Good riddance, 2008!


2008 ball drop.jpg

I can’t recall wanting a year to end as much as I did 2008! I mean, did that year just suck ass or what?!

I should have known what the year would hold for me… I spent New Year’s Day evening emptying the contents of my stomach outside of an Applebee’s in Niagara Falls, Canada. (Can’t blame the food here… I had a bug on the drive up there and I could barely eat soup. It was some kind of stomach flu, and it wouldn’t be my first bout of it in 2008). I take things like that as a bad omen.

Otherwise, the year started on a high note, with a nice fat check from Netflix for licensing the Tempe library to their Watch Instantly streaming service… that is, until my IRS audit for 2005 & 2006 wound up with a bill about the same size. More debt… oh, joy!

The DVD biz was a literal house of horrors last year… I joke with friends that I took back more returns than I sold, but you know what they say about there being truth in every joke. Tempe only released 7 new titles in 2008 (and two of those were deals with producers who had their own manufactured product), the rest of the release schedule for the year was padded out with multi-packs comprised of existing titles. If I thought 2007 was a rocky year, it paled in comparison to the challenges of last year! In the short term, Tempe will mostly be concentrating on servicing other producers’ product, beginning in February with PAURA: LUCIO FULCI REMEMBERED VOLUME 1. (Heads up to any producers reading this… if you can’t get into Netflix and other outlets, drop me a line!) As I mentioned in a blog post a few months back, I now consider it a mostly part-time venture, although there are a handful of new releases that I hope to get out during the summer or fall months. After that… well, your guess is as good as mine!

While the DVD biz slides into the toilet, broadband is picking up gradually. Tempe will be landing in iTunes in early 2009 with a handful of titles (THE DEAD NEXT DOOR, KINGDOM OF THE VAMPIRE (2007) and GENUINE NERD), so hope springs eternal. But the other deals we have with companies like Jaman, Reeltime, Movielink (now Blockbuster), et al are ever-so-slowly picking up steam. The problem, of course, is broadband sales are not making up for the loss on the DVD side. Netflix had a good thing going in 2007 when they launched their streaming service and Tempe was on that bandwagon early. But they switched our lucrative per-view payment model to a flat license fee by the end of 2007, and in mid-2008 started pulling back on their support of the indies by being selective about which titles they take for streaming. (That money is now going to Starz for licensing newer studio flicks.) They’re still taking everything (in small quantities) on DVD… for now.

Conventions were also mostly a bust in 2008, beginning with another attempt to be a paid vendor at Chiller Theatre in the spring (opposed to being a show guest, which comes with a free table). Those sales didn’t even cover the meager costs for the table, travel and hotel! Thankfully I had some freelance trailer editing work that weekend, so I spent most of my time in the hotel room working away. The fall Cinema Wasteland show was a definite highlight, and THE DEAD NEXT DOOR mini-reunion and screening at Akron Screams! was also a good time.

On a personal note, the wife and I did get to travel a bit last year. Niagara Falls, Canada wound up being fun after the fateful first night, and we went to Washington, D.C. with my mother and nephew in late June for a few days, then off to Ukraine for a couple weeks to visit the wife’s family. And one of the few highlights of the year came on Friday, June 13 (no joke!), when we confirmed that my wife was pregnant via the first ultrasound. We’re expecting a boy on February 5, so more on that soon.

I’m optimistic about 2009, despite the economic outlook and a dubious choice (IMHO) for President-elect about to take office. It’s definitely time for some life changes, and they’re coming whether I like ’em or not. Stay tuned, but here’s to a happier New Year for us all!



This entry was posted on Saturday, January 3rd, 2009 at 1:28 pm and is filed under Complaint Department, Family, Random Thoughts, Tempe Entertainment, Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Good riddance, 2008!”

  1. jonkillough Says:

    JR! You found out Svetlana was pregnant on Friday the 13th!?! This is a no-brainer! The baby’s name will be Jason.