In June 2012, I began a new hobby: writing movie reviews on Facebook. I don’t know why. I was fresh out of high school and looking for something to do during the summer. I planned to finally get around to watching the movies that my friends and colleagues had recommended to me over the past little while and figured that I could bug all of my friends online in the process. Within the first 15 posts, some of my friends were already telling me how much they enjoyed reading my reviews and by the end of the summer, I had written 60 reviews. But I wasn’t ready to stop there. So I posted a thank you status for all of the support that I got and told my friends “10 likes and I’ll start my own Movie Review page” thinking I’d only get 5 or 6. I got 20. Less than a week later, Ashley Moniz’s Movie Reviews was born.
It was an exciting time for me. I had gained a steady following among my friends who seemed to like my short and progressively more objective reviews. It even gave me the confidence to start contributing longer reviews to my university newspaper, Pro Tem, for which I am now the Arts and Entertainment Section Editor. By the time I was ready to post my 100th review, I wanted to do something big to celebrate. A friend of mine hosted his own radio show at our university, Adventure Time with T-Simes, and was more than happy to invite me as a special guest for the occasion. It was a fun experience from which we both learned a lot. As a celebration of having written 100 reviews and in attending a bilingual campus, I decided to challenge myself further and write my reviews in both English and French. Doing this has helped my proficiency in French a lot and has expanded my fan base in doing so.
Last summer, a new opportunity arose for me when a high school friend of mine asked me to write a review for the press release of a teen fiction novel that she co-authored. I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to be a part of the release of Martin McAlear and Lyndsay Sinko’s “The New King“, which I hope will grow into something huge in the years to come.
The next major opportunity came from Jack Hui, a friend of mine who was starting up his own blog called The International Passion and he wanted me to write for it. I was hesitant at first, since I wasn’t sure if I would be able to maintain a steady contribution to the blog. But once I started, I loved the vibrant environment of our Facebook group, what with ideas bouncing around and meeting exciting new people from different places. It was also the beginning of my experience with WordPress and learning how to maintain a blog. It helped me to learn the skills that I needed to start the blog that you are reading now.
Recently, I was contacted online by Munirah Entertainment, an independent film company that creates short films and TV shows to help raise awareness about social issues. I was asked to share a link to their video entitled D.N.R., which was being offered online through a paid stream to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project and bring light to the issue of PTSD. The director, writer and star of the film, who is also the founder of the company, sat down to an interview with me, which I used in my articles about the company for both Pro Tem and The International Passion.
When I wrote my 200th review, I decided that it was time to finally expand my influence. And that is how Entertainment Revisited was born. This is not the end of my story, it is only the beginning of a new chapter of my writing. I don’t know where this will take me, but I’m definitely ready to find out.