Get ready for HE:(plus), a parallel paywall site that will augment Hollywood Elsewhere with extra material and new columns and whatnot. Seriously, no foolin’ — HE Plus will double the dramaquirk-factorangst excitement. Not for me, of course, but hopefully HE readers. It’ll launch sometime in April, certainly before May 1st. I think.

I’m jazzed for the usual starting-a-new-enterprise reasons — it’ll be “fun”, a creative challenge, a dog bark, a splash, an attention-grabber. It’ll be $4.99 mønthly or $49 annually. I could charge less, I suppose, but that would be embarassing. The new material will easily be worth a lousy $1.25 per week…c’mon.

Classic Hollywood Elsewhere isn’t changing or downsizing or anything like that. Everything will stay exactly the same, and for free as always. I’ll continue to bang out four or five riffs, reviews and stories per day, like I’ve been doing since August ’04.

But I’ll also post two fresh articles on HE:(plus) each day plus generate material for some new columns on some kind of biweekly, haphazard, flying-fuck-at-a-rolling-donut basis.

I’m contemplating a biographical column called MISERABLE WANDERER Over Half The Globe (i.e., all the stuff I’d write about if I were to sit down and write a proper autobiography, which of course I’ll never do because of HE🙁plus). A Bluray/streaming column called DYING ART FORM. A relationship column called YOU BROKE MY HEART, a kind of bluesy, world-weary, suburban angst-meets-Miss Lonelyhearts type deal. And TALK’S CHEAP, a forum for HE podcasts. Maybe I’ll implement all of these or junk half of them or whatever. I’ll play it by ear as I go along.

HE’s own Jordan Ruimy will generate a new column, which we’ve tentatively agreed will be titled RUIMY WITH A VIEW. Partly reviews, partly trends or commentary, partly undisciplined musings and incomplete notions…whatever pops out.

A Manhattan-based guy is thinking about tapping out an anonymous smartass-potshot column.

HE’s Svetlana Cvetko has suggested a section that would throw a spotlight on the most promising Xfactor female directors currently pitching something or prepping a feature or currently showing a short on the festival circuit or whatever. (I know I’m supposed to avoid “female” but “woman” isn’t an adjective.)

And finally I’m thinking about a new Reddit-like, scattershot column called (a) IL FORO ROMANO or (b) HOLLYWOOD WELTSCHMERZ or maybe something else. It’ll be a kind of HE community bulletin board thing, and will be partly written or “fed” by any trusted friend and/or semi-professional acquaintance of Hollywood Elsewhere who has anything to say. I’ll allow these trustees to post directly without my input. They can post any damn thing as long as it’s not absurd or vulgar or pro-Trumpy or rancid or old-farty, and is reasonably well composed. If they spill ketchup on the tablecloth, they’ll be terminated…simple as that. Maybe I’ll also steal from Movie City News and run a cluster of links to current news reviews & trend stories and invite comment to same.

I’ll also be running links to friends-of-Hollywood Elsewhere sites like Sasha Stone‘s Awards Daily, Richard Rushfield‘s The Ankler, Jeff Sneider‘s The Tracking Board and perhaps others.

I should probably be honest and admit that I’ve created HE:(plus) out of that mother of invention called necessity. It’s an essential component if I want to keep building the site and pushing back against the lions, tigers and bears of this realm and maintaining my basic HE workstyle/lifestyle. Nobody’s getting rich here, but this is the best way I know to keep the engine well-oiled and filled with gas and blah blah.

In other words, HE:(plus) is a response to financial pressure caused by increasingly voracious competition from the big award-season ad-revenue consumers, principally Penske Media (Deadline, Variety, Indiewire, Gold Derby), The Hollywood Reporter, TheWrap, Vulture, N.Y. Times and a few others.

Award-season ad revenue is finite, and over the last two or three years the big gobble guys have muscled their way into the banquet room like the Al Capone mob. They’ve been throwing their weight around and sucking up the oxygen and indirectly eating me (and others I could mention) alive, no lie.

Plus the new whiz-kid agency buyers are, like their forebears of a decade ago, interested only in numbers and page-views, and not in HE’s sui generis cosmology as well as its longtime award-season selling point — not just numbers but the quality of industry eyeballs — the coolest directors, producers, screenwriters, Academy members, agency guys, ubers, early adopters, grumpy know-it-alls, etc.

Hollywood Elsewhere has had a place at the table for almost 14 years now. We have the same friends and allies as everyone else (last year’s buyers included Fox Searchlight, big Fox, Amazon, Netflix, Roadside, CBS Films, Lionsgate, Paramount, A24, Sony Classics, Focus Features, Universal) but if it weren’t for the support of certain award-season strategists and certain top-rank directors and producers who’ve pushed for HE buys out of the goodness and advocacy of their hearts, things would be even rougher. It’s brutal out there.

Columnist friend: “This is good. I would keep hitting hard on the voracious corps trying to vacuum up every penny in the sector and drive all competitors out. Because (a) it’s true, and (b) it makes people feel invested in this. “

I’ve always found life demanding. Nobody owes anyone a living. You have to struggle and hustle and dig deep and put in 14-hour days. There’s no other way. Bop ’till you drop. So this is it. All for one and one for all.

Will HE:(plus) be a movable feast? Will I add or drop stuff at the drop of a hat? Yeah, but right now what I’ve dreamt up feels like a plan. What’s life without a little intrigue? A friend says I should take the entirety of Hollywood Elsewhere behind a paywall but that would kill most of my traffic, at least in the short run. Starting a parallel paywall site feels like a more sensible, less radical approach.