by James McNally on December 29, 2012

in Blind Spots,Personal

Just over a year ago, I published an ambitious manifesto of sorts. The Blind Spots Series 2012 was meant to be a way for me to commit to seeing a dozen films that I was somewhat embarrassed not to have seen yet. The response to the idea was fantastic, and a whole bunch of other bloggers seem to have had a great time this year filling in some holes in their cinematic viewing history. Me? Well, at this writing, I’ve seen and written about a measly three films out of my dozen. What happened?

Well, I’ve always been a much better starter than finisher, that’s certain. But then again, lots of other things took my attention in 2012. My shorts screening series, Shorts That Are Not Pants, ran quarterly and has more or less reached its first anniversary by this point. I also took over organizational duties for our monthly pub night gathering of film bloggers. And another of my crazy ideas, the CAST Awards, an annual year-end poll of Toronto “non-professional” film critics, has reached its third edition, with an inaugural TIFF edition added in 2012.

So as always, I seem to have bitten off more than I can chew. As well, my father passed away in late October, and that’s sapped a lot of my energy, both physical and creative. Yet again, I seem to be facing a crippling sense of writer’s block when it comes to analyzing film. This time of year always seems to paralyze me, with all the year-end lists and awards season bickering. Twitter seems to make it worse, too. There’s not much joy in facing off against hundreds of other writers who have already picked over the carcass of the film you’re just getting around to seeing. And I’ve mentioned the feeling of trying to drink from the firehose of new releases before. I’m just not getting a lot of pleasure out of talking about films in the way everyone else seems to be doing.

I think I’d like to find a way to enjoy slowing things down while still being able to come up with crazy ideas now and then. I envy writers who can spend a lot of time with a single director, or even a single film. I want to do more of that kind of writing, and less of the sort that will be the online equivalent of fishwrap within a few weeks. The Blind Spot series idea was meant to encourage that kind of writing, but I’ve let the whole thing slide this year. So I’m going to give things some thought before committing to another dozen (or my unwatched 9 with a few additions) for 2013.

I hope that if you participated in 2012 that you got something out of it, and that you’ll continue next year. I do believe it’s a great idea and one that should be fun. I’m just not sure right now whether I had any fun with it this year. But stay tuned…

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