On blogging and the way things are done

11.29.14 3 years ago

So here's the thing.

When I first joined HitFix, back before there was such a thing, when it was a small group of us meeting to discuss what it might be, I had one request based on my experience at Ain't It Cool News.

I wanted an easy to use blog software. I wanted to be able to post short thoughts and long articles alike. I wanted it to be very easy to embed images and links and very easy to post something fast. Ten mirnutes, idea to publish. Twitter is a very specific short form sort of platform. You have to be able to publish an idea in 140 characters. No cheating.

What I've been doing for the last six years (as of December, which is Monday) is publishing articles. They've been essays, reviews, interviews, news pieces. They've hewn more closely to the traditional model of content and they've been more formal in terms of how they're labeled and filed.

What I didn't end up doing was blogging. At least not the way I understand it. I think of blogging as something looser, something more short form. Longer than Twitter, but shorter than a full review or a full article.

Here's why I've been thinking about this. I watch and read and play so much more than I cover here… so much more… that it's almost frustrating for me. I want to write long-form pieces. I want to write things that I think are more permanent, more considered. But I also want to share and create an ongoing conversation that is more interactive, because that's the point. That's why this exists. I don't want to shout into a void. I'm not some end point for a conversation… I want to start the conversation. I want to hear from you.

And when someone blogs the right way, when someone really does turn this into an ongoing back and forth that's loose and reactive, mixing in the bigger articles and also publishing in the moment, in a way that is almost real-time… that's where I think there's an art to all of this right now. That's what I'd like to do, and what I haven't done.

So let's try. Right now, I'm gearing up for a weird week of travel and screenings, as I head to London to attend the “Hobbit” junket, while also trying to see everything I still need to see before I make my vote for the end-of-the-year awards for the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) and for my own top ten list, a video project that will shoot on December 9th.

Instead of letting that be a wave of activity that makes me less active here on the blog, let's turn that around. I'm watching a ton of movies right now. Last one finished was “The Internet's Own Boy,” an infuriating and sad documentary about Aaron Swartz. I can't even begin to unpack my own position on copyright and the Internet and activism and so many other issues that the film raises… I don't even know how I'd begin to write about this movie. I'm glad it exists, and I think anyone who wants to understand where we are right now in terms of information and the currency that exists around the exchange of that information should see it, because it's essential text. It's not the only piece of information… but it's a good one.

This morning, I'm taking my kids to see “The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies,” and they're excited. More than I am. I'm curious to see how Jackson wraps up what has become a very distinct thing from the book “The Hobbit.” These movies are something else entirely. They are a sort of victory lap for Jackson, and as such, I'm curious to see how he pulls this last one together. I've just watched the extended editions of both of the first two films, so I am primed and ready. I've seen it all. I've seen every inch of this thing that Jackson has released so far, and now it's time to wrap it up.

It's strange how different I feel seeing this than I did seeing the first screening of “Return Of The King.” I was positively giddy at that point, ready for it, ready to see what I was sure was going to be a home run. With this film, I hope it's really cool. I hope it brings all the narrative threads that Jackson's introduced so far together in a way that feels right. I'm open to it. I am curious, and my fingers are crossed.

Anyway. Off to bed. Early movie. And then it's a full weekend of hanging out with the kids. I'm sure I'll have some updates as I watch more movies on my catch-up stack. And I'm curious what you guys are watching this weekend, either theatrically or at home.

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