Happy New Year’s and Goodbye 2020!

Hello, everyone. We can all say that 2020 is in the rearview mirror and that (hopefully) 2021 will be the year that is a year that the world begins to heal from this awful pandemic (again, hopefully). With that in mind, I want to take some time out of my Saturday to provide you with a sense of what 2021 will bring to the table for both Austin B Media and reflect on what opportunities 2020 has provided me.

For starters, let’s quickly reflect on what 2020 has done for Austin B Media. Well, for starters, this website was born out of the pandemic. I won’t bore you with the details again, just go here.

For those who don’t know, here’s the quick of it: I wanted to start a podcast talking about movies called Austin B Movies, but I didn’t think it encompassed my personality. Instead, I pursued a website idea I had. Instead of being called Austin B Movies, I would be calling it Austin B Media to encompass my personality and the kind of coverage I wanted to provide to the site. I then used all the stimulus money to fund Austin B Media operations for a year, hoping that the site would turn somewhat of a profit by then.

At first, I started reviewing things I saw on services like Netflix or Prime Video. Soon after, I found out about the process in which critics view films before they are released. The more and more films I reviewed, the more my review requests were being accepted. As these requests were being accepted, I thought of a way to see even more films: festivals. I sent a bunch of emails to several different festival organizers, and out of the two dozen or so, AFI answered my email and said that I would be given a pass to AFI Fest 2020, free of charge.

As many of you know by now, I covered ALOT of films and shorts during that time. I interviewed the director of the short film A 1984 Period Piece in Present Day (the first interview of my life, by the way), I reviewed Nine Days, Really Love, Belushi, Tragic Jungle (Selva Trágica), I’m Your Woman, and Wander Darkly, and interviewed the directors of Eyimofe (This Is My Desire). It was a herculean task to the point that some of the films I’ve seen there I still haven’t covered here because of that sheer volume I took on.

Around the same time, I decided that since I “made it” in my eyes, it was time to initiate “Phase 2”, which was essentially getting paid for my work via Patreon. Earlier in the year, I tried to get passive income through running ads on the site, but it wasn’t enough to even deposit into a checking account. Luckily, when I launched in November, a friend I made during AFI Fest, TSJ from Movies for Reel, decided to support my Patreon, so that I could get paid for my work. I know I thank him in every post, but his support truly means the world to me. It’s enabled me to worry less about covering costs and to just write what I think is best.

In months since, I’ve been able to review the remake of Mulan, discuss the Apple M1 event, start pre-production on this year’s Reel Awards, be open with you about why sometimes there are large gaps in my writing, receive a review copy of Tenet on Blu-ray, move away from Facebook & Instagram, and review what might prove to be the biggest franchise disappointment of the year.

This brings me to now. 2021. What’s in store? Well, on the short side, a lot. I became a Film Independent member which will provide me with networking opportunities and the opportunity to vote on this year’s Spirit Awards, paid up for a graphic design platform called Canva, paid for HBO Max due to WB Pictures’ recent decision to release their entire 2021 slate on the platform, set up billing for Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) which I use for much of the same reason 1.5 billion people use Google as well as a Netflix subscription. On top of that, my site registration and all accompanying services are paid through for the entire year. I don’t quite feel comfortable talking about why I am suddenly able to afford all this, as to how I received it is filled with sadness. If you need to know, here are the details that avoid the personal; chalk it up to me suddenly receiving a big check from a family member.

On the longer side of that huge question, this means that in 2021, I will be able to do the following:

  • Reel Awards – Updated Key Dates
    • Eligible Film List releases on 1/4
    • Patron Voting opens on 1/7
    • All Access Voting begins on 1/14
    • Voting Ends on 2/4
    • Nominees Announced on 2/16
    • 2nd Annual Reel Awards on 3/7
  • The Austin B Podcast – January TBA
    • A weekly show that will cover the news and anything else I don’t have time to cover on the website. I am currently aiming for this podcast to be (relatively) short-form with episode length ranging anywhere from 30 minutes up to an hour.
  • Continued film festival coverage throughout the year
  • “Where to Watch” functionality – TBA
  • Reviews of films I didn’t get to in 2020, awards season interviews – January through February
  • Reviews of Pieces of A Woman, Herself, The Reason I Jump, One Night in Miami…, Outside the Wire, MLK/FBI, Some Kind of Heaven, The Human Factor, The White Tiger, Identifying Features, Our Friend, The Little Things, Palmer and Supernova – January
  • The Best Albums of 2020 – January
  • Newsletter relaunch – January
  • Site redesign – Late January
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game Complete Edition Review – Late January
  • Film Independent Spirit Awards Nomination Reactions – January 26th
  • Google AMP, Forum and Progressive Web App re-integration – Early February
  • Cinderella, Malcolm & Marie, Land, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, The World to Come, French Exit, Breaking News in Yuba County, Nomadland, Blithe Spirit, I Care A Lot, The Courier, The Killing of Two Lovers, Tom and Jerry, Nobody, and Cherry Reviews – February
  • Golden Globe Awards Reactions – February 28th
  • Raya and the Last Dragon, Chaos Walking, Coming 2 America, The King’s Man, The Many Saints of Newark, and Morbius Reviews – March
  • Prince of Persia: Sands of Time Remake Review – Late March
  • Spirit Awards Reaction Livestream – April 24th
  • Oscar Reaction Livestream – April 25th
  • Austin B Media 2nd Anniversary Bash – May 1st
  • May to December 2021 – TBD

I hope you join me through the above adventures this year. 2021 will be a year of vast growth for me and Austin B Media, as you can see by the long list.

Thanks to Thomas Stoneham-Judge from Movies For Reel for supporting Austin B Media!