Speaking of My FilmCritic.com Column…
Posted on April 18, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 27 Comments
…It’s coming to an end soon. My final column there is scheduled for May 9th. In a nice bit of symmetry, my first column for AMC/FilmCritic.com was May 8, 2008, so I will have written the column for four years to the week.
The nice folks at AMC took pains to let me know that the reason for the cancellation of the column had nothing to do with me or the writing — they were very happy with the column during its run — but was down to the usual “we’re taking the site in a different direction” stuff, which meant cutting columns in general, my column being a subset of that. As they say in the business, it is what it is.
And you ask: Are you upset? Should we start a letter-writing campaign? Storm the AMC headquarters with pitchforks? The answer to all of the above is “no.” One, I’m not upset because this is the nature of freelancing: You work a gig until you don’t. You enjoy it while it’s there and move on to the next thing when it’s done. Four years a decent amount of time to do anything freelance, and in my experience of gigs, that’s right around the average. I did the AOL Journals thing for three and a half years; I did my Official PlayStation Magazine gig for six. This slots in nicely between them.
Two, I also practice what I preach in terms of approaching writing as a business: This column is one gig, and one revenue stream, among several. It’s going away but the others are still there to keep me busy and paid. We live within our means and we save a substantial amount of what we bring in. Because we understand the nature of the business, and because we’ve prepared and planned prudently, this doesn’t hurt us. I’m in a good position from which to find new projects to replace this income. We’re going to be just fine.
Three, the AMC folks have always treated me extremely well, always appreciated the work I did for them, and always paid me well and on time. I have nothing but very good things to say about them and my experience working with them. I am delighted they let me work with them as long as they did, and I would be happy to work with them again. And heck, I even got a book out of it. That’s what you call a positive work experience.
So, no, I’m not upset. I’m pleased the gig lasted as long as it did, and that it was so thoroughly enjoyable all the way through. Clearly, as I am not upset, I don’t think there’s a reason for anyone else to be upset on my behalf. Keep the e-mails and pitchforks sheathed, if you would.
I will miss writing about films, particularly science fiction films, on a regular basis. But don’t worry. I do have plans on that score. Nothing I can share yet, and I have some other things to do first, most notably The Spank Chronicles, Book One: The Spankening. But if it pans out, it should be fun.
In any event, enjoy the FilmCritic.com columns while you can, and remember you can always pick up 24 Frames Into the Future: Scalzi on Science Fiction Film if want a memento to remember the column by (in addition to that link there, it’s also available on Amazon). And thank you for reading the column every week. I’ve had fun writing it. I hope you’ve had fun reading it.
(P.S.: As an irony, I make a snarky comment in the column this week begging not to be fired. It’s completely coincidental and was written before I was told the column is ending. I think it’s pretty funny. Note to self: Make no more snarky comments about being fired, ever.)
I have meant to say this elsewhere, but it is so obvious that X: The Xening is always a sequel. Perhaps something along the lines of Scalzi Spank Inferno would be better as a first subtitle.
I’ve enjoyed reading these columns, so it’s too bad. But as a freelance writer, I can totally relate. And as I’ve mentioned to my wife and others when the subject comes up, if you’re going to start hyperventilating and run around in a panic every time a freelancing gig dries up, this lifestyle really isn’t for you.
Aw, i will miss the column. But, you say you have secret plans, and your secret plans and projects usually turn out pretty good.
I will miss the column as well. Often amusing, and something I looked forward to every week.
But now we have something new to look forward to, after you grab a new opportunity !
Fiddlesticks. I literally just signed up for an account over there last week so I could
torment you over there tooenjoy your insightful film critiques. Oh well, c’est la vie.
But, but, but, what are we to do with all these pitchforks and torches? I mean, we’ve already paid their shipping invoice for them and the Amish only need so many.
It’s the Internet! There’s always a need for pitchforks and torches!
It is the week of “darn that snarky comment!” My neighbor, seeing cops on our (rural, usually very safe) street, made a joke on Facebook about the “perp stealing her bike for.a quick getaway.”
Fast forward 12 hours, and…
Sure enough, the perp stole her bike for a quick getaway, and now she can’t get any sympathy, because it’s FUNNY. (Even she admits that it is funny, although she misses her bike.)
AMC Filmcritic.com. Hmmm. How does one take such a site in a different direction that no longer needs weekly reviews of science fiction films by a competent and insightful critic? Maybe the editors are no longer human, their bodies snatched by aliens planning the invasion. I know! Sir John, just keep writing your reviews and post them here each week. Then pay yourself for them from one of your existing revenue streams (or the new one from Redshirts) and sock the payments away into Athena’s college fund.
On the plus side, if you occasionally post your cinematic observations here, you’ll probably get more feedback. The AMC site seemed to thwart my every attempt to register when I wanted to comment.
But posting here probably doesn’t pay as well.
I’ll miss you writing about films as well. The AMC column was always interesting and prompted me to think about the media I’m consuming. I hope some of the other irons you have in the fire pan out and something similar is up and running in the near future.
What are your views on storming AMC with plush toys? Or possibly purple sprouting?
(I have a _lot_ of purple sprouting).
My cryspitchfork cannot be sheathed until blood is drawn.
The truth? Your column is the only reason I *ever* visited the AMC website. Dude.
Like Bruce, I only went there to read John’ column. As Gary said, now you can post movie stuff here – whenever you feel like it.
First AMC dropped Mary Robinette Kowal, but I didn’t worry because my column focused on SF films, not fantasy……..
Four years. Oh my. Where does the time go? I enjoyed the column. I will console myself with the four years of accumulated patience that I *just* learned I had.
Sad. I like the AMC site for the quizzes and other reviews, but mostly because of YOUR column. I hope you don’t go too long with out reviewing movies as the summer is quickly approaching and how will I ever be able to decide which movies to see with out your advice?
Yes, I have to add that I really did enjoy your columns and found some good movies because of them. It will be missed.
I will miss it too. I never commented after they changed their registration policy so you had to let them post things to your FB or Twitter account as you (because duuuude), but I read it every single week. I now have no reason at all to go to that site.
As for what to do with the pitchforks and torches which all right-thinking people will have gathered together by the time they finished reading the first sentence of this post, there are some suggestions here.
And the Preview button just saved me from a truly awful HTML mistake. Thank you again for adding it.
Too bad. I guess we can abandon any hope that AMC would become our go-to place for scifi show viewing, now that the SyFy channel has abandoned any pretense of filling that niche*.
@ PrivateIron: that is one of the funniest comedy episodes on TV that I’ve ever seen
*slight exaggeration, but not by much
I don’t watch movies and therefore usually had no idea what you were talking about, but I did often go read the column from your link. Sorry to hear it’s going, though glad you got a book out of it (which I may even read sometime, just to be even more at sea).
I add my own ‘sob’ to the commiseratives. And a lip-quivery ‘whimper’.
Now I’ll have to start looking for something else to fill those “X” minutes a week that were devoted to your column.
Like others above, the column was really the only thing that attracted me to the Filmcritic website. I’m a fan of writing, not restrictive comment systems, Flash ads, and Meebo bars. Perhaps AMC’s new direction is to repel readers?
PrivateIron, the second installment will obviously have to be The Spank Chronicles, Book Two: Electric Spankaloo.
I always looked forward to reading those columns. Bummed to hear they’ll be coming to an end, but wishing you the best in future film column endeavors!