's house and Kindergarten Cop is on. Basically I learned that I can write about more than I thought possible, and that everything can be written about. And probably should.


  1. Why did it come to an end? Blog for Maclean's.

  2. This is me trying to be indignant about the "people at boring desk jobs pretty much have the easily-amused attention spans of chronic stoners anyway" comment, transforming sympathy into a bit of schadenfreude. But you do have a point, so I just hope you can avoid this fate.

  3. Oh, you know, I'm always pushing my luck. But whenever I talk to my friends with office jobs, I'm always shocked by how much time they have to dick around; sometimes they have more of that than me.

  4. "Basically I learned that I can write about more than I thought possible, and that everything can be written about. And probably should."

    The thing I learned is to trust that if I find something that holds my interest to write about, the odds are that someone (and maybe more than just one) will find it interesting enough to actually read, and screw word counts.

    I wish you the best, Vadim, with every confidence that an articulate and intelligent voice like yours will find an outlet somewhere, and soon.