All About Reviews
Movie reviews: you can’t move for them online. So why on earth would I write fifty of the damn things? That’s right! FIFTY!
It all started when I lost any motivation to write. I fell into a downward spiral of “I’m not a good writer… I wasn’t meant to write… it’s not for me… I’ll NEVER succeed in this industry”… I guess many of you have gone down that road, too.
But how do we get out of those non-supportive thoughts?? We take ACTION. For me, I decided it was time to see how others did what I want to do. To do this, I committed to writing 50 movie reviews in 50 days. Here’s what I learned … enjoy!
LESSON 1: Do Your Research and Ask the Right Questions
Anyone can write how they liked or disliked a movie online (and they do!) … But we’re writers, so to learn from movies, we need to be able to CRITIQUE them. But what does this mean?
As writers, we need to through some objective criteria to do with the craft of writing and filmmaking. This is the part where most of us struggle, falling back solely on opinions instead. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when reviewing the movie:
- What are the character role functions and motivations?
- Does dialogue reveal character, or only serve to advance the plot?
- How visual is the movie? What does it add to the story world, characters and plot?
- Does the plot tie up all its loose ends?
- Are there any plot holes? (Remember what a plot hole really is!)
- If it’s an adaptation – how well does it represent the source material?
- What was changed and what was kept?
- What were the consequences of these decisions?
- Do the characters ‘change’? If not, why not?
This list can go on, and on. There’s so much you can talk about when reviewing movies, and you can get as technical as you want. If you have a deep understanding of movie direction, you can comment on the shots and style the director chose. A good rule is to stick with elements you know you’d be able to explain in a debate.
LESSON 2: Never Compromise on Your Opinion
Each of us has his or her taste about the type of movies we like and dislike. That’s fine. But when it comes to writing reviews, you need to go beyond your personal taste. Nevertheless, what will make your review stand out will be your honesty about it.
In my 50 days of writing reviews, I discovered there were several movies I loved but other critics tore them to shreds. Yet when I looked for the reasons they dislike the movie I could see they fall into their own personal taste and had nothing to backup their opinion. I wasn’t willing to compromise my own truth for popularity and what “everyone else liked or disliked”. This was a great lesson in sticking to my own values and trusting myself.
LESSON 3: It’s the Small Stuff that Makes the Difference
I came to realise that a movie is such a mesmerising experience (even when it’s not a good one). We miss many elements when we first watch a movie.
In the course of my 50 days, I’ve learned to watch a movie twice and sometimes three times in order to catch all the elements and the hidden messages that might be showing only in the slightest shots. Catching these tiny details can make all the difference in understanding a story’s success (or not!) in getting its message across.
LESSON 4: Nothing Beats Commitment
The C word is one not many people like! But I’ve found out that committing to my 50 reviews and announcing it in the Bang2writers Facebook group really helped me knuckle down. The fear of losing face; of disappointing those people that were cheering for me; of disappointing myself was a great motivation to put my ass on that bloody chair and type that keyboard.
It didn’t matter if I had inspiration or didn’t … Or if I had a lot to say about that specific movie or not … I was typing and I was writing!
That started the ball rolling and got me excited about writing again. That “little” ego of mine was raising its head again! After all, if THAT movie was produced, I could surely make something just as good as that or even better?? I just need to sit and write!
LESSON 5: You Can’t Satisfy Everyone All the Time
You might think that by the ripe age of 60 I should get used to this one, but somehow it finally landed on me while doing this challenge.
Realising that no matter how hard I try in my reviews, some people will disagree and have contrasting opinions. It’s time for me to let go of being RIGHT and just be happy with what I’m doing.
This is also a powerful reminder as a writer. I can put my heart and soul into a project, but there will always be haters. That’s okay. As long as I have worked on my craft, I know my writing will be a success, no matter how it’s received. MORE: 8 Steps To Analyse A Successful Story
BIO: Vered Neta is a proof that you’re never too old to start something new. She says she already had three past lives in this lifetime. After 28 years of being a trainer and working with over 150,000 people all over the world, she started a new career as a screenwriter, author and script reader. She wrote 2 screenplays and a musical. These days she is working on a documentary and a novel based on one of her screenplays and have started a YouTube TV program called #GoodLifeRedefined. You can find more on website www.veredneta.com.