The end of the year is always a listactial time, so here are my blogging aims for the year ahead. These aren’t resolutions as such, more like general themes which will hopefully get me back, and keep me on, the right blogging track.
For me, 2016 is all about consistency. Too often, especially at this time of year, promises are made only to be broken come February. This is often true with reviewing. A quick look back through my posting schedule would highlight this – a rush of enthusiasm in January, before nothing but a barren wasteland, with an occasional oasis, until years end. 2016, I hope, will be different.
In order to achieve this, I will need to be better at planning. As a busy parent I have grown to rely heavily on structure and routine, which I’ve noticed when combined, usually brings consistency, to what is at times, chaos…Embracing this concept, I have become more structured in how I approach my limited amount of free time. I map out my screening dates at the start of the month as well as identifying and then prioritising which films or television shows I can catch up with at home. I am also putting aside a few hours a week to write. So far, this is working well. No longer am I losing unexpected free time pondering what to watch or write; now it is clearer.
My goal is 52. This is the minimum amount of posts I will publish this year, with a new post being published each Sunday at 8pm, Canberra time. While history does not support my next statement, this should be achievable, especially when you break it down. Screen Time will account for 12 posts, this is indeed a post, which leaves me with 39 more posts to compose, so less than one a week – that sounds achievable, right? While the majority of these will be reviews, others I hope will be more personal, but more on that in a minute.
Talking of 52, in my Screen Time 2015 wrap up post, one of my regrets was the absence of female actors or directors from my most watched lists. I pledged to address this and have indeed taken action by signing up to the #52FilmsByWomen initiative, set up by Women in Film, a Los Angeles-based organisation who support women in film and independent film making. While I shouldn’t need this level of accountability, this does provide a useful vehicle to ensure I live up to my words and I will keep a running update in the monthly Screen Time posts.
That’s enough about structure; lets loosen things up a little with some openness. I want to take down a few defences and develop a more personal style of writing. To me truly great cinema is about a film provoking an emotional response and it is that personal emotion I tend to shy away from in my reviews, preferring instead the anonymity of the avatar. Personal emotion draws me into a film, but is not often expressed through the keyboard. In 2016, there needs to be more of me in my reviews.
Speaking of personal emotion, lets talk a little about Fridays and in particular the Friday Night Film Club, I run with my two girls. Things slipped a little towards the end of last year, but I am keen to get this back on track and start introducing them to some more challenging films. Top of the list is more Miyazaki, of which between us we have shamefully only seen one title.
At the other end of the scale, both girls continue to claim they have never seen a film they haven’t liked. While some of this is due to the choices of their own personal curator, this year I plan to see how their young reviewer brains are evolving by experiencing them to films of a lesser quality to see how they react. Top of the list here are the Star Wars prequels, which they have been keen to see for some time, but as Jar Jar tends to land big with younglings, I have so far resisted. However, perhaps it time for them to learn the hard way.
Watching a film is just one aspect of the cinematic experience, often it’s the conversations that follow which can bring a whole new dynamic to what has just played out on the big screen. With this in mind, I think it is time to step out a little from the dark and become more active in the Canberra film going community (or perhaps encourage the development of one). So far the handful of people I have met via Twitter have all been engaging, good company and great fun plus, importantly, not serial killers (well not that I know off). So I am keen to do more of this and perhaps also break out of the city limits to attend part of either the Sydney or Melbourne Film Festivals.
And finally, though probably most importantly – sunlight. Whether you choose to sit in the dark amongst total strangers, or on your couch with the curtains drawn, film watching is a vitamin D sapping pastime. Apart from the benefits of a healthy middle ground between the dark side and the light, I personally find the time I either spend on my bike or stumbling up a local Canberra hill to be some of the most productive. I find the fresh air, the lack of film podcasts in my ear and the open expanse that is the Canberra countryside, quite intoxicating both physically and creatively. Its time to get out there more.
So there you have it: consistency, planning, 52, #52FilmsBy Women, openness, community, Fridays and sunlight, my aims for 2016. I had originally planned this to be a brief, bullet point post, but I seem to have got a little bit carried away. And from the sounds of things, 2016 could be a busy year. We shall see.