September 1, 2009

Getafilm and the Third Year Wide Receiver Theory

Here's hoping both Calvin Johnson and I have successful third years...

In preparing for my three fantasy football drafts (must sound insane to many of you) over the last few weeks, I've been reminded of a mostly unproven theory about wide receivers. The theory goes that wide receivers typically break out in the third year of their NFL career, so rookie wideouts may be risky picks but those promising young WRs entering their third year (like Calvin Johnson, on one of my squads) have the potential for huge seasons.

Today marks the beginning of my third year maintaining Getafilm, and it's been hard not to consider the third-year receiver theory in the context of my own situation. Could this be my make or break year? Only time will tell. Currently I have no grand plans for change because I simply don't foresee having the time to do anything differently. A busy work year is ahead, as well as my own wedding within the next 12 months. How these will affect either the quantity or quality of my posts, I can't say.

But I still love movies and I'm still really excited about many of them on the way this Oscar season. I still enjoy writing and I'm feeling more sure than I ever have about what my strengths and weaknesses are. For example, I don't really consider my standard reviews to be all that great; more than any other kind of post, I feel some kind of pressure to write them. So I'm trying to resist the temptation to do so, even if it is "good practice".

At the very least, I should only review the movies that really move me to write, such as (recently) District 9 or Heart of Stone. I personally had little to say about Adventureland or The Soloist or Public Enemies or Bruno, for example, and there have been many "big" movies that I haven't even seen this year: The Hangover, Whatever Works, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Funny People, and so on. In fact, as of today I've only seen six of the Top 20 highest-grossing films of 2009 (and keep in mind I was paid to watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop).

And I'm almost proud of that. I'm realizing that most of these movies have little to nothing to offer me in terms of personal development (emphasis on me). I've looked back at some reviews and thought, "What was the point of me writing anything about that movie?" (e.g., Hamlet 2, Flash of Genius). And to say that the majority of these new releases have been covered enough in the blogosphere would be an understatement. Aside from Oscar chatter, I'm not breaking industry news here or building a lot of PR buzz for every upcoming movie, so why feel obligated to give all of these movies more than just a viewing - and leave it at that?

So I'm not going to pressure myself to review every one of these movies, if I see them at all.
Besides, the best conversations that have taken place here have been from non-review posts. (Note to Minneapolis Star Tribune: As my track record for you has shown, I will still gladly watch and review any movie for a few bucks. And note to independent filmmakers: Please continue contacting me about screeners; I'm happy to take a look and plug your film if given enough lead time.)

My fiancee has a Netflix account. Netflix is a service I've passively ignored for years because I've spent so much time at theaters, but now I'm finally accepting that, for example, seeing Rififi for the first time instead of The Hangover on opening night is probably for the best. It might not be hip, and I might be out of the loop, but at the end of the day it probably enhances my understanding of film in a much more meaningful way. Of course, I didn't write anything about Rififi, but again, I didn't want to pressure myself to do so and at the time there were no urgent thoughts about it that came to mind.

I want to write what comes most naturally. This post, for example, is a breeze, while other posts frustrate me for days, sitting as drafts never to be touched again, or, when finally touched, given a quick pass before being posted (The Class deserved a better treatment). It's like cleaning your room by shoving stuff in the closet, and I'd rather not do that just for the sake of getting a post up "in time" (for what?).

So I'm going to try myself to write more freely, still keeping things related to film (as a matter of discipline; if I didn't I wouldn't be able to control the hemorrhaging of my thoughts), but doing so in a way that fits my writing style and my thoughts. In the short term this will probably mean fewer "reviews" (which is just about a 90 degree-turn from when I started), and in the long term I have no idea what it could mean.

It could lead to longer posts or shorter posts or fewer posts or more posts, but coming from all of them will hopefully be my most honest voice. And you should know by now that I always welcome yours.


  1. Daniel: Yeah, only write what moves ya, man. And then don't apologize for it.

    No doubt, there's good experience to be had in grinding through a review. You can find yourself as a writer or critic that way, but even more you can find yourself as a movie fan (presuming that you don't make the lazy reviewer's mistake of making up for lack of passion with loads of plot recap).

    Of late I'd love to be writing much more on my blog, but a busy work schedule (plus having a life, marathon training, etc) has made that difficult. I miss blogging just because I love the process of writing -- even when I hate it (you know what I mean, I'm sure). But I don't miss blogging because of some fabricated expectation of what a blog should be in terms of content or frequency.

    Every blogger has his/her own style, and that's the fun of it. Still, there are days I stumble across a blog and think, "Did you even enjoy putting this thing together? So why would you expect me to enjoy reading it (or looking at it)?" Likewise I feel bad for the bloggers who write a few times a year about wanting to give it up. There are no shackles here. This isn't the slave ship in Ben-Hur. Stop rowing the oar for a while. Come back to it.

    Anyway, I guess my point is this: I don't think my blogging is going to save anyone else's life, so why on earth would I want to lose my life to it? Do it your way. Enjoy it. That's what you started it in the first place.

    Wishing you more happy writing.

    P.S. Don't draft two QBs with the same bye week like I've done in the last week...twice.

  2. Thanks for encouragement, JB, though your Conversations series is about a month's worth of writing in one post - don't sell that thing short. But it's passionate writing and, as the name suggests, conversational. I can see why you enjoy doing those.

    I know what you mean about writing for the sake of writing, for seeing how your thoughts end up differently on paper than they do in your mind. And I haven't really been eager to give this up, but the occasional extended break is healthy for keeping perspective or, in your case of training for marathons, healthy in a lot of other ways. Chances are I'm going to have a couple of dry spells with what's going on my personal life over the next 12 months, but please call me on it if I make a fuss over it.

    As far as FFB goes, I didn't make that exact mistake, but in one league I have 5 of my 7 starters on bye in Week 4. That will be a painful Sunday.

  3. Also, I meant to add: your Notebook posts inspired me to consider a more freehand/less structured approach to posting as well.

  4. Congrats on 2 years under the belt Daniel and best wishes for year #3!

    I look forward to seeing Getafilm continue to evolve. It's already one of my favorite blogs to visit and predict that will continue to be the case.

    When you first started, did you have any idea you'd keep at it steadily for two whole years?

  5. Thanks much, Craig. We'll see how it progresses. Honestly I had no idea how long I was going to keep this up since my reason for starting it wasn't even that clear to begin with.

    But after two years it's become a pretty engrossing "hobby", something automatic that can relieve as much stress as it creates sometimes. Funny how that works.

  6. Yes, I find I love it and sometimes dread it, but I don't know what I'd do with out it.

  7. Good God, while I don't participate in any fantasy leagues, you couldn't pay me enough to draft any player off The Detroit Lions.

    I've actually had a Lions theory for a while - I actually think that they are so bad, that any team that can't beat them should lose its place in the NFL and be forced to compete against WFL or Arena League teams.

    Oh - and happy blog-a-versary! I too am entering my third year of bloggin', but feel quite a bit behind you in terms of where I'm at...then again, I was always a better defensive end.

  8. Keep it up! I enjoy your witty take on things and your perceptive lists of plot loopholes. Our back-and-forth along with JB on Knowing was a movie-writing highlight of the year.

  9. If I was as witty as Hokahey describes, Craig, I could come up with all kind of great analogies for your sentiment. But I'm not witty, so I can't.

    Thanks, Hatter and Hokahey. Always glad to have you share your thoughts, whether they be in agreement or disagreement or, in the case of Hokahey and Knowing, just plain fun. And Hatter, three years is three years, and I think you should be pretty happy with where you're at. Oh, and have fun at TIFF...>-P

    Also Hatter, you probably get more Detroit coverage there in Toronto so consider me maybe unaware of their ineptitude, if that's possible (it's not). As a team they may be a joke, but C. Johnson's stats can't be overlooked. And I always love to root for the underdog - unless they're playing the Vikings.

  10. @ Daniel... TIFF is gonna be a tad surreal this year, because I'll be focusing more on the free events. I only have a ticket to one screening this year, so as far as new movies go I'm pretty much sitting this year out.

    Thanks for the encouragement! It's been a slow build, so I'm still happy that anyone is reading my stuff.

    As for The Lions, you're right - I can't argue with the man's stats. As for our NFL coverage here in Toronto, it tends to be rather Bills-centric, which kills me given that I'm a Pats fan.

    Again, happy blog-a-versary!

  11. Excellent post Daniel,

    I really love seeing your blog continue to grow and evolve. Keep up the great work, and keep up the work of changing it to make it work for you. It definitely continues to work for the readers, in my humble opinion.
    The site redesign during this last year, for example, caught me off guard, but now I have come to really prefer it.

    Also, please spare a thought for keeping the UMOTM going. I didn't have anything brilliant to add to your last one, but the beautiful article you wrote about batteries not included gave structure in my gauzy memory as to why it has remained such an emotional favorite of mine.

    Congratulations and Viel Erfolg in the future!

  12. Better make that one screening count, Hatter! For me, you know it would be A Serious Man. I don't know if it would be better or worse to be around all of that and NOT have tickets. Also, yeah I forgot about the Bills - that's poor geography on my part, plus I know the Bills were planning on playing some games in Toronto, but I forgot. Anyway, funny trivia bit: I worked for the Pats in 2002, that "off year" of their 3-championship dynasty. It's a long story.

    Thanks, Josh! I don't know if I completely prefer the new layout, to be honest, but most of it is better than before. Might still give it another facelife in Year 3, but this one was enough work on its own (and I still haven't worked out all the kinks with it).

    And I do plan on keeping up with all of the features, including the UMOTM, but man, that one ALWAYS sneaks up on me as I try to do it the last day of the month. It's always rushed, but after they're up I'm usually happy with them. I realized after the first few that it was a lot harder to write about movies that I hadn't seen in 20 years, so now I find myself tempted to rewatch some of them just to make sure, as was the case with *batteries not included.

  13. Any post on a "movie" blog that works fantasy football into it is a great one in my book. :) I had three drafts as well, but alas, the drafting gods gave me picks 2, 2, and 4, so Cal Johnson was not in my future. Auction drafts, kids - they're the tops!

    Anyway, happy blog-o-versary, and always nice to see you pondering the past and future of your site. Also as always, I'll be here to keep up with your journeys, since their sure to be good reads and include copious amounts of Coen Brother-related activity.

    Excellent thoughts by Jason as well. I need to come back and read them every now and then.

  14. Thanks, Fletch, for your support/encouragement/advice/leadership over the last 18 months, and I agree about Jason's wisdom. If only everybody started out with that in mind.

    I wish I could get more Coen Brother-related activity going here, especially as today begins the local monthlong celebration of their entire career. This place is abuzz, to say the least, and everyone's elbowing to get in and hear them speak next Friday. I'm on the outside looking in at this point...


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