If you’ve known me for a while, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I sort of miss video stores.
Having worked in them for years, I have an affection for the now-mostly-dead industry, in which each store was its own kind of cultural outpost. The relationships between the staff and clientele were special — so much so that many of my old customers from Emerald City Video in East Syracuse/DeWitt are friends of mine on Facebook.
Well, that and I married one of our regulars.
Anyway, there was something special offered by in-person recommendations, conversations and the like that you just can’t duplicate with a Netflix or Amazon algorithm that fails to take into account things that your kids, your friends or whoever else has your password watched, or that you turned on by mistake while looking for something else.
It’s something that can’t really be recaptured — especially the feel and moment of something as special as what we had for a while at Emerald City, which was a truly fun time (if utterly chaotic).
That isn’t going to stop us from trying to create a new way to have a dialogue with our old customers, our old co-workers…and cinema itself.
Starting in January 2016, I will co-host a monthly podcast with Logan Bretschneider, Dan Fecteau and David Nielsen titled the Emerald City Video Podcast.
Each episode, we will discuss a new theatrical release as well as what would have been a “catalog” release at the video store: an old movie that you could have rented as part of a five for $5.00 deal on VHS back in the day. We’ll also have other features like “If you liked this, try this” and a suggested “five for five” that we’ll select using old movies that can be found free on popular streaming sites. We encourage our listeners — and especially our old customers — to call in and get personalized advice and interactions. When you listen to the first episode, we’ll share information there on how to reach us. We’ll get the show set up with an RSS feed and an iTunes account as soon as we have recorded the first episode, which we hope to do in the first week of January.
In all likelihood, episodes will go live on Fridays. The plan at present is to record on Thursdays, and I have Thursdays and Fridays off from work, so I can spend some time editing a podcast I’m not getting paid for then.
The first episode will feature a lot of introductory talk and some feature content, but the two “spotlight” movies will be Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Josie and the Pussycats.
(No, really. Josie and the Pussycats.)
You can reach us on Twitter and Facebook if you want to recommend movies or send us e-mails before the first episode airs. Tag any of your friends who remember Emerald City Video or who might enjoy a crazy idea like this.