The bag of Stay-Puft Marshmallows you see on Dana’s kitchen counter was hand-made by the props department; they designed the label and silk-screened it onto the blank plastic bag. Before they made the actual bag, they did (as it’s been explained to me) three test screen pulls on a sheet of mylar. Through a confluence of events, I acquired one of those three test screen pulls. It remains my favorite Ghostbusters collectible.
I mention the screen because shortly after I bought it, I got an email from a gentleman who wanted to buy it. While he was familiar with the fan community, it was pretty clear he didn’t really participate in it. In fact, as time went one I discovered that there were more than a few fans of the film that weren’t that interested in the community. The guy just wanted to collect. Cool. And that was the beginning and the end of his involvement with Ghostbusters – to the point that he, to this day, writes every couple of years to see if I’ve changed my mind and would be willing to sell my test Stay-Puft logo to him. Every time he does, I gently decline and think about all the cool stuff I’ve amassed that I really don’t get time to appreciate much any more. Most of it is in boxes from my last move.
At the same time, a lot of the fans – some newer, and some who had been involved in the community since they were younger – were now moms and dads, and they loved sharing Ghostbusters with their kids. They build foam packs and mod power-wheels. I like that, and very shortly, I’ll have that. Or, I could have that. I’ll have the kid part at least…
So, what’s your point, Chris?
Short answer? I think I’m done.
Running a Ghostbusters news site was always hard, particularly in the decade where there was actually very little news and you had to carve your website by hand, but it was never work. It was how I expressed my love of the movie, and the plan was to do it for as long as I could. Turns out, it’s however long it takes you to get to 40 or have a family/large responsibilities. Actually, given the responsibilities of starting, running, and maintaining a company, which I’ve been doing for the last 7 years, it’s actually when you get to having a family. Partly it’s a time thing – I’m maxed out right now – but mostly it’s because I’ve made it to a point where I did what I could, as best as I could, for as long as I could, to help keep the fan flame alive and keep people informed about what’s new with Ghostbusters, and as things stand, I’m not needed anymore, really.
I started PC when the news was spare, fan sites were few, and you had to use Yahoo to search for stuff, and it did it badly. Now, keeping a site up is way easier, with more cool bells and whistles, and Google emails you the easy-pickings. Add to that the fact that Ghostbusters is enjoying it’s biggest period since the last movie, and the hobby turned into a part-time job.
And I don’t need a part time job, particularly not when it makes the movie less fun to me and I’ve already got a full-time+ job. What I enjoyed most about PC was doing the features – in the years when news was light, I’d write features. And features take time and I don’t have time. So, I’ve got a site that’s work and a pile of to-dos that I can’t get to. That’s not a great combination.
A few months back, I tried conscripting editors, with some success – they’ve been awesome, but it was a plan predicated on a communal idea – a handful of people helping pick up what I couldn’t carry. They’re all busy people too, so they weren’t replacements, they were reinforcements. And it kind of helped. But I’m looking down the road and it’s not going to be enough. And I have no idea how to find me at 24, which is what the site needs really – someone with energy and spare time.
I’m not certain this will make any sense to some or all of you, but basically, PC, at least as a one-ish man show, isn’t what the fandom wants or needs. The fact that PC readership dropped 50% when I started the Proton Charging Facebook page is a clear indication. It’s only dropped since then.
So, that’s it in a nutshell – If there was a purpose to Proton Charging, it was to get to here, not for any real end game, but so that others could keep going. I put my time in to help make a space online that would one day be what the fandom is today. Now I’m off to do something else. Enjoy my collecting. Enjoy sharing it with my kids. Enjoy doing all those side-projects I’ve never gotten to finish .
I’m just going to leave PC here. I see no reason to shut it down, particularly given the size of the archives. And I’ll likely post from time to time on Facebook (it’s pretty easy), which in turn will post to twitter and tumblr. But I’m picking the end of my era and this is it.
I hope you all enjoyed getting from there to here as much as I did.