Thursday, June 15, 2017

Out of the Past: A 10th Anniversary

At Dick Cavett's TCMFF book signing

It was on this day 10 years ago that I started my classic film blog Out of the Past. It all began with a  welcome post followed by a short piece on The Dick Cavett Show with special guest Alfred Hitchcock.  Little did I know the journey this blog would take me on. I started with a post about Dick Cavett and I bookended the decade with my red carpet interview with the man himself. If you told me that back in 2007 all of the wild and wonderful experiences that were coming my way and all the amazing people I would meet I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s been a wild ride and I hope there are many more adventures to come.

Outside the Harvard Film Archive circa 2009

Why did I start the blog? In 2007 I was in graduate school, working full-time and living on my own in an apartment just outside of Boston. When I wasn’t doing homework, working, or hanging out with friends, I was watching classic movies. A lot of classic movies. I couldn’t get enough. I’d mostly watch them by myself or with my mom. This was satisfactory for a while but eventually I found that I couldn’t just watch classic movies. I needed to talk about them. I found myself working classic film into my every day life. It was getting out of control. One day at a company meeting I brought up Cary Grant in conversation because one of my coworkers shared the same first name. My other coworker Frank brought up that same conversation later on and I discovered that we had a mutual interest in classic film. I didn’t realize how desperately I needed someone, anybody to talk to about classic movies until I started bugging Frank incessantly with film chatter. I had a lot to say and I needed an outlet. Then on June 15th, 2007 I started Out of the Past: A Classic Film Blog. I found the perfect place for my voice and the rest was history.

Me and Carlos in front of the Hollywood sign

When I was coming up with the name for my blog I was looking for two things: something that described the theme of my blog that also worked as a recognizable classic film reference. Out of the Past was perfect. The 1947 noir was my gateway into classic movies. I watched it for the first time as an undergrad when I took a film course. I was mesmerized by this beautiful yet confusing noir. I wanted to know more about the actors and wanted to see more films like it. That led to many more classic movies and lots of time spent watching TCM. The phrase Out of the Past also described the theme of my blog. Anyone who would visit would know immediately that anything discussed would be out of the past. I hoped that name would lure classic film lovers as well as vintage gals and gents and history enthusiasts. The name has confused some folks who visited the blog thinking it would solely be about Film Noir. I still stand by the name and it’s grown to be such a part of this blog that I can’t imagine ever changing it.

First time on the TCMFF Red Carpet, circa 2016

At first my blog started as a way to liven up discussion of classic movies. I wanted about each post being as fun as possible. A few years into the process I became more serious about my writing and started tackling lengthier and more in-depth posts, did a ton more research and started reading and reviewing many classic film books. The blog took on a much different tone. Frankly, I grew up and grew out of that originally goofy style. In fact I look back and cringe at some of those really silly posts. A few have haunted me for years. I hope if anything they're still amusing to some readers even if I can’t bring myself to look at them. When people tell me my blog was one of the first they’ve ever read, I really hope they weren’t reading those early posts.

Making new friends at TCMFF. Max and I at the Charlton Heston Stamp Ceremony

It wasn’t until I started attending the TCM Classic Film Festival in 2013 that my blog started to have a big impact on my life. When I first visited Hollywood I couldn’t believe I would not only be in the epicenter of film history but I’d also be seeing classic film stars in person, I’d finally get to see Robert Osborne and most importantly I’d get to meet face-to-face with all those wonderful film blogger friends I’ve talked to over the years. TCMFF tested my introverted nature but I kept traveling to California each year. In 2014 and 2015 I got very ill while attending, mostly my body’s reaction to the onslaught of social interaction that it wasn’t able to handle. By 2016 I got the hang of it and one of the things that helped me the most was conducting interviews on the red carpet. Not only is it the coolest thing I’ve ever done but it also helped me grow as a person. If I can interview Dick Cavett on the red carpet, I can talk to literally anybody and be okay. Every single TCMFF was a long-weekend packed with once-in-a-lifetime experiences. One after the other after the other. I live off of 4 days worth of memories for an entire year. I got to go to 5 TCM Classic Film Festivals thanks to my blogging.

Epic group selfie with a bunch of my classic film friends at the 2016 TCMFF

Over the years of writing this blog I’ve developed wonderful partnerships with brands, studios, repertory theatres, filmmakers, classic film writers, authors, musicians, social media influencers and many more. These have turned into wonderful collaborations as well as friendships. I had no clue when I started this blog 10 years ago how many amazing people would come into my life as a result of this blog. And for that I’m forever grateful.

Meeting my friend Jonas for the first time. Cinefest circa 2015

I took some time to look at my old posts to curate a collection of some highlights from my 10 years.

If you have any memories you'd like to share, either of meeting me at a festival or interacting with me online, feel free to share in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you.

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