Artbiz with Matty Budrewicz

Sep 28, 2016   //   by admin   //   artbiz, News  //  No Comments


Artbiz explores that middle ground between “art” and “business”. How genuinely creative people manage (or don’t manage) to carve out a living doing what they love. How they juggle dayjobs, families, real life, relationships, paying bills and doing their craft/art.

I first noticed Matty Budrewicz’s work because it stuck out a mile from the copy/paste hatchet jobs that genre film journalism had become. Matty wrote eloquently and in depth about films that even I, as a huge horror nerd with a high borredom tolerance, wouldn’t watch. But his passion for these films shone through and made me re-examine films I’d sworn off for life. I don’t always agree with the films he champions but I will read anything he writes due to the quality of his work. As genre fans we’re lucky to have him.

Check his work out over at: Zombie Hamster!

Q1. First can you introduce yourself? Who are you? Do you have dependents? Do you have a mortgage? Are you the sole income earner?

My name is Matty Budrewicz and I’m a Student Support Leader by day, and a horror journalist/film critic by night. I’ve got a partner and a three-and-a-half year-old kid and – sometime soon – we’d like to have another one. My Mrs. is in full-time employment and, well, we do OK. But if you want to pay me for this thing, James, I wouldn’t say no!

Q2. What do you do creatively? How long have you been doing it?

I write about B-movies, horror films, and all kinds of wacky genre-based cinema stuff over at a website that I consider myself extremely lucky to be a part of, Zombie Hamster dot com. I’ve been at ZH officially about eighteen months now, after the site’s boss, the great Colin McCracken, very kindly gave myself and my writing partner, Dave Wain, the keys to the editorial kingdom. Prior to that, I’d done a few bits online for the excellent Delirium Magazine, and a couple of other shitty places who were more interested in schmoozing PR companies and arse-kissing their way around the movie industry than doing what I really wanted to do, which was analysing and talking about films. All in all, I think I’ve been writing about movies “properly” (as in, not just spouting off on my old Live Journal or something) for about three years now.

14389743_10157755720885643_1628627410_nQ3. If you have one, what’s your day job? How long have had you that?

I work in a secondary school during the day as a Student Support Leader. It’s pastoral and behaviour-based stuff; kick and cuddle as I like to call it. I’ve worked there for just under two years now and I’ve had this post most of the last academic year. It’s an amazing job and incredibly rewarding, and as stressful as it can be, I love it. I love the kids in my year group – even the really difficult and naughty ones! – and the people I work with are second to none. It’s addictive too; like, even if something else did come up movie writing-wise, I don’t think I could ever give it up completely, you know?

Q4. What are the benefits of your day job?

Well, I’ve just had six blissful weeks off for summer, and I’ve got a week off for Halloween coming up because of the October half term, and then I’ll have two weeks free over Christmas… So all that term time stuff is certainly nice! Likewise with the hours. It fits very, very nicely around my Zombie Hamster stuff ‘cos I’m always home by six and off every weekend. And, of course, the pay is handy as well. While I don’t think the job will ever make me rich, it’s a guaranteed source of income.

Q5. What are the drawbacks of your day job?

Honestly? There’s probably none, really. Like I said, it genuinely does fit around all the Zombie Hamster stuff. However, if I had to nit-pick, it’s how dog tired I sometimes am if it’s been a particularly heavy day. Sometimes, I’ll find myself falling asleep about eight o’clock, ten minutes into a movie that I’m supposed to be reviewing or as I’m tapping away at the keyboard about some straight-to-video flick I’m meant to be writing a retrospective on. It’s pretty common for me to doze off midway through something and then wake up a few hours later, covered in drool, laptop still on or back to a DVD or Blu-ray looping on its menu screen. Watching and writing are such an important part of my day that it gets a little frustrating, especially when such impromptu bursts of narcolepsy happen two or three evenings on the bounce.

Q6. Your art/craft is it a hobby/ a side gig/ your dream job/ your full time job?

I’ve never really thought about it, to be honest. Zombie Hamster doesn’t pay, but I’m not out of pocket doing it either, if that makes sense? I know writing about movies is something I have to do, though. I know that much. It’s an urge and an obsession, and I’ve always done it – be it through old MySpace bulletins or Live Journal or whatever. It’s part of who I am and I certainly don’t see it as a separate thing; even though I’m a little more guarded about it now than I used to be, just in case one of my students or a particularly prudish parent or school higher-up finds out about it. I mean, there’s been a few things I’ve wrote that you could probably consider a little risque, and I sure as hell don’t want to get in trouble because a kid in my year group has stumbled across a piece I wrote about some Jim Wynorski T&A flick and now thinks I’m some deranged pervert. Because as daft as it sounds, stuff like that could potentially happen.


Q7. How much of what you do creatively is dictated by commercial consideration?

Oh, none at all.I gave up chasing that train a long, long time ago! Screeners, press passes, freebies; I care not for any of that horse-pap! I’m lucky because the guys I work with, Dave and Colin, feel exactly the same too: at Zombie Hamster we write about the movies we want to write about, whether it’s popular or not. It’s a wonderful and immensely freeing attitude, and one that – I think anyway – gives us a bit more a punk-y edge; a sort of DIY kinda thing, like an old zine. Besides, I don’t think my taste particularly lends itself to the mainstream – or at least that’s how it felt when I used to do bits and bobs for Scream Magazine. And that was a miserable experience, let me tell you. I just found myself becoming homogenised, as if I didn’t have a voice anymore. Awful. Sure, it might have been good for my career progression sticking with those guys but, bloody hell, did my daily dalliances with them suck the joy out of genre-writing for a while.

Q8. Have you turned down commissions? If so, why?

So far, Dave and I have had two and we’ve took them, collaboratively. One is for a book that’s coming out next year. We contributed three chapters to that but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say anything else about it yet so I’ll leave it at that. Seriously, there’s proper legal stuff involved and I don’t fancy having my face sued off! And just recently we’ve started putting together a lil’ something-something for an upcoming Blu-ray release from 88 Films. I’m really excited about that but, again, I don’t think I’m allowed to say too much about it yet, other than it’s going to be the best 2,000 words that you’re ever going to read about this criminally neglected, ’80s horror gem.

14383505_10157755722825643_1708225781_nQ9. Do you have a long term plan? A series of short term plans? Plans, never heard of them?!

I’ve got a few very – VERY – loose ideas but nothing concrete. Keep noodling away with Zombie Hamster. More liner notes, moderate an audio commentary or two; that kind of thing. More books. Actually, Dave and I are currently working on a book of our own called ‘Schlock & Awe’, which is an expansion of a series we’ve been running on Zombie Hamster all about ’90s straight-to-video movies. We’re mapping it out and gathering interviews and stuff at the minute, but it’s already ballooned in size so our original plan of 2018 is probably a little off! We’ve also got a few other book ideas about a few specific filmmakers that we’re currently gathering material for but, again, that won’t be for a while, purely because of the insane scope of each one. We want them to be definitive, you know? The kind of books that would be mentioned alongside Stephen Thrower’s ‘Nightmare USA’ and Kim Newman’s ‘Nightmare Movies’!

Q10. What do you think of your “industry”?

Ha – what a question! I think now, with a few years experience under my belt, I’m more amused by it than anything. It’s a ridiculous, surreal place, full of arse-kissers, backstabbers, and more wobble-gobs than you can slap around the chops with a nail-covered two-by-four. But those sort of people you can identify pretty quickly, and I credit my exposure to such unforgivable cretins in the first place as what motivates me in keeping Zombie Hamster as fiercely independent and on-the-fringe as possible.

Q11. Is there anyone out there that you aspire to be like? Why?

I’ve got influences, for sure, but no-one who I want to actively copy. Why be like someone else? Why dance to someone else’s beat when you can bash the whole damn drum kit? But in terms of the other journos and critics who inspired me, I’d say Kim Newman, Mark Kermode, and – at the risk of provoking every troll in existence – Calum Waddell. Seriously, Waddell gets a lot of flak these days but, when I was in college, devouring Shivers Magazine and endlessly re-watching Tobe Hooper’s remake of the Toolbox Murders, his stuff really spoke to me.


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