So. Today is exactly six months to the day that I was abruptly, without forewarning (rudely and rather unprofessionally, actually, now that I reflect on it) informed that my near-decade (8 years!) of tenure at The Escapist was at an end - just like that.
I have no interest in elaborating any further than the original posts on the matter in terms of "what went down" or "the REAL story," except to say that I have in fact become a bit more "enlightened" as to opinions held and things said about me and my work by... "persons" (or, perhaps, just "person") that I had naively considered friends or, at least, good-faith business partners that leave me deeply suspicious about the circumstances of my departure and profoundly disappointed in the behavior of... "persons," I'll leave it at that.
The six months since have been difficult. Film Criticism is a difficult career to make money in, and it requires an erratic schedule that makes secondary employment equally difficult to maintain. In addition, my personal life was rocked by a extremely painful and drawn-out family issue that nearly-drained what resolve I had been left with. And while yes, I can credit the decency and heartfelt support of my fans with my surviving all of this... the truth of the matter is that I don't think I would have yet made it without the support of my colleagues, my friends, my family and one special person ('nuff said) in particular who was a light in dark times when I needed one most.
I won't say that it's been easy: As "newly free" to work on other projects and give free time to my loved ones as I feel, I miss the reliable routine (and yes, the reliable paycheck) of Escape to The Movies. I miss The Big Picture achingly, and it breaks my heart every time a fan tells me how much those shows meant to them and how much they miss them, too. I had a wonderful space where I had an extraordinary amount of freedom (for awhile, anyway...) to say pretty-much whatever I wanted and have it published/broadcast on a major (or, rather, it used to be...) website - a privilege I worked hard to not abuse - and I am under no illusions that I'll easily find a space that good again. I am still pained, however fleetingly, to be without it and, yes, I have nothing but hatred in my heart for every force and circumstance that led to it's loss. That's probably a little immature, but it is what it is. I work hard to expel "pain" from my psyche, but the memories of people and things who have wronged me and mine I keep for a long, long time.
BUT! Fortunately, my propensity to not forgive does not keep me from moving on. And as I survey the last six months and the place I've come to, I feel a sense of overwhelming pride (and gratitude, to those who have helped) at where I have "arrived;" even though I have no intention of resting on my laurels or declaring that this is "good enough" - as some in my life have no doubt tired of hearing me say, "It's NEVER enough!" - this doesn't look too shabby:
THE MOVIEBOB PATREON is holding steady and allowing me to produce and deliver content to fans and Patrons while also maintaining a livable-life.
Escape to The Movies is gone, but MOVIEBOB REVIEWS are alive, well and popular on YouTube.
REALLY THAT GOOD, a longform film-appreciation series that was an unrealized dream-project for years, is slowly becoming what I wanted it to be.
THE GAME OVERTHINKER, my original passion-project, wrapped up after 100 episodes on MY terms, the way I wanted it to.
I have re-affirmed my longstanding relationship with ScrewAttack - the web outlet that was the first to give me a shot as a viable content-creator back in the day and has been by far the most fair, honest and open business partners I have dealt with in my professional career. THE ALL-NEW GAME OVERTHINKER lives on as part of this relationship, and after a strong-showing in a six-episode "pilot" order, I am happy to announce that the series has been given a full bi-weekly order through 2016!
Speaking of ScrewAttack, they are also responsible for helping the legacy of The Big Picture live on through IN BOB WE TRUST - ALSO newly-blessed with a full bi-weekly order through 2016!
More recently, you may have heard that my review of PIXELS became a viral sensation, amassing nearly 2 million views and counting and even being featured on national stages like THE HOWARD STERN SHOW.
Locally, the PIXELS review landed me a guest-spot on one of Boston's #1 radio shows, TOUCHER & RICH...
...And, perhaps my favorite "WTF am I doing HERE!?" moment of this most-recent roller-coaster: I was profiled in THE NEW YORKER.
And it goes beyond all that as well. The success of MOVIEBOB REVIEWS and the other projects has put me into contact with sources and opportunities that could well mean the next logical BIG steps of my career - including developments and avenues that I had never even considered open to me.
Make no mistake: I do not consider myself "back" or even close to "comfortable" - whatever that means. I have always had my eyes on bigger things, bigger opportunities and the capacity to dream bigger than I can even concieve of now... and then achieve those dreams so that I might conceive of even more. Frankly, I don't want to stop until I'm living whatever the film/gaming/geek-media version of Alexander weeping at the realization that there are no worlds left to conquer is (though, for now, regular access to a heated pool would be just swell.)
But I am happier than I expected to be six months ago. I am more stable than I expected to be six months ago. And despite how much I truly miss what was, warts and all, a job I really loved... I am on-balance better off than I was six months ago.
If you were among the folks who stepped up to dance on my "grave" when things looked bleakest... I can only say that I hope your life has gotten better from whatever pathetic state you must have been in for that to be a viable entertainment option for you - though if it hasn't, chances are you and misery deserve each other and I hope that seeing me not only survive but thrive causes you inexplicable suffering.
If you are among the "persons" whose decision-making contributed to me being (however briefly) "professionally-unmoored," shall we say... I hope the knowledge that the success I'm having and the career-growth I'm experiencing could also have benefited you and your outlets, but now won't. To be perfectly blunt, in fact: I hope the traffic, publicity and mainstream press attention for that independently-produced PIXELS review makes you GAG.
If you are among the people who supported me through this time personally... well, you already know how I feel, but thank you and I love you, anyway.
If you are among the fans, followers, viewers and Patreon supporters who've stuck with me and helped this ship through choppy waters: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. My I be ever worthy of you.
And... that's really all I've got to say at this time, save to note that in a few months I'm going to be an uncle for the first time in my life; and maybe it's old-fashioned but that sort of thing throws what matters into sharp relief. Six months later, I am undefeated. I am okay. I love and am loved. I am moving onward and upward. And I am alive.
Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.