Filmstalker's 3rd Birthday
Wow, who would have thought that Filmstalker would have become so big and even been alive after three years? Not me that's for sure, and it's been an amazing ride, particularly this last year.
It's been this last year that has been the toughest for me, and consequently the site, what with tragedies both personally and in business, I've really wondered if I was going to keep going.
You see last year my mother took ill with inoperable lung cancer, and while she went through different treatments and did get stronger and better, she died late September. This did, and continues to, affect me deeply. She's never far from my thoughts and it's difficult to lose the image of her dying, and for a long time Filmstalker helped and hindered.
It wasn't just the personal life that was difficult, work has been going through a tough time. Working in a financial institution in tough times means cutbacks galore and, while I can't talk about it in public, it's certainly been a strain.
So imagine running a film site through all that. It's been tough. However it's not been all bad and Filmstalker did manage to provide an amazing distraction for me. I just buried my head into it and wrote.
I'm still not sure what will happen, although I'm still convinced that there's not a need to make this a corporate money earning site like so many others, and that's one aspect that brought me the biggest win of the year.
Orange and Saatchi chose Filmstalker to be one of the bloggers to attend the BAFTA's this year and I took the opportunity to live-blog the red carpet event and also attend the ceremony. It was an amazing evening and one that truly astounded me.
Filmstalker invited to the BAFTA's, who would have thought? Definitely the high point of the year Filmstalker-wise.
There have been other highs of course, and something else that stretched me to the maximum this year, and that's been getting married, the ultimate high point of my life and I now share a marriage with a wonderful woman who is so accepting of me and of you lot through Filmstalker.
She also gave me a glorious wedding gift, on the morning my best man dragged me through to his room and revealed a mammoth gift for me to unwrap. She had framed The Flying Scotsman poster that the director had signed for me and had my quote on it, and when I finished marvelling at that the 300 film poster appeared with a personal message from the superb Gerard Butler. What a fantastic moment that was.
Louise has been helping out more and more with the site too, and she's becoming a real good friend and invaluable with keeping stories turning round, allowing me time off, and getting on with non-news articles.
She's also going to help out with some behind the scenes work using her day to day skills in the near future. I have the idea for a couple of interesting Filmstalker projects, and I'm going to be asking some faithful Filmstalker members to participate in a couple of little betas were going to run and see if they would be worthwhile additions to the site. Nothing technical, just all about film.
Also coming up in the next few days is a questionnaire about the site that I would love as many of you to take as possible. It's going to tell me what you like about Filmstalker, what you want more of, what should go and what I should concentrate on. It'll be a huge help for the coming year.
Well that's been about it for the year, apart from more mentions in the press which always surprises me, the work is just getting busier and busier and harder to keep on top of, even with just working four days a week at a "real" job.
That means it's welcome to another year of Filmstalker, if I make it that far, but I think I will if you help me. You see there's one thing that remains true about this site through all of it, that it's about the discussion and debate.
Much as I could sit here and write huge dissertations (and sometimes I do in the reviews) then just walk away from the keyboard, I prefer it when I get feedback, and feedback that starts a discussion or debate. Sure I hate ignorant and aggressive comments, you know the ones that are so typical of people hiding behind the internet, but the ones that have opinion and can back that opinion up are the ones that really interest me and get me going.
I love that, and that's still why I do it all after three years, not for any other reason. If that were the case then I'd have tons of writers working for me for free and writing the daily editorial. No, if I want to make money and fame out of a site it wouldn't be with Filmstalker. This is about a passion for film and the discussion and debate with other passionate audience members, that means you.
So here is to the next year, and I hope that you keep coming back and getting involved in that debate. Thanks for the third year, you've been fab.