Today may bring the strangest article in the history of TDYLF. For three years, the site has pumped out one article or another about movies and (occasionally) TV 4.617 times a week. Ish. Today, I’m going to go a little meta (if that word is even still a thing, and if it’s not then substitute “self-referential”). Today I’d like to discuss the current state of things and the future of the site.
As I mentioned, TDYLF’s been in operation for just over three years. It’s been a fun ride, with a lot of highlights. It’s been a way to make new (internet) friends and for longtime friends to get to know me better. The site has had a lot of exposure through these few years. I’ve been published once, and there’s a 99% chance I’ll be published again in the fall*. By some stroke of hilarious dumb luck last summer, I was interviewed by NPR. I’ve even received feedback from Edgar Wright (via Twitter) at one point. And TDYLF just passed one million all-time page views recently. When I started this thing by writing a goofy little article about Akira Kurosawa, never in a billion years did I think that people would be interested in the cinematic synaptic goo pouring out of my skull a million times.
*I can’t tell you what this is all about until it publishes but I can tell you that I’m as excited about it as anything that’s happened to me while doing stuff for TDYLF.
Having said that, things have changed a lot for me personally in the last year. In fact, work that I’ve done here on TDYLF precipitated a lot of it. The people I work with saw some of the things I’d done here, and they realized that I might be able to apply that same type of work within my job. In short, they gave me a chance to succeed within my skill-set and I’m grateful for that. That may sound cryptic, but I’ve tried hard to keep my work life and TDYLF separate. Why change now? But I digress.
The obvious truth is that this is a great turn of events for me, personally. I love my job, I love the people I work with, and I’m excited about applying the things that I do at TDYLF for my employer. Unfortunately, this also means that I have considerably less time for TDYLF. Not only am I spending more of my creative time on my job. I’m also more exhausted and/or less willing to spend extra time on a site that relies heavily on at least some design.
My interest in TDYLF has also taken a completely natural (and positive) hit in the last year or two. Many of my best friends- whose friendship has been forged in film discussion- have had their own personal changes. Namely, they now have kids. For all of the right reasons, they have less time to talk about movies. Instead, they’re proud of their infant children and the family life they’ve created. It used to be that I could turn to these sources for some amazing movie discussion, and there was ample time for it. They were fellow junkies. Now, their focus has been turned to their own futures, far more important than any discussion about anything ever put to celluloid (or rendered digitally). This means that I’m thinking and talking about movies less frequently. Justifiably so.
Moreover, the death of the IMDb Hit List took its toll. Its mere existence was a unique motivator for content. Finding my way onto the Hit List was the white whale to my Ahab, giving me an obsessive goal to chase. I would purposely try to create content that I knew their editors and readers would enjoy (with a great deal of help from my friend Marty, one of the friends mentioned in my previous point). Without that audience, the site has been sapped of my motivation. And the new content isn’t fair to loyal readers. And now I find myself less interested in creating content that’s engaging to larger audiences.
Last but not least, my attitude about movies has changed. The magic of movies is approaching routinization. And even though there’s still SOOOO much left to be discovered, I feel like I’ve exposed myself to so many different genres, decades, directors, actors, movements, and countries of origin when it comes to film. Film still pleases me, but it doesn’t surprise me nearly as much as it did, say, six years ago. This is true of any endeavor you may choose. Indulge in it enough and it eventually it loses its charm. Trust me. When you wake up tomorrow, try to learn all you can about, say, entomology. Within a few years, you’ll feel like you’ve reached the limits of what can be known about bugs.
The end result of all of this is that I have so much less energy to create unique content. As I said earlier, that’s not fair to you, gentle readers. After all, you’re all the biggest reason TDYLF exists. Without your attention, without your readership, I promise you that all of this would’ve crumbled a long time ago. The site would’ve died on the vine. I LOVE that I have regular readers from Maryland; California; Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; Toronto and Montreal; major metropolitan areas like New York and Chicago; Tennessee; Australia and New Zealand; the UK; several parts of South America; and several other points in-between. Every day, I get page views from all over the world and it’s mind-blowing. And you have no idea how grateful I am to all of you for that. Thank you.
So what becomes of TDYLF from here? There are several options. The first option is to fight through all of this and hope that my creative mojo returns. Another option would be to take a break from writing for a week or two. This seems like a reasonable enough idea, but the odds of me returning from it are long. The third option is to produce less frequent content, but to make it more meaningful. In this incarnation, I’d be posting more visual stuff, but only every week or two (hooray for infographs!). Or maybe there’s something in the middle of all of that. Please understand that at least for the time being, it’s business as usual until I can sort this all out.
Allow me to feed my narcissism for a moment. How do you all feel about all of this? Do you have any opinions about what you’d like to see moving forward? Is it as obvious to all of you as it is to me that the quality has declined in the last year/ish? Would you stick with it if I moved to a once-weekly option with more engaging content?