Hark! The Herald Michael Sings!

5 min read

Chalkboard with "Attention" in white chalk, megaphone outline in teal, and a tea sticky note that says "Be Right Back!"

Ok… first off, I am NOT singing! (I mean, I can sing – but not today.) But I do have a rather difficult announcement to make:

I’m putting Queer Film Reviews “On Hold”.

Why? Well, while I haven’t shared too much on my personal life, my life has been full of ups and downs in the past few years.

Back in 2017, I started writing queer film reviews on a boring Blogger website, back when my personal collection was only about 550 queer films. I foolishly thought that I could quickly write a short review after watching the movie. Ha! Turns out that not only did I very quickly fall behind on my endeavour, but I soon realised that I had stopped watching anything new because I was afraid that I would have to rewatch it later to write a review. (It didn’t help that shortly after I begun that review site, I thew myself an even bigger hurdle – I suddenly decided to pack everything up and travelled around the world for almost five months!)

Skip forward to 2019. During a short stint back in the US while I awaited my next NZ work visa, I realised that a couple of my old reviews were actually getting decent views online. With some extra time on my hands, I revisited my original goal: to review all of the queer films in my greatly expanded collection. Because let’s face it – there’s quite a handful that aren’t worth even watching! So with a bit more planning, Queer Film Reviews was borne. I had a rather simple goal to review one film each week – something that I felt was doable on the side. Queer Film Reviews had a small, but successful launch for Christmas 2019. But as 2020 began, I found life getting in the way.

Then Covid19 took the world by surprise. After our initial lockdowns subsided and life down here in New Zealand returned to normal, I was left in a bit of a mess: I was made redundant at my job, stranded as a migrant in a foreign country not really able to leave (practically and financially) yet in limbo regarding my visa status. Oddly enough, it was during this uncertain time that I began writing new reviews. Not only was I motivated, but I had plenty of free time. AND I was attracting the attention of film studios seeking independent reviewers! Thankfully, I found a new job and got a new work visa approved. (Though it was literally down to the wire!)

The trouble was that I had to move to the North Island, leaving all of my friends and support network down in Christchurch for a small rural town with very little to offer. Don’t get me wrong – I am very thankful to have my job and being able to continue the life I’ve built down here in NZ! But the job I took was a major backwards step in my career. Despite being a clinically trained Paramedic, I’m working as a Healthcare Assistant/Hospital Aide. Not only is it a physically and mentally demanding job, but I’ve really been struggling with working in a non-clinical role despite being clinically trained. And to top it all off, it’s all only a temporary solution due to the nature of work visas and being a migrant. Even though my work visa is valid until December, I’m already starting to stress and worry about the next visa – all while trying to find ways to improve my job and return back to a clinical role.

Once I again I find myself exhausted with little drive to write new reviews. I started off 2021 with great big plans: one feature film review per week, PLUS a queer short film every Friday. And to top it off, I started collaborating with another website. But the past month of two, I look at the review outline I had planned… and I freeze up. March’s reviews were pushed back to April… and then further pushed back into May… Now suddenly, it’s June and Pride Month! I had certain films pencilled in for June that focus on our Queer History and Pride. Yet, all I can see is an even larger editorial calendar with so many past due dates.

Worse, when I come home from work, the last thing I want to do is do more work. Just like back in 2017, I’ve found myself holding off watching new Queer films & shows because I feel a need to take notes – for “whenever” I finally get around to writing the review. I’ve lost my mojo; I’m struggling to write even just one new review.

So I’m taking an official break from regularly writing NEW content. Nothing will change on the website, and I will most likely still be active on social media. I already have my monthly “5 Queer ??? Films” posts written for the next couple of month’s, and the teasers are already scheduled over on social media. Plus there are a couple of reviews I promised I would write and I will work hard to publish this month. But otherwise – I’m erasing all of my due dates, closing most of my browser tabs. I *may* write and publish a new review randomly, but only if I feel the spark to write the review; and it’ll be on my timeline.

Don’t worry – I WILL be back writing again. There are simply too many queer films to review and share with all of you! I just need to find my mojo again. I might do some tinkering on the design or backend stuff, or perhaps just work on something entirely different. [I might actually focus on my travel blog just to get a change of pace… so if you want to keep up with me, keep an eye out over at NomadicCostumer.com!]

Portrait of Michael J. Deibert, owner of Queer Film Reviews

Till we meet again,

Michael J. Deibert

your “Queer Film Reviewer”