One of the big disappointments of this past year was the fast implosion of Cinephile City, a website started by friends of mine and dedicated to writing about movies. As with many group endeavors, there was a great deal of enthusiasm at first which faded when as people slowly realized how much work was required.
I think part of the downfall was the pace we set for ourselves. Initially I envisioned it would run more like a magazine or journal with people submitting longer essays once they were finished. But instead the website was run more along the lines of a newspaper with new content expected every day. I knew the things I wanted to write would take a little longer but agreed. I wasn't the one doing the bulk of the work to get the site formatted and running, so I felt I had little right to dictate the policy. Once everyone wrote the pieces they initially said they wanted to do there wasn't much back up. This, combined with the fact that none of us were getting paid and almost all of us had regular jobs contributed to the site's demise.
It's a shame. I still think with a less strenuous schedule of new material it could have worked but given that it's an unspoken sore spot among several of my friends, I don't mention it. I'm disappointed I didn't get to write some of the pieces I envisioned, but only have myself to blame. Writing for the site was never easy for me. I felt busy at work and always seemed to have some obligation outside of work which made finding uninterrupted blocks of time in which to write a difficult proposition. The essays I did write were mainly because I said "okay, I'll write something...how about this?"when we were short of material. Once committed, I found myself short of time.
Being edited for the first time was interesting and something I had to make peace with. My initial reaction was "Excuse me? I'm writing this because we don't have anything else to run and you're changing it all around?" I was more used to the casual style of writing found on blogs. Running a site like professionals with a hierarchy was new to me. Worse yet was when sentences would appear in the piece that I didn't write and didn't necessarily agree with, but rather than argue about it I let it slide. To be honest, the editing did make the pieces better. Since it felt good to get compliments on what I wrote, I realized I couldn't have it both ways. You can't accept the compliment and then think that someone "ruined" your essay.
One starts projects like this with great hope, as one should, but I can't help but wonder if trying to start a film website in 2015 was a little naive. It seems that everyone in the Facebook film group I belong to has a blog. as they constantly remind you to check out their latest essay. The internet seems to be bloated with the metastasized countless opinions and opinions of those opinions that make up so much of its content. I'm not sure what I expected to come of adding to the fray. Now I'll never know. It nothing else it was a good source of conversation among my friends.
I believe we paid for the webspace for one year which means Cinephile City will most likely be evacuated late this summer. I'll be posting the few things I wrote for it during its brief life on this blog to prevent the pieces disappearing completely.