Lost in the Movies: October (and beyond)

October (and beyond)

From now on, I will post steadily - usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday - so you can expect a consistent output from this blog. I'm not talking short-term, I'm talking long-term, at least a year if not more. I'm already building up a substantial backlog.

This begins in the coming month with three reviews a week. After writing these pieces, I accidentally discovered that they neatly fell into four groups, and so each week has a theme: teenage struggles, forties films, movies about Africa, and fantasy entertainment from the eighties. A discussion of two idiosyncratic Spalding Gray works, which (appropriately enough) didn't fit in with any of the themed weeks, will wind things up, along with (maybe, maybe not) a horror film for Halloween. All of these reviews will be relatively short and focused - a new approach I want to take in my written work. But that's just the beginning.

On November 1 (my birthday) I will post my first narrated video essay - a practice I hope to continue at least once a month, and make a central feature of this blog from now on. The following week, I will kick off a schedule which will hold for at least a year.

Mondays are dedicated to random posts, alternating between reviews, video essays, interviews with young low-budget filmmakers (my inbox has been accumulating their emails for years, and I plan to make use of them soon), and various other odds and ends.

Wednesday's for a series called "The Favorites" which will explore, in a structured, economical, and reader-friendly fashion, the 100 favorite films I listed at the end of last year: it will take a countdown structure and answer a few straightforward questions, boiling my thoughts on each film down to the essentials.

And Friday will be devoted to several series of personal interest: first an episode guide to the anime show "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (including addended conversations with blogger Bob Clark, who introduced me to the series). When that finishes, perhaps a year-by-year exploration of popular American movies, examining how style shifted and evolved over time, including everything from tone and characterization to lighting and editing, using hit movies (not necessarily the best, but the representative) as touchstones. I think this could be really, really fascinating and illuminating.

Eventually, maybe in a year or more, I want to offer up, at an even faster pace, a brief look at every single film I own on DVD and VHS, filling in the gaps in my own directory and creating a massive line-up featuring screen-caps and links to reviews for every movie in my collection. I also have other ideas for individual pieces (a "Dark Side of Oz" piece, exploring the moody history and associations of the iconic classic) and extended series (a multipronged approach to, say, a few hundred carefully chosen movies - encompassing handcut trailers with pop music, deep formal analyses using video and image, prose meditations on the film's mood, and a gallery of screen-caps from each title - it would take years to prepare, so no promises). But for now, just know that there will always be something brewing in my online home, and the table will not be empty for the foreseeable future.

So starting on Monday, The Dancing Image will become reliably and consistently prolific, economical, and colorful (full of images - I'll be able to screen-cap again soon!!! - and varied in both the types of movies I approach, and how I approach them). If you've dropped in occasionally in the past, an approach no doubt fed by the sporadic ebb and flow of my own posting and infrequent engagement with the larger blogosphere, now's the time to feel confident visiting more often.

I am not only taking this route for its own sake. It also serves a larger purpose, which I might as well announce up front: to build a reliable audience and platform for my own work as a filmmaker. After years of trying to get myself going, I am writing and developing several projects and I hope that in the coming months and years, The Dancing Image will facilitate the premiere of interesting online movies - short films and eventually serialized features by yours truly.

So that's the plan. After four years of building the blog, going in different directions, taking breaks, and fluctuating in my engagement with the larger blogosphere, I now plan to start making full use of it. I hope you will too, and that you'll enjoy visiting The Dancing Image as much as I'm enjoying creating it.

Well, I've always had a weakness for announcing everything officially - from seasonal updates to series kickoffs to online makeovers. Hopefully pontification and prognostication will shortly make way for demonstration. Actions do speak louder than words, after all.


Jeff Pike said...

Good to see you back again! Looking forward to your autumn pieces.

Joel Bocko said...

Thanks JPK. Me too.

I'm also hoping that, as I get ahead of my own curve and no longer have to play catch-up with goals I set, I can also make more time to visit other blogs more frequently.

Sam Juliano said...

I can't say how thrilled I am Joel that you have taken this archive from that mothball-ridden attic room and are planning a resurrection with some serious sustained resonance. I know you are a busy man, but when you put your head to the grindstone there is no more talented and passionate blogger out there. Nobody with the possible exception of a veteran northern California blogger named Richard Finch, is in your category when it comes to comments under the posts of others (and you are as generous a person on line as anyone will find) and your insights are extraordinary. In any case I'll put THE DANCING IMAGE back on the must-visit list as it was for a very long time before you went on sabatical, and I'm particularly excited about your Wednesday plans, even though Monday and Friday look very fine as well.

It's so great to see you back my friend!

Joel Bocko said...

Thanks Sam for the exceedingly kind words. I suspect Wednesdays will be the most consistently popular on the new schedule. Fridays are more purely for myself, and Monday's appeal will vary person to person; some will be drawn to the video essays, others to more traditional posts, still more to interviews. I think, given my diverse approach in the post, I've always had a diverse audience, and while any sane blogger's first priority should be to enjoy what they are doing (since most of us are unpaid) I also want to cast a wide NetInfo terms of drawing readers. Which honestly is win-win for me personally since I get bored focusing on only one style of posting. Hope you enjoy the upcoming (and the more traditional-review schedule for October before the new schedule begins).

Max said...

Sounds great! Can't wait to hear about what your upcoming short films might be.

Joel Bocko said...

Thanks Max! And don't worry, I will be calling you back soon haha...

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