I think I now understand the urgent need of Oscar winners to thank as many people as they can when they're on that podium: Because creatively collaborating with people is a wonderful experience.
Part of what has kept me going with this blog is the wonderful collaborations I've had with people. When I haven't been making money off the blog (although the money helps, so click on this article about the childhood origins of Sandra Bullock who comes from my hometown) to give me much needed link revenue) the social element has kept me going:
Here's a list of people I'm proud to say I know who have helped me along the way:
First off is my one and only sister Yasmine who was one of my very early avid readers At least, she began that way. I'll invite my sister to correct me if I'm wrong in the
comment section, but I think her official stance is that she likes
that I'm successful at blogging, but she hates the actual blog itself
and no longer wishes to read it. This has been a great opportunity for
me, as it allowed me to freely admit without guilt that I also hate her
blog (it's a blog detailing the trials and tribulations of being
pregnant as if she's the first person ever to go through it) and have
since been off the hook for reading it.
Brian Ehrlich has contributed a couple of blog entries. He's a film student from Minnesota that I met at my niece's christening. He's just now finishing the first of his two degrees en route to being a teacher. I imagine if I had the brain power of all the people in Brian's classes I could create a superblog. Brian's a wonderful person to bounce ideas off.
Chris Schrack is also such a person. An undying fan of Tim Burton and David Lynch, Schrack is a budding filmmaker who's working on his second independent film from his home base in Fairfax, Va. who took film classes with me and is the reason I inexplicably have a page on imdb. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3312762/
My friend Nicholas Lazo, who I also know from film classes in college, has been generous enough to also contribute guest columns and provide insight into films. He was a directorial assistant on the Djimon Hotsou film "Never Back Down" and is currently in film school at USC.
I had another good friend, John Kaden, with aspirations to go to Hollywood some day. He settled in Virginia Beach after graduating college with me and has been a great motivator and a person to form ideas with.
My friend Eric Feldman, is a lawyer who was doing humanitarian work in Sri Lanka when we both discussed a mutual interest in writing comedy. We teamed up to write a sketch that was viewed and given a thumbs-up by Jake Hurwitz of the Jake and Amir web series and have been working on collaboration with comedy writing. Eric took sketch writing classes in New York City and has recently begun to get things published on the internet. Here's his travel blog on life in Sri Lanka and Geneva. It's dearlonelyplanet.blogspot.com.
Anthony Gullino is a Pittsburgh-based film buff who wrote for his school newspaper reviewing films at Dusquene University. In addition, he has a work history with the Pittsburgh Film Office (not sure if he's still working there). He recently restarted his blog, although I don't know where it is. He has contributed articles here.
Kristi Harrison, a
mom of three in Idaho, who writes comedy for cracked.com has been a
great voice of encouragement in my efforts to get published by cracked.
She basically told me to try and try again when you get rejected and if I don't have thick skin, I'll never get anywhere. She is actually a very
funny woman and her website is www.here-in-idaho.com. I wouldn't have been published on cracked without her help and given the cracked community a second chance either.
In college, I was fortunate enough to be in the same dorm my junior year as two entrepernuers who I'll just label Shy and C.O. The latter has a clothing line called Clockwise Clothing (@clockwiseclothing). The two have been unbelievably great friends and supporters over the years.
I was able to use my writing skills to collaborate with the former on his business idea for uboast.com in 2008 and one of the writers I hired for that project was a freelance writer from the Carolinas named Logan Stewart who offered great tips on how to freelance write and such. I almost met with her when she came to D.C. but our schedules were too busy. Either way, it's been a thrill learning from her because she was far more experienced than me at the time.
Another writer who is far more prolific than I am and has a much greater following than me is Nathaniel Rogers. He's New York based and is the official blogger for the Tribecca Film Festival and blogs a lot but isn't making enough in ad revenue to support his operation and I admire the way that he's upfront about his need for donations as he tries to streamline his operation so that it can get more monetized. He can be found at thefilmexperience.net.
I first found him on the AIM about two months out of college and into my first newspaper job reviewing films. I asked him if I could get away with writing a review on "Flags of Our Fathers" without actually watching the films and he snarled in disgust. A couple years later, I caught him on the AIM again, and he probably forgot me the first time because he responded to me more favorably, haha, and featured a couple of my articles. He's doing a pretty awesome new series on his blog where he interviews his readers and I'm currently trying to get interviewed by him (for fun, not self-promotion).
Eddie Copeland is a classical film buff who runs the website Eddieonfilm.blogspot.com. He was one of the first people I got in touch with.
Noel Murray is a writer for the AV Club who has given me some good advice as I try to expand and has been generous with his time. I remembered his name from a podcast I downloaded and noticed he was friends with another facebook friend and contacted him on a whim to ask about writing for that publication. That led to my applying for the AV Club which didn't lead to anything directly but it set a couple more doors in motion. Since then, I have recently come into contact with another AV Club writer named Ellen Wernecke who publishes for the AV Club as well as keeps her own blog and has been generous with her advice. She appears to be in the trenches just as much as I am fighting for readers. If you're a book person, her blog is http://lnvsml.blogspot.com/.
A third AV Club writer, Rowan Kaiser, is an up-and-coming Oakland-based writer. He reviews TV for the AV Club although his real passion, for some reason, is games. For reasons unknown, Rowan is almost always online and always eager to talk. He's like a rock star who handles every piece of fan mail personally. Rowan hates it when characters on TV get together romantically, so take heed sitcom writers: every time you hook up your two main writers come sweeps, you're alienating the most powerful TV critic in Oakland.
I also have made a number of connections on twitter including notorious Community defender Noel Kirkpatrick and Georgia State graduate student in moving image studies, who recently started the blog http://www.monstersoftelevision.com/. Another twitter correspondent, Christine Becker is a professor of Television Studies at Notre Dame who's been generous with advice and bashes my grammar. She runs a reference site called News for TV Majors.
Speaking of people of people who blast my grammar, one of my very early supporters North Carolina-based journalist Daniel Johnson.. He worked at an art house type theater in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and was a major champion of old-timey restoration theaters. He hated my mistakes in grammar as well as my audicity to call myself a writer without having seen every film the Coen Brothers and Scorsese ever made along with my unwillingness to drop what I was doing right there on the spot to watch their entire catalog. Still, he was a big supporter for a while and he can be found at filmbabble.blogspot.com.
Lastly, thanks to anyone I missed along with all my subscribers and readers.