Soapbox: So what is The Pop Culture Studio all about?

Anton Ego
Trust me: the picture will make sense by the end of the post

If you’re a first time visitor to this blog, you’ve probably arrived here by accident (almost certainly as a result of googling for soda, museums or single bedroom apartments). If, having realised that this site offers none of these things (yet…), you’ve decided to remain on the site rather than navigate back to your original search results, you might be asking yourself, “What exactly is The Pop Culture Studio?”

The simple answer is that The Pop Culture Studio is an online creative space dedicated to pop culture. Representing more than just a collection of reviews covering existing movies, music, novels, comic books, theatre and the like (although these certainly form a central part of the content offering), the Studio is dedicated to actively creating new content within these fields.

The reason for focussing on pop culture is even simpler: I love it. Despite pop culture often being derided by snobbish critics as being unworthy to be considered art, I’m a die-hard believer that it is as valid an art form as any other throughout history. The way I see it, the criteria for something being recognised as art should be as follows:

  • Does it make you think?
  • Does it make you feel?
  • Does it ask questions or offer answers about the big stuff: life, death, the nature of the universe and so on?
  • Does it provide a unique visual or aural experience?

As long as the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, I think you can safely ignore trivialities, like the lead character dressing in tights and a cape, and go right ahead and label the work in question “art”.

That’s not to say that I necessarily think every piece of pop culture has to have artistic merit to be worthwhile; many books, films and songs have been created with the express purpose of being entertaining, and there’s nothing wrong with that (although, personally, my favourite examples of pop culture manage to be both entertaining and artistically satisfying).

I feel so strongly about pop culture’s genuine value as a form of artistic expression, I’ve decided to try my hand at creating some of my own, including novels, comic books and more.

The plan is that some of this content will be available totally free of charge, whereas some of it will potentially be offered for purchase (although my aim would be to provide preview content for these items free of charge); the process behind the creation of both types of content will always be shared on the site.

You will get to watch me develop new and existing skills, and (in keeping with the studio concept) possibly collaborate with me on certain projects. Should The Pop Culture Studio prove successful, I envision room for guest contributors, particularly those able to create and intelligently critique music!

As to the reviews mentioned earlier, these are included both to highlight good (and so-bad-they’re-good) examples of pop culture, as well as to dissect what makes these different works successful (or not) in order to learn more about the craft involved with each medium.

Whilst there will often be a light-hearted or humorous edge to these pieces, they will also be written from the point of view of someone looking to celebrate pop culture and the people who create it, rather than revel in tearing both down. Fictional film critic Anton Ego in Pixar’s excellent Ratatouille summed it up best when he said:

“We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”

Furthermore, my reviews will cover an erratic mixture of the old and new, classics and flops, and I will make a concerted effort to signpost spoilers for any subject matter, regardless of how old it is. After all, no matter how many times Hamlet is performed, there’s always going to be someone in the audience experiencing it for the first time.

Along with the lofty goals outlined above, my secret hope for the reviews is also that they channel my enthusiasm for the source material to such an extent that people are encouraged to take a chance on stories and mediums they wouldn’t otherwise consider.

I’m also optimistic that my spoiler-heavy analysis sections will lead those following the blog who are well-versed in pop culture to re-visit and even re-evaluate material with which they are already familiar.

So there you have it – that’s the rationale behind The Pop Culture Studio name and content policy; if you’ve made it this far, I’m confident it’s something you’ll enjoy.

This whole experiment might fail; my reviews might not end up being as entertaining or insightful as I think, and the pop culture pieces I create might be given the thumbs down (or worse still, be ignored) by the world at large. But it’s something I’m passionate about, and I’d rather try and fail than regret never doing either.

As Morgan Freeman’s character Red so aptly put it in The Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” Sounds fair to me.

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Soapbox: So what is The Pop Culture Studio all about?

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