As twitter was quick to remind me, some people might find it odd I am doing a “satire” site when that is what a lot of my work has been over the past few years.
So in order to answer that question more easily than the 140 characters of Twitter allows, I thought I would spend one post on the new website explaining why.
When I first tried to break into the blogging gig, I viewed myself as someone on the bottom rung of the writing ladders. I didn’t want to piss off anybody by trying to “take” their territory, and I also didn’t really want to just doing basic sports reporting either.
For example, when the Canucks sign a minor leaguer, due to the nature of the market, people will scramble to get a post up in order to drive in the web traffic. They will tweet out something like “Canucks sign Joe Wetbottom” then you click on the post, and it will be the world’s shortest post saying “The Canucks have signed Joe Wetbottom to a two year deal. He played for Modo for last year.”
On one hand I understand the nature of the beast. If you’re a Canucks website reporting news, you want to have the basic news on your website. On the other hand, why are you wasting my time clicking on your website to see a post that adds nothing else past the headline.
“Coke is high in sugar?”
….click on post….
“Coke is high in sugar. This can be bad for you.”
Awesome, sounds good?
Anyways, lo and behold I end up as one of the winners of the “Replace the KB contest” which meant I had to start writing a lot more. I knew the beat writers for the Province would do most of the main Canucks news, which meant I had to scrape and grab at the crumbs they let fall off the table, which incidentally enough was either things like the “Canucks sign minor leaguer!” or completely inventive articles like “Canucks caught playing Draw Something!”
In regards to the problem I alluded to earlier about the short content posts, I went the extreme opposite. I would take a small nugget of news of a signing, then try and make it totally worth your time reading it. I would find any YouTube videos I could find, any weird funny nugget of info about the player, I’d make a photoshop or two, and I would cram it into the post. By the time you were done reading my 2,000 word post on this new player, you were convinced he must be the missing piece due to how much I was talking about him (Which is why Mark Mancari became a household name in Vancouver for a couple of months, purely to my overreaching ways). To this day I struggle to put out 300 word posts because I feel like I am wasting people’s times (which is ridiculous, some people like short hits).
When it comes to the inventive stuff, I sometimes would have a small idea that I would think was funny, and purely for the “Can I make this work into something funny?” I would work at it and try and see if I could create something funny out of relatively nothing. This led to the Draw Something article, the Stickman Canucks Calendar, the Canucks Halloween Costumes, and a variety of other 90% imagination driven posts.
What I discovered when doing these kinds of stories, however, is that a) your audience can be far more critical of them and b) it kind of sets you aside purely into that blogger stereotype of not being taken too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, some people love the creative stuff, it’s just that people who go to a website like the Province, some of them expect only “SUPER SERIOUS TALKS” and if you stray from that, they go to their go to move of “Why is this on here? I hope they don’t pay you for this” Buzz Killington mode. It’s very tedious.
As for being taken seriously, I discovered as I got a press pass the next season that I desperately wanted to be taken more seriously. I honestly feel I have a ton of hockey history and knowledge to bandy about with people, but I was very afraid that would get lost in my “silly” posts. This is why the first year I was with the Province 65% of my posts were very silly in nature but as time went by, I stopped doing posts like that. Fast forward to today and now 95% of my Province posts are serious (though they always have light comedy in them, they are missing that over the top nature of years past). I basically didn’t want to be at the games in press row and give the old boys club more ammo to view me as nothing more than a clown sideshow. I wanted to prove I belonged, so my Province writing underwent a lot of changes. To this day I am still finding my niche there, due to job politics, and also because as a writer I find myself evolving constantly.
And the same can be said for my current writing for Canucks Army. They have a particular audience, one that I don’t feel comfortable being too silly with. So I view my Canucks Army postings as a place where I can limit my content and write pieces people look forward to reading. Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts” and Botchford’s “Provies” are considered “Must Reads” by many people, and while I don’t think I will reach that level anytime soon, I do want people who visit Canucks Army to see an article by me and think “Oh Stanchion, I like his posts” instead of “Enough of this guy already! This is his fifth post this week!”
And that is what I have found out about writing. I am always changing my styles and my approach, and I am just now finding my comfort zone for writing for certain audiences. I am happy with my more serious tone for the Province, and I am happy with my low output approach with Canucks Army. What I do miss is the silliness of just creating comedy for the sake of comedy, however.
Which if you’re still reading up to this point (and god bless you if you are), is why this site now exists. I want to do things purely because I think to myself “I wonder if I can make that funny?” I use twitter for this a lot of the time, as I bust out one liners and photoshops for hockey news, but I wanted a place I could take it to another level. A place where people are reading it purely because they want to read my stuff, a place where they can’t exclaim “WHY IS THIS GARBAGE HERE??” The garbage will be here because it’s my garbage, and I will do what I wish with it.
So yes. Long story short, this is just a creative outlet for me, a place where I don’t have to worry about editors or audiences or deadlines. It’s just a place I can try and have some fun with hockey news and hopefully you get a laugh or two out of it along the way.