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Monday, 31 December 2012


Here we are, the last day of 2012. And my viewing last night was a fortuitous one, because the title allowed me not one, but two year-end related puns for the title of this post. Don't tell me you aren't impressed.

But if you're looking for my thoughts on this movie, you won't be impressed with this particular post.

Huh, Vance? I want to know if you liked Zero Dark Thirty -- okay, let's be honest, not if you liked it, but how much. After all, you wrote lengthy posts with numerous subheadings for two other recent anticipated holiday releases, The Hobbit and The Impossible. Why not this one?

Well, I'll tell you -- I'm in cone of silence mode. Especially with movies that have the potential to be near the top of my year-end list, which is just 11 days away from being unveiled to the world.

In the past, it's been my tradition to stop sharing my thoughts on movies as the calendar rolls around to the next year. Whether you think of it this way or not, I tend to think of it as a very climactic day on the schedule when I publish my final rankings of that year's films, all the way from the best I saw to the worst. I don't want you to read that list for the first time and say "Ho hum, there's the predictable #1 that I knew Vance would choose."

Actually, this year I've been a bit more forthcoming in telling you about movies I love and hate than in previous years. And that probably corresponds to my telling you what I think of the movies I see more than I used to, in general. Talking about the success or failure of movies only makes sense on a film blog, except that in my case, this blog has never been about reviews. It's more about observations and trends, and only about the quality of the films when I'm specifically inspired to give a film love or hate.

The difference as I look back on 2012 is that this is the first year since 2004 when I didn't get paid for a single film review. I was a working critic from 2000 to 2003, and then again from 2005 until last year. Last November I wrote my final review for All Movie Guide. I guess I shouldn't say it's definitely the last one, because I thought I'd written my last review for them in 2003 before they re-upped for another six years of my writing in early 2005. But starting up with them again seems less likely this time. The big difference between 2005 and now? Anyone in the world who wants to write about film can do so, and have their thoughts broadcast to as many eyeballs as they can hustle to their blog. Consequently, there's no longer a premium on paying someone to provide that kind of content.

You'd think that no longer getting paid to write film reviews would have left me depressed, but 2012 didn't have that kind of a feel for me. Instead, I found that the creative juices I used to expend on reviews have found their way to my blog. I've been possessed by that intangible mystery known as inspiration, and it's made me a lot more prolific. In fact, I'm just finishing a month in which I only failed to post on two different days: Christmas Day, for obvious reasons, and yesterday, because at long last I wasn't so inspired to write that I simply had to. Frankly, I probably needed the rest. But going back into November, that means I updated my blog every day for 26 straight days. That's an unprecedented streak on this blog, likely doubling my longest previous streak.

So that has me feeling quite hopeful for 2013. Ah, but hope is not enough. And remember, this is the time of year for New Year's resolutions, isn't it?

I'm sure there are plenty of other things I'd like to accomplish in my life in 2013, but since this is a film blog, let's concentrate on five film-related resolutions. And try to ignore the fact that resolutions are known for how rarely they are actually accomplished.

1) Promote The Audient more. Don't be content with the current group of loyal readers I have, but try to find more of those aforementioned eyeballs. I do almost nothing to advertise new posts, and am doing the bare minimum in terms of reciprocity with other film blogs. I can do better on both of these things in 2013. You can consider 1a to be "read more of other good film blogs," rather than just the half-dozen staples I've had for several years now.

2) Write for other film blogs. Nathan at Flickchart is particularly interested in me writing regularly again for the Flickchart blog. Not that you could ever describe my previous contributions as "regular," but they became highly irregular in 2012, when I posted only a single time. And that blog definitely has more readers than I do, so I'll get the eyeballs there even if I don't get them on The Audient

3) Write for other (non-blog) websites. A woman contacted me last summer to try to get me to write for a site called The Artifice, which is more of an entertainment news site than an actual blog. She can't pay me, but there could be swag in it for me, as well as additional exposure and possibly money down the road. It's a nice-looking site. I shouldn't have kept her waiting for an answer for this long.

4) Write that script. Yes, really. A couple weeks ago I got a terrific idea for a script that I know I can write, and unlike with most ideas I get, I already know the complete structure as well as how it ends. To be clear, I don't have an actual ambition to be a screenwriter. However, I do know that screenwriting is probably the only type of "hit the jackpot" writing I might possibly do, my only way to make significant money if I do it correctly. As for this idea, I'm not going to share it with you right now, and probably not for quite awhile.

5) Get paid to write about movies again. It's possible. I know it is. I just have to figure out how.

Here's hoping you have a great New Year's Eve, and beyond that, a productive 2013, in which you don't blow off your resolutions either.

And if tonight's countdown to midnight isn't exciting enough, the countdown to hear what I think of ZDT is T-minus 11.

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