This page is meant to help you get a good sense of what this publication is and how it works. For convenience, I’ve structured it as a kind-of extended Q&A or FAQ article. Hopefully, it will answer whatever questions you may have.

About me

Who are you?

My name is Mikhail Skoptsov.

I consider myself a media scholar, as well as a film and television critic. I received a B.A. in Cinema Studies from New York University (2010), an M.A. in Film Studies from the University of Southern California (2012), as well as a PHD in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University (2020). A personal essay I wrote here delves into how and why I made the decision to go into film studies.

You can find me on Twitter here.

What’s your writing experience?

My published academic works include a book chapter in Bringing History to Life Through Film: The Art of Cinematic Storytelling (2013), and articles in the online international journal Series (2015) and Contexts (Spring 2018), the official annual publication of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.

A forthcoming book chapter will appear in The Hobbit in Film and Fiction: Essays on Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy (2021-2022). As a film critic, I’ve published film reviews in the Washington Square News and The Daily Trojan newspapers, as well as on Classic-Horror.com. Since January 2021, I have been consistently writing on Medium. One of my best-known articles there concerns the HBO Max release of Tom and Jerry.

About the Publication

What is Textual Variations?

My new Substack publication. I’ve chosen the title primarily for two reasons. 

First of all, this publication will cover a variety of subjects pertaining to different media, with a strong emphasis on film and television, as well as their respective industries. Among other things, you will find reviews, listicles, comparative analyses,  in-depth essays on and readings of specific texts.

Second, it will heavily focus on examining how and why audiovisual media texts, such as films and television episodes, transform over time, resulting in their circulation in multiple versions. (For instance, a director can revise a theatrical film, allowing audiences to view a new “director’s cut” of it on home video.)

I intend to provide readers with unique and insightful content on a topic that, in my opinion, continues to be largely under-examined by media critics and scholars.

Who is this publication for?

My work will be informative and relevant, yet also interesting and accessible. So, you won’t need a film degree to understand what I’m writing about.

Whether you’re an aspiring storyteller, a media studies student hoping to learn more about film revision practices, a cinephile looking for insightful analysis of certain works, or just a casual viewer interested in finding good things to watch in theaters or on TV, you should find something here to your liking.

Does it cost anything to subscribe?

No, nothing at all. In the future, I plan on introducing premium subscription options, at which point some new articles will become available for paying subscribers only. However, new free articles will continue to be posted.

What kind of content will I get?

  • Quality articles, essays, reviews, and other observations on pop culture and the media industries will compose the majority of my content.

  • I’ll attempt to release around 5-6 posts per month.

Will you continue writing original content on Medium in addition to Substack?

Yes, I am not abandoning Medium. But I am putting Substack first. I now like to think of Medium as predominantly a support platform that I will use to help promote and grow my Substack publication.

Join Textual Variations today!

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Subscribe to Textual Variations

Subscribe to learn why so many movies exist in multiple versions, and what this means for film history and culture. Also, some quality criticism.


Critic and scholar of film, television, and new media. Author of https://textualvariations.substack.com/