Sunday, December 16, 2012

The right to fail

Doing Unseen has brought me a great deal of unexpected joys. First and foremost I have made a the acquaintance of a good many people who I think I can call friends. This year I got to talk to Donnie Yen, I got to interview Dave McKean, The Vicious Brothers, and Jacob Krupnick (director of Girl Walk All Day). I’ve also managed to see more movies than I ever thought was possible within a calendar year.

Weirdly one of the things that I realized that I’ve actually found oddly joyful is that I’ve allowed myself to fail. I know that may sound ludicrous but it’s true. I will throw things out there and if they crash and burn so be it.

I suspect that many of you are horrified at the prospect of mis-stepping, especially where every word and phrase can doom your career, but doing this blog and trying to keep up the pace it’s unavoidable. Think about it,  as our third anniversary rapidly comes into view we will have posted well over 2000 entries, actually if my math and projections hold true we’ll have posted at least two film pieces every day for two years. And while I know that some of the pieces have been not specifically a review or a discussion of a film, we’ve done many multiple film pieces. 2000 pieces? There has to be more than a few clunkers in there, and I know there are. But there are more than a few great pieces in there as well. Looking back at it I don’t think I could have written the good stuff if I didn’t write the bad.

I know that the need to feed the beast, to do at least a film a day, has made it a necessity. While my reviews do get into rhythms, grooves and ruts, I think I do break out of them. I churn out material and then find I’m boring myself so I try something different, perhaps a Sunday night piece or an essay or something else. Sometimes they crash and burn, sometimes they lead off into unexpected directions (the found footage piece for example has generated a great deal of material that seems to be completely alien to what I normally do- and I have no idea what to do with it), sometimes I manage to do something that surprises the hell out of me and I can feel great pride in it (such as the Dave McKean pieces, or the Barry Lyndon piece). The point is I’m trying.

Admittedly had I not been trying to generate as much material as I am I wouldn’t give myself the rope to hang myself, but as I said I have to, so I am.

The ability to fail has carried over to the administrative realm of the blog as well. I keep throwing out questions and requests and sometimes they crash and burn and sometimes they don’t. I’m trying things I never thought I would, I recently spent a great deal of time trying to try connect so we could cover current screenings and found that it’s less possible than I had hoped, real life gets in the way. I've found I  can't expand what the blog is doing faster than is physically possible for the people writing.

I’m also realizing that some things that I was doing when Unseen was just a whim aren’t working any more and that changes have to be made. For example my grand plan to remain semi-anonymous (there is someone behind the DB persona) is starting to back fire on me, so there will be a shifting of identities on my part in the near future.

The point of this is that I’m going out and doing, sometimes I’m falling on my face and sometimes I’m succeeding. Either way I’m simply trying and seeing what happens which is way cool since by allowing the room to fail I never know what is going to happen next


  1. And as always, bravo for your words and views!

  2. outstanding job so far and keep on trucking with the blog throughout its various shapes & forms! Never be afraid to be different. I like to think that our own blog and the forum here that you provide at Unseen is shapeless and formless, always ready for change! Like Bruce Lee said, "Be water, my friend".