Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hi, I'm Derek Armstrong

After five years, nine months and six days of writing this blog, I thought it was finally time to come out of the shadows and introduce myself.

Hi, I'm Derek Armstrong.

For years now you have known me as Vancetastic. The reasons to remain hidden behind that handle are no longer practical, if they ever were.

I originally gave myself the name merely as a means of more or less copying the naming convention used by my friend, Rob, who called himself Gimpadelic when he started his blog. It was reading his blog that made me think I could write a blog.

Gimpadelic was derived by taking his name and turning it into an adjective. So I did basically the same thing, except I used a nickname rather than my real name to distance myself from it. (Yep, Rob used to call me Vance. Still does sometimes, actually.)

Why did I want to distance myself from it?

I can't say for sure. I originally thought that bloggers were supposed to be anonymous or something. Maybe we were all unduly paranoid that something we wrote was going to be traced back to us and that we would be held responsible. That's a heck of a lot of importance to place on random observations about the world, cinematic or otherwise. Most bloggers aren't discussing government secrets, you know. (Though I guess some are discussing deeply personal issues.)

However, I quickly realized that there was a value to not having my name on this thing. After all, I sometimes updated posts at work, and if someone ever wanted to know why I was visiting this website so regularly, I wanted to have plausible deniability. I wanted it to seem like, maybe, I was merely a big fan of The Audient. "See, it doesn't even have my name on it! Vancetastic? That could never be me!"

Except it is me, and now, I actually do want people to know.

You see, I've decided I'm making a concerted effort to "get back out there." It's been nearly three years since I wrote my last paid review for All Movie Guide. I don't know if I'll ever get paid to write a movie review again, but I have to try, dammit. Even if I don't get paid, I have to try to write in a forum in which I am actually recognized as myself.

There may be some opportunities, so now is the time.

And if these opportunities arise, and if I need writing samples, I want to be able to point them to this site and say "See? That's my blog. You can see my name right there." Sure, they could try to tell me it's some other Derek Armstrong, but they'd have to be looking for a reason to disbelieve me, in which case I probably wouldn't be getting anywhere with them anyway.

Look, writing about movies isn't what it once was. Few people get paid for it, and those who do usually don't get paid much. They either have to have entire other jobs to fully support themselves, or have to do a bunch of other boring things as part of that job in order to collect their paycheck.

But if there's any distant glimmer of a possibility that I will one day be gainfully employed as a critic again, I can't be hiding in the shadows. I've got to put myself, my full self, out there. I've got to sign my name to what I contribute to our collective discussion of the glorious world of cinema.

Hi, I'm Derek Armstrong.

You'll be hearing more from me soon.


Travis McClain said...


Nick Prigge said...

Derek! Hello! It's nice to meet you (even though I already have)!

Still, part of me will always remember The Audient as Vance.

Derek Armstrong said...

Me too, Nick. In fact, since making this change, I feel like I have lost something. Oh well. Maybe I just enjoyed the whimsy of having a pseudonym.