It’s time for the fifth chapter of Getting to know It’s A Stampede! – the behind the scenes look at this blog and me. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about my qualifications and experiences and how they shape the content of It’s A Stampede!.

In terms of formal qualifications, believe it or not, I actually have some!

No, seriously.

Thanks to college, I have a certificate in journalism. Three years of university has also given me a degree in film and television studies.

So, yeah, chuck those qualifications into a mixing bowl with some GCSEs and an A-Level and I have a few bits of paper that prove I’ve studied… and such!

Go me!

But qualifications aren’t the be all and end all. I genuinely believe experience is often just as important than what is on paper (if not more so).

So what experience am I taking about? 

A great deal of what I write about is movies and television. As I’ve just mentioned, I’ve got a degree in studying these mediums, but my experience goes much deeper.

He works hard for the money

When I left school (many moons ago) I spent three years working in a video rental store. Not only did this job give me access to pretty much unlimited rentals (whoop whoop), it also gave me a great deal of time to talk to people who also enjoyed movies!

People of all ages would pop into the store to rent a VHS tape and this often led to conversions and observations about who rented what and why? Films that I’d sometimes dismiss would turn out to be popular choices amongst renters and movies that seemed surefire hits would languish on the shelves.

Basically, there wasn’t always a hard and fast rule about what was popular and what wasn’t. People liked what they liked.

I learnt a lot working at the video store. I learnt that my opinion of a movie wasn’t the only opinion and this is something that remains with me to this day.

Film is subjective, so when I write about movies I understand that not everyone will agree with me. My opinion is MY opinion, and just that. Everyone has an opinion and it is equally as valid and should never be dismissed.

Outside of working at the video store I’ve had a number of jobs over the years, from sales and barista positions to working in an amusement arcade, and much, much more. None of these jobs were long term, but they were positions I took to get me from A to B.

It took me a while to reach ‘writer’ stage, so in between I did what I could to pay the bills. It was frustrating at times, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Sometimes going forward seems impossible, but it’s not, you just have to persevere until you reach the correct path. And if you find yourself travelling along the wrong path, then simply get off the road and try out a new route.

OK enough with work related info (a subject I could waffle on about all day), what other experience do I have?

100% geek

Well, I’ve been a comic book reader since the age of nine (I’m currently 37); I’ve been attending conventions since I was 16; I grew up during the era of the ‘console wars’; and I’ve been interested in toys since longer than I can remember. I try to visit the cinema two-to-three times a month (last week alone I went three times); and I keep abreast of many of the leading TV shows that keep cropping up, even if I don’t watch them all.

I dip in and out of podcasts, to see what people are talking about; I read a lot of geek news; and I try to visit comic stores on a regular basis to see what’s new.

In addition to this, I attend events; I follow fellow geeks on social media; and I even try to see what’s going on in the world of cosplay. I’m not a cosplayer myself, but I appreciate the work that goes into each costume and I do like getting into costume for Halloween (I’m on the left).

All of these things are ‘experience’ and are important for shaping this blog. Having qualifications is great, but knowing a thing or two about the flicks, attending conventions, or living through the 8-Bit era, means I actually have something to talk about.

The point of all this is to explain that both qualifications and experience are what have shaped me and what continue to shape this blog.

It’s A Stampede! isn’t the result of one thing, it’s a combination of multiple factors over the years. It’s months spent in jobs that I didn’t really enjoy; it’s hours spent reading Empire and ToyFare magazine; it’s stolen moments where I get to geek out with friends; and it’s a genuine interest for fantastical fiction that makes each day more fulfilling.

From B.A. Baracus to a BA in film & TV studies and from watching Lois & Clark breaking stories at the Daily Planet to actually studying journalism, everything I’ve done is all part of one big journey. It’s A Stampede! is very much a part of this same expedition and it’s far from over.

Alex 

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As a little bonus, to further understand what shapes this blog, here are a few facts about what I like to watch/read/do. Again, these all feed into this blog.

Favourite movies: Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Superman: The Movie, Halloween, Psycho, Grease, Sister Act, Return of the Jedi, Jaws, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Batman Begins, The Little Mermaid and Jurassic Park.

Favourite TV shows: Batman: The Animated Series, The X-Files, X-Men, The Twilight Zone, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Real Ghostbusters.

TV shows I’m currently watching/re-watching: Queer Eye, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Heartbreak High, Baywatch, What’s Up Doc? and Neighbours (yep, I love a trip to Ramsay Street).

Favourite superheroes: Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and the X-Men.

Favourite game: Super Mario Bros. (with Mario Kart Double-Dash a close second).

Current obsession: Funko Pop! vinyl figures and digital comics.

Favourite time of the year: Summer through to October/Halloween.

What I’m doing right now: Writing this post.

What I should be doing right now: Something more productive.