What are the best and worst things about being a movie blogger?

Film blogger. In the scale of annoying yet pointless existences, it’s somewhere between morning radio DJ and acting coach to Martin Lawrence. But it’s an existence thousands of us have perhaps foolishly chosen, including, uh, me. So what makes it worthwhile and what makes it a tedious pain in the…

By Ross McG

‘I’m a blogger.’ Say these three words to anyone and you will be rightly greeted with a look that veers between disdain and disgust before sticking with disgust. You might as well tell someone: ‘I’m a leper’, or ‘I’m Vince Vaughn’. Unbelievably, however, there is a way to make people screw their face up even more. Try saying: ‘I’m a movie blogger’. Ugh. Posting your online love of cookery or photography is one thing, but yapping about films in cyberspace? Get a life, man.

Unfortunately, the first thing to go when you start a film blog is any semblance of a life. You know that place you used to go before you got caught up with cinema’s best robots and what James Bond drinks? It’s called ‘outside’. Unless you have a wi-fi garden the chances are you will do most of your film blogging at home. Once you’ve caught the blogging bug, your brain starts to say stupid things like, ‘I can’t go to the park today, I have to write something about the new Sex And The City 2 poster‘ or ‘I really would like to see my friends, but this list about the Top Ten Movie Bunnies won’t write itself’.

Another bad thing about being a movie blogger is the overwhelming sense that you are the last person to arrive at a party. A party that was good seven years ago. Not only is your blog the 7,342nd to be created that day, but almost everything you post will have already been written – and written better – by someone else. On the verge of writing about the DVDs in your collection you never watch? Don’t worry, some guy will already have beaten you to the punch.

There are many things about movie blogging that can get you down. Having to sit through crap films is one. Having to sit through Gerard Butler films is another. It’s not all bad though.


Being a film blogger has its upsides. They are less obvious than you think. Just as having exactly two readers of your blog every week isn’t really a negative (your blog should be an outlet for your thoughts, if anyone else is dumb enough to like reading your thoughts consider it a bonus), managing by some fluke of nature to have thousands of hits isn’t really the be-all and end-all. That ‘fluke of nature’ usually goes by the name of the IMDb Hit List. Get a post featured on this and you can watch the hit counter fly. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t get a buzz when this happened, but there’s no point chasing this impossible high every day. You’d turn into a wreck.

The likelihood of movie blogging is you’ll be a bit of a wreck as it is. Spending your time watching movies in a dark room isn’t healthy and neither is ranting about totally irrelevant things such as Tom Cruise’s singing scenes or John Cusack’s egg-eating habits. But it sure is fun. And surely that is the whole point of blogging about something you love and, occasionally, hate. It’s a great way to unwind and it’s also a great way to keep your writing skills (if you’re lucky enough to have any) sharp. Not many movie bloggers are lucky enough to get paid to write about movies from 9 to 5 so it can be a relief to throw some passion into something you care about outside working hours.

And then there are your fellow movie bloggers. Despite being as emotionally underdeveloped as you and constantly talking and thinking in terms of films, these are the guys that can often make putting all that effort in worthwhile. A funny comment here, a good argument there – interacting with your fellow movie brethren can put a smile on your face and get you all riled up at the same time. You can’t ask for more than that.

If you’re not a movie blogger, of course, the worst thing about movie blogging is probably having to read crap like this…


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31 Responses to “What are the best and worst things about being a movie blogger?”

  1. Interesting blog, so much of it is true, I don’t think many none bloggers will read past the first paragraph, if that far! Hits are a strange thing at first they are like a drug, the more you get the more you want then it gets to a point you don’t even notice them. The strange thing is I had never really thought much about what James Bond drinks until I started blogging but I know you for one (as you are a huge Bond fan) is glad that I shared that piece of information.

  2. It’s funny, perhaps because I only just realised having read this, that the film blogging community is the only place where film bloggers themselves can have a social life! That is in the understanding we all watch endless movies in the dark, at home, all alone, and turn down the chance for a pint down the pub in favour of writing about Sarah Jessica Parker’s pedicured face. Of course, I don’t really think this. Blogging is a great way for writers to express themselves on this wondrous medium we call the internet. The desire to write about films has always been there, now the medium is here for people to express themselves.

    Blogging shouldn’t impinge on a life away from the computer – I suppose that would be the worst thing about blogging. Perhaps there will be a psychological syndrome invented in future for bloggers who become addicted to their own online voice. But there are loads of plus points for movie blogging – it’s great fun, it’s hones your writing skills, it builds your knowledge of film, and you might make one or two online pals out of it. I use ‘online pal’ carefully – just the connotations of online friendships make me think instantly of online dating services or balding men calling themselves “Sally” preying on children. But I think you can get what I mean.

  3. I love being a movie blogger! I just write a couple of words here and there every now and then, and I get some other guy to do all the heavy lifting. Easy! Actually, I must get him to spellcheck this comment…

  4. That was actually really sweet. I think the best thing about having a blog is how personal it is. It’s like a big movie diary. “And here are my thoughts on cinema today.” I’ll look back in ten years and laugh at the kid that I was. Hell, sometimes I look back on my posts from last week and laugh at what an idiot I was.

    As yous aid, anyone stupid enough to read it and look for sense… is wonderfully reassuring in a way.

  5. I actually stayed away from the computer for the “majority” of Memorial Day weekend and I’m fairly certain that since Tuesday I haven’t been able to step back outside for fear of missing something else. My tan is fading, and I even have been taking the laptop outside while the kids playing on the trampoline and in the pool. I have to work tonight and I’m very disturbed that I’ll have to stay away from the computer for so long.

    I go back and forth with hits, reads, visitors. I’ll obsess when there is a spike, whine when it drops, and then become indifferent for months again. I guess I’ve been doing it long enough that I’ve gone bat shit crazy in general. For fricks sake I wrote a top ten list about movie bunnies. Off my rocker entirely.

    Great post even if you are wonky.

  6. Poignant musings that make me think?! That’s not what I came here for… 😉

  7. I gotta admit, I love being a movie blogger and I’m totally freakin’ convinced that it’s gonna turn into a 9-5 gig down the road. It’s actually given purpose to a lifelong movie obsession that I had nothing to show for outside of being a ringer at trivia night. Only drawback is how much time I spend watching movies nowadays, but it’s also a plus since I feel like I’m tackling Everest and am meeting so many interesting folks along the way. It really is great to wake up in the morning and see all the new comments or just to refresh the Dashboard at work and hear what people have to say. I usually tell people “I have a movie website” instead of “I have a movie blog”, but whatever, splitting hairs to make it sound just that much more legitimate. Great post, man.

  8. The best part about being a movie blogger? Well, I wouldn’t have known you if I hadn’t, right? Who else will tease me mercilessly on Gerry Butler? (Btw, great pic of him you’ve got up there Ross. As I said before, we all know you have a wonky secret crush on the Scot) 🙂

    Ok, all kidding aside, this is a great post. No, really. Before I started blogging, I had no idea how awesome it feels to get a comment on something you wrote… as you said, the blog is just an outlet for random movie musings, so to get somebody to read it AND respond to it is definitely a bonus! And yeah, that ‘fluke of nature’ is always fun to get once in a while, but I’m just as grateful when I get shout-out from fellow bloggers.

    Now the downside? Back problems and mood swings that hinges on that darn blog stats! 🙂

  9. I hear that – I always say ‘movie site’ instead of ‘blog’
    Sounds a bit more official

  10. Well, not to brag but you and I can attest to that HitList spike, but you are so right…hit counting and aiming that high all the time can be an obsession:P

    One thing I’ve had to shrug since starting G-S-T is that daily “must post something, must post something” mentality. Most bloggers will never be the next /Film, FirstShowing, or AICN, and even when they write stuff, they aren’t the first, so as far as “echoing” (a term I leaned from Castor) it’s all a moot point….so just do it for fun.

    You do say it best when you write, “your blog should be an outlet for your thoughts, if anyone else is dumb enough to like reading your thoughts consider it a bonus”. To that I say Blog to live, don’t live to blog:)

    Awesome post McG…and thanks for the link shout out!

  11. Excellent writeup. Why do I blog…? I’m not too sure, I do know that prior to the blog I was a bit like Professor Calamitous on Jimmy Neutron and I never finished anything I started, so the blog is one way of persevering in the face of the ridiculous. fandangogroovers is absolutely write with the drug analogy. That first comment gets you crazy and then you want more and more and then you end up getting a bit numb to it all. The number of times I’ve said, I don’t know how I’ll finish this assignment I’ve already got so much blogging to do (I need to readjust my priorities, obviously). But, ultimately the good outweighs the bad, or maybe we’re all just too far gone to realise we’re rolling a stone up a hill like Sisyphus.


    (In denial)

    But seriously, cool post McG, The best thing about movie blogging for me is being able to share my opinions about movies and possibly affect the opinions of a few other retards… uh I mean people 😉 Additionally, the terrific community has been a joy to be a part of and has kept me in the game. Obviously, it’s all about priorities but I don’t think posting 3 or 4 posts a week takes all that much time away from anything but idle time I would have spent watching TV or aimlessly surfing the internet 🙂

  13. haha – nice post

    the worst two things are the nagging ‘really need to write more’ guilt thang and the ‘i write a movie blog’ moment that always feels like a confession rather than a clebration

    the best two things are the community and having an outlet that saves Mrs CinemaScream from my embarrassing half realised ramblings

  14. The nagging guilt that you aren’t as good a writer as other people is easily the worst.

    However when you get a comment from fellow writers that says, “Excellent article” it really makes your day.

  15. I am with Aiden and McD, I always refer to it as a “movie website” oppose to a “movie blog” but that is because I don’t trust a lot of people to understand what a blog is.

    The best thing about being a movie blogger… giving myself an excuse or reason to spend hours on end on the internet looking up movies, giving myself more incentive to watch movies of course, and also it really has helped me re-polish my writing.

    It’s nice to have a place to go talk about movies with people where people don’t dislike the movies because they are too long, have an ambiguous ending or not famous/attractive enough leads.

  16. Also, forgot to add… great post.

  17. Well, i didn’t have a life before I started blogging, and as shit goes down in fucking high school, people become either completely retarded or move or die or get engaged for a couple days, or whatever, I kind of need to blog like an asshole.

    What I hate is this inferiority complex I get, if I write what I think is a total hardass post, an essay or something, and not only do I realize what a miserable piece of shit it is, nobody comments on it, which sends me into a spiral of depression.

    Basically, I kind of hate my life, and none of ya’ll are making it better.

    Oh, whatever. Good post. Thought-inducing, it be.

  18. […] 4, 2010 by fandangogroovers My Drinks in movies blog is back thanks to Ross McG who inadvertently reminded me I hadn’t done one lately. And incidentally it has an Irish theme. Intermission (2003) is a […]

  19. I’m definitely in the “film review site” camp too, although it’s unreal how many people ask what my site’s about once I’ve said Paragraph Film Reviews… GOSH!

    As mentioned I’m sure most of us watch way more films than is necessary just to keep the content of our sites fresh, which is a total down-side. Does anyone else feel like a junkie when they’ve ran out of outstanding films and need another hit?!

    I guess it all depends why you started it up. Some have done it to showcase writing, others as an online CV for a full time job, I just started my one to remind myself how awesome / shit films I’ve seen are way down the line and even though I’ve got about 5 hardcore readers, I bloody love it.

    Great post, should be a prerequisite to anyone thinking of starting one up.

  20. I get into a bad movie reviewer mode where I start writing the review in my head while I watch the movie. It’s only for really great movies where I snap out of it and really enjoy. But for others, I’m constantly updating the grade it will get in my head.

  21. Not getting paid is probably the worst thing I can think of.

    The best thing is the freedom I don’t have to worry about an editor botching my leads or screwing up my points (which has happened in a couple of my reviews in the school paper). This can also be a downside as self-editing is so hard.

  22. Best – Its an outlet to air you thoughts on movies in general. If someone comes and reads and comments…thats great…you get to know what people think of yours thoughts on movies…conversations are started…and so forth.

    Worst – Knowing that you’re not a good writer as compared to others.

  23. I suppose I’ll chime in here.

    Best – As some have alluded to the freedom to say whatever I want about a movie without anyone above me, or below me, to complain. Full freedom in language, and content as well. Nobody tells me what to review, or when. I do it on my own time and pace.

    Worst – When people, who know good and well I love films ranging from 1920’s all the way up to 2010, ask me for a film recommendation, because they know I run a movie blog, and get offended I would recommend anything not made during their lifetime.

  24. Oh my god its all so true.

    Every time I sit down to watch a film now, my brain starts writing blog posts before I’ve even noticed what’s happened. I do not control the blog, the blog contrils me.

  25. SHIT! I was gonna do the bunny list. Damn you, Heather! 😉
    Truthfully, everything you say is true. I started my site to get back in the habit of writing. I accidentally stumbled across a group of sites (including RVR) that I dig and a community I love being a part of.
    Univarn posted a faux conversation where he was talking to someone and they asked his favorite film. He replied “Seven Samuraii, what’s your’s?” The guy said “Transformers 2”.
    I don’t want to have those conversations. I want to have a discussion with people who dig movies like me. I want to try and make people like you and Heather and Aiden laugh, cuz you guys make me laugh.
    And if I just so happen to get on TV in Ireland as a result, so be it!

  26. I finally did a post in response to this fine bit of blogging. Should be posted on my site momentarily.

    In the end, I concluded that it does indeed have its ups and downs…but that’s life, ain’t it?

  27. The Film Reel Says:

    Ah, that addiction to the hit counter! HAHA! Many times I have found myself staring at it and wondering where all the readers went. There are times when it actually gets me down a little, usually when I pass by Heather’s hit count over at Movie Mobsters but mostly it doesn’t matter. I’ve always watched a lot of movies and blogging about them was just the next step.

    I kind of gave up on trying to be on top of news or anything like that and try to just stick to my original vision, one movie a day for an entire year. When I actually pull it off I’m not sure where the blog will go after that!

  28. mcarteratthemovies Says:

    Spot on, McDude, spot on as usual. I loved the crack about “outside.” Once we movie bloggers step away from our monitors and into this “outside,” it’s a wonder our pasty skin doesn’t melt away and our eyes don’t explode from overexposure to real, actual sunlight. Everyone on my blogroll is so attractive it’s kind of scary; you think everyone would look like they’d just crawled up from Middle Earth.

    Blogging is kind of like a drug for me, actually, a nice little escape from “outside” that also lets me write about what I love most in the world. Aside from the thought of having a three-way with Jon Stewart and Lee Pace, of course.

    Oops … did I just say that out loud?

  29. Best thiong about movie blogging #14 — Blogger groupies! I can’t tell you how many fine looking chicks email me……to see if I have the link to stcie Ponder’s podcast.

  30. […] What’s the best part of being a blogger? The worst? ROSS McD: You know when you watch a totally awesome movie or a totally shit movie and you instantly think: ‘Aaaaggghh I wish I had some kind of outlet to tell/warn people’ – having that. The worst? Deadlines! You know whe you just don’t feel like writing, but Ross McG said he will kick your ass if you don’t? Does he do that with everyone else? ROSS McG: https://rossvross.com/2010/06/03/what-are-the-best-and-worst-things-about-being-a-movie-blogger/ […]

  31. […] The Art of Movie Posters by FlixChatter- I would read any feature that Ruth puts out on her wonderful site, FlixChatter. I could have chosen over a dozen posts from her site. Nearly daily it seems I see her posts on the IMDb hitlist, with some extremely interesting, thought-provoking film topics. She picks unique topics that we all tend to overlook, like movie posters. We didn’t overlook her post to inspire our own list of Misleading Movie Posters. […]

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