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Fine Line Betwen Being a Movie Blogger And A Director

By John - January 14, 2009 - 11:57 America/Montreal - 1 Comment

It’s a really weird spot I find myself in at the moment, but at the same time a very interesting one. For those of you who don’t know, on Feb 2nd I start shooting my first feature film. It’s a comedy I wrote called “The Anniversary” and I’m extremely pumped about it (more info on that to come later).

The thing is, I have said many times over the years here on The Movie Blog that directors should not openly criticize other directors to the media. As a matter of fact I once wrote this:

Here’s the thing. I’m all for critiquing and giving negative commentary. HOWEVER… I don’t think it’s the place of any director to bash another director that way. Nor do I think any actor should publicly bash another actor. I find it really distasteful and pathetic when a person in a field, publicly bashes the work of another person in their field. That’s pussy. You don’t do that. Let other people do that.

So this raises a very legitimate question that some people have asked me that I’m working through. The question basically is: “Is it hypocritical to be a movie blogger… whose job it is to comment, praise and criticize the work of directors (movies) and then to be a director yourself”? That my friends, is a very fair question to ask.

I guess the way I’ve approached it right now is the same way I approach the question of if I’m a “film critic”. I AM NOT A FILM CRITIC. I have never claimed to be a film critic. As a matter of fact I’ve told people over and over and over again I’m not a film critic. I’m just a guy. That’s it. I’m a guy with a BLOG who talks about my opinions on movies. Sometimes that means doing a “review”, but my “reviews” are nothing more than a film fan talking about what he did and didn’t like about a certain movie… just like anyone else on the planet standing around a water cooler. Just because a bunch of people read my thoughts doesn’t make me a “film critic”. The work of professional film critics is far above me and I don’t deserve to be called one. Which is fine… because I’m not one.

That being said, I still do engage in openly criticizing and critiquing movies openly (duh… it’s a blog). So how can I be a director, and sometimes openly criticize the work of other directors?

The answer is this: I’m not a director.

Here’s the thing. If you decide one day to paint your own living room instead of hiring a professional painter. Someone who is, by trade, a PAINTER… does that suddenly mean YOU are a painter? No, obviously not. If you put air in your own car tires, are you suddenly a mechanic? No, obviously not.

I guess the way I look at it right now is that I’m not a director. Oh sure, I’m directing my own movie that I wrote… but I’m not a director. No more than a guy who paints his own living room is a “painter”. Quite frankly, if I had the money I would have probably hired a REAL director to direct the film for me. I’m directing this because I need to direct it… and yes, to see how much I enjoy it and if I’d be any good at it.

Let’s put it this way, if The Anniversary (the name of my movie) turns out well, I enjoyed doing it and people think I have a talent for directing… then I may decide to direct more… at which time I will be a “director” and I’d have to retire from Movie Blogging because I can’t be a director and actively criticize the work of other directors publicly at the same time. That would be wrong in my opinion. But that’s just my opinion.

There are other examples out there. Some guys from Ain’t It Cool News are actively trying to get a film career going as writers and producers. John from JoBlo’s Arrow In The Head is a talented filmmaker and actor with a number of credits to his name. Jay Cheel over at The Documentary Blog and Film Junk is a gifted documentary filmmaker in his own right and is venturing into narrative filmmaking as well.

I think the bottom line here is that deep down, any movie website guy (or girl) wants to be in the movies (on screen or off screen) and be involved in the business. I’m certainly no exception… but the key, I think, is to know when you’ve actually crossed over. When you can actually call yourself a “director” or “actor” or “producer” or “writer” or whatever, and then separate yourself from the blogging.

Other people may have different opinions on this issue, and that’s cool. I’m not sure my opinion is the right one. But it is mine… and so I have to govern myself accordingly. Just a thought.

Since the comments are down right now… feel free to email me your thoughts and I’ll post them up later. You can reach me at [email protected].

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