Film Blogging: A 22-Year-Old’s Experience

I realise that coming from a little known film blogger in the depths of Scotland this post might seem a little self-indulgent, attention-seeking and pointless, but I’d like to speak for a minute about my experiences with film blogging and what it’s done for me over the past 12 months.

Early last year I thought to myself that I’d like to try and translate my love for all things cinema-related into words. I’ve long been a devoted cinephile, but I felt it was time to implement my very own blog with reviews, film news and interesting articles that represented both myself as a person and as a complete film obsessive.

Not knowing how to start, I settled on setting up a free blog along with contacting several film websites in the hope one would be looking for a new writer. As luck would have it, HeyUGuys were. Within weeks I was knee-deep in covering the latest film news, trailers and posters for the UK’s number one film blog.

Alongside this, I began to build up my own blog. For every film I saw at the cinema I’d write a review and post it on my Twitter and Facebook feeds for anyone interested. Slowly – as the days, weeks and months passed – my confidence, along with my readership, grew. I started being offered more and more opportunities to develop my skills with HeyUGuys as a platform. I was sent to screenings, received an exclusive invitation to a one-off Trainspotting event in Edinburgh, and was provided with a press pass for one of the oldest and most well-known film festivals in the world. I truly felt as though I’d found my niche.

Thereafter, things have been relatively quiet. I still see as many films as is physically possible, translating my feelings about them into words as much as I can. I’m sure I’d be doing this regardless of whether I had a platform for my writing or not.

Lately, however, I’ve been lacking inspiration. Living in Scotland may seem exciting to people who are sick of city life in London or wasting away in the Yorkshire countryside, but it acts as a barrier at the worst of times. I’d love nothing more than to attend press screenings, be able to cover press conferences, fancy events and conduct interviews with Hollywood stars on a weekly basis, but this simply isn’t possible in my current situation.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a film blogger and writing a range of different film-related posts for my own website and HeyUGuys, but sometimes it all feels bigger than me. I often let my head and my mind over think things until they seem completely unfathomable and unachievable. Being a film blogger, you’re constantly having to battle against other people with the same passion, the same enthusiasm and the same love for a medium that’s heralding a new age. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd when I’m unsure of what I want out of this in the first place.

I’d love to be able to be blasé about writing. Be able to quickly rattle of post after post after post to bring a steady stream of readers to my ramblings, but when you’re an afflicted 22-year-old over-thinker it’s hard to separate yourself from the crowd, stand on your own two feet and find your own way into something. It’s not the writing itself I find hard, it’s how to find an interesting, unique and quirky way to put into words something that has been written about already, and will be many more times to come.

Saying that, I still have ideas floating around my head. Every time I come out of seeing a new film, or finish watching one from my hefty DVD/Blu-ray collection, I feel a renewed sense of “let’s do this”, but by the time I’ve taken the two busses necessary for me to get back home, I feel stuck for words and unable to crack through a bad dose of writer’s block that seems to be kicking around for longer than I’d ideally like.

I realise now, after doing what I do for the past year, that I need to be less bothered about pleasing other people, less bothered about making sure I keep up with the crowds and less bothered about making sure I review every single film that I see. Instead, I should focus on what I feel compelled to write about. I’ve slowly learnt to be motivated by my own head rather than thinking how many people I could attract with a certain review or news post.

I’ve been incredibly lucky in the space of a year, with numerous poster quotes and lots of compliments and people interested in what I have to say, so I hope to see my streak continue into the future. That said, I’d like to try to recapture that 21-year-old who started a film blog in the hope of conveying his own personal love for the medium. Blogging shouldn’t be – and in my case isn’t – about finding ways to attract the largest audience, but about pleasing yourself and achieving what you set out to achieve in the first place.

Centrefolds & Empty Screens was created to be my safe haven; my place to write about the films I want to write about. I may have deviated from that in the past, but from now on it will be the place I write about the films that affect me, that hit me in a way that requires words – whether they be positive or negative. If that doesn’t interest anyone else, then so be it. But if it does, then that’s fine with me, and they are more than welcome to e-mail me, contact me through Twitter or leave a simple comment on one of my posts to say they appreciate what I do. Lets leave the hatefulness and competitiveness at home, please?

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