The Candler Manifesto

The candler blog is now twelve years old. I sat down recently to write a little about it, only to realize I was saying the same stuff I had said on the site’s fifth and tenth anniversaries. So I just started reading my old work.

In my trip down memory lane, I came across a document I had forgotten about titled “Candler Manifesto.” This was something I had written to be the first post on this site, but ultimately never published. It explains my original intention: a website about movies written by people who make them.

“Critical practitioners,” I called the people I wanted to write here. As in people who worked in movies for a living but would turn a critical eye to them for pleasure. “Rather than give in to the coldness of the process, we will use our experience to find a greater appreciation of the cinema.”

Lofty, but not entirely untrue. My work in film and television does influence how I view works. Weirdly, my experience writing here about non-cinema things has also influenced my professional life. The tech and productivity articles that have proven more durable on this site have seeped back into how I do my work. If the candler blog’s cinema beginnings seem strange to the modern reader, it doesn’t feel all that strange to me.

Why a manifesto? I don’t know. Sounds creepy to me now. I think I was going for something along the lines of the Dogme 95 “Vow of Chastity” when I titled it, something bold and attention grabbing. I don’t think the piece backs up the title, but you can be the judge of that.

In the end I didn’t publish it because, well I don’t know. It felt like the sort of thing that would be accompanied by a real editorial plan, which I didn’t have. I sent the piece to friends in hopes they’d want to write for the site. Some did, but most just sort of said it was a neat idea and moved on.

Eventually I just decided to start the site and go by the seat of my pants. That, I think, was the right decision, but I do wonder what would have happened if I really had built the candler blog of this forgotten piece, which I have finally published for all to see.