That'll Do, Whale: My Thoughts On Closing Down Gordon and the Whale
From left: Gordon and the Whale editor-in-chief Chase Whale, associate editor Brian Kelley, soundtrack editor Allison Loring, and managing editor Kate Erbland
If you read Gordon and the Whale, then you already know that next month will be our last month as a functioning daily website. I announced the news at 10 a.m. Monday.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry -- a lot -- and listen to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" -- on repeat. Luckily I had enough tissue to dry said tears and ice cream to not-quite-fill the emotional void when I clicked "Publish."
For days following the announcement my Twitter, email, and Facebook were flooded with the most heartwarming and encouraging messages I'll probably ever receive in my life. Turns out, our readers truly believed in the voices behind GATW and how we endeavored to shape the way people think about movies. They had faith in our honesty and passion in discussing all things film. It's very touching to know that all the blood, sweat and tears spent on GATW has paid off.
As I mentioned in my goodbye article on GATW, we had a very successful run as far as exposure and festival coverage went. We covered Cannes, Sundance, TIFF, Fantastic, and SXSW to name a few.
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From a financial standpoint, however, GATW was unsuccessful. We paid for almost everything out of pocket and nobody on the site made any money off of it. The very little money we made (I can't stress how little) went to our server to keep the site going. The bigger our site got and the more people visited, the bigger and more expensive the server upgrade became. We believed that if we continued to pour our hearts into GATW we'd be able to pay all the writers for their incredible work and maybe make a little extra. That day never came and after discussing with managing editor Kate Erbland and senior editor James Wallace, we decided it was time to let go.
By dropping out of college my junior year to pursue this dream of running a movie website full-time, I had literally built my life around GATW, and I don't regret it once. Letting go will be the hardest thing I'll ever have to do. Well, that and trying to get a girl to go on a second date with me -- that's pretty hard, too.
I don't know where I'll end up in 20 years but at a young age of 28 years old, I can say that I already touched the sky.* Because of everything I put into Gordon and the Whale, I landed a dream job as a Creative Director for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and now contribute to Twitch Film. Projects are forever on the horizon. And that goes for all of us.
In the end, I would like for all of GATW's readers, colleagues and friends not to be blue about its unfortunate demise, but to celebrate its existence and that of GATW purpose, film. Go forth, conquer and watch movies.
*I am very thankful to GATW Managing Editor Kate Erbland for introducing me to Kanye West's "Touch The Sky" -- they are the three best motivational words I've ever heard.
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