My Cloudy Future as a Film Critic


This has been a rough week. Maybe at some point, I'll open up about it, but a number of the factors are personal in nature and don't just involve me, so it doesn't seem appropriate to divulge all the details while still navigating deep the jungle of the issues. It has meant I've felt the dark cloak of depression wrap around me and my energy gets depleted as the seconds go by. It hasn't helped that the increase in client work was a mirage, and the majority of my working hours have been desperately scratching up for more. However I am thankful for the work that I do have, and my gratitude pours out towards all my readers and listeners who keep supporting me.

It might be the bottom-of-the-barrel financial spot I'm in or the current state of applications and pitches being lost into the abyss of seemingly uninterested clients and editors. Or that the lack of growth in the site and podcast over the last year is yet another karate kick to my confidence. 

But I'm starting to question the 'film critic' part of my writing career. I currently don't have the funds to review any theatrical releases. It seems hard to be a modern critic without having knowledge of the current state of movies shaping the cultural zeitgeist. This very dour 2023 has also made me challenge the whole idea that a single person even cares about what I have to say about movies.

Here I am questioning the point with time becoming a precious gem in my life and my energy varying from day to day. Is film criticism one of the aspects of my career that I cling to?

The fact is that despite having a podcast devoted to it, at one time it being a major part of my writing income, and my own deep love towards movies and their history, I did not start my writing career with writing about movies being part of my goals. I always eventually wanted fiction to be a significant part of my income, and that is completely non-existent right now. I have always enjoyed journalism, and opinion columns of various, and believed that was the dream.

It feels like the last few years I've been battling to keep ahold of one aspect of writing when maybe my time with it has already passed. The biggest question is if anyone really cares if I ever write another movie review again or if it was ever a form of writing that gained me an audience?

I'm not quitting film criticism. Partly because Scott and I have devoted so many years to The Movie Breakdown, and it wouldn't be noble of me to drop it suddenly. We are a team, and I'm committed to keeping the podcast going for as long as possible. At one point I thought it was going to always be a part of my life, but now maybe it could be a bit shorter than that. But talking about movies will continue to be a part of my creation routine for now.

But do I still fight my way to reviewing new releases for the remainder of this year? Does this site need to have weekly movie reviews?

Does anyone care?

There was a time when I convinced myself to go all in on writing about movies. My career now says that I need to strike a much better balance. I am not getting too many bites in that subject area, and I need to move towards other work that will actually allow me a living in writing. And I definitely want to march towards fiction being something that fits into my writing life. It does mean that film writing has to at least move aside to allow for other things to crowd in.

As I ramble away here, I still have a yearning to join a film critic association. I still have a goal of becoming a Rotten Tomatoes certified critic and growing an audience in that medium. I want The Movie Breakdown to expand and leave some kind of mark on pop culture, even if it is just a smudge that eventually gets wiped away.

It is becoming less and less likely I can justify seeing more than two or three theatrical movies before 2023 ends. This will be the least informed I've been about the current state of cinema since 2012. But I want to still play a part in movie discourse. It will just mean writing reviews for streaming releases and older movies that have long since left the movie theatres.

Here is a request that I am rather ashamed to throw out there. If you do love my movie reviews, and you actually would like to see reviews of new movies then I am open to donations or 'payments' that will help with such an endeavour. I promise that if anyone actually does either bless me kindly with some money or even gift me with a Cineplex gift card, then I will devote myself to writing at least one new theatrical release review a week. I'll even take requests for any movie you want to be reviewed, as long as I have legal and relatively easy access to it.

You can achieve this through my PayPal account here.

I feel dirty with such a request, but it would put me to work, and it would clarify in my mind that there is an audience for my reviews.

Even if this falls flat, I am going to keep up The Movie Breakdown in some form and continue to push myself to create high-quality articles and prose on this site.

Thank you so much for the years of support, You are magnificent readers and you keep me going even through tough years like this one.