Blue Chilled Takes

I am proud of the fact that there has been something new to read every single day in 2022. Though a lot of that has to do with the great work by contributing writer, The Movie Breakdown co-host and amazing friend Scott Martin. I'm less impressed with my consistency this year.

My less than stellar output hasn't been lack of inspiration, because I have about one hundred and fifty-two writing ideas on a daily basis. I never struggle having something to write about. Having a problem like that would make one think the blog would be stuffed with articles written by me. As I've whined about in the past, it has been the exact opposite over the last few years. I often have a hot streak of articles for a few days and then outside of the podcasts and weekends (which Scott deservedly takes off), new articles posted by me become unobtanium. 

Part of the problem has been the overbearing depression and anxiety that I have written about to the point of nausea. Another big part is I have things like client work and being a dad, and when the emotions sap the energy dry then I need to prioritize, and those two things will always beat out the blog output until the podcast and site become a major (but let's start with any) source of income.

The other issue is that throughout my career, I've written for relatively big pop culture sites obsessed with the clicks. The rule from all these sites is that all pieces posted need to be piping hot takes. If some news has broken or a trailer released, then a piece on it needs to have been written and posted ten minutes ago. I have had editors say that if something can't be written and posted in an hour, then don't bother, because they have already moved on to something else. Timeliness is the most important thing to drawing in that coveted audience, because a site is trying to beat two hundred other sites with opinions on that delicious news item.

Despite my site being very different, I have got it programmed into my brain the importance of immediate opinion on latest story being the only one that matters. This has meant for the site that I'll compose an opinion piece on something fresh in pop culture or start writing a movie review for the latest release, then Danika will chase Everett while threatening him with Tonka truck or a big paying project will land on my lap, so I need to push the piece aside for that moment. Once the scars are avoided and the assignment sent off, then dinner needs to be cooked then that leads to putting kids to bed, and the next thing that I know the emotions of crazy are drawing away my energy to the point that I have nothing left for the site (or more recently, still trying to wrap-up my work for the day while being spent).

In what I will openly admit is nothing more than a thinly veiled excuse, I return to the piece that now contains 'news' that has been extensively analyzed by every pop culture site and I decide it is old and stale. This past year has had far too many discarded and unfinished articles stockpiled away than I am willing to admit.

We have had an incredible movie year, but almost all my reviews are relegated to the podcast, A podcast that is posted on a Tuesday, yet somehow, my brain has never declared those too late, but once Sunday hits, I've convinced myself the new release is old news, thus can't have a written review. There are far too many scrapped written reviews this year. It is unfortunate, because I've been learning there are readers that don't listen to the podcast, thus they've been missing out on my movie thoughts. It has been made clear to me by many readers that they want written reviews of new releases from me, but that ball keeps bouncing down the stairs like Everett's head off the couch when he insults Danika.

I convince myself that movie discussion between two hosts on a podcast is more evergreen, but a written review needs to be right on or near the release date. I do know my numbers decrease the farther a new release gets a review from its opening day, but at this point, I don't really have any numbers that make sponsors do backflips. Just having something written should be the victory.

The reality is that this site has never been nor will it ever be a hot movies news site or the place to post one of the first movie reviews. I am not going to break any news. I won't set the trend of public opinion on a movie. It is foolish to think that I draw any kind of audience seeking piping red-hot takes. My audience exists for one reason, and that is to actually read what I and Scott have to say. It isn't a large audience and I wouldn't even feel comfortable calling them fans, but anyone that comes here knows the words and opinions are mine (and Scott's). Unless they clicked it by accident, they are reading because they are interested to find out our takes. Which also means that 'timeliness' likely matters far less than I try to convince myself when opting to throw away a piece.

It is the personalities that matter on this site. It is humbling for me to think that my little name has somehow over time grown a daily audience that consists of hundreds of readers. While hundreds means very little to sponsors or in comparison to any pop culture site, it is still a lot for me to grasp. Though my audience shrank a bit over the last few years likely to a combination of Covid and my own inconsistency, the past month had 8500 plus unique views (some likely being the same reader coming back each day), which again is nothing amazing compared to most sites, but enough to tell me this site at least has an actual audience wanting to read and listen to what is created on here. 

The thing that I am learning is that writing is really important for my emotional and mental health. Being able to write whatever I want is a rewarding and uplifting experience. At the best of times, I would even say it is spiritual. This means that even in those darker emotional evening hours, I need to force myself to write more even if the 'news' is growing some mold.

I also need to start crafting the long promised review series for the MCU and Disney animated theatrical releases, and the weekly serialized fiction story. I keep thinking I've delayed it for so long that readers don't care. They can't care about something they can never read. They are ideas that will help push me in creative and unique ways.

I've decided that it is time to be okay with 'blue chilled takes.' I am going to start writing movie reviews even if it was released weeks or years ago. I have tributes to celebrities that I wanted to do, even if it is now years past their death. I have passionate thoughts that still hold relevance. While some news no longer has much point to be discussed, there are other things that I can still connect the dots to current events and will drive me to churn out a few hundred words.

Will anyone want to read it? Will it be interesting? I hope so. I won't find that out until I write them. While my goal is to also write about things that are current and steaming, I will also not allow something that is a few decades old to be a reason not to write about it. My most popular piece recently was about 40-year-old toys, so readers seem to like nostalgia as much as me. So, get ready for my perspective on the invention of this thing called the television, it may reshape how we get information!