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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Admin/links, 7/31/2010

First things first. Material published this week:

Charlie St. Cloud review, the first of many for Box Office Magazine. Two additional notes: using Bloc Party to signal 2005 without a date-stamp was a nice touch (I remember that album far too well), and Amanda Crews is unbelievably crushable.

Some stuff about the visual reference points of "Mad Men," the first of what's planned to be weekly bloggage on Tuesdays for Greencine. Something I didn't get into (because it'd be totally counterproductive) is that the show still isn't as good as people think it is. Point of proof number one: the first episode of what's probably the most anticipated season premiere of any show this year begins with the words "Who is Don Draper?" I mean come on Jesus etc.

A book review of Suzanne Rivecca's Death Is Not An Option. If you didn't know I did book reviews, I do and would love to do more. The title story really is great, the rest not so much but always has its moments.

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Re: previous post. There is apparently no way to do this right, as I heard from at least two people who said the tone was so arrogant it was pretty offensive and one guy who said it was way too self-deprecating. What can you do. The specifically offensive bit was about "amateur writers," which was placed in scare-quotes to indicate that the distinction is meaningless; whether or not people get paid for their work increasingly has little to do with the quality of said work (cf. most recently A.O. Scott recommending the work of Dennis Cozzalio, Roger Ebert and Jim Emerson without making professional/amateur distinctions, which is absolutely correct), but the way it came out may have conveyed "I'M A PROFESSIONAL AND YOU'RE NOT." Which was not my intent, and I apologize if it came off that way; I'm grateful for any/all readers. Onwards.

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Stuff watched this week: 8 Louis Feuillade shorts from 1908-13, 2005's The Call of Cthulhu, Assayas' Carlos (review pending), Burr Steers' 17 Again as prep for the aforementioned Charlie St. Cloud, and Michael Ritchie's super-awesome Semi-Tough.

Stuff listened to for the first time this week: Rick Ross' Teflon Don, Suckers' Wild Smile, Stevie Wonder's Talking Book.

Reading: Joseph Heller's Something Happened, which is pretty much killing me.

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.