One man, one blog, one crazy love for film, and 422 film reviews
He has always had a crazy love for film and cinema, regularly watching movies since childhood. In 2005, he decided to take this insatiable love to a new level and created his own movie review blog with a focus on Singaporean cinema, anutshellreview.blogspot.com, and started writing an unbelievable number of reviews every year.
Stefan Shih, 35, works in the IT industry by day and is a film critic by night. In 2008 alone, he wrote 260 movie reviews on theatrical releases, 121 on festival films, and 41 DVD reviews, which adds to a total of 422 film reviews in one year – more than one article everyday! What is even more frightening is that the numbers have remained constant through the years. In 2011, there were 357 articles written.
Stefan Shih (second from right) at the opening party of ScreenSingapore 2011 with fellow filmmakers and film buffs in Singapore
Photo: Stefan Shih
Stefan, who has a full time job, is a true example of how good time management can help one achieve marvels. He described jokingly: “some think I don’t sleep! But no I actually do, and it’s always a trade off since we’re all given the same 24hrs. Frankly I guess it boils down to a juggle of one’s time, priorities (perhaps even badly arranged ones on my end!) and precious weekends.”
Learning of the history and reason behind the blog, one finds that Stefan profoundly embodies the term ‘passion’.
“I created my blog from a combination of free time, wanting to write, wanting to start a blog (the mid 2000s then) and since I didn’t want the blog to be a diary entry of sorts, why not start with something I’m already doing on a regular basis – watching films – and write something about that” he explained why he decided to create the blog.
Film still of Safe House, the latest film reviewed on A Nutshell Review
Photo: Stefan Shih
Nobody knew about A Nutshell Review in the beginning, there were hardly any readers, time was always a constraint and there were even critics who disliked his writing. However Stefan still wrote his reviews, already creating a total of 189 in the first year and in the following year, a whopping 371 film reviews.
“Not many people knew about it, nobody liked the blog nor my writing immediately” he described with a laugh.
“I’d like to think I’ve improved it over time, but my harshest critics (you know who you are) still berate me from time to time. There’s always room for improvement” he then added.
Readership and popularity has since improved, with fellow film lovers across the globe contacting him for collaborations and networking. He is now a contributing writer for famous international film websites movieXclusive.com and TwitchFilm.net.
Stefan Shih with Hong Kong actress/singer Elanne Kwong at the Hong Kong Filmart 2007
Photo: Stefan Shi
Stefan described the blog to have “opened up doors to making friends from around the world, through interaction either on the blog, or through email. I treasure this a lot.”
In the coming years, Stefan plans to take his writing further by applying to be a member in the Online Film Critics Society, the largest, most respected organization for film critics around the world whose work appears primarily on the internet.
“I am giving myself 2 years to see if I can qualify for the Online Film Critics Society. Very stringent criteria to qualify, but I suppose it’s what would be a benchmark against other really great online film writers/reviewers/critics” he explains.
He also added that: “if I may provide a tongue in cheek answer, then it’s to drop the ‘Probably’ in ‘Probably Singapore’s #1 Movie Review Blog’ tagline!”