writer

Started at the POPSMUT, Now We Here: The End and Other Beginnings

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As a true American legend/general staple of the Oscar blogging community, I feel that as I move forward into 2014 and beyond, I must reveal that sentiment, above all, is kind of my thing.

We’ve been close since elementary school, the days when I used to come home on Fridays with a lunchbox bursting with plastic forks and spoons I’d accumulated during the week–utensils similar to the ones I saw my classmates tossing into the trash like they were nothing. But mine? No. I held onto mine dearly. “My mother gave these to me,” I told a lunch lady who dared to question my actions from atop her stained-yellow Keds of judgment, watching me place a used spork back into the box.

I don’t part with things easily. As many of my friends know, I linger in the movie theater long after the final scene is whisked away by the credits. I soak up the moment, the music, the experience that I’d just bathed in for the last two hours. It’s hard for me to get up and walk out–unless the movie was American Hustle or something.

Parting with this blog, however, has been a long time coming. I so tactfully named a future professional tool after something that sounds like an Xtube user handle belonging to a Scotch-laden man with an intense interest in geriatric male-on-male fellatio. I guess it’s more difficult to say after the fact that this blog was started as something for me to mess around with. It’s since grown into the foundation for a career I’m so desperately trying to have.

It’s through this space that I’ve been able to meet some incredible artists. I’ve interviewed celebrities, artists, designers, directors, writers–people, more than anything else. I’ve written about love, regrets, passion, resentment, life–strung together with the thread of film and pop culture, of course. But, the one thing that’s remained the same is the person behind the keyboard: me. I’ve single-handedly taken this blog from a silly side project into something I’m extremely proud of.

But, it’s time for something new. I am ending POPSMUT.

As I grow increasingly interested in writing as a career (screenwriting, journalism, etc.), I learn more and more with each passing day that the potential realities of breaking into the industry at age 24 (or “6th Anniversary of 18”, as I like to call it) are rapidly dwindling. Self-publishing (for more than just fun) is the route I’ve decided to take.

On August 25, 2014, I will launch Serving Cinema at http://www.servingcinema.com, alongside my longtime collaborator and friend, Alice Groesbeck. It will focus on Oscar season, the film industry, and culture in general. Our first major feature will focus on the release of a few key films during the New York Film Festival in late August (we’re in negotiations with one of our writers who’s going to be at the festival to bring his reviews exclusively to us). We’ve got a fantastic web designer who’s in the final stages of bringing our vision to life. We have tons of features lined up that will add a youthful life force into the crusty Oscar Blogging industry pool, and have gathered a great group of writers, collaborators, interns, and others to help make this a multimedia sensory extravaganza that will find a home in the hearts of tens of millions of adoring people across this great nation (or so we modestly hope).

We eventually hope to expand the site from mere videos, podcasts, and articles into an outlet for online-only independent filmmakers to showcase their work in a monthly spotlight/theater feature, but that’s all for phase 2. Phase 1 has barely left me any time to sleep in the past few months, so one step at a time.

Over the course of the next month, however, I’ve got a ton of other projects coming to life as well. Anaka Records will be flying (AKA putting me on a train because I’m terrified of air travel and refused to do it. I wish I were kidding, but I’m really rolling up for a business trip on rails) Alice and I to New York City on August 7 to collaborate with Alex Young (a singer I first interviewed on this blog in 2010, mind you) on a series of documentary-essays and web episodes/video projects surrounding her artistry and the city itself.

On September 6th, I’ll be traveling to Toronto to cover the Toronto International Film Festival–a legitimate Oscar precursor festival–for Serving Cinema as its first major feature.

My first short film (that I directed, acted in, and co-wrote with Alice), Dealing, is nearing completion, and will be edited (and released) by the end of the year. I’m also in the process of partnering with the Three Rivers Film Festival here in Pittsburgh to do some cross-promotion for my site and their list of filmmakers on this year’s slate.

I’ve accomplished so much (being humble apparently isn’t included in that assesment), and this blog as been there right by my side. It’s grown into more than just an outlet for expression. It has become an instinct, a gut-reaction for sharing ideas, an extension of myself as I try to write as personally as possible. I can’t do it all by myself if I want to expand, so we’re taking my little ball of passion and turning it into that Indiana Jones boulder (if that Indiana Jones boulder were a handful of people passionate about staying indoors/blogging about film).

Learning to exist with sentiment makes me a stronger person, a stronger writer and, hopefully now, a strong businessperson (with the help of my good friend Tyler Marchinetti, who’s helping out with some of the business aspects, like teaching Alice and I what “net gain” means and that people can actually sue us for the shade we throw now that we’re a business). Speaking of which, I know that if throwing shade at Jennifer Connelly and Argo over the years could translate into success, we’re already “recouping” (is that the right business word, Tyler?) whatever shame I brought upon myself by naming this blog “POPSMUT.”

Sentiment is my thing. Saying goodbye, however, is not. I’ll hang on to the craft I’ve perfected on this blog over the years and give it new life in a new home very, very soon. Hopefully we’ll uphold a legacy far better than Argo is upholding the Best Picture legacy from the clearance bin at your local supermarket (one last jab, for old time’s sake).

So, goodbye, PopSmut. You’ll be the used spork in my lunchbox of life forever. *pops Cristal in the hot tub* *clinks glass with my angel-winged ego of the future*

Joey.

Look for Serving Cinema to launch on August 25, 2014. 

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