EDITORIALS

Films, Festivals, Friends & Fantasies Fulfilled for Which I'm Thankful

by
November 22, 2012

Alex Billington and Ethan Anderton

Lucky. That's the only way to describe my place in life right now, and it's a position in which I never thought I would be. It's not that I had a bleak outlook of where I might end up after high school or even college, but reaching my dream job so soon was nothing short of thrilling. Now let me be clear, I don't want what follows to come off as bragging or anything of the sort, because when it comes to my job at FirstShowing.net and the opportunities that have been afforded to me, modesty is the world. But at this time of giving thanks, and after three years of living a dream, I simply want to say, here and now, that I am thankful for everything.

It's been just over three years and I couldn't be happier with the progress in my career and online presence in that time. With over 4,700 stories/posts published here at FirstShowing.net, hundreds more in the TV department at Collider, and a new run with small screen news and reviews at ScreenRant starting this past August, I'm more than pleased to be writing something that any of you are reading. Therefore, it's even better than everyday I get to write about the very things of which I am passionate. Films and television have always had a big impact on my thinking ever since I was a kid, and if I could tell my younger self that I would make a career out of writing, talking about and watching movies and TV series, I would just laugh.

But here I am. And it's not just the writing that makes this work worthwhile. Along with this job has come certain perks, privileges and opportunities that always make me take a step back from my life to remember that all of this is real. Now please, keep in mind that all of this is not meant to be boasting, name-dropping or anything, but just recognizing certain events in my life that still seem unbelievable.

I've visited the film sets of blockbusters like Real Steel and had dinner and a White Russian with director Shawn Levy; plus chilled out on the set of 30 Minutes or Less, talking about Chik-Fil-A with Aziz Ansari. I've been to the Sundance Film Festival twice now (my third trip is coming in January), watching three to four movies a day for two weeks in a ski resort city and spending evenings enjoying drinks and chats with cinematic talent the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jason Reitman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Zachary Quinto and many others. Comic-Con has also become an annual point of excitement as I fly out to San Diego and watch exclusive footage, conduct interviews, run into J.J Abrams and embarrass myself, and generally geek out, all for what is somehow still called a job. It's kind of ridiculous.

But more than the celebrity encounters, it's the incredible people I've met who also have the luxury of doing what I do, many who have been in the business for years longer, and work much harder, write much better and make me with jealously and admiration all at the same time. My editor-in-chief and fearless leader here gave me this opportunity three years ago, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for him, not to mention eternal gratitude for taking a chance on a reader who recognized him from his Twitter photo and had the gall to ask if FirstShowing.net was looking for any new writers. But that's not all.

Steven Weintraub took me in at Collider without a second thought after meeting on a film set, and as long as I've know him, he's never stopped traveling. "Frosty" and the rest of the Collider team are a fantastic crew, and I always enjoy running into them at a film festival, Comic-Con party or film set. Meanwhile, Peter Sciretta at SlashFilm has become a close friend and colleague, and his quasi-celebrity presence sometimes impresses people as much as my meeting Joss Whedon. Vic Holtreman is the most recently webmaster to take a chance on me, and I couldn't be happier to call Screen Rant my new home for my musings on TV.

There are plenty of other people I have the pleasure of calling my friends, and three years ago, all I could do was admire their work from a distance in the Midwest. Germain Lussier at SlashFilm, Matt Goldberg at Collider, Eric 'Quint' Vespe of Ain't It Cool News; and Jordan Raup, Dan Mecca and Raffi from The Film Stage. Outside the usual film banter, much fun has been had with Chase Whale formerly of Gordon and the Whale (and now of several different outlets) and Katey Rich & Matt Patches of Cinema Blend. And I can't go without mentioning the rest of our fearless team here: Ben Pearson, Jeremy Kirk and Tim Buel. They are the best. Now I share with them the cold bus ride between theaters at Sundance, enjoy karaoke get-togethers around the country, and more. It's pure bliss and I'm thankful for every minute.

As I write this, I'm sitting with my family in Illinois, thoroughly pleased that I'm lucky enough to call my love for films more than just a hobby. This is still all surreal to me, and I just want to say thank you. Thanks to everyone who has given me a chance to act as a recognized voice in their online endeavor to bring the latest movie and TV news and opinions to computer screens around the world. Thanks to everyone who has thought my words worthy to slap on a trailer or TV spot to promote their movie. Thanks to anyone who has taken the time to let me interview them and ask them questions they've heard many times before (and hopefully new ones at times). Thanks to all the publicists who ride our asses to get all the details right and drag us around film locations. Thanks to all the readers who are taking the time to read this article, whether you give me compliments or grief in the comments section, I'm just glad you're reading.

And finally, to quote the legendary and late Sidney Lumet, "What I guess it comes down to is I'd like to thank the movies. I know that sounds general, but it's very real to me. I've got the best job in the best profession in the world, so I just want to thank all of it." I may not be directing movies like Mr. Lumet, but this kind of job really makes me feel like I'm truly living the dream, and I look forward to what the future has to bring in film, friends made and yet to be made, and a life of fulfillment that up until this point has been nothing but an absolute treat. Thank you.

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  • Dude
    I wish i was in your shoes, congrats!
  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.peloquin.14 Matt Peloquin
    I look forward to Firstshowing: NY edition. I'm glad you're taking on new challenges and it's what has made me a loyal reader over the years. Growing up in NY I look forward to your perspective on theaters in the area, the indie scene, and of course production visits and interviews (maybe even some Broadway editorials even though they're not really the sites main focus). Congrats and thanks for entertaining and informing me for free for the past few years!
  • http://twitter.com/davide_coppola Davide Coppola
    Yes! I'm happy for you, Ethan. I'm thankful for Firstshowing. Great website and podcast. So thank you!
  • Isildur_of_Numenor
    No, Ethan, thank you. And Firstshowing of course.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7YGEVuJ4mM Carpola
    You crazy kids! Live the dream dudes, keep enjoying it, don't ever get bitter. As always, look forward to more.
  • OldwiseMan
    This whole "article"/post was a bad idea Mr. Ethan Anderson, There are many ways of showing gratefulness, and there are even good ways of indulging yourself in a little ego trip. But this? You should know better. My love for this site remains the same.
    • http://www.firstshowing.net/ Ethan Anderton
      I'll be sure to relay your eloquent and provoking thoughts to Ethan "Anderson" the next time I see him. Thanks!
  • Prev
    Awesome stuff ! Keep up the good work !
  • Dale
    Awesome! You guys are my daily morning escape from my less exciting existence. From South Africa, thanks for all the great content!
  • cuckko
    I lost faith in firstshowing awhile back when a handle I use was "banned" from posting simply because I dared to question the acting ability of one of those sparkly vampire movies. Mind you, I didn't use vulgar language or anything...I just poked fun. Still, this is a great site for movie info...so I continue to visit.
    • http://www.firstshowing.net/ Ethan Anderton
      Whoa, really? Considering our stance on Twilight, I doubt that we are the ones who did that. There's a chance that you comment got flagged by some Twi-hards and the Disqus system did that automatically though.
      • cuckko
        Ha, thanks for the possible clarification on that Ethan...it did have me scratching my head a bit.
  • Richie G
    Well done, live the dream! Keep the news coming. I visit your site most days, provides good banter for work and sparks rants and debates amoung friends. What more could we want?! Thanks

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