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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

It Was 11 Years Ago Today…

Happy Button birthday to me.
I usually write some sort of heavy perspective column at this time of the year, but… nah.
The column was inspired by the lack of daily commentary from anyone but Army Archerd. I was online because of the late, great Andy Jones recruiting me from EW for a weekly. The support of TNT’s Scot Safon was critical. The anger from most of the staff in Atlanta, once the column caught on, was palpable.
Six months or so off for The Miami Film Festival. VoicesOfHollywood.com. And then Movie City News.
Eleven years later, I am still having the same arguments with Moriarty… ten years of Wells doing my schtick (19 months of not reading him or communicating with him as a result of the prior 100)… about three years of blogs transforming the daily marketplace into something else altogether… the insanity (mostly offline) of Nikki Finke… and the desperation of an group of mainstreamers to be just like her, still not understanding that the opportunity of the web is to be so much better than smears and gossip.
Through the whole 11 years, I have not only done as I like, but I have always had very clear ideas of what I don’t want to be doing on the web, regardless of how it might spark bigger numbers or greater popularity. What I have had to fight off has changed, year by year. People and sites have come and gone. Overresponding to “threats” happens… and I think I have retreated to my real standards each time. (Welcome to the jungle, Sharon Waxman. Good luck.)
Of course, it is the people read my endless musing that make it all possible. It is the eyeballs of the industry that has allowed me my independence and made MCN a viable home not just for me, but for an entire somewhat underpaid staff of writers and other creative people. I couldn’t be more proud of or thankful for our staff, led by my partner in MCN crime, Laura Rooney.
Every year has been a little different. The Hot Blog came along about 3.5 years ago and 3000 entires and over 90,000 comments later, it has become the primary release valve. Lunch With David, now known as DP/30, soon to be known as something else as we take the 30 minute interview on the web to its next step, has been an absolute joy, even though it occupies part of my workspace that used to be spent grinding out copy. I love working with the only traditional editorial cartoonist working weekly on the film beat, RJ Matson, as we continue to seek out new ways to expand the boundaries of web editorial.
I’m healthy. I’m married. I’m busy. I’m still learning every day. And I am always looking for the next thing that will feel fresh and worth the effort.
I am happy.
And I thank you all.

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“When books become a thing, they can no longer be fine.

“Literary people get mad at Knausgård the same way they get mad at Jonathan Franzen, a writer who, if I’m being honest, might be fine. I’m rarely honest about Jonathan Franzen. He’s an extremely annoying manI have only read bits and pieces of his novels, and while I’ve stopped reading many novels even though they were pretty good or great, I have always stopped reading Jonathan Franzen’s novels because I thought they were aggressively boring and dumb and smug. But why do I think this? I didn’t read him when he was a new interesting writer who wrote a couple of weird books and then hit it big with ‘The Corrections,’ a moment in which I might have picked him up with curiosity and read with an open mind; I only noticed him once, after David Foster Wallace had died, he became the heir apparent for the Great American Novelist position, once he had had that thing with Oprah and started giving interviews in which he said all manner of dumb shit; I only noticed him well after I had been told he was An Important Writer.

“So I can’t and shouldn’t pretend that I am unmoved by the lazily-satisfied gentle arrogance he projects or when he is given license to project it by the has-the-whole-world-gone-crazy development of him being constantly crowned and re-crowned as Is He The Great American Writer. What I really object to is this, and if there’s anything to his writing beyond it, I can’t see it and can’t be bothered. Others read him and tell me he’s actually a good writer—people whose critical instincts I have learned to respect—so I feel sure that he’s probably a perfectly fine, that his books are fine, and that probably even his stupid goddamned bird essays are probably also fine.

“But it’s too late. He has become a thing; he can’t be fine.”
~ Aaron Bady

“You know how in postproduction you are supposed to color-correct the picture so everything is smooth and even? Jean-Luc wants the opposite. He wants the rupture. Color and then black and white, or different intensities of color. Or how in this film, sometimes you see the ratio of the frame change after the image begins. That happens when he records from his TV onto his old DVCAM analog machine, which is so old we can’t even find parts when it needs to be repaired. The TV takes time to recognize and adjust to the format on the DVD or the Blu-ray. Whether it’s 1:33 or 1:85. And one of the TVs he uses is slower than the other. He wants to keep all that. I could correct it, but he doesn’t want me to. See, here’s an image from War and Peace. He did the overlays of color—red, white, and blue—using an old analog video effects machine. That’s why you have the blur. When I tried to redo it in digital, I couldn’t. The edges were too sharp. And why the image jitters—I don’t know how he did that. Playing with the cable maybe. Handmade. He wants to see that. It’s a gift from his old machine.”
~ Fabrice Aragno