UPDATE: Which I feel is necessary due to a high amount of responses to this post on social media. I want to make it very clear that I am not PROTESTING MARVEL or Sony. I think they made a mistake. People make mistakes all the time I don’t go protesting them. Other professionals make mistake in their line of work, I don’t protest them either. I will continue to promote their films and merchandise because before a blogger I am a FAN! That is at my core. Also, this is not a cry to be recognized as a journalist or a reporter. Bloggers are very different than both. However, we do reach the same end which is to create publicity and publicize and we should be respected for it. This is an article to build awareness around what we do as bloggers and why people need to stop treating us like we’re a joke.
Behind this door is a personal post. I don’t get to write these much lately, however, recently a particular film struck me right and wrong for many reasons. I’m talking about Spider-Man: Homecoming. Albeit a really good Sony/MARVEL film, there was a particular line which struck me like an arrow straight to the heart. No spoilers here.
Before I tell you the quote, I want to tell you another quote. A statement from a strange older guy who was one of my regulars when I was waiting tables (a position I took so I could quit my career in the operating room where I was a surgical technologist, and pursue my blogging ventures).
Why don’t you quit blogging and get a real job? You have two degrees, why not use them for something that will make reliable income?”
What that man didn’t know is that I was using one of my degrees to further my blog brand in the travel industry. This brings me to today and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
At the end of the film, a line is said,
Behind this door lies a room full of reporters, real ones, not bloggers.” – Tony Stark
Whoa, wait, I’m a blogger!
That was a big fat hairy slap in the face that came at me right at about thirty minutes before the ending of Spider-Man: Homecoming. A personal attack on bloggers which did nothing for the plot. An attack approved by MARVEL Studios President Kevin Feige and about to be seen my millions. As in, in just a few days, bloggers around the country are going to be dissed in MARVEL sized capacity. Now I’d like to say for the record that I am aware that Sony owns this film however, MARVEL put their name on it and approved it. Did we do something wrong?
This dig is made after countless unpaid hours have been spent (by myself and many of my own friends and colleagues) on MARVEL junkets with Disney, tweeting from premieres until our thumbs fly off, wading our way through 30+ pages of transcripts from interviews (interviews which include Kevin Feige himself). A job we do because we love MARVEL and we are fans as well as bloggers. A job that many think is a walk in the park, but is actually quite vigorous and demanding as we leave our families for days, suffer jet lag, and manage collectively over 30 MILLION impressions for premieres and talent interviews. A job which we love.
It is a place where work and passion collide but it is work and we deserve respect for it. Especially when that bleeds into our desk demands for upwards of 3 weeks as we deliver DAILY timed interview releases. Especially when reporters are paid by their publication to be there and often given thousands of dollars for a story, while we have to manage our full-time income on our own through ad placement and sponsorships (despite not even being present at our desks so we can be a part of the content we’re creating). #Whatthefeige
It was a colossal sized slap made directly at bloggers. My best friend Shelley VanWitzenburg of A Magical Mess, MARVEL blogger, and awesome writer was so upset by it that she shared it with her followers. You can read her Dolby Cinema Spider-Man: Homecoming review and rant here.
Behind This Door
If you are a blogger or influencer, I urge you to share on your socials, in your posts and other channels your own story about how hard you work using #Behindthisdoor. You don’t have to mention the film. The hashtag will do its work.
#Behindthisdoor lies a single mom who has to leave her son to bring you a story.
#Behindthisdoor is a girl who does all the jobs a big media publication does from a little desk in her home but still reaches millions. Who tirelessly stays connected, engaged and in the loop (even when my mind and body are begging me to disconnect).
#Behindthisdoor is a blogger who reaches ten times more people in a weekend than the New York Times in a week on her Twitter channel but gets paid nothing by MARVEL while the Times charges 35k dollars. And I do it gladly because I love MARVEL, Disney, and Lucasfilm.
#Behindthisdoor I am one of the many bloggers who work directly with Disney/MARVEL to promote and produce content in line with their film releases. Content I am flown out to Los Angeles by Disney to produce. My last trip was for Doctor Strange.
#Behindthisdoor is one of the bloggers who in just five hours reached nearly 3 million people with this hashtag today, and that’s just the beginning. If that’s not real I don’t know what is.
The Profesh World of Blogging
I hope this message can create awareness about how bloggers work and create a living. First let’s acknowledge the fact that like film talent and musical talent, we also created something from nothing. No one handed us our brands on a silver platter. For most of us (myself included), we had no idea what we were doing. We spent (and still spend) countless hours researching digital media strategy, brand strategy, SEO, and social media guidelines. And just when we think we have it figured out, algorithms change, Google changes and we have to start it over again.
We weren’t given a textbook in college. Yet, many of us hold degrees in journalism, marketing, public relations and communications. We were all told we were crazy, to get a real job, yet many of us have managed to make more of an income in four years than a college graduate four years post grad.
We have been the underdogs, scraping our way to recognition among “real press”. It’s been a bumpy road, but statistics will show we are the future of media.
We attend massive conferences where we meet with national and global brands. We are sponsored by thousands of national brands and even entire countries. We pay overhead. We have registered companies. We pay federal and state taxes. We hire people and create jobs.
On top of all those things, for every blogger you see, read about, follow or meet, you should know that we are likely doing it all on our own. We manage our own publicity, administrative work, financial aspects, networking, content creation and social outreach. Whereas big media has entire departments for these things. It is a highly competitive and demanding field to be in but I wouldn’t change it for one moment.
The Reality of Blogging
In reality, yes we do some pretty amazing things. Behind the scenes things, HQ things. All promotional things.
In reality, we can’t just go to a personal dinner (the fact that personal and dinner are even in the same sentence is a reality in of itself). We take photos and Tweet and share on Facebook. My family won’t touch their food until I’ve given them permission. We never want to miss an opportunity for good content.
In reality, I spent my fourth of July with my family worrying if my Kia placement would be charming enough. Did I look good for the camera? Did my son’s clothes look okay?
In reality, I’ve gained 40lbs in the last three years from being sedentary for 10+ hours a day, weeks on end, and then going on press junkets and eating out every day (because we get fed, a lot).
In reality, I haven’t been “caught up” since 2013. I’ve sacrificed holidays from my child, family gatherings, being present in just about every situation, my fitness, and personal relationships all so I can grind.
In reality, I’ve had to break up with guys who get jealous of my travels, possessive and even intimidated.
You don’t know pressure until twenty different national brands are staring at you as you approach a deadline.
I love what I do. I love that I can be home with my son when he needs me. I love that I have seen and done things I never dreamed would be possible, much to the thanks of Disney. I love the people I have met and the control I have over my own creative mediums. I love my work, but it is work, and it should be respected as such.