• Esquire: No longer runs my column every month—it now depends on whether they feel there's a subject that warrants the space. Of the last six issues (including two yet to hit newsstands), I appear in only three. That's a big hit.
• Nerve.com: Dismantled their Film Lounge and cut me back from one review per week to one review per month.
• Las Vegas Weekly: The editor who hired me resigned, and his replacement recently cut my fee in half and basically said Take it or leave it. Plus many of the reviews they assign me now run only 350 words (rather than 700-800) and pay only 1/4 of what I'd been getting.
Again, this has all happened since the beginning of the year. Not to subject you guys to a lot of whiny bitching and moaning (see also: my girlfriend of two years giving me the ol' heave-ho in March), but if you've been following my adventures as a film critic for a long while, as I know many of you have, be advised that that lengthy chapter of my life seems to be on the verge of closing.
In any case, back in March, when I had to make the decision (and when the prospective lineup looked way less appetizing than it's turned out to be, arrgh), Cannes just seemed like a bad idea, money-management-wise. Even at the height of my hotshottedness, nobody ever paid me to go there—the fee for my blog reports at Nerve covered less than half my expenses—and right now I simply can't justify spending well over $2000 to see a bunch of movies, however hotly anticipated, that I can catch four short months from now at Toronto (significantly cheaper) and/or the NYFF (completely free). So I'll be following the action from home along with most of the rest of you.
NOTE: While I was typing this post, I received this e-mail:
Are you in Cannes? If so, are you blogging about it somewhere? Your coverage is always the best; I particularly dug last year's experiment.
Thanks man. Yeah, this year I'm doing an even more radical experiment wherein I discover how I react to movies when I don't see them at all.
Thing is, I can't really complain too much. Michael Atkinson, who's had his own employment troubles of late, had a point when he noted last month that film criticism is essentially a part-time job for which a few lucky souls get paid a full-time wage. Even when I had a salaried staff position at Time Out New York, it was rare for me to put in more than maybe 15 hours of bona-fide work in any given week, including the time spent watching the films. To get away with that for more than ten years is pretty damn sweet, even if I have no 401K or anything to show for it.
That's Ed, any and all freelance writing opportunities—as well as any not-so-veiled propositions from smart, funny women into word nerds, so long as I'm fantasizing—will be very cheerfully considered.