March 10, 2008

Are We There Yet?

This officially marks my 100th post on Getafilm, and I'm using it to ramble because for some reason I find significance in the milestone. Good thing it just missed Semi-Pro or something similarly forgettable (because this will be really memorable).

So. I still don't exactly know what I'm doing on here and why I'm doing it, but I'm not planning to stop at 100. Rather, I'll blindly forge ahead and see what happens in the next round.

What have I learned?:
  • This takes way more time than I imagined.
  • It would be really hard to do this without a community of interesting people taking part, and I've fortunately found numerous other bloggers who have supported me - thanks much. If you haven't visited blogs in my sidebar, including the almost 50 LAMBs - well...they're great, don't go anywhere and just take my word for it! Totally kidding. Please visit them and learn from "people who know much more than me." Of course, it's not about what you know - just that you're interested.
  • Trusted friend Jeff Sauer has been enormously helpful in helping me get this off the ground. Thanks, sowcow50.
  • This takes way more creativity than I imagined.
  • I've seen a lot of movies, but I haven't seen a fraction of the movies that many others have.
  • Nevertheless, it's still possible to do this without ever having taken a film class or lived in Hollywood.
  • For the most part, I feel confident in having achieved some of the goals I started with, and I feel the time and energy I've spent so far has been worth it.
What's to come in the next 100 posts?:
  • I have a handful of new series that I'm going to try to get off the ground in the next month or two, including some more locally flavored material for the Minneapolis-St. Paul folk.
  • A possible redesign? I've been considering this for a few months but can't make up my mind, and there ain't no third direction since the Germans beat me to it. So please, help me decide (see poll): Invest in the Getafilm domain name and use WordPress (or other pro software), or do nothing and stay with Blogger? Personally, I think it's a little early for me to make the jump...
  • More interactivity - this is where you come in. I know if you're not one who frequently comments it might seem a little strange to do so, but come on in, the water's fine! Believe me, no one is an expert around here (speaking for myself), and I don't feel like you'd be reading this if you had nothing to say. At least if you're like most of the people I know. Out with it!
  • Possibly, some "deeper" material. I'm most passionately interested in the influence that film has on all of us on a personal, social, and cultural level (why I build "Societal Significance" into my review scale), and I'd like to try exploring it a little more intentionally. See the top-line quote from Grand Canyon for an idea of what I'm talking about.
  • Some bad posts. Just sayin', they'll always be there.
Lastly - the Best of the First 100 Getafilm Posts (by traffic):
  1. Oscar Luncheon 2008
  2. 2007 in Music: The Soundtrack That Wasn't
  3. (close enough to tie)
So that's where we are so far. I am completely, entirely open to feedback. Please be specific and let me know what you love, what you hate (and if so, how you think I can change), and what you hope to see in the next 100...

Thanks!

19 comments:

  1. I enjoy this blog immensely, and I support you continuing to do it in whatever way you can. I am proud of you, and for you, for getting this off the ground at all. I definitely enjoy reading this often, almost daily, although I don't post comments much. As such, this comment will be pretty rambling and entirely off the cuff, but here I go.

    Your tendency to self-deprecate (is that even a word?!?) appears often, but the bottom line is this: I think you are an excellent writer. I continue to find your reviews to be thoughtful and engaging, and I feel like you have a clear, unique voice which comes through in the process. Keep it up!

    I think you have indeed met many of the goals you set out with from your Launch posting. And, I personally went from not reading blogs much at all, to reading yours and using it as a jumping-off point to others. I think the LAMB is great, and I would not have heard of it otherwise.

    I specifically really like the review format you have developed. It is different and interesting and gives me something to chew on, even when I sometimes disagree with your ultimate review grade. On a personal note, I often feel a bit aged and out of it when I see what you choose to reference to in the "Background" portion at the beginning of the reviews -- I inevitably feel like I am more familiar with the actor/writer/director's older or more obscure works. But it is still a great beginning for how I like to think about films, and a refreshing format/style. Also, not sure if this will always be the case, but I feel like when I have not seen the movie yet, and don't want any spoilers, I can get away with just reading that beginning section before I see a potential movie, to whet my appetite about who/what/where might be involved, and then come back later to read the whole review.

    I also really enjoy the Underrated MOTM: nice feature. Several of the side features have been very rewarding to read (and obviously generate good comments too), but I do prefer reading the reviews more than anything.

    Not sure what to say on the domain name vs Blogger vs any-other-option issue at this point; I simply don't understand it enough.

    Also, no good segue here, but Grand Canyon was technically the first DVD I ever bought ... OK technically it was second because I also bought Fearless at the same time, so on the receipt it was second alphabetically, but whatever. As you know, I still have wayyyyy too many VHS tapes from the Stone Age that I have a hard time getting rid of, but the transition to seeing both of those 2 films in the theater, and then buying their DVDs, was an important moment in my young adult life, and Grand Canyon is a cherished symbol of that time period for me, and a movie I have re-watched many times.

    Also, although it was not the first HD DVD I bought (Planet Earth gets that prize -- which is stunning in its own right), I was recently stunned when I watched Zodiac on HD DVD (got it new for $15 -- 2 disc version! -- if you already have the player for that dead format, a lot of the films are selling off cheap). Excellent movie from one of my favorite directors, but a breathtaking visual experience too in HD, not better than in the theater, just different -- when it makes the jump to Blu-Ray or HD downloads or whatever Star Trek device comes out next, I really encourage everyone to watch it again. Zodiac, and I quote "... holds the honor of being the first film shot entirely in 1080p high definition ..."

    I don't know how to do the linky thing, so anyone who is still reading this comment can get all the details here

    http://hddvd.highdefdigest.com/841/zodiac.html


    OK I don't know how to wrap this up. Peace out.

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  2. I write restaurant reviews that aren't nearly as in-depth as your movie reviews, but I can definitely appreciate the time you put into this! I hope you are getting a great number of hits every day and that people are finding the site useful!
    Check out my restaurant reviews
    http://www.twincitiesrestaurantblog.com

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  3. Congratulations on a job well done Daniel. One hundred posts is worth acknowledging, I find your material here to be consistent, engaging and fair, and I'm easily annoyed by movie bloggers, despite being one myself.

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  4. Wow, Josh, thanks for the feedback. I know you've been a big advocate since the beginning, and I've enjoyed the few comments you've made so far.

    About the self-deprecation: My writing aside, I'm constantly humbled by the many others that I enjoy reading. If I didn't think I had anything interesting to say I wouldn't be doing this, but so many others have extensive knowledge and really creative ideas that it's a little intimidating. There I go again.

    About the review format: I think it's still working for me, though sometimes I feel stuck within it. For the time being I'll keep it. In terms of the references, I try to go off the last notable role or work by the director/actor, not necessarily their best or most well known. So yes, most of the references are very current, I guess so that we can see what they've been doing recently for comparison. Also, I'm glad that (aside from the letter grade) you can read a portion without finding spoilers.

    Yeah, so...I think I last had that copy of Fearless...ummm...

    Also, I don't know how to hyperlink within the comments either. I should learn. It's another strike against Blogger.

    (If it's not immediately obvious by our writing style and length, Josh and I know each other pretty well - like my entire life.)

    Kristi, thanks for stopping in! You Sauers are quite a savvy family. I checked out your blog and am pretty impressed. My friends have a similar gig (www.reviewsby.us) that's more open source and with a little different focus, but I'll definitely use yours as well.

    Chuck, I appreciate you coming by, as always. As I've mentioned on yours before (Bowen's Cinematic), you're one of the few people that can really draw out the underlying strengths and weaknesses of a film, compared with my indiscriminate pecking.

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  5. Daniel...

    You are the sh!t.

    But you knew that.

    Congrats on 100 posts... and I'm really looking forward to the MSP stuff!

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  6. First of all, congrats Daniel on #100. Sure, it's easy to overstate the significance of arbitrary round numbers, but I know from experience how difficult it is making it to 100. Hell, getting to #2 was scary, so nice job.

    Picking up on what Josh said about the self-deprecation: don't every completely lose it, humbleness is a good quality in my book, but think twice about it. I say this as someone for whom self effacement is always a first line of defense. The thing is though, 75% of the people won't know you don't believe what you're saying unless you tell them. So don't. The other 25% are going to figure it out anyway, and they'll move on. Let them.

    There was a certain point last fall where I scaled way back on negative comments directed against myself. I don't know if it was a coincidence or not, but that's when blog traffic really first started going up.

    Say what you believe, believe what you say and don't point out all your flaws to people. All I'm saying.

    As for the site redesign, I say, sure, go for it. Beyond being easy to read, I think content is the most important thing, but an eye catching identity is also something that will help set you apart from the crowd.

    I guess what I'm saying is: work on it, but don't let it be your focus.

    Finally, take everything I've just said with a grain of salt because I haven't been doing this all that long either: one year anniversary coming up.

    Two things I've learned:
    A) There is always someone smarter than me.
    B) It doesn't matter.

    Congrats again sir, keep up the fine work. I look forward to more from you.

    Also, thanks for haunting LiC these past few months. You're the kind of people I like to have around and you help make it a better place.

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  7. Congrats on your first 100 posts, here's to many more! I found your blog recently, and enjoy your point of view and style. Keep up the good work, I'll be out here reading ...

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  8. Thanks, Nayana (The Center Seat)- it's very cool to have a local connection in the online world, and I love reading about your MSP adventures. Extra thanks for Showhyping my Oscar luncheon post, by the way...

    Craig (Living in Cinema) - thank you for your sincere and straightforward comments. As one of the most respectable (and respected) bloggers I've found, it means a lot, and I consider linking in on LiC as one my most valuable experiences so far. We have similar taste, and I'm ever amazed as to how adept you are at presenting your opinion with strong evidence and at the same time being completely open to other possibilities. You're quite diplomatic. And, if it hasn't been obvious yet, I notice that a number of us in some way model ourselves after your success. Thanks again.

    Welcome, Linda! I'm glad to meet you and have checked out your fine blog (Is This Seat Taken?) as well. Thanks for checking in, and remember you don't have to "be out" anywhere!

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  9. Wow - some awesome comments here from some apparently great readers. I'll continue the love fest:

    Congrats on your 100th post. I love that you say some "bad posts" are coming. Brutally honest, butthey can't all be winners (I say that for all us movie bloggers).

    I think you'll find that this gets easier as you go along. Sure, there are times when I'm not feeling like writing a review and this feels job-ly, but overall it can be rewarding.

    I went into this for much of the same reasons as you, though I'd always kinda sorta wanted to be a movie critic. If anything, I've learned that writing reviews might not be where it's at for me (mostly due to my ignorance of film history), but I still enjoy that aspect and I really enjoy the other stuff I get to write. The comments and readers more than make up for any bad feelings I/you're bound to get.

    And it's now 50 LAMBs! :)

    I'll tell you this - if you are thinking about switching away from Blogger and decide to, do it quickly. After more than a year, there's not a chance in hell that I'm moving all my posts (and losing visitors, no doubt). I'm staying put (not that I really want to leave).

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  10. Oh, and I love that cartoon. That could totally be me, right down to the Mac laptop that I'm typing on right now. Nice.

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  11. I'll join in on the congratulations! 100 posts is amazing! If you were to start a blog now, would you do things differently than when you started?

    I don't know how many posts I have written. I don't even know how to check it ;) but I think I have written about 100 posts or so since I started and I have learned a lot.

    I love your blog so keep doing what you are doing!

    Like Fletch said, if you want to switch to wordpress for example, do it ASAP.

    Congrats again! Well done!

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  12. Congrats on the 100th! I'm almost there myself, only 7 more to go. I'm hoping to post my 100th on April 3rd which will also be my 1 year anniversary. Nice how that worked out.

    I've really enjoyed reading your blog since I joined LAMB. Though we may not always see eye to eye, I still highly respect your opinion.

    Keep up the great work.

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  13. Wow, this is getting a little syrupy in here. Thanks, everybody.

    Fletch (Blog Cabins & the founder of LAMB): Thanks a lot for being honest about your own experience. I definitely agree that the discussions are one of the most rewarding parts about doing this. Writing, while occasionally stressful as you hint at, is a lot more fun when you can do it creatively and share it with others who you know have interesting insights to add. I'm highly grateful to your efforts with LAMB, too. It's like a runaway train right now, and congratulations to you. Regarding moving away from Blogger, I'm still unsure, and you're right that if I'm going to, I should do it soon. It would be a much easier decision if it were a free move...

    Soundtrackgeek (Soundtrack Geek): You ask a very intriguing question! I'm not sure what I do differently off the top of my head in terms of content (I still want to focus almost exclusively on movies), but maybe I would have changed layout/blog platforms. I don't know? No regrets so far. And thanks for your visits here, too. I'm always interested about what the foremost expert on scores and soundtracks has to say because the music plays a big part for me as well.

    Mrs. Thuro (Mrs. Thuro's Rants & Raves): Cheers to you on your upcoming 100th post and 1 year anniv! I look forward to what you have in your second year and I find your posts a cut above - I especially like your spoiler warnings, as I'm about as spoilerphobic as they come. Thanks again!

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  14. Allow me to quote you, Daniel - "I still don't exactly know what I'm doing on here and why I'm doing it."
    Thanks for putting into words what I feel every time I start a new post.
    I enjoy reading your stuff. You have a unique voice - a rare commodity in the blogosphere.

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  15. Thanks for the kind words, Rick (Rick's DVD Picks) - hopefully we can both figure this blogging venture out at the same time! I enjoy reading your detailed and incisive reviews as well. Cheers.

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  16. I forgot to mention it here but since you are asking for feedback in the current poll, I've come back here for my two cents. If you want the domain name I believe you can buy one and have it populated by this blog. No transfer or anything, just when people type www.getafilm.com, this comes up. you can decide what that's worth but if my blog ever got off the ground I'd probably do it. In fact, I've come close at times despite my blog being a dead zone.

    That being said I'm also not sure what wordpress and the like offer that is better than blogger. I've always found it fairly intuitive and now I see that they've added drag and drop design functionality.

    I'll go vote for "stay on blogger" now, just wanted to elaborate.

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  17. You're right. It probably makes sense to buy it anyway and forward it here for the time being. I haven't been doing this long enough to get into the really fine details between Blogger and Wordpress (not wordpress.com), but I just have a feeling that I would prefer the layout and customization of Wordpress. You're right though in that Blogger is pretty idiot-proof. Since I'm an idiot I should probably stay here, but who knows.

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  18. May I add to the saccharine? Or is it too sugary sweet in here all ready? That's all right. I'll wear that chocolate spray mist that I love from Victoria's Secret. That'll really take the room down.

    Congratulations on your 100th post, Daniel. Your reviews are extremely detailed, analytical and even a tad mathematical (with the percentages and numbers and all). There isn't much in this particular marketplace that engages both sides of your brain so elegantly. Exceptionally unique is what they are and we, as your reading public, are very happy to have them.

    Kudos to you and much continued deserved success in the future.

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  19. Good grief, Miranda (Cinematic Passions), your poetic words are more eloquent than anything I've written so far! Thanks so much. It is and will continue to be a work in progress (I guess that's the definition of a blog), but it's nice to get encouragement at these milestones. Honored to have you here.

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