Sunday, January 3, 2016

Nightcap 1/3/15 Unseen Films were art thou bound?

Happy New Year.

As a new year starts and Unseen races towards its sixth birthday it’s time to pause, after several days of looks back to pause and tell you where we’re going.

For the short term, i.e.: the next two months, very little is going to change. We are going to keep cranking out a film a day every day at least through the beginning of March. After that things are going to change- with passing of our actual birthday (February 20th) and the day I announced its existence to the world (March 1) I’m doing away with the idea of a film a day. I simply can’t do it anymore. If you are wondering why I can’t- consider that while the notion of a film a day may have worked fine at the start but we’ve never done just a post a day we’ve gone over it- to the point that the last four years we did way over two a day and in 2015 we did almost three a day. And that’s not the total number of films we’ve since covered a good number of posts review multiple titles…

A reoccurring question I get is how many movies do I see a year? I have no idea. Easily way over a thousand to be certain. Not all of them get reviewed but a large chunk do. It’s not the watching that is killing me it’s the writing.

Seeing that many films may sound like fun, and it is, I’ve been doing it for decades, but you have to now add another step- you have to feed the beast. You need to write up what you see and make sure you have at least one film a day. After you do that for a year I’ll pause to ask you if you are exhausted yet? How about spinning that out for six solid years? How are you feeling now? Now add in the running of the website, and before you rest add in a full time day job and an existence away from film and watch your time slip away. And remember that the site generates NO money. So that what is a second job is being done for love.We did 925 posts last year- and because a number of them had multiple films we probably reviewed more than that, even allowing for Nightcaps, interviews and other pieces.

While I do have a bunch of great friends who help in writing and running things (Thank you guys and girls) most of this is just me, just Steve. And after 6 years I’m broken. The physical requirements of doing this has broken me.  As many of you have noticed my writing has become really erratic. Some pieces are great and a lot of them recently are short and mechanical. Joe Bendel has done everything except break my fingers to get me to stop. Mondocurry has been rallying against my all-inclusive coverage of film festivals. My desire to provide fodder has just eaten my ability to write well every time…well it doesn’t work unless I have passion for what I’m writing on…

…To that end, after March 1 I’m only going to do reviews for things I feel passionately about, good bad or indifferent. As much as I would love to be a website of record I simply can’t do it anymore.

What does this mean over all?

Hopefully better pieces. I want to write things I’m proud of and not things that are simply filler.

How will this affect festival coverage? I don’t know. Hopefully not worrying about a film a day will allow better coverage. I will try to be a place of records for a couple of fests (NYAFF, Fantasia and Tribeca) but I’m not going to live and die if I don’t.

At what point will the film a day drop away? I don't know. I've got a bunch of things scheduled and I've been bumping things along to the point that I'm pretty set into late March. I'm guessing things will stop on either side of Tribeca- or even at Tribeca if I end up doing it on my dime. Keep reading because at some point things will pause.

What else is going on- shortly we should be a .com. Details about that when its all set.

As for programming January will be random posts wrapped around several film festivals. Neighboring Sounds and MOMI's First Look are this week, the week After is New York Jewish, then Sundance,Slamdance and the usual stops. February I'll be ending the film a day so I'm going out bug by doing all the Tarzans from Johnny Weissmuller through to the end of the direct line of the series in the early 70's. And then who knows.

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