So much for weekly reports. With $1510 already pledged as I write this, it's looking as if I may reach my $2K goal in less than seven days, which is absolutely phenomenal. I can't thank you guys enough. Makes a fella feel valued. Lets a fella eat lunch.
Nathan Lee, who's now the movie guy at WNYC in addition to his gig at the New York Times, called me yesterday asking if I wanted to talk on the air about this project, and in particular whether it might portend a new viable business model of some kind for the Formerly Employed Film Critic. Which that interview may or may not yet happen, but let me go ahead and answer the question here as well: No. At least, I don't think so. As much as I try to rationalize to myself that people are purchasing my Cannes coverage in advance, it's pretty clear from comments, both here and in e-mails, that this tidal wave of generosity largely involves folks who've been reading my stuff for ten years or more, and who chose this means of saying Hey Thanks. Which is immensely gratifying, but I'm skeptical that people would be prepared to chip in even small sums on a regular basis. The resistance to paying for Internet content is just too ingrained, I think. There's always something else to read that's free.
Let's say I decided to devote 40 hours per week to this blog and/or the site, returning to the volume of writing I used to do back in the '90s, before I turned pro. And let's say I tried a subscription model that charged $100 annually, or less than $10 per month. (That's absurdly high in my opinion—people pay less for porn sites, and I don't kid myself that I'm that valuable to anybody—but I'm erring on the side of optimism here.) To eke out even a subsistence income, I'd need to have 400 subscribers. By contrast, fewer than 100 people have contributed to the Cannes project thus far. (I love you all.)
So, no, I'm afraid I don't believe that even well-established critics can manage to support themselves via reader donations. But I'm forever grateful for this one opportunity I'm being given. Especially since it was such a whim on my part to begin with.
(Also, rest assured that actual film-related content will return to this space soon. I just can't not keep thanking everyone.)