Take a Peek Behind the Curtain

The Kid in the Front Row has been quite curious about his fellow bloggers lately. He's been asking us some questions to get to know us better, and has encouraged us to share the interviews with our readers. Here we are under the microscope:

The Kid: I love how your blog came together -- two bloggers who decided to ditch lone blogging to go it together. How did it come about, and did you feel hesitant about it at all?
Jess: Almost a year ago, about a year after we'd started doing the podcast together, Rachel asked if it would be something I would be interested in. Dylan and Kai had just combined to make Man, I Love Films and it sounded like such a good idea. My only hesitation was that I wouldn't be able to live up to the expectations of making something even better than Insight into Entertainment. Rachel had kicked up her own blogging frequency a notch by then, so I was worried I couldn't keep up, but for 2 whole weeks it's been going great!
Rachel: Yep, what you see now had been in the works for about 10 months, but we both wanted to have 5 years behind us on our old blogs, to feel more complete. I pitched the idea to Jess for very selfish reasons: I was exhausted. At the time, I posted something different six days a week on my old blog, the podcast was on a weekly schedule and I was running the LAMB. Something had to give and I figured instead of walking away completely, joining blogging forces would really cut down on my responsibilities. In the time it took for us to move to the new site, the show went to a bi-weekly schedule and I stepped down from the LAMB, so now I have more free time than I know what to do with.

K: Do you miss anything about blogging on your own?
J: Not a thing. Reel Insight is much more fun. And while it takes more forethought, it takes less actual work so far.
R: Not really. I feel like I've come into this site with a fresh outlook and it's nice to be excited to sit down at the keyboard again. It was starting to feel like an unpaid job at the old place and now I feel like it's a fun hobby again.

K: And this whole joint blog thing is still so NEW! Do you feel like you're still figuring out what this blog IS and will be?
J: We've had a lot of various conversations about it and things we hope to do and want to be sure to do in the future so it's more exciting than it is set in stone. We can do anything with it. It's nice to be able to share the creativity and hope that on days when you don't have much, she can come up with something. I'm sure it will evolve over time and we'll be shocked where we started.
R: I know from experience that blogs can start out as one thing and end up being something completely different over time, so who knows what it'll be this time next year, but the only thing I definitely want is for it to reflect both of us and our different personalities and tastes. That's the only requirement.

K: Are you in the same town? Or is all this done over the internet? I have no idea!
J: I'm in Upstate NY, and Rachel is in Little Rock, AR so about 1300 miles apart. It's all done via Skype, Google, and iPhones.
R: And we've only met once in person, for about two hours and in neither of our home states. We'll try to meet up again one of these days.

K: I love the main logo image - it's, dare I say, kind of amateur -- but in a way I really love, because it's really personal and low-key; I think it helps people feel at home. Who designed it?
J: That was ALL Rachel. I think it's frickin' amazing.
R: She totally flatters me. As soon as Jess said yes to joining blogging forces (maybe even before), I was already at work trying to come up with something fun that suited us both. With my old site, I'd desperately wanted to make it into something more professional looking, and drove myself crazy over it, but never really achieved that. This design is a reminder the blog is a hobby that we enjoy, and not work.

K: Rachel; don't tell Jess -- but I prefer your taste in movies based on the 'about page' --- what do you look for when you're watching a movie?
R: Dark and snarky is the easy answer. I also like very stylish films, but they must have a good story. The ones that tend to find a home on my shelf are the ones that I can revisit multiple times and still find something different to appreciate with each viewing. I know I've found a winner when I have to restrain myself from buying another ticket to a movie I just watched.

K: Do the people at your law firm know about your blog? Do they read it?
R: They know I blog and love movies, so I'm assuming they've put 2 and 2 together, but if they read the material, they've never mentioned it. But I kind of like keeping this area of my life separate, so if they don't, no hard feelings.

K: Jess -- I think it's fascinating that your career field is so different from the blog. But are there any similarities? No idea what they would be! But I'm just curious if there's any crossover in your interests in biology and film!
J: I think the fact that I'm really interested in all the different styles of learning - visual, auditory, etc. and being aware of film (directing, cinematography, etc., just ways of reaching an audience) really helps. I use a lot of documentaries in my teaching and a lot of photography in my research. Also, there is nothing better than good movies when you're in the field for a long time. Though pick carefully or you can ruin a decent film by rewatching - Shrek and The Limey are unwatchable now.

K: The podcast is casual, fun, and very engaging -- were you radio broadcasters in another life?
J: I think you're just listening to recent episodes. Check out our early stuff to see how far we've come. And I think because we're friends (and Rachel's an amazing editor) it comes across well in the podcast.
R: There she goes flattering me again. It's undeniable how far we've come. In the earlier episodes, I wouldn't even bother watching extra films to discuss an actor's career, which is probably why they clock in around 45 minutes and are extremely rough. For our first year anniversary, I actually went back and listened to our first episode and wanted to hide under a rock. Of course while tweaking the show, we've also become closer friends so the conversation is a lot easier than it once was. But no professional broadcasting here, just two ladies who love to hear ourselves talk.

K: What do the two of you disagree about the most when it comes to film?
J: I think we disagree most about romantic comedies and dramas. I don't mind films that attempt to manipulate your emotions and that seems to drive Rach nuts, with obvious exceptions. We also just have different taste in looking for movies. Rachel doesn't seem to scare easily and I generally avoid those. I like documentaries and foreign films a little more too.
R: I think another big difference is our tolerance for violence in general, not just in horror. Where I often seek out the darker, violent films, Jess fast forwards through the super gritty parts. She is the optimist after all.

K: You're both great at interacting with comments - I often fail with that. I think "Ohh, nice comment" and then go about my day. But I wish I was more like you in that respect. Do you respond as they come in, or do you do it at a certain time of day?
J: I try to comment on them all as soon as I can because you never know when a conversation will spark. And with another post coming tomorrow, it's always good to keep it up quickly.
R: I was really awful about not commenting on my last blog. I would let them go for weeks at a time before responding, until it was just overwhelming. Going into this, I decided to start responding to comments in a much more timely manner, hopefully within 24 hours, to show our readers how much we appreciate them. So far, so good.

K: How big a part of your lives is the blogging/podcasting?
J: During grad school it was a huge outlet for creativity. And since I was working on my computer all the time, it was nice to feel like part of a virtual community for a few minutes a day without actually having to make plans and go out. Now it's a big part of my week, but a lot of fun too. It takes longer to record our podcasts now because we have to catch up with each other before we record.
R: It's a much more manageable amount than it was just six months ago, especially now that we're blogging together. The actual writing/recording/editing isn't too time consuming; the biggest chunk of time is dedicated to watching movies for the podcast, which for me can average about 12 per episode. But I have the routine down to an art form now, as long as I'm not slammed with a movie over two and a half hours. That just throws everything off.


  1. Very interesting interview great initiative Front Row Kid!

  2. Thanks Shep! It's been fun reading them all over.

  3. I've always identified more with Jess' philosophy and tastes in movies, but I still like to hear Rachel's thoughts nonetheless because it introduces much needed new perspectives for me.

    1. Awww, thanks David! That makes me feel really good.

    2. Thanks David. I tried to respond to this yesterday on my phone, but stupid blogger is having problems still. I'm always happy when we see eye to eye. And given your love of Whedon I still think you'd enjoy Cabin in the Woods - gore averse or no. See a matinee.

    3. Haha - same thing for me, but I'm Team Rachel. :P (When it comes to film tastes!)

      Sweet interview - of course, having known you two for so long I was aware of a lot of this, but still a fun read.

    4. Well, we couldn't reveal too much. We have to keep you all intrigued ;)

      And when can we get those "Team Rachel" and "Team Jess" shirts printed up?


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