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in Filmmaking
on May 1, 2008

In a post below, we noted Matt Zoller Seitz’s decision to abandon print journalism — and that includes blogging — in order to concentrate on filmmaking. Now, at GreenCine, David Hudson draws attention to one other blogger calling it quits and another who is contemplating an exodus as well. Over at Flickhead, Ray Young issues a simple farewell, reprinted here in its entirety:

““It was more than being holy and it was less than being free”

All things must pass…I’m outta here…

A more detailed explanation is found buried in his comments thread, when Young responds to the various posters with this:

The Walmart-style overdevelopment of film blogs, however, has left a bad taste for me. There are just too many, and my antiquated method of concentration can no longer keep the pace nor adequately process what little I’m able to read.

Plus, I feel this proliferation has divided a lot writers and readers into segregated camps — academics and intellectuals, pop culture and nostalgia mavens, etc. I rarely sense a middle ground.

As an example of one of my misgivings, here, in this comment box, I should be providing some long-winded and exact explanation of my actions. (Many bloggers favor run-on sentences and bloated paragraphs, and will jump on the tiniest crack in one’s beliefs.) But the subject is vast, and by the time I could formulate a proper evaluation everyone will have long since moved on to The Next Thing.

However, I’ve sensed the so-called blogosphere has slowed somewhat; is my blog’s demise part of a dawning exodus?

I’ve already started doing other work that you may eventually find online.

This was fun for a while, but, like I said, all things must pass. Thanks again for your support.

As Hudson notes, one of the posters on that comments thread is Tim Lucas from Video Watchblog. Over at his own blog, Lucas writes his own admission that film blogging isn’t what it used to be. The entire post is very much worth reading, but here’s an excerpt from the ending:

As this world of ours continues to place all its hopes for information and community like so many eggs into this ether basket, people ought to know what I am not ashamed to admit: that, sooner or later, it becomes the secret wish of all bloggers to stop blogging. The instant gratification of this format is nice, but it only lasts for an instant. It wouldn’t surprise me if all the blogs I check each day — rather than reading some of the acknowledged great writers whose works I’ve never read, finishing Thomas Pynchon’s most recent book, or starting in on Alexander Theroux’s new and forbiddingly long novel — disappeared off the face of the net within the next year or two. One thing I can promise you about published writers, and generally about any writer of quality: once they have tasted publication, they are in it for keeps, and they will swim upstream toward maintaining that livelihood as long as there is breath left in them. As for Matt Zoller Seitz, to whom I send my best wishes and highest hopes, he’s jumping into another stream with stronger rapids — filmmaking — but it’s still a form of writing and, these days, perhaps the ultimate form of publication.

No, I’m not resigning this blog yet, but, like the wretch who lives in a small room containing nothing but a chair, a table and a loaded revolver, it’s something I contemplate every day. For better or worse, so far, other contemplations have won the upper hand.

Filmmaker planned in the last issue a piece on the changing face of film journalism that focused on blogs, but when we thought that everything that could be said had been said, we decided to postpone it. Shortly after that decision, there have been a slew of articles and news about blogging and the blogosphere, and we certainly didn’t predict that the tone would be so downbeat. But, honestly, I get it. I mean, I keep up this blog, but I am nowhere near the kind of daily poster that many of the stars of the blogosphere are. And I don’t write much criticism because I have a hard time writing snap judgements of things hours after seeing them at festivals. I tend to like to stew on them a bit and then, in Filmmaker style, maybe talk to the director, weave in quotes, etc. So, I greatly admire those who are able to get those instant reactions up on the internet so quickly. But I do enough posting on this blog to greatly appreciate those who write with greater volume or greater depth on theirs.

And because we recently added Google Analytics to this blog, I also now understand the kind of anxiety the writers above allude to with regards to traffic stats. It’s easy to become obsessive about analyzing your traffic reports, seeing who is linking to you, seeing what the top key words are. You can be bummed out that an old blog post that Steve Gallagher wrote titled “Nazi Porn” (about the cancellation of the publishing of a German book due to the notoriety of its claims of secret SS porn movies) regularly sends more traffic to this blog than a great article like, for example, Lance Weiler’s digital distribution DIY tutorial in the Winter Issue (and then realize as you are typing this that you have cynically goosed your numbers once again, albeit at the expense of your bounce rate.)

I’ll have more on this later, and there will undoubtedly be more commentary around the blogosphere on Young, Seitz and Lucas’s posts. We’ll keep you posted.

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