These are some things about the site you may be wondering. Of course, you may not. Hey, no one's forcing you to read this stuff!! By the way, if you have a question and it's not answered here, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who are you?
Surprisingly, in all my years reviewing movies, no one has bothered asking me who I am, where I'm from, what nationality, what religion, what political affiliation, etc. I'm actually heartened by this, because from its inception, I have wanted the site to be about the movies, and not about me. Perhaps one day I'll fill this in if I feel it's necessary, but today isn't that day.
Why did you start this site?
Initially, my site started on Geocities back in late 1996, where web space was free for anyone to use. I wanted to learn about web pages, and I didn't have a pet, or a car to brag about, so I wrote about something I was passionate about -- movies. Soon after, Earthlink was giving much more space for its users, and being a patron of theirs, I moved my site again. When I switched to the local cable provider, I didn't want to pay for Earthlink anymore just to keep the site going, so I bought my own domain name and web hosting in early 2003, under qwipster.net.
What is a "qwipster"?
Qwipster was (and still is) my AOL screen name, which I had used because "quipster" wasn't available. A quip is a short, witty comment, so a quipster is one who tells them. I try to keep this quipster attitude when writing my reviews, but only when I think I can get away with it. Yes, you can actually type to me if you see me online, although I may not always respond if I'm busy or away from the keyboard.
Why qwipster.net, and not qwipster.com?
Obviously, qwipster.com would have been more ideal, especially since some other sites have used quotes from my site and have cited "qwipster.com" instead of the real site, "qwipster.net". The reason why I chose net instead was because of a guy from a DVD site which sold primarily Asian films (HKFlix.com) offered me a deal where I could get free DVDs of my choice in exchange for writing reviews about them and linking to their site. Initially, he offered me a chance to move all of my reviews to their site, and even obtained the name qwipster.com for a two year period. In order to accommodate the new site though, I would have had to make some changes to the format of the site, as well as the emphasis toward Chinese movies, and as much as I enjoy Asian cinema, I just didn't feel right giving up ownership of my words, thoughts, ideas, and freedom of choice. When I went to buy the domain qwipster.com, it was still under their ownership, so I chose the next best thing, qwipster.net. Since then, qwipster.com has been released by them, and others have bought it and tried to sell it to me for $90, but it's too late. If I wouldn't pay the $5-10 for it when it was freely available, I certainly am not going to pay $90. What a laugh!
Why do some of your pages have a black background?
Those pages are remnants of my older format. When I switched to qwipster.net, I also changed the appearance of the site to a cleaner, easier to read format with a white background. A couple of readers have told me their eyes hurt reading white letters on black background, and I do want people to read the reviews, so I switched. Slowly, I've been changing the old pages to the new format, but this process is laborious and time consuming, so I anticipate that you'll see the black pages for some time to come.
Why are there so many damn typos and grammatical errors on some of your pages?
You'll find many of the black pages have terrible typos or poorly constructed sentences. For years, I thought no one read my reviews, and since I was basically just writing for myself, my impulse to proofread wasn't very strong. Then there was a period of time where I was not able to write reviews for a few weeks, and I started getting e-mail asking why I haven't updated. This was exciting news to me, so I returned with a new passion because I realized I had an audience, since then, I've been better about keeping on top of fixing typos, especially since the site has expanded exponentially to be incorporated in the IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, MRQE, and other sites. I know I have many to fix, especially in the "dark years", and I will get to them eventually. However, if you find any typos or poorly structured sentences on any pages with a white background (I know there are many -- I catch them all the time), you can write to me at email@example.com. Please be nice about it, I'm not a professional editor.
Why don't you bring in more writers to help you?
Personal preference. In my opinion, the only review sites I tend to read and enjoy are ones that have the opinions of only ONE person. The reason is one of consistency. I like getting to know a reviewer's personal likes, dislikes, and biases, and can take these into account whenever I read a review by him/her. For instance, I don't always agree personally with Roger Ebert, but I do enjoy reading his reviews, because by knowing his tendencies toward certain films, I can gauge whether or not I might like that film based on that knowledge. When I read the newspaper, or read a site with multiple contributors, I feel I lose that feeling of the person behind the words, since the people who write the reviews are all different.
We have a review site, and would love to incorporate your reviews as part of our site. Would you like to join our site? If not, can we post your reviews and we'll link back to you?
This is perhaps my most frequent request. While I do find it flattering that someone likes my reviews enough to want to incorporate them into their site, I feel like they are still getting something for nothing. On my site, I pay for the web hosting, domain name, and whatever costs are incurred whenever I watch a movie. I do not have any advertising on my site, and get paid nothing in return for my investment and the time and energy I expend on it. These other sites pay me nothing, and in turn, they almost always have advertising. By beefing up the amount of reviews they have, they can gain more exposure and acceptance, and gain traffic, which helps them get back more money from their affiliates -- money I will never see. Hey, don't get me wrong, I'd love to be able to make a living writing these reviews. If you want to pay me, I'd be more than happy to sell my services, so long as you agree that I have complete control over my opinions and writing.
I do allow other sites to quote my reviews, but do not allow theft. Only one or two lines, please, and include a link back. I also don't mind my site indexed on sites who link to movie review pages. However. if you want to use a large segment of a review, or a complete review, ask first (vince@qwipster,net). I might be amenable if you aren't seeking profit through my labor.
Why haven't you reviewed <add movie title here>?
One of the joys, and one of the pains, is that I have full control of what I review, but I cannot see every movie that comes out. I simply can't afford to, both in money and in time. As such, I pick and choose the movies I see based on my personal preferences. However, I enjoy getting recommendations from readers. If there is a movie that you want to recommend that is not on my site, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will try to get to it soon.
You didn't like <add movie title here>?! You are an idiot!
Believe it or not, while I enjoy getting mail from people who appreciate my reviews immensely, I also enjoy getting mail from whiners, gripers, and pissed off people. In fact, I usually distribute these kinds of e-mails to my friends, and we all get a good laugh. I've even had some actors and movie directors write me to put me in my place. Most of the time I respond in my usual graceful fashion.
Hey, everyone's a critic, even about critics! Write me (email@example.com), and tell me what you think of the site.
I made a movie and would like you to review it. May I send it to you?
While I always like seeing new films, I am leery about giving out my personal address to strangers. As much as I'd like to help, I must respectfully decline. Best thing for you to do is post a link to your movie somewhere online and I will download it. Just remember that I will write what I honestly thought about your movie.
That's all for now. I'll post more Q&A when I have more time. Thanks for reading this far :)