How to write a professional film review

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How to write a professional film review

Post by GlitterBug » Mon Oct 14, 8:03 2013

I love watching films, but I also love playing with language and structure to sum up my feelings about it. There is no right way, but I do not want to stick to such a rigid structure and instead involve flexibility in which I go by the basis of a list of points. I study the emotional depth alongside what is needed, as there is a perception on what makes a good film with specifics being plot, character development and the fulfillment of purpose (horrors are supposed to scare, comedies need to make us laugh), but also how it contributes to our beliefs, ideas and well-being. It is a style I have been planning to use.

It sounds like I am not asking much, but for the basis and help in starting off to at least know where I am going will give me a chance to shape and guide my writing and adapt to a style I want. I hope that is clear.
Without control, without restraint, emotion is chaos.

- Jurgen, Equilibrium (2002)

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Re: How to write a professional film review

Post by Sonic# » Mon Oct 14, 15:34 2013

I'm not too familiar with writing professional film reviews. As a writing tutor though, I'd suggest three things that you can do to get started (and cheers if you do them already):
1. Write. Keep a journal, doodle book, or other space to work on your writing. Make a blog or website to record your encounters with films. Post here in Creativity. Maybe undertake a research project or two too, like comparing a recent film and one that came out a while ago, and the reviews associated with both. Make sure that people see and speak to these early attempts, preferably people who ask questions where you might need to explain an idea further, or to cheer you on when you make a great point. A lot of the people doing reviews that sound like what you're doing (Kotaku does these reviews some for video games) started by this kind of writing.
2. Read. Professional film reviews - I read them in the New York Times, on NPR, and in a few other places, but their interests and voices depend a lot on the other. As an exercise, I would develop a habit of reading these spaces when new movies come out, after having thought about what you would say. You could even reverse-outline a couple of them, to figure out how they tick structurally.
3. Figure out your audience. There's no one audience for film reviews. Who are you reviewing things for? To start with, you'll likely review things for yourself, but look for opportunities to communicate these interests to others, and not just people who agree with your view. (A side note - when traveling, I often review food in my journal. I review it for people who are particular about the use of condiments, somewhat price-conscious, and appreciative of using fewer ingredients to great effect. So I review them for myself, but by identifying these other interests I can also write for the benefit of others. So I don't just say, "I didn't like the ketchup," but try to explain how the presence of ketchup made the food less impressive for me.)

And reading about writing can't hurt. I'll think about authors to suggest.