A Goodbye From Your ScreenCrush Editor-in-Chief
I’ll keep this brief, because no one wants to read a self-indulgent, weepy goodbye post, and I certainly don’t want to write one (that’s a lie, I am nothing if not completely self-absorbed). Just over four years ago, I was hired by Townsquare Media to launch ScreenCrush, a web site dedicated movies and TV. Today, Friday the 13th of all dates, is my last day at the company.
While I will be leaving the site and all of you behind, ScreenCrush is in great hands. Matt Singer will be your new Editor-in-Chief, and the majority of our current staff remains intact, including Erin Whitney, Britt Hayes and Kevin Fitzpatrick. I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish here and, like a proud parent sending his baby off to school for the first time, I am really excited to watch the site flourish under new leadership.
This post also doubles as a goodbye to the world of online journalism. After 15 years of writing about movies on the internet (one of my very first stories was the press conference announcing the start of production on Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man), I’m leaving this world behind. It’s an old cliche when you leave a job to say, “It was time for a new challenge…,” but as cliched as that may be, it’s true. At this point in my career, my life and this business, it just felt like the right time to move on.
As someone with no real background in journalism to have stumbled into a career as a writer and editor, I feel insanely lucky to have gotten to do this job. I mean, there were multiple times when I was at an event for work alongside a family from the Make-a-Wish Foundation. There would be a kid who had only weeks or months left to live and what that kid was doing with his final wish was something I was getting paid to do for work. Some of the best times and the best friends I’ve ever had in my entire life, I have because of this job. I’ll cherish it all, even the late nights, early mornings and entire days spent inside Hall H.
I’d like to thank the incredible team at Townsquare, especially my boss, Nicole Sia, who supported my often ridiculous whims and excelled at making me feel like I wasn’t completely crazy. Britt and Kevin, who were the first two people I hired when I was launching the site and who have been as dependable and dedicated as any two writers ever could be. Erin, who I only got to work with briefly, but who I actively fought to have on our site, because they’re as great a writer as they are a person. All those who’ve worked with me over the years here including Mike Ryan, Jordan Hoffman, Jacob Hall, Sean O’Connell, Charles Bramesco, James Rocchi, Ryan McGee, Don Kaye, Damon Houx, George Roush, Eric Walkuski and countless others. Matt, my buddy, my pal, my Bucky. It was truly an honor to work alongside someone who’s work admired as much as I did his. Sometimes I would edit Matt’s articles and just stop and go, damn he’s good. Beyond his talent as a writer (and competitive eater), he’s been a great friend and when all the hot content fades away and vanishes into the ether, it’s the goofing around, dumb voices and genuine advice I’ll remember the most.
Thank you for reading over all these many years. I’ve loved meeting and talking you in person at film festivals or Comic-Cons and only wish I had time to meet even more of you (except for that guy who commented that he wanted to punch my face; I don’t want to meet that guy). There’s so much content out there and that you took time out of your day to read some of my dumb words means more to me than I’ll ever be able to intimate in a quick article on my way out the door.
Finally, to my family who supported the reckless and rash decision to quit an otherwise promising and lucrative career to chase a dream job watching movies full-time and put up with the insane hours and frequent travel this job brings, I love you all dearly. Kids, I’m sorry we won’t be getting all those Star Wars action figures in the mail any more, but you get to spend more with your dad, which is a fair trade off, right? Right?
While I’m leaving ScreenCrush and a career as a writer behind, I’ll still have a very active presence in the world of movies and will share news about my next job soon. Until then you can follow me on Twitter @mjsamps. I still have some embargoed articles in the queue here at ScreenCrush, so it’s not quite the last you’ve heard of me.
Change is good. Goodbyes are hard. I’m excited about the future, but that doesn’t make leaving the past behind any easier. Writing, movies, you, THIS, will always be a part of my life. I’m leaving, but I’m not gone. Never say die.