Mark Filipowich

is creating Longform Criticism

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Who are you?

My name is Mark Filipowich and I've been a media critic and journalist since my first student days in 2006. In that time I've covered videogames, music, film, theatre, literature, graphic novels and various combinations of the above. Since 2011 I've focused on long-form videogame criticism. As of 2015 I have been accepted into Western University's information and media studies program. I cheer for a hockey team that nobody else likes.

What's your experience?

I began writing for PopMatters and have since moved to other outlets like Joystick Division, Nightmare Mode, Medium Difficulty, The Border House, Unwinnable, and Game Church, along with my personal blog, bigtallwords.

I'm also a curator at both Critical Distance and Good Games Writing where I aim to promote and support the work of other media writers and critics. I am also the co-coordinator of the Blogs of the Round Table feature at Critical Distance, where we select a topic to try and help both new and experienced writers find their critical voices in engaging with media.

What makes your writing special?

My formal background is a two-knifed spoon of literature and psychology. I've also got some formal background in comparative literature, history and philosophy. I have a Master's degree in media studies and I'm working on a PhD in communication studies. They're basically two terms for the same thing, but it's an interdisciplinary field and I embrace the variety of research needed to be a part of it.

These disciplines have all had important influences on the way I approach criticism. I believe and that all media impacts its audience, whether the audience appreciates or even invites these influences, and I approach every piece of writing with that in mind. So, as it can then be assumed. My goal in my writing is to understand how a particular piece of media, trend or aesthetic paradigm can impacts its audience. I want to approach all forms of media as serious cultural artefacts that have significant impact on their audience. But I also aim to be accessible. Because everybody lives in the media, everybody has a right to understand how it works, and it's important to me that I write clearly, coherently and accessibly.

I'm interested in how the structure of texts communicate ideas. I'm interested by novelty and by how traditional and I write about whatever I can get my hands on.

What kind of writing do you do?

My average being somewhere around 2,000 words. Although I am an academic, blogging and freelance work is not the place for that kind of work. Scholarly writing does have its place, but it's a specialized and occasionally pretty isolating kind of communication. I want to write interesting, insightful, occasionally entertaining things for people who would be interested in them regardless of their background.

I write about games, movies, novels, comics, social movements, broader culture, broader politics. broader history and all the intersections between them. I want to write work that is smart but not smug, fresh but not obscure. I keep a record of everything I write and when/where it gets published on my blog if you'd like to get a feel for the things I've written and how I've changed as a writer over the years.

Ok. That's cool I guess, but why do you need a Patreon?

I'd like to keep up the pace of releasing one of these articles every week while also putting time into curation work. The basic arithmetic here is that the more money I'm able to earn from my writing, the more writing I'm able to do. The amount of writing I can do, the quality, form and experimentation of it will all improve if I can spend more time on it.

The fact of the matter is that this is an odd time to do any kind of writing with the expectation of getting paid. Day jobs come and go but they don't come with any promise. I've been through layoffs and I've hit promotion ceilings before. I'm in graduate school now but the prospect of stable work is nowhere near as solid as the prospect of student debt.

I believe that the work I do is important and that in questioning the world around us we have some measure of anticipating what the status quo will expect of us. Literature and criticism may not act as resistance but they can illustrate what and how we should be resisting. As much as I believe in my writing, I also believe in getting paid for the work I do. Right now Patreon is the best option for that.

I also have grand dreams of one day expanding the kinds of writing I can produce. Basically, the more I can earn from my existing writing, the more broadly I'll be able to write in the future.

So what's in it for me?

By being a patron, you'd not only be supporting me for all of the content that I've already created but you'd be encouraging me to experiment with new outlets like podcasting and video content. Furthermore, the more support I get, the further I can expand my horizons into new projects. And while I won't charge you for any of the work I do through my Master's program or through other outlets like Critical Distance or Good Games Writing, these are some of the other projects I've been a part of to help other writers in the discipline. Like I mentioned, I've been writing and publishing in some capacity for nine years now, and I'm excited for every opportunity I can get to improve and expand on my work. What I'm asking for is for help in accessing more opportunities.

I demand samples!

"Challenge is Conflict: How Difficulty Makes Game Narratives Work." Medium Difficulty. November 6 2012.

"We Are One: JRPGs, the Group Journey and the Mechanics of Cooperation." PopMatters. April 1

"Expeditions Conquistador and Post-Imperial Arrogance." The Border House. June 18 2013.

"Catch 404: The Importance of Protecting Games Writing." bigtallwords. July 8 2013.

All my writing can be found on my regularly updated site,

$2 of $50 per essay
Every fifty dollars is one whole week I can spend writing while continuing to subsist on people food.
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By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 15 exclusive posts
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 15 exclusive posts

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