Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Announcing the “Jonathan Lack Review Archives” Project – Access hundreds of old reviews from my YourHub days here on!

2012 is a big anniversary for my career; it marks my tenth year of journalistic writing, and as with any major anniversary, I plan on celebrating.  I have some very big plans for August, the actual month of the anniversary, but in the meantime, I’m starting a project that will nicely sum up everything I’ve done over the last ten years:

I’m launching The Jonathan Lack Review Archives, a special section of this website that will contain nearly every article I’ve written and published from January 2007 onwards.  It will take a lot of time to get each of the literally hundreds of reviews up, so this will be a work-in-progress over the next few months, but when it’s done, this website will not only live up to its name as an exhaustive collection of my body of work, but also be filled with more content than ever before.  And while the project is underway, the normal site features and reviews will continue uninterrupted (and archive reviews will not appear on the main blog page). 

For full details, including what kinds of archival content to expect and when, continue reading after the jump…

I joined the Colorado Kids section of The Denver Post in August 2002, began specializing in movie reviews in June 2004, moved over to YourHub in early 2007, and started in July 2011.  In all that time, I’ve written a lot of articles – you are reading number 819 – and since the original Colorado Kids site no longer exists and the 2011 YourHub redesign wiped out four years of writing, most of that material can no longer be found online.  It’s just been sitting on my hard drive, gathering digital dust, and as I started looking through those old articles recently, I realized that there was no compelling reason these shouldn’t still be online.  I’m very proud of the new website, but with less than a year of movie reviews under its belt, it’s not nearly as robust as it could be.  Creating an online archive of all my old reviews seems like a good solution, retroactively extending the website back in time to 2007 and beyond.

Why 2007, you might ask?  Well, that’s because for now the plan is to only re-publish articles from my YourHub days, which began in March of that year.  Everything before 2007 is work I did for the Colorado Kids, and to be perfectly honest, I’m just not comfortable sharing it with the world as this moment.  I was inexperienced, my writing was rough, and most importantly, it was all pitched at a very young audience, a demographic the current site doesn’t aim for.  I simply see no pressing reason to share these reviews with the world, and in any case, they only comprise 70 of my 819 articles, so I’m not leaving out much.  

That being said, am I completely satisfied with all of my YourHub work?  No, of course not.  My writing has improved dramatically since 2007, and I wince a little even when I look at work as recent as 2010.  The George Lucas in me would like nothing more than to re-write every one of those early publications.  But when I take a step back think rationally, I know I shouldn’t be ashamed; I’ve learned from my mistakes, improved with time, and since people read and enjoyed my work even back then, there’s no reason to hide it all from the world.  So nearly all of it will be going up, and for the most part, the articles will be unedited. 

It’s not all movie reviews, either.  I also have a large catalogue of DVD and Blu-Ray reviews (which I love writing but just haven’t had the time for recently), TV reviews, special feature articles, and more.  The DVD reviews will definitely be going up alongside the movie reviews; they are some of my best early writing and are actually very thorough, detailed pools of information.  I actually have a number of unfinished DVD/Blu-Ray reviews I’ve always wanted to release, so this will give me the opportunity to either finish them or just put them out ‘as-is’ as historical curiosities.  You’ll also see most of the special features, but I haven’t decided what to do with the TV reviews.  I know the Chuck season 3 articles will go up, since this site already has reviews of season 4 and 5, but I’m worried that everything else lacks the necessary context to be added to the archive.  I’m very proud of the three-seasons of Lost reviews I wrote, but now that the series is over, do week-by-week theories have any relevance?  If you’d like to see these, please drop me an e-mail or sound off in the comments, but for now, I plan on sticking to Movie, DVD, and Blu-Ray reviews alongside special features. 

I run this website through Google’s Blogger service, which thankfully allows me to post-date articles.  So each review will bear its original YourHub publication date, and will appear at that chronological point in the archives, rather than on the main page.  You’ll be able to access all these reviews quickly via various archive Category Links on the right-hand side of the page, looking through the Articles By Date section on the right, searching keywords in the search box, or by clicking on The Archive button at the top.  For instance, if you want to see my original 2007 review of “Spider-Man 3,” you could go to “Articles by Date,” access 2007, open the May folder, and find the title; or you could click on the Movie Reviews or Archival Movie Reviews category and scroll through pages until you find it.  As you can tell, there will be many, many easy ways to navigate the archives. 

Because I have to put these old articles up one-by-one, this project is going to take time.  I am going to start with the first article published in 2007 and continue chronologically from there, and every Tuesday, I will keep you up to date on my progress with a column (on the main page) detailing which articles were added to the archives.  I expect it to take a few months in total, but who knows?  If I come up with an efficient system, I could be done in just a few weeks.  Time will tell.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the Review Archive, and that it increases the value of this website for all my readers.  If not?  Well, no worries – there’s still plenty of shiny new reviews worth looking forward to.  Whether it’s in the Past, Present, or Future, I’ll see you all again shortly…

NOTE: If you follow website updates via e-mail, RSS feed, or a Google subscription, you will probably be notified of all these hundreds of old articles going up.  You probably don’t want this, so you may wish to unsubscribe while the project is underway just so you aren’t flooded with updates.  It won’t hurt my feelings, and I’ll let you know when it’s safe to subscribe again.  Also, if you follow me on Twitter (@JonathanLack) or on Facebook, I will be turning off automatic site notifications; they’ll still come out, it will just be manual, and maybe not as punctual as usual.  

NOTE 2: You see that awesome, stylish picture at the top of the page?  That’s the official logo of the Archives, and it was photographed and designed by my cousin Joseph Gast.  Everybody please give him a big round of applause for turning out such an amazing logo!  Gast is a very talented young filmmaker and photographer, and if you’d like to see more of his work, you can browse his photography by clicking this link, and learn about his filmmaking through this link.  Cool stuff, right? 

An alternate version of the logo
Click to enlarge!

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