The Sum is Greater Than Its Parts
I promised a status update at the end of the week, so here it is.
“What’s going on Div?”
As readers have undoubtedly noticed in the past few weeks, my coverage of shows hasn’t been nearly as timely as usual. The reason being, I started a new job at the beginning of February and have been prioritizing it over watching anime, let alone blogging it. I’ve switched to a full-time Android development position with tight project deadlines and have been putting in extra hours as needed. It’s an exciting time for me as I enjoy the work and the challenges that come with it, so I actually don’t mind bringing my work home with me and sitting in front of the computer and coding on some nights. The problem is, that kind of unpredictable schedule makes it rather difficult to adhere to the blogging one that I have for the site, not to mention that I can be mentally exhausted afterward and just want to unwind and blogging three shows on a given night isn’t exactly the best way of going about that.
I had actually told myself that I’d have to take an indefinite leave of absence from Random Curiosity if I got this job, but I didn’t want to just drop coverage of my 9 shows mid-season so I prolonged my decision to see how I’d manage if I gave the site much less priority than work/life balance. Well one month later, I can tell you it’s definitely taken its toll when I can easily have a daunting backlog of 8 posts in the mere span of 4 days (Thu – Sun). I don’t know if everyone realizes how much time it takes to run the site in its current form, but it generally takes me 25 hours a week just for my portion, which in conjunction with working at home on some nights, really feels like I’m putting in the hours required for two full-time jobs. It doesn’t leave much time for anything else — not even playing a video game for half a day — which I found out when I “made time” to play Final Fantasy XIII-2 this past month and got through it as quickly as possible (~30 hours… what’s with the ending?). That naturally came at the expense of sleep and further delaying posts though. I also don’t like the fact that my posts are “slow”, which I agree goes against one of the main appeals of the site.
“So what happens now?”
Effective immediately, I’m going to do what I probably should’ve done a month ago and reluctantly transition away from active blogging on the site — at least for the foreseeable future. We’re approaching the two year anniversary since I took over Random Curiosity and I don’t intend to put readers through a repeat of 2010 by using the “R” word come April, so my plan is to simply go on an indefinite leave of absence. The current writers, whom I’ve been very happy with, have expressed interest in continuing to cover shows and even taking over some of mine for the remainder of the season. The site will NOT be closing down — not so long as there are people to regularly update it in the “spirit” of Random Curiosity.
The recent poll has made it very clear that this blog has outgrown the personal interests and efforts of one or two people and turned into an outlet for anime that’s supported by its own community, so it should continue to thrive with the collective effort of those who understand the appeal of a site like this and want to be a part of the content coming out of it. With 7 active writers — the most that the site’s ever had — I have every reason to believe that things will continue along just fine without me. During the transition period, I’ll be taking on more of an administrative/editorial role and familiarizing the current writers with some of the “featured” posts that I’ve been responsible for.
“What about your current shows?”
As mentioned above, the writers will be finishing coverage of some of my shows this season. In most cases, this will be only one more show per writer, as I don’t want any of them to take their contributions to the site beyond something they can do at their own leisure. It’s already pretty demanding to write on a schedule week after week, so 2-3 shows per season is the recommended maximum for any one person. At the moment, this is what I’ve confirmed with the other writers for the rest of the season. (Please watch this space for any updates.)
- Aquarion EVOL –> unlisted
- Mouretsu Pirates –> verdant
- Ano Natsu de Matteru, Rinne no Lagrange –> Stilts
- Black Rock Shooter –> Takaii
Unfortunately, this means that some of my shows will likely to be dropped.
“Are you looking for more help?
Yes I am. For the first time since inheriting the site, I’m openly looking for new writers who can start immediately to reduce the number of shows dropped and take on ~2 shows per season going forward. I’ve had plenty of people e-mail me in the past and have had to turn a lot away, but now I’m looking to bring on 3-4 new writers to help cover the 7-9 shows that I usually take on every season. I will be giving preference to 1.) female applicants (since there’s been an interest to hear more feminine perspectives), 2.) applicants who aren’t students that will get bogged down by homework/projects, and 3.) those who understand enough Japanese to watch anime raw and read information from Japanese sources. The last one hasn’t been much of a requirement with the prevalence of simulcasts in recent years, but I need some contributors to help fill in that language void that I’ll be leaving behind.
Other qualifications are as follows:
- Good written English skills. Preferably college/university level.
- An insightful and objective outlook on anime.
- Ability to stick to a blogging schedule and write on days you may not feel like it.
- Some technical experience taking screen capture and using Photoshop is beneficial.
- An abundance of free time and a diverse taste in anime are big pluses.
If you’re interested, please send me an e-mail titled [RandomC Application] with:
- What your anime background/history is (e.g. how you got into it, what some of your favorite series are),
- Why you want to blog for the site,
- A sample post on a recent episode of one of the remaining shows that I’m currently covering, and
- A batch of 36 screen captures (zipped).
This will allow me to get a good sense of both your writing and view on anime to see if they’re a good fit.
In the meantime, I’m going to try and cover some of my remaining shows, such as Guilty Crown which I feel like I owe it to myself to see it through.
“What about the season previews?”
Incidentally, the fact that I haven’t even looked at the list of shows for next season was one of the biggest reasons behind taking an indefinite leave from the site and having new help come in. (I normally start researching for the next preview mid-season, i.e. two weeks ago.) Verdant has offered to put one together for Spring and I’ll be doing everything I can to help him with the ins and outs of doing so, as well as supplementing what I can from Japanese sources. This may evolve into more of a collaborative process that involves more writers, but for now, the plan is definitely to have one ready before the start of the next season.
“Will you ever come back to blog regularly?”
Quite honestly, I haven’t thought that far ahead to answer this question definitively. Real-life priorities have taken hold and if things are smooth sailing even without me, then I probably won’t feel the need to come rushing back. If readership takes a nosedive and it makes little sense to keep the site running in its current form (which I highly doubt will happen), then I’ll likely intervene before it gets to some unsalvageable point. The site is currently in capable and proven hands and that’s what matters the most. I may stick my nose in from time to time though. I’ll also be idling in IRC a fair bit.
On behalf of all the writers and myself, I’d like to thank you all for your support over the years — 3.5 years now for me — and making Random Curiosity into the anime blog that it is today. If you have any other questions, concerns, suggestions, complaints (?), I’m willing to hear them out. All I ask is that they’re presented in a constructive manner.
03/10: I’ve gone through the 35 or so applications that I’ve received and have shortlisted them down to ~8 people, many of whom are female. There are a lot of candidates who show promise and fit RC’s perspective on anime, so I may even bring on board more than 4 writers. I apologize for taking a while with this review process and keeping everyone in suspense, but I want to make sure that I give everyone proper consideration.
03/07: I still haven’t gone through all the applications yet, so for those who have applied, please be aware I haven’t contacted anyone yet. I’ll post an update after I’ve done so.
03/04: Thank you everyone who took the time to send in applications already. Please keep them coming. I’ve received quite a lot already and will be going through them over the course of this week and contacting those who are a good fit.