YEAR ONE: A Word From Yours Truly

I kinda have to thank Jackie Chan for sorta being the root of this. It's kinda his fault, lol.
Back in 2007, I took interest in starting a blog that would put me in direct touch with a branch of the industry that garnered my interest in action movies, the independent scene. This interest was ultimately driven by my enjoyment of films from groups like Zero Gravity, The Stunt People, VJ Films, Montanick Puctures, Persistence Of Vision, Whirlwind Action and Jabronie Pictures, etc. and I knew that by contacting indie filmmakers I felt I could lean into something I felt wasn't getting a lot of attention. So I went to this site called freehostia.com and started a free-trial offer that would allow me to build up content until I decided to purchase that particular domain, provided that I would have the money. And by then, I had already interviewed a few of these people, and even got to trade emails with Perry Reginald Teo who directed The Gene Generation. This felt like a wonderful time for me and built my hopes even further that I would become an active part of film culture that would put my then-titled site, Source Of The Fist, on the map.

Evidently, things didn't turn out as well as I wanted them to, with the computer crashing that summer and no money to get it fixed, and I ultimately lost contact with everyone I've spoken to, and every bit of content I worked toward putting together. And if you're a first-time blogger, you know that shit isn't easy the first go-around. So from 2007-2009, I was in a slump. Business was slow here at the family store and I couldn't binge on HKFlix and YesAsia DVDs like usual, and I ended up missing a lot of pretty good releases in that period. But what was most devastating was that I felt I may have lost whatever faith, credibility and potential I thought I had with these people whose work I enjoyed for so long.

In 2009, we continued doing our best to maintain--we eventually stopped using our landlines since we were already using cellphones. I had a Motorola i560, from which I then upgraded to a Motorola i465. Both phones could access internet, but neither of them could play anything on YouTube. And in this day and age, that kind of thing can drive anyone punch someone in the face at random. So, by about 2010 as the world finally entered smartphone era and I upgraded to a Galaxy S, life got a little simpler and I began reconnecting with old friends while converting from MySpace to Facebook. Life went on, and I did what I did to pass the time. But I was still into movies, and sharing articles from entertainment websites did nothing to drive a conversation on my Facebook wall.

Imagine being the only one in the room who gives a fuck about something as you do and no one cared. It sucks really.

More time passed and I eventually started a new circle of Facebook friends by the end of 2012, adding indie film guys I used to be in touch with, although anxious to a huge degree that I might not be accepted after feeling like I let so many people down. Fall arrived and I continued adding more and more people from the film industry, which was a different route for me after friending so many people from back in the day--people I used to go to school with, people I actually share memories with. It was good back then, but even then after all those years, I suddenly found myself surrounded by more strangers then friends. People change over the years...and some people stay the same. And I either case, I knew I needed a change.

Adding non-mutual people to build an online social life (especially when you want to network and everyone lives thousands of miles away) is never easy. You're an unknown, an outsider, a possible threat. The second some they see your friend request, they look at you and raise an eyebrow asking themselves "Who the hell is this guy?", which, when I look back on it, is quite hilarious! And only because if I were them, I wouldn't blame them. The internet has done a bit of a number on the element of trust in an age where any creepizoid with a laptop and bad intentions can easily fuck your shit up with the click of a mouse. Hell, with all the times I've been thrown in Facebook jail, you could say I've possibly earned some street cred!

What can I say? Lol! #Thuglife :-P

That said, as you can imagine, my attempts at new connections were not easy.

September 21, 2012 came and that evening I decided to go over to Twitchfilm to look at the latest. I scrolled and saw their report forwarding the announcement of Jackie Chan's Police Story 2013, and that excited me. But I knew that I needed a better platform. And on the spur of a moment, a Facebook community page was born with a title that I still doubt even makes sense! I but more anything, I wanted it to work. And it eventually, what I started out as a movie page evolved into something that would require me to do something a little more daring.

With screenfighters being the start of it all, Film Combat Syndicate ultimately became a place where I not only shared movie news, but also interact with athletes in various fields, such as parkour and tricking. Anything of quality content that involved some type of dynamic movement in action and martial arts would be something I would try to follow. My audience slowly grew, and soon, even stunt performers and actors, various types filmmakers alike saw my page and liked it, but wanted more. Meaning, a demand for a blog was in place.

I had my doubts at first. Even now, I'm operating on only a smartphone as I did then, when I wasn't sure I could manage the task of a blog since phones are still limited in certain capabilities no matter how "smart" they are. Although by then, I was a little familiar with Blogger, and on February 9, 2013 (just two days after RoboCop premieres next year in 2014) I decided to jump on the Blogger boat and see where I would sail.

I tell you, you need some zen-focus to work a blog on a 4-inch screen. The app itself isn't enough and so I toggle between the app and the browser to do what I need, which is also a pain in the ass because sometimes Blogger itself doesn't even cooperate. All kinds of crap happens, and it can drive you insane!

Don't you love technology?

More to the point though, one year later, and I'm happy to see that Film Combat Syndicate has earned itself a following. I really only thought I might get about 1,000 likes on my page, but having surpassed 1,600 people is a sure sign that I may well be doing some good. I've had some pretty awesome milestones so far---I got to interview some pretty important people. My interview with Mark Musashi was my biggest assignment at the start of my blog in February-a surprise I did not see coming, which also earned me some exposure at Henshin Justice Unlimited, courtesy of Keith Hayward. It was a big first step into a challenging adventure I intially wanted for Source Of The Fist, which didn't last as long as Film Combat Syndicate has so far in its existence. Several months later I got a little package of team buttons from a martial arts film and performance troupe in the UK, SG Action via Royal Mail, which is probably the closest I have been to feeling English since I went to Strawberry Fields in Manhattan, N.Y. for the first time back in 2002. And eventually, I did my first video interview with a stuntman from France who was staying in New York in preparation for a mini-project with the folks at Cinema Fight Studio, and that wasn't even planned for the page at all, just two guys initially hanging out at the movies! It was one of the best times I've had at a theater and it was aweosme to share with all of you, and I have absolutely no idea when it will happen again, because, well, I'm a small business owner-first these days, and the next month might see me a little bit further from the blog while I tend to a family member in need of surgery.

But moreover, seeing my articles read and shared by some of the very people whose work I enjoy is probably the biggest, most awesome thing that I have ever seen happen to FCSyndicate since it began. It's been 6 years since I even contemplated doing this sort of thing, and to see it take such great steps toward its potential is very motivating.

As for what lies next, I'm pretty sure I have figured out my formula here, for now, while I continue to pace myself as the assignments get bigger, even as I am still learning. I'm currently in the process of courting some people who share my interests, although what I do here is, by no means, a paid thing. In fact, I already have just a few people on board who might be contributing from time to time. And I certainly hope that by this time, next year, Film Combat Syndicate will continue to grow its audience, and I can still be here tending to my other baby here as its founder and chief writer.

To all the genre fans out there who share our collective interests here, and to the haters (you know who your asses are :-P) ...and to all the people in the film industry, amd readers from here, to India, Europe, Asia, wherever and whomever you are who have supported, and continue to endorse my blog with your energy and interest in my work here, I remain ever humbled and thankful. You people are the reason why folks like me love what we love most in action movies. And I have all the faith on the world that as long as I am here, and as long as I am breathing, this site will continue working toward being something as memorable as for you as it has been, and will always be for me.

At any rate, I hope to reach a point in my life where I can make Film Combat Syndicate a full priority. Hopefully some of you might see me at a few film festivals one day...one day maybe.

Here's to year one, and onto year two! 

Thank you everyone. And you too, Jackie.

~Lee B. Golden
Founder, editor and admin of Film Combat Syndicate

Jackie Chan Photo: THR

Comments

  1. Congrats on FCS's one year anniversary and more importantly on following your bliss in life! Looking forward to many more years!

    ReplyDelete

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