Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia
last seen on TV @ E!

Julie & Julia should've been the very first movie I blogged about here. I remember seeing it in the summer of 2010 at Hudson River Park for the first time. I passed on seeing it during its theatrical run because everyone kept saying it was only half of a good movie - the Meryl Streep-as-Julia Child half. But I wanna talk about the Amy Adams-as-Julie Powell half because I'm about to admit something that I was kinda embarrassed about for awhile: this movie is the reason WSW exists.

A little history, first of all: as I've mentioned before, my previous blog was about comics. It started here on Blogger and was picked up by a bigger website, and I became part of their writing staff. What this meant, which I didn't think much of back then, was that they would do all the promotion and most of the heavy lifting in terms of making my blog look good. All I had to do was provide the talent, such as it was. They treated me well and I'm grateful to them for it, but I never got a true sense of what it meant to be a blogger, over a sustained period of time.

Then came the City Mouse blog, which was a different animal altogether. I knew I had to take a different approach with that one because I was living in a strange city and I felt that this could be a way for me to make my mark, as it were. My roommate Max, a fellow cartoonist, was instrumental in helping me with this. I couldn't have gotten as much accomplished as I did without him. He had a how-to book on making online comics, and I studied it front to back. I started hanging out on a popular local website and established an identity as an artist there, which led to opportunities I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

Still, when I came back to New York, I put the blog back on the shelf and didn't do much with it for awhile. In the meantime, I was getting unsatisfied with blogging about comics, though that had more to do with my general dissatisfaction with the comics industry than anything else.

This is where J&J entered the picture. I had already begun kicking around the idea of starting a film blog. Working in video retail for so many years had turned me into a bit of a film nerd, and to this point I was already reading sites like Awards Daily (nee Oscarwatch) and In Contention because I knew whichever films were Oscar contenders were almost always the good ones. Streep, of course, had gotten nominated for J&J but lost to Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side, and there was a lot of grumbling about that controversial decision. So I guess I wanted to see J&J because of that.

I liked J&J (and I agree that Streep was robbed), but the more I watched the "Julie" part of the film, the more I felt gears turning in my head. Seeing how Julie Powell took off as a blogger in such a relatively short time made me think that a film blog might not be a bad idea after all, and yeah, I suppose I started having visions of overnight success - something I didn't experience with the City Mouse blog. Maybe living in a new city humbled me.

Of course, I've since learned that "success" is purely relative. To my knowledge there have been very few movies made about blogging (Charlie Kaufman is/was working on one), which is not too surprising, as it's not the sexiest of topics to make into a movie. J&J is two movies in one, so it's also unsurprising that we only see so much of Powell's blogging process. 

What I've learned since seeing J&J the first time is that writing about a specific topic, with honesty, on a consistent basis, is so not enough. The movie shows some of the potential pitfalls, like talking about your family and friends to strangers (you'll note that when I do this, I never use last names and sometimes I don't even use first names) as well as some of the potential rewards, like the thrill of getting lots of comments for the first time. On an (approximately) day-to-day basis, though, building an audience takes a great deal of hobnobing with like-minded blogs and, these days, maintaining a presence of some sort on social networks - which I've been glad to do because I've made some new friends this way.

So yeah, J&J skewed my dreams of blogging stardom somewhat... but after two years of this, I have no regrets.


  1. Julie and Julia kept me blogging, and revitalized my interest in food.

  2. I probably should say something about the food: it looked great, but I wonder how Julie and her husband were able to afford to make so many different and unique meals for an entire year.


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