Thursday, 1 January 2015

A New Year On Hitchcock's World

Today is New Year's Day and my blog has officially been around for a whole year. I started running this blog last January and I've come a long way since. It makes senses therefore to spend some time looking back on everything I've been through. In the past year I've covered a large variety of topics. I've done reviews, comparisons, and analyses of movies ranging from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Rambo: First Blood Part II. In addition to those I've done historical articles, abridged versions of academic papers, studies of directors, Character Profiles, blogathons, and relays, among other things. I have been at least as far back as the work of the Lumière Brothers and as recent as 2014.

When I first started this blog, I was a nobody. I was a washed-up Unterganger (basically a person who finds absurd ways to piss off Hitler), and I used to be a  pretty good one as well. I made a lot of crazy videos and even created two spin-off series: The U-Boat Parodies and Revolution Parodies. As a writer I go even further back. I think what really got me going as a writer was when I started playing in text-based role-playing games on this website Bzpower. It used to be all I'd really do. On a good day I'd sometimes be posting in four or five at once.

I have a lot of memories of those days. I made some friends, and a few enemies. I remember one guy I developed a rather harsh rivalry with mainly due to our different views on how an RPG should be run, and it reached its peak when he excluded me from his RPG (one of the most popular at the time) because I got excited and before he'd officially approved my character's profile I went onto the board asking what was going on and if there was any way to get in on the action. Admittedly my reaction wasn't the best, but when I tried to point out how extreme he was being he got a few moderators cracking down on me.

I also remember another instance when I was in an RPG in which the co-host forced me to let him kill off one of my characters. I spent hours fighting with him, trying to reason with him. I explained that he had no right to kill off the character without my approval but he wouldn't listen, constantly telling me that "somebody has to die" (never mind that he had several people of his own and I didn't see him killing any of them). I tried messaging the host, politely explaining the situation, and asking if perhaps we could talk it over and come to an agreement; he responded by ignoring my plea and siding with his co-host. I even resorted to offering up other characters to be killed instead, one of whom was taken and they still were not satisfied. The last one I tried out, I almost had my character forcibly written out against my will on multiple occasions (though I had some interesting ideas with her, I need to find a way to reuse those).

Fast forward a few years later and I'm only in one RPG now, and getting near the end of High School. This was arguably where my film-based writing got started. I was in Grade 11 at the time, and my school had just started running film classes. My teacher, who was well-versed in the subject but still experimenting with different ideas on exactly how to run a class, decided to try setting up a film blog for us. We shared a joint account and were free to contribute content. I wrote a few articles that impressed him, some of which took hours. I once spent a whole evening on an article about Stanley Kubrick. I later did articles about other things, including one on The Room and one about the history of westerns.

Unfortunately, that line of work didn't last long. I got a few articles written, and my teacher was impressed by my content. He commented a few times to tell me how much he liked what I was writing. The problem was that after I had posted a few articles, I realized that nobody was actually reading them. None of my classmates were even bothering to check the site, let alone reading my content or contributing anything of their own. I'd spent hours putting together these articles only to find out nobody was reading them. When I finally realized that, I stopped providing content altogether, as it seemed pointless to keep doing so.

Around this time, I finally realized that film was the area in which I belonged, though at the time I thought I wanted to be a director. I also began a few early writing projects, which included an attempt at a sequel to John Carpenter's The Thing. It was also around this time I attempted to direct a movie of my own, In the Line of Duty, for Remembrance Day. That film allowed me to experience first-hand the hardships of filmmaking, and I have a lot of stories about its frustrating production.

I had actors with very little experience who never bothered to read the scripts I sent them, and failed to even show up when I asked them to. We only had an hour to shoot each day (during lunchtime) and everybody would be taking their time to eat lunch when I specifically told them to show up at exactly 12:45. Also everybody who showed up said they were interested in acting (I had hoped for some other people behind the camera as well, and found that I had to do everything myself). As if that wasn't frustrating enough, there was also that one actor who got so uncooperative I had to "fire" him, which resulted in him actively trying to sabotage the shooting of the film. It got so bad it took having the Vice Principal on standby just to keep him off the set.

The result was a disaster. I'd hoped to make a solid emotional war film and instead it was an incoherent mess with acting that makes Tommy Wiseau look like Humphrey Bogart. People were laughing at moments that were meant to be serious, lots of little things broke the illusion because actors refused to cooperate. The actress cast as the doctor wore pink boots on set, one guy refused to cover his long hair. The part everybody remembered was one scene that was supposed to be depressing but ended up being humorous because a teachers got into the background by accident.

Ironically, it inspired my first major screenplay. After the disastrous premier I got to thinking about remaking it. One thing led to another, I began making notes, next thing I knew I had a draft. Since I was no longer bound by time constraints I was able to flesh out the story, expanding on the characters and introducing some new ones. I changed up the setting to a forest instead of an urban environment (which was done out of necessity, since we could only shoot in and around the school) By the time it got to its current state there was very little of the original high school short still recognizably present.

Then I ended up in college. I thought I'd found the perfect place but it was another disaster. I had trouble keeping up with my classes, and almost failed in two of them (I dropped out just in time). I had a few friends of sorts, but I never found much of a connection to anybody. I remember trying on numerous occasions to connect with people through movie screenings. I tried everything, of every genre and period I thought of. I invited people to the lounge to watch movies and no matter what I tried not a single person would ever show up, or if they did it was briefly and for some entirely unrelated purpose.

There was some good that came out of those experiences, though. It was while I was living in residence I first starting reading the work of H.P. Lovecraft and began work on my second major screenplay, an adaptation of his story At the Mountains of Madness. What I finally learned was that I was not cut out for handling the technical aspects of filmmaking. In theory I could understand how to set up three-point lighting or place a camera but in practice not so much. In the end I finished the semester to salvage what marks I could before dropping the program entirely.

I finally realized I was a writer, and far more suited to looking at film from the theoretical side. I began writing short stories, beginning with an entry of my own to the Cthulhu Mythos and gradually expanding. I eventually switched out to an entirely different program, one that focused more on theory, and found myself fitting in a lot more. I started getting involved with clubs and actually connecting with people. I've even gotten to know some of my professors, and received a personal request from one of them to continue in the program.

Around the end that first semester, I started getting to thinking about writing essays for fun. My parents were recommending that I start a blog, but I was initially reluctant. Eventually I decided to give it a shot late in January. I was told that Blogger was a good venue for it so I decided to use that. Then it was a matter of coming up with a name. After going through a few generic ideas such as "Cinema Journal" I came up with the idea of exploiting the fact that I share my last name with legendary movie director Alfred Hitchcock. That finally led me to the title of "Hitckcock's World".

Then I needed some content, so I started by writing a little piece that touched on some issues I was dealing with at the time. More specifically, I had been through a few experiences in which I found myself not liking a popular movie and decided to write about the issue. It is something I have revisited several times over the previous year. A big part of running this blog was my openness to challenge popular ideas, and I had several of those things. For my second article I decided to rework a failed Newspaper article. That was when I realized I could put pictures into my articles. From there I simply began writing whatever I felt like.

I didn't have many readers outside of my immediate family. Around the time I posted my controversial article Why Do People Like James Bond? I tried sharing a link on IMDB. I had a few trolls respond with hate comments, and one guy who accused me of being ignorant for saying the things I did about the James Bond franchise. He even tried to break down the scene I brought up from Goldfinger in a desperate attempt to convince me Bond didn't rape Pussy Galore. However, I also managed to encounter another movie blogger: a fellow by the name of Johnny who ran a movie review blog called Cinema: Johnny's Critique.

Later on I managed to encounter a few other bloggers. I managed to get the attention of a two other lesser-known blogs, namely Little Worlds and Radiator Heaven, when they commented on some of my posts. Eventually I also managed to find another blogger, Katy Rochelle at Girl Meets Cinema. I began reading some of her posts and commenting on them. Eventually I left her a friendly link to my blog and invited her to check it out, which she did. Katy would arguably become the key to me entering the blogging community at large, because if it was not for her, I would never had established myself as I did.

At the time, my blog list was pretty short, with only three or four blogs included, mostly the ones I've already mentioned. What got me going was somewhere around May, when Katy posted an entry to a blogathon hosted by one Brittani Burnham of Rambling Film, specifically the A-Z movie titles blogathon. In addition to giving me one more blogger to add to the list, I decided to write a contribution of my own and began looking at other people's entries. That led me to thinking about starting one of my own, which led to the success of my Favorite Movie Scenes Blogathon and the even more successful Women in Film Blogathon.

Those two just exploded with popularity, attracting a wide variety of attention. I encountered a whole range of other bloggers simply through those two, but that was hardly the end of it either. I also participated in a few other blogathons, some of which also introduced me to a few new people. All of a sudden people were actually coming to my blog. I'd often get at least one comment within a day of posting an article on any given topic. I've actually got readership now, from all over the world. I'd even made it onto a few other bloglists. My initial bloglist had maybe four other people on it, now it's somewhere closer to fifty and still growing.

Over the course of a single year, I have gone from running an obscure blog in the middle of nowhere to becoming an active member of the film blogging community. The range of topics I have covered is incredible, and I have every intention of continuing to find new material to cover in 2015. I would like to thank everybody who has supported my efforts. It has been a pleasure to know all of you.


  1. Happy Blogeversary! I enjoy reading your blog, so I'm really happy we found each other, so to speak. Blogathons are great for that. I remember being so afraid to participate in ones where I didn't know the blogger beforehand, then I realized how silly that was. That's what they're there for.

    I look forward to what you write next!

    1. Indeed they are. I've found a lot of people through blogathons. I've enjoyed reading your articles as well, so it was great to find your work.

  2. I found you through one of those early blogathons and I'm glad I did. Its been a pleasure reading your blog even on those few occasions where our opinions don't line up. You write with great conviction of your beliefs and are to be applauded for that. Congrats on a successful first year and may you have many more.

    1. I forgot about that you joined in my Favourite Movie Scenes blogathon. It's been a pleasure having you as a follower and reading your articles, even if I couldn't always find time to see everything and comment.