If you have an entertainment website then you’re always looking for fresh, new, fun and interesting material to keep your readers coming back for more. Movie reviews are a great way to do that. People always want to know what someone else thinks about the movie they want to see and they will scour the web to look for these opinions. Now you could syndicate another site’s reviews, but why do that? You want your readers to be loyal to you and your site and honestly, they want to hear what you have to say and what you think. If you’re thinking you haven’t the foggiest idea on how to write fun, compelling movie reviews, then think again. I’m going to tell you all you need to know.
- Actively Watch the Movie – Yes, I recognize that movie watching is a passive activity. Watching a movie isn’t something you do, it is something that happens to you. However, if you want to write good reviews you have to learn to look at movies with a critical eye. This means you need to pay attention to everything and I mean Everything. Notice how the actors are placed in each shot, the setting, the camera angles, even the music. All of these elements play a role in the story that is trying to be told and are important to talk about if you want to write the compelling sort of reviews that your readers will stop by your site each week to read. .
- Take Copious Notes – No, I don’t expect you to sit in a theatre with pen and pad or laptop in hand. But I do expect you to take solid mental notes. Information such as the actor’s names or who the director was is easy to come across, but information like camera shots, or plot devices is not, so you need to train yourself not only to watch for that type of information but also to remember it.
- Summarize. Don’t Spoil. – This is important. Nothing is worse then reading a review that tells the whole movie from beginning to end and leaves nothing for you to see. People want your opinion, not for you to spoil the movie. A basic summation of the plot is all that is necessary. From there you can talk about whether or not the plot worked well or was the plot even a plot at all. Let the details of the film be revealed when your readers see the film, not when they read your review.
- Critical Analysis is Key – The difference between a review anyone can write and a review people will clamor to read is in how well you analyze the film. Think about those papers you had to write for lit class in college. The professor didn’t want you to just tell him what the book was about but wanted you to break down the themes in the book and how they related to the plot, the characters, etc. Well the same is true for a movie review. No one wants a summary of events or the plot. A good review will examine the themes or ideas the movie raises and talk about how well or not so well the movie executed those themes and ideas.
- Point Out the Pros and the Cons – No movie is perfect and rarely is any movie all bad, so take the time to talk about what the movies does well and what it does not so well.
- Be Original – For some folk it is two thumbs up, for others it is rotten tomatoes. Whatever you decide you want your rating system to be, be original. Try to find a hook that works for you. Just don’t do something that closely resembles someone else or you’ll just seem like a bad copy of the original.
Follow these steps and you’ll be writing the best reviews the web has to offer and your readers will constantly come back for more week in and week out. Happy writing.
© 2005 Tamika Johnson