September 1, 2011


I didn't start this blog with a bang, and I won't bother trying to end it with one. So, I won't. End it, I mean - at least not permanently. But it's been clear to anyone visiting on a regular basis over the last four years that Getafilm has been limping along for about 18 months, and it's time to acknowledge that I'm either not willing or not able to focus on watching and writing as much as I'd like to at this time in my life.

It's been interesting for me to ponder: is it because I'm unwilling or because I'm unable, and how long does a season in life last? Fortunately I don't need to determine all of that. I don't have to pull the plug or delete everything I've written. I can just turn the lights off in this room and come back if and when I feel like it - the door will be closed but it won't be locked.

To entertain the masses that are sure to continue to flock here on a daily basis, I've tagged several dozen of the 625 archived posts here as my personal favorites, based on the writing, the discussion in the comments, or for an entirely personal reason.

I'll also leave four lessons I've learned, perhaps one for each year of writing to date:

1. Virtual relationships are real relationships. I stopped paying attention to my site traffic a couple of years ago, but the latest data shows that about 170,000 unique visitors have checked in from 193 countries and territories. If you're impressed, you're merely uninformed: popular blogs and websites will rack up those numbers in a morning, while it's taken me years. But what I value much more than the hits (I've never profited a dime from traffic) are the relationships - even friendships - I've developed with some of those visitors who have taken the time to engage with this blog. Some of them I've met, others I hope to one day meet; making friends with strangers has never been so easy.

2. Don't treat a hobby like a job (especially if you already have a job). I almost learned this the hard way as there were times Getafilm actually threatened to damage my relationship with film. As any amateur blogger can tell you, the pressure (entirely self-created) to post something on a regular basis can be overwhelming. Fortunately I gave up that concern some time ago, and have since enjoyed not writing as much as I've enjoyed writing. Why I devoted thought and digital space here to movies like Elegy, Margot at the Wedding, Observe and Report, and Semi-Pro, I have no idea. By far my favorite writing is found in my "Taking It Home" reviews: not only did those get to the heart of my relationship to film, but they were also done on my own time and under no pressure. I never started blogging with the idea that I would become a full time film critic, and, although I'm glad for the opportunity to write freelance reviews when asked, I'm perfectly at peace as an amateur, independent writer.

3. Nothing improves your writing like writing (and reading the writing of others). This should go without saying, but if you are reading this as a beginning blogger or a potential blogger or writer of any kind, I can't overstate how helpful it can be to write on a regular basis. And also read the writing of others (see my blogroll for a few of my inspirations). Putting words to a page forces you to distill and organize your thoughts, helps you form persuasive and well-reasoned arguments, and, perhaps most importantly for any writer, improves the economy and efficiency of your expression (at least for most people - you can tell it's still not my greatest strength).

4. Maintain perspective. This is basically an extension of #2 and should be true about anything in life, but it's worth repeating. People start blogging because they have creative energy they're trying to channel in some way, but it would stand to reason they have interests in life entirely unrelated to their blog. I know that's true for me, at least. I'm passionately interested in film, but also in quite a number of other things to which I'd like to focus my limited free time and energy. So, I don't see this hiatus or hibernation as a departure from film and writing (I'm actually hoping to watch more movies than I have been recently), but an indefinite break to give myself an opportunity to breathe without the weight of the blog, reflect, and maybe pursue some of my other interests. But it's not necessarily the end - I might feel compelled to write about a movie I see next month, or next year, or maybe not until next decade.

Until whenever that may be, thank you for reading. I have learned more about film, writing, history and culture in this little corner of the internet than I ever could have hoped. You've helped me earn a four-year degree in movie blogging, and am going to enjoy my graduation and relax for a bit...
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