Finding Myself

Whelp, I guess it hasn’t been too long since I made this blogging hiatus. Heck, I was still writing reviews and articles (including another, and more personally reassuring, Star Wars critique) at Catholic Wannabe Critic during the hiatus.

However, a hiatus that I was already taking turned out to be even more important: the hiatus from absurdlyawesome.

As I assume you know, I wasn’t proud of the way I ended my overarching Transformers storyline. My sensibilities and tastes were different when I started that final series, so rewatching the first episode a couple years later, the cynical characterizations of the Autobots is really off-putting for me, but my fans loved the series nonetheless.

And I suppose that’s what “The Absurdly Awesome Finale”‘s main problem was: I was making it for the fans. I’m not interested in Transformers anymore, except for a disposable viewing of The Last Knight; that’s why I ended my reign with Transformers, if through a series nobody asked for. I did try to launch a Patreon for my channel afterwards if it meant profiting from making more Transformers videos, but it failed.

Then on June 4th, I found out through a Facebook memory that my favorite overlooked video, “Three Big Baddies”, the sequel to “Two Big Baddies” where Loki, Bane, and Sentinel Prime try to find payment for the efforts they put into their failed evil deeds, turned four years old, and I realized how proud I still am of that video. It’s not only funny, but the range of pop culture icons it spoofs makes it really geeky, featuring something for everyone.

So I realized that it wasn’t stop-motion that I was getting tired of; it was being known for Transformers. I want to make more videos like “Three Big Baddies”, and in order to make what I’m passionate about, I gotta stop caring about what other people think; I gotta risk alienating people (just living as a Catholic comes with that risk). I need to make this stuff for me. I mean, yes, I want to make it to share it with others, but even if I can’t find an audience for it, at least I can be proud of it, even if there are transformers on the side.

That’s why I’m leaving behind (not deleting) the absurdlyawesome label and posting any subsequent stop-motion videos on my personal Youtube channel. These videos will no longer be part of their own thing but rather part of my quest to reconcile T. Martin the Catholic critic with T. Martin the funny stop-motion animator by labelling myself as neither a ‘critic’ nor a ‘youtuber’ but a ‘pop culture hobbyist’, as in, I make a hobby out of keeping up with pop culture (of course, what I find praiseworthy through that label is influenced by my first label, ‘child of God’).

Particularly why I don’t want to be a ‘youtuber’ is because I’m camera shy. I mean, I can put on performances on-camera (even ones that are quite silly as you’d see from the live-action videos I’ve posted so far), but I’d rather people get to know me by meeting me personally. Expressing myself instead through this blog helps my online persona stay a little more impersonal.

So, I’ll be posting the links to each new video on this blog. As for reviews and articles, I might as well start posting those here too; no need to complicate stuff by posting things on two different sites (though the stuff I’ve already posted on Catholic Wannabe Critic will stay on Catholic Wannabe Critic, just as the stuff on absurdlyawesome will stay on absurdlyawesome). Plus, the new template I’ve found for this blog works well for both reviews and regular posts.

I’ve also found Twitter to be an effective way of expressing myself, especially my sense of humor (through posts such as this).

I just want to stop compartmentalizing and be me through any online platform. Of course, if I ever make it to the film industry, there are times where I’m gonna have to be myself on-camera, but I’m far from there. Until then, I’ll be producing stuff as a pop culture enthusiast, such as the upcoming “Four Big Baddies” (and yes, there are reasons why Loki and Sentinel aren’t there):

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Introduction

When I first started this blog in 2015, it was called “tmartinhasablog.wordpress.com” (and a couple of previous blogs wouldn’t have been deleted had I known I could change a site’s address before now), and I used it to critique movies and video games from a Catholic perspective, creating a collaborative game review site, Gaming with Faith, in the process. Then I decided to revamp all of the reviews here with a new style. Then I decided to move all of those reviews to the now-archived Catholic Wannabe Critic and use this site to talk about my Youtube channels (absurdlyawesome, T. Martin).

Could I write reviews well? I think so. Did I enjoy writing? Yes. But it was a hobby that felt increasingly empty when my thoughts on a game I spent 10-20 hours of my life on got met with crickets chirping sans Josh W. or Catholic Skywalker, especially when I’m disappointed by most games themselves. I even advertised directly to my narrow audience of Catholic gamers via forums and Facebook groups and still little-to-no feedback, even from my friends and family. I feel like I wasted most of the last couple of years doing something I wasn’t meant to do.

Where do I know I want to be? In the film industry. I want to be a writer and director; I’ve been practicing that since I was a kid, most recently through absurdlyawesome. But these recent years, I’ve spent more time critiquing art, not making art, and gotten little reward for it. Then again, I think a lot of it had to do with anxiety issues; watching, playing, and writing in between schooling kept my mind occupied with something other than the real world.

Essentially, I’d been trapped between two online personas: one that makes funny stop-motion videos based on a secular topic—Transformers—and another that tries to critique and appraise secular entertainment from a religious viewpoint. Honestly, it’s pretty scary trying to find middle ground between two vastly different audiences, especially since I’m making my biggest project yet mostly for my Youtube fans who could potentially be alienated by my beliefs. I’d rather just cater to the audience who wouldn’t be alienated.

And yet, being afraid to alienate those whose philosophies disagree with mine shows how much I still have to grow in my faith, and God is who I put first. As I come from a religious perspective, I don’t expect everyone to agree with my views, but I do want to explain why I view things how I view them through this blog. While I won’t write formal reviews here, I will reflect on movies, games, and broader topics in these arts, and even my own art.

My intent is not, however, to make explicitly Christian “art” since putting the message over the artistry could result in jaded garbage like God’s Not Dead. The greatest Christian art is the type that you wouldn’t realize is Christian, such as Lord of the Rings. Of course, I’m no Tolkien, nor do I think I’ll ever be; heck, the types of movies I’m currently best at making are silly comedy videos. But even a comedy can be rooted in much-needed truth, even if the audience cares for little more than the parts that make them laugh.