Special Issue #3: (Re)Introducing: Thirty, Flirty + Film! 📽️🎊🎉

Second verse, same as the first.

Welcome back to the new and improved Thirty, Flirty + Film!

We had initially planned to be back to you with new reviews today to kick off the meager hopes of 2021. But given what a week it’s been, we both agreed that it wouldn’t quite feel appropriate to act as if the world as we know it didn’t shift on its axis on Wednesday afternoon. We’re very lucky to still be living in a (very battered) democracy and we don’t want to diminish how close we came to that no longer being true.

We’re not going to pontificate about the ~state of the country~ because to be quite honest, we’re tired as hell. But we hope that each and every one of you is taking care of yourself and doing what you need to do in order to get through the next couple of weeks.

That said, we do have some announcements. Firstly: we’re on Substack now!

After eight months on Tiny Letter, we’ve decided that Substack is a better option for the way we’d like this newsletter to grow. If you’ve already subscribed to receive dispatches from us, you don’t have to do a thing—you’re still subscribed. And our previous issues will all remain online and available in our Tiny Letter archive for your perusal. We’ll slowly be migrating the back catalog over to this nascent little publication over time, but for now, we’d just like to look forward and keep it pushing.

Next week (and, if we’re being honest, over the next few weeks) you’ll likely see some changes in how this newsletter looks and possibly how it reaches you (only you can prevent your spam filter from sucking up our dispatches!). But aside from that, the bones of this project are the same: hot takes and cultural criticism in 30 minutes or less. And we do mean that literally.

Our hope is that the Substack world gives us a bit more room to flex our creative muscles and grow the reviews we deliver to your inboxes each week. Who knows, we might even get ambitious and write a little cultural criticism. Only time will tell, but we appreciate your willingness to stick it out with us.

In the meantime, thank you for continuing to subscribe to our little project. It has been such a refuge for us over the last few months, and it means a lot to have your attention when you could be spending time with so many other more pressing matters.

#TBT (In case you forgot what we’re doing here)

The point of this newsletter is still all about forcing ourselves to concretize our ideas in a limited timeframe and fight against the tendency to languish over the actual writing.

We were inspired by Matt Zoller Seitz's 30 Minutes On column over at RogerEbert.com. We've adapted the rules a bit, but the general idea is the same. Here are the basics for posterity so you can follow along:


  1. Each issue will have two essays on two different film or television shows*, loosely arranged by a weekly theme.

  2. All reviews will be written within a strict time constraint of 30 minutes. Free writing baby!

  3. Reviews can take any form and include any supplemental materials desired (links, gifs etc), as long as they are included within the allotted 30 minutes.

  4. No note-taking! You can look things up for reference while writing but no taking notes while watching the film.

  5. No issue will be written entirely by one author**.

*We know it's called "30 Flirty & Film" but the pun holds up and it's our newsletter so we'll do what we want! We're going to limit the amount of TV we post, so please bear with us if you're really in it for the Films™️.

**Lol we’ll see.

It's still likely that we'll add or relax rules as this project continues, but those will likely stay between us so that no one yells at us for fudging it. If nothing else, we still hope this project allows us to work through our Netflix queue.

It’s been a rough week, a rough few months, a rough year. Take care of yourselves and we’ll see you next week. In the interim, here’ a little ditty to lift your spirits.

Dithering on democracy and yelling about movies,
Zosha + Cate <3