In the blogging world, the line between the professional and the amateur is often blurred. Since starting The Deleted Scene almost two years ago, I have struggled at times straddling that line.
In theory, one of the great luxuries of blogging is being able to write pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want. My introduction to the professional side of film blogging changed that.
I started my blog as a hobby, and for the most part is has remained one. I did not start it to find a job, or to make money, but rather as an outlet for my thoughts on film and the film industry. A relatively small blog like mine is far from being a professional operation, yet I found myself thrust into situations that demand professionalism from me.
My introduction to the professional side of blogging came the week I shot my first short film last summer. I received an invitation to an event in San Francisco hosted by Dolby Laboratories. I dismissed it initially, assuming it was a mistake.
As it turned out, it was not a mistake, and a week later I was in San Francisco sitting among writers I knew and admired. It was almost surreal, I felt like a fraud. I was worried that at any moment someone would realize a mistake had been made and I would be found out.
Then, soon after I returned from my first “business trip”, I began to receive DVD screeners and the occasional invitation to press screenings. As a blogger, being able to write whatever you want is one of the few highlights, being sent DVDs for awful films took some of the excitement out of writing and the blog.
It was a move towards being taken more seriously, however it was not why I wanted to write in the first place. I rarely review films, and when I do, it is because I feel excited to share my opinion on the specific film. Having my choice of reviews dictated by someone took all the excitement away. As someone who does not dream of writing about film, reviewing films I am not interested in is both particularly dull and at times even difficult.
As I started to feel more and more like a real blogger, or at least a slightly more professional one, the need to move up in the film blogging world became more urgent. And with it, the realization that compromises might be necessary.
I feel as if I have always been honest in my writing, however as I wanted to be taken more seriously, a sense that I had to become more critical and harsh began to surface. Which led to another realization and the sense that I was walking a tightrope: Being a harsh critic, attacking filmmakers and producers in very targeted ways, would be potentially damaging to the filmmaking career that I aspire to. I have always wanted to be a filmmaker, and writing about film was simply a way to express my ideas and thoughts on an industry I so badly want to be part of.
I worry often that by writing a particularly harsh article, I may burn a bridge that I may need to cross in the future. On more than one occasion I found myself either giving up on an article or censoring myself as I realize it may attack a producer, studio or director I dream of one day working with.
Blogging has opened many doors for me, and I hope it continues to do so. However, I realize that for someone who aspires to filmmaking, a balance must be struck between wanting to be a successful blogger and wanting a future in film.