One year ago today, I posted for the first time and All these wonderful things was born. As most enterprises like this go, I had no idea if I'd be still doing it a year later, nor that it would be such a wonderful outlet for random thoughts, quixotic campaigns and good old rah-rah-ing for the cause. Much of all the above reflected my work as a filmmaker, specifically someone making documentaries, and I'm glad that we've occasionally raised the nonfiction banner here.
I'm glad that I've been able to write about my own filmmaking, although I'm still conducting an internal debate on what to reveal and what to keep personal in that arena.
I'm glad that I've occasionally been able to spout off on politics or my latest notion of what Democrats could be doing better. This ability to send my ideas into the electronic void (which has lead to me talking less about these notions with my friends) has undoubtedly made my friends very happy.
I really enjoy when something happens on a topic, whether it's Mark Cuban or Al Gore or film criticism or our campaign to get the Academy to recognize documentaries or whatever that leads to a discussion here and elsewhere. I love when I get the opportunity to read a lot of what others have written on a subject and then can write some longer piece in which I somehow pull together all my varied thoughts. I'm thrilled when something I'm doing here crosses paths with something that another writer, filmmaker or blogger is writing about, and suddenly I am connected to someone in Philadelphia or New York or Santa Monica that I didn't know a year ago.
Looking back on the year, I decided to highlight, in chronological order, some of my favorite posts. Some are short, some very long, most about filmmaking (and the business that surrounds), although a couple are part of my amateur political naval gazing. In total, they provide a nice look at where we've been and where we might be headed.
Audiences will love/hate - June 18, 2005. The first time I wrote about filmmakers and film critics working out their issues with one another - this time Scott Foundas and Sally Potter - and it was the first time that I would dissect my own experiences on Gigantic.
BREAKING: Indiewood Responsible for Hollywood Slump - June 28, 2005. The first investigative piece in which we pinned the blame for the studios woes snugly on the shoulders on Todd Solontz. (Strangely enough, the sole commenter took it seriously.)
Contempt! - July 2, 2005. The first big politics piece was actually a reflection of my journalism school background. Poor Judith Miller gets the brunt of my fury.
This Week at the NYT: Cover-Ups Yes, Bisexuals No - July 11, 2005. More Judy Miller fallout, plus fun with google search. Would you like to take a guess how many people came to this post after searching for "bisexual porn". Sorry to disappoint.
You Mean I Have to Pay For That? - July 18, 2005. The first posting on the issues of rights clearances and fair use, specifically music clearances for the filmmakers of Tarnation and Mad Hot Ballroom.
Murderball By Numbers - August 1, 2005. If you think I'm all into following the box office of An Inconvenient Truth, last year it was Murderball, which I was fascinated with, in part because people felt it was somewhat of a disappointment. I guess that everyone was thinking it was going to be another Mad Hot Ballroom or something, but I thought that it performed pretty on target for a sports-related documentary.
Blue Chip and Coveted - September 13, 2005. I take offense at a few of the interviews that Mike Mills is doing for Thumbsucker and I break my solemn rule of not bitching out another filmmaker - on the three month anniversary of the blog! I suck!
Fauxhawks: The Dems' National Security Problem - September 19, 2005. More fun with google search. People look up fauxhawks, hoping to discover how they too can have the thrilling new rooster hairstyle that was all the rage three years ago, and are lead to me instructing Democratic candidates for president in 2008 on how to own up to their failures.
Truly Indie - October 19, 2005. A harmless little post praising Mark Cuban for thinking outside the independent film box leads to a series of posts: More on Mark Cuban and Truly Indie, Gigantic. Truly Indie? (And Save the Brattle), Landmark vs. The Brattle, Mark Cuban Responds, Some Truly Indie Answers and Truly Indie: What Have We Learned? . Accusations are made, honors defended, questions answered.
Letter to the Academy - November 3, 2005. The official kickoff of our asking the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to announce the documentary feature nominees during their official announcement ceremony. The official rejection, written about in Just In: Academy Says No to Doc Announcement, comes two months later.
Aberdeen's Memorial Project - December 3, 2005. My shooting my Kurt Cobain documentary in Aberdeen, Washington, and my subsequent blog postings about it (and the local newspaper's printing some of my blog posings as an op-ed piece) cause me to get in the middle of Aberdeen's ongoing debate on how best (if at all) to recognize their most famous son.
Eats the You Are: First in a Series - January 11, 2006. More from the Cobain film and more fun with different google tools. Here, the "translator" tool that makes information about you and your film sound very very silly. Or, as I am "quoted" in this article - "the colloquies between the Kurt Can hear and the Michael, with the Kurt to count the history of its life for the such book". Exactly.
Beating a Dead Doc Horse - January 31, 2006. As Oscar Nominations are announced, I reflect on the fact that one of the documentary nominees - March of the Penguins - made more money than any of the nominees in almost all the other top categories. And again I hammer the point that the doc feature nominees should be announced. This leads to my first pangs of blogger envy as the box office point is later raised by other writers, without mentioning the subtext of our campaign.
Joe Swanberg, DIY Distribution and the Wave of the Future - February 13, 2006. This post on DIY filmmaking and distribution led to some amazing conversations online and off and connected me with a bunch of other great writers and filmmakers. It's also clearly a conversation that is ongoing...
The True/False Is Out There - February 28, 2006. A long recap of a great weekend at a great documentary film festival in Columbia, Missouri.
The David E. Kelley Oscars: Crash, Penguins Take Top Prizes - March 6, 2006. Taking a gander around some of my favorite sites and trying to capture the shock and awfulness of Oscar night.
Caveh, Cuban & Day and Date: "The Worst Thing to Happen to Indie Film..." - April 11, 2006. Mark Cuban again, this time tangling with filmmaker Caveh Zahedi, with the winner somewhat unclear. This is one of my longer posts as I try to understand some of Zahedi's blog posts. Caveh would later comment on my (what some would later call) "healthy skepticism" in Caveh Zahedi Responds.
Caveh Zahedi Takes On His Critics - April 25, 2006. Still ruminating on Caveh and still not sure how I feel about his open battles with film critics that review his film. But my reconsidering of his position would be later reflected in a very long piece I wrote a few weeks later called Dog Days for Film Critics?
Is Gore's "Truth" the Next Doc Hit? - May 23, 2006. Another long piece, this time surveying others on their expectations for Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. As noted here, I thoroughly expected Truth to join the small club of docs that had grossed $10 million, but everyone else's skepticism around me caused me to rethink. Who's smiling now losers? Later, I wondered why the liberal blogs were only reporting a small part of the story in Why Are Liberal Blogs Underplaying the Success of An Inconvenient Truth?
All's Fair Use in Love and Documentary and More on Fair Use: The Michael Moore Lawsuit - June 2, 2006. Two recent posts that explored the topic of fair use, getting permissions, legal ramifications and the rights of documentary filmmakers. Another subject likely to come up here again and again.
Throughout this year, I have relied on a number of websites for information, perspectives and entertainment. Most of these are listed as links to the right of this screen, but I want to particularly make note of those in the film world that I look to each day: Eugene Hernandez and everyone at Indiewire, David Hudson at GreenCine, Alison Willmore at the IFC Blog, David Poland at Movie City News, Matt Zoller Seitz, Anne Thompson, Agnes Varnum, Paul Harrill, Jeffrey Wells, Scott Macauley at Filmmaker, Sarah Jo Marks, David Lowery and all my compatriots on the Indiewire blogs/links page. There are many others that have been instrumental to my doing this, who have linked or sent comments or in some way been supportive and encouraging and I am quite grateful to you for that.
Here's to a second year.