Two years! We're coming up on two years. Almost exactly one year ago I wrote the State of the Badass Report (read that here), and my how things have changed. We've redesigned the site, our staff has grown and as we prepare to enter year three there are all new, exciting things on the horizon.
The biggest change over the last year has been the addition of more staff and more regular columns. In October Meredith Borders joined the editorial team as our managing editor, and all of a sudden what had been me fucking around on the internet became a real, honest to god website. She's the reason more of you read the site today than a year ago - she keeps everything running amazingly smoothly. And without her the growing team of freelancers and contributors would be lost - now you can look forward to the bylines of people like Sam Strange, Jordan Hoffman, Bill Norris, Brian Collins, Jim Hughes, Phil Nobile Jr, April Swartz and, of course, Film Crit Hulk. Meredith wrangles everybody and makes everything happen.
Roger Tinch has gone from being a part-time guy to a full-time Alamo employee; we're still sharing him with other parts of the company, but having Roger on board all the time has helped as we have experienced growing pains this past year. We've had some stories go viral, and they brought the site to its knees. Even as I was freaking out, Roger was carefully and calmly working to get the site back up and running. We also have a new design this year thanks to him.
And of course there are more of you guys. Our commenting community has grown exponentially, and I couldn't be happier. I look at major sites that have 0 comments on their stories and wonder how that's possible. We're a niche site, but our community is smart and vibrant and cool.
What's been most exciting for me over the past year has been seeing the site slowly prove what I knew in my heart: good content and good commenters could bring success, that we didn't have to chase every bullshit casting story and every nonsense comic book movie rumor. I'm never satisfied - I can think of a thousand ways that the site can still be improved - but in the meantime we've been running it on our own terms and it has been successful.
Part of that success comes with the aid of Corey Wilson. You don't know who he is (although he sometimes comments on articles!) but he's the sponsorship director for the Alamo Drafthouse. Since he has come aboard we've found ourselves with real advertising that pays real money - a rarity in the web world. I don't mean that we're swimming in cash, but it looks like Badass Digest stands a chance of not LOSING money this year. I'm so proud and happy about that because again, we're doing it on our own terms. And I think that the sponsorships we've secured have been positive and don't get in the way of our larger mission.
Next week I'm going to be working on the next new piece of the Badass plan - video. We're going to be shooting lots of video for a project that will be on YouTube, and we have a professional crew and everything. The vision for the show is exciting, and I hope you guys like it. We're definitely making a show that reflects what we do here on a daily basis. The show should debut next month.
Later on in September we're going to descend upon Fantastic Fest in force. While this year we covered fewer festivals than I would have liked, Fantastic Fest is hometeam business and we'll be killing it the whole festival. There have been some mind-smashingly exciting phone meetings about FF and what we'll be doing there. Hopefully the content will be great and come to you quickly and wrapped in fun. And after that... well, the sky's the limit and we have some big, big ideas for how we can bring Badass Digest out into the real world in exciting ways. One of the best things about the past year has been the way we've built a team here, and a team is the key to actually accomplishing things, not just endlessly talking about them. I think we'll have some accomplishments in the next year.
There are a couple of people I want to thank here: Thanks to Henri Mazza, who has been a staunch supporter of the site and whose presence will be more pronounced in the coming year. Thanks, as always, to Tim League, who gave me the chance to step out of a bad situation and create a space where I could try something different from what every other site does. Thanks to everybody at Alamo, Fons PR and especially Drafthouse Films, who have been doing really exciting things the last year; our policy is that Badass Digest makes its own decisions about what Drafthouse things to cover, and so far I've wanted to cover everything. Their slate of films has been excellent and is only getting excellenter. Thanks also to everybody I didn't thank or mention above - people who have written for the site, publicists who have stepped up and helped us out even though we're little guys, and my friends in the real world who have supported me emotionally and sometimes alcoholically the last two years.
But most of all thank you, the readers. It's incredible to me that so many people not only want to read what we're writing but that they want to join in the discussion. I get to make a living bullshitting about nerdy stuff with thousands upon thousands of people, and that's truly awesome in the most basic sense of the word.
Please consider supporting us by simply liking our Facebook page and by following @badassdigest on Twitter. By sharing stories and reviews that you dig you're helping us reach a wider audience. We'll never be IGN (and we really don't want to be), but I know that there are a lot of like-minded people out there who will love Badass Digest once they find it.
Now it's your turn. Please feel free to comment below, or email me at [email protected], and let us know what you do or don't like around here. Any suggestions or complaints or crazy ideas are welcome and appreciated.