So. Where were we? Right, I was saying that I'd "been dreaming up a new format and, if all goes according to plan, it'll be rolling out slowly in two phases." Well, plans change. In this case, for the better. Way better.
Thanks to The Auteurs - and really, this is best part; the Daily and The Auteurs are a perfect fit, don't you think? - both phases of this latest incarnation are rolling out in tandem, and rather quickly, too: as of today, here and now.
The gist: #1, what used to be collected as "Shorts" will now be sent out as tweets and, as you can see, I've already started right here: @theauteurs - and #2, the contextualization, curating, filtering, commenting, whatever you'd like to call it, will be going on in once-a-day summaries posted here in The Notebook and called, for clarity's sake, "The Auteurs Daily."
You may have questions. I've anticipated a few in a sort of mini-FAQ below.
Twitter!? What, seriously? Have you fallen off the deep end?
Not at all. I'll be the first to admit that I've been a dedicated Twitter disparager in the past. When I first heard the concept explained and watched it in action at SXSW in 2007, I thought it was about the silliest use of connectivity imaginable. Obviously (well, obviously to millions by now), I was dead wrong.
One of the problems with the Daily for the past while now is that it'd become bloated and ungainly; too much quotage, too much overlap (particularly in the roundups of reviews for entries on individual films) and just plain too much for a busy cinephile to wade through and then distinguish between the need-to-know and the nice-to-know. The 140-character limit is a wonderful disciplinarian.
But cutting through the fat is only the half of it; timeliness is the other. Once I began using Twitter on my own, I realized that holding items for a batch of "Shorts" no longer made sense; I began to hate having to let you, dear Reader, know about this or that until I was ready to post the whole roundup. Now I'll be able to recommend a click the moment I deem it worth your time, whether you're at your desk or glancing at your handheld.
So news, must-reads, viewing tips and all those other dandy items will be coming at you in a form that is both more useful and more immediate.
Okay, so you like Twitter. I don't. Now what?
You can still keep up that stream of ex-"Shorts." You don't have to sign up anywhere or join anything. @theauteurs can be read like any other blog or web page; you can even subscribe to the RSS feed. And soon, we'll have those tweets tweeting right here on the page you're reading right now, too. You don't even have to think of it as an ongoing string of tweets. [Update, 3/8: The full news feed is now going on @theauteursdaily (RSS feed); major stories (just a few a day) and The Auteurs-specific announcements are still happening @theauteurs !]
Fine, but some of us have lives. I'm not sure I want to be catching up with dozens of "tweets" day in and day out.
I hear you. And my guess is that you're one of the readers for whom the Daily had become unwieldy lately, too. That's where the second part, the flip side of this new version of the Daily, comes in. At some point during each day, having monitored the buzz, I'll post a couple of quick paragraphs, a briefing of sorts on what your basic self-respecting cinephile would probably want to know about.
Wait, wait. One of the things I liked about the "old" Daily was all that "coverage of the coverage" that went on during the big festivals and so on.
And that'll still be happening. Cannes is a prime example. During such intense storms of cinephilic activity (and festivals, of course, aren't the only instances; remember when Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni died within hours of each other?), I will double up and post previews, review roundups, indexes, commentary and so on.
I may be warming up to this.
Give it time. It'll evolve. Every new format presents challenges, to be sure, but unforeseen opportunities as well. Overall, I'm aiming for the same number of news items as before, only with less unnecessary repetition and bulk. Let's see how it goes. Comment when you can and be sure to tell your friends and loved ones about the Daily's return at The Auteurs.
By the way, how was your holiday?
Lovely, thanks. And you know, you'd think July would be a rather slow month, but for anyone who was off and away for most of it, there's actually quite a lot to catch up with, particularly new issues of Film Comment, featuring Amy Taubin's conversation with Lucrecia Martel, Thom Anderson on Lorna's Silence and reports from this year's edition of Cannes (Amy Taubin, Gavin Smith and Richard Peña); Sight & Sound, with Michael Atkinson on our ongoing fascination with Depression-era gangsters and Ian Christie on the restoration of The Red Shoes; Filmmaker, with this year's list of "25 Faces of Independent Film"; the Brooklyn Rail, featuring Jonas Mekas and Keith Sanborn on Hollis Frampton; and the whopping 51st issue of Senses of Cinema, featuring, among many other essays, a package previewing the ongoing (and already controversial) Melbourne International Film Festival (through August 9).
Meantime, that image comes from Andrei Zvyagintsev's The Return (2003).