Change Places! An Interview with Mike Gencarelli of MovieMikes.com

Change Places! An Interview with Mike Gencarelli of MovieMikes.com

Mike Schneider recently sat down with MovieMikes.com to be interviewed about ‘Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated’.  After completing the interview Mike decided to turn the table and stage an interview of his own, with MovieMikes.com co-founder Mike Gencarelli.

Mike Schneider: How did you get started doing reviews/interviews?
Mike Gencarelli: I started submitting reviews to various sites back in 1995. These included interview questions and reviews to myvideostore.com (now Video ETA) and user reviews to DarkHorizons.com. I finally launched my own site, BoxOfficeWizard.com, in 1997. ‘Box Office Wizard’ was devoted to my movie reviews and box office reports. It ran off and on for over a decade until last year when I launched MovieMikes.com with my partner Mike Smith. I’ve always been a big fan of movies so reporting on them just felt right.

MS: When did you launch MovieMikes.com ?
MG: MovieMikes.com officially launched in February 2010. Not even a year old, our site has grown at an unbelievable rate from 50-100 unique visitors per week to 20,000-25,000 unique visitors per month… and still climbing. My old site, BoxOfficeWizard.com, wasn’t even a blip on the map… but this… this has been one crazy year.

MS: How long did it take before companies were willing to send you review copies and/ or giveaways?
MG: For the first 6 months, I was making all the calls and responses were sparse. Once I got their attention, it’s been like a snowball effect.

MS: Do you still need to solicit giveaways and review copies or are they offered to you?
MG: It all depends on what I’m looking to promote. I have developed some solid relationships with studios. Some of them are very loyal, providing us with a steady flow of prizes to giveaway and films to review… but there are always new relationships to be made.

MS: Have you ever turned down an offer for a review copy and/ or giveaway?
MG: We try to accommodate all requests but if it becomes overwhelming then we might need to be more selective in the future.

MS: If given a review copy, do you feel obligated to watch it through and review it?
MG: I have honored many requests and wrote reviews whether the movie was bad or good. I did, however, have one situation where the film was so unbearable that I couldn’t finish it and trust me, I have a HUGE tolerance for bad movies. If it’s so bad that I have to turn it off, I don’t think it’s fair to write a review.

MS: What are the best and worst things you’ve ever reviewed?
MG: The site is relatively new, but I’d say ‘Monsters’ was my most enjoyable so far. ( The review practically wrote itself. ‘Monsters’ is a must see with a breathtaking score by Jon Hopkins. ) The worst, hands down, was ‘Jonah Hex’. ( ‘Hex’ was a 75 min. piece of shit. )

MS: Who was your first ‘big’ interview? How did it go?
MG: When I started the site, I said I wanted Denzel Washington for my first interview and guess who I got? He was on Broadway in New York doing press and when I asked about interviewing him, they said yes. I had my face to face with Denzel and it was amazing. Coolest guy ever!

MS: Have you had an interview which went so poorly that you couldn’t post it?
MG: There have been a few stinkers. Maybe it was their mood or maybe it was my questions but with the magic of editing, I’ve been able to make every interview work.

MS: Do you ever feel pressured to be supportive of a film after you’ve dealt with the studio/ people involved?
MG: I want the reps be happy with me but nobody wants to just read positive reviews. If I did not like something, I’ll let that show.. plain and simple.

MS: Have you had anything you wrote come back to bite you in the ass? If so, did you retract it, take down the article or stand up for it?
MG: The only issue we’ve had, so far, was someone revealing something in the interview that he contractually shouldn’t have. We were asked to take the interview down and in that case, you have to respect their wishes. If it was a matter of opinion, I would stand up for it but, in that situation, it wasn’t our wrong.

MS: Do you prefer to work with large studios, independent labels, or directly with creators?
MG: It really depends. Working with the talent directly is easy and I’ve made some good friends from it. Dealing with studios and reps is sometimes harder because I’m not EW or Variety so I can’t push too hard. In general, everyone has been very kind to me.

MS: What kind of people are you interested in interviewing?
MG: I personally love the genre of horror but interviewing is interviewing. We cover everything ranging from ‘The Walking Dead’ to ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’.

MS: Are you open to people sending you review copies or giveaways from their projects (maybe even offering themselves up for interview)? If so, how should they get in touch with you?
MG: We love review requests and giveaways. It’s always great to help promote upcoming or current projects and talk with the talented people involved in them. They can get a hold of me via email ( mikeg@mediamikes.com ) and we’ll go from there.

MS: Finally, being someone who writes on the web, do you see print press such as magazines having a future in the entertainment industry?
MG: I used to wait for magazines like ‘Entertainment Weekly’ to read the latest news and information but now with Facebook, Twitter, and social media, we have more information then we can process… seconds after it happens. Print will always be around but, most likely, in a different form.

You can read our interview with Mike Schneider here

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