a Manifesto on Collecting

Awhile back I stumbled upon a random podcast that somehow bled through my stream of links that inundate me from my vast mesh of internet sources.  I’m not even sure where the link came from anymore, but it was to a podcast titled, “Movie Organization Manifesto, Part 3” from Film Junk Podcast.  I had recently given into buying a Blu-ray player and started to buy a number of Blu-rays to replace my DVD collection, so I thought this would be perfect to give me ideas on organization.  I’d always been fascinated by collecting, and collections, and organizing collections, so this title easily drew me in.  While the fact it was Part 3 made me want to immediately find Part 1 and start from there, I decided I’d just try it out and go back to Part 1 if necessary.
“Movie Organization Manifesto, Part 3” is ostensibly just two guys talking about their Blu-ray collections.  However, these two guys take Blu-ray collecting to an elevated level, one that differentiates causal collectors from the truly savant collectors.  They begin not with Blu-rays themselves, that would be too easy, but the bookcases used to display the Blu-rays.  They are not just going to throw their collection in a box and go browse through it now and then.  They want the collection to be a work of art, displayed in their home, perfected to a degree that anyone passing by would admire.

Once the perfect bookcase is found, the next step is to decide what to put on it.  Mixing DVDs with Blu-rays is discussed and DVDs are completely abandoned, as the collection must be pure, Blu-rays only.  Having a random DVD stuck in between a shelf full of Blu-rays would be completely unacceptable.  Once the format for the collection is established, they discuss throughout the episode the packaging of Blu-rays, and what is acceptable to have displayed in the collection.  I take it the ideal would be every Blu-ray would be separately packaged in identical cases, all the same height and standard information on the spine.  That is the ideal, but that seems impossible given the various random packaging that studios release.

At the heart of the episode is the actual organization of the Blu-rays in the collection.  I gleam that in Parts 1 and 2 they have come to the conclusion the only way to organize a collection is alphabetically, as opposed to by genres or chronologically.  Thus, they discuss laying out the shelf alphabetically, what to do when letters cross shelves, whether to leave room for expansion, and other such minutia of organizing.  They even take listener questions about specific issues with alphabetical organization, such as where do movies like A-Team or X-Men go, or numbered movies.  Their obsessiveness would make even a librarian roll her eyes, but they want things perfect, and every movie must have its place.  A collection without strict rules fails, although they admit to the occasional relaxation of their rules.

Another aspect of collecting they discuss is obtaining their Blu-rays.  I also found this interesting, as they talk about crossing the Canadian border into the United States to get cheaper American Blu-rays at Target or Wal-Mart.  They also discuss buying online and returning things, and other methods of obtaining Blu-rays.  Like any savant collector, they have created a network of ways to obtain their goods, and developed numerous tricks and tactics.  This is the heart of collecting, actually obtaining the items of one’s collection, and they go into a good amount of detail on how they go about it.

The one missing aspect of the episode, and which I would find fascinating, is what they consider is the ideal collection, and how do they determine what they are going to collect.  They seem to be more in the mindset that they want every Blu-ray ever made, and that would be the ideal collection.  This is shown by the references to many, shall we say, less critically acclaimed movies in their collection, including a number they have never even watched.  So, if there is an overarching philosophy to what types of Blu-rays they collect, it wasn’t stated.  Maybe if I go back and listen to Parts 1 and 2 I will understand that aspect of their collections, otherwise I think a Part 4 is in order to explain the ‘ideal collection.’