Tips for Film Critics: Part Two / by Ewan Gleadlow

Have you read Part One? Check that out here!


KEEP TRACK OF WHAT YOU HAVE REVIEWED 

For me, keeping track of which films I have reviewed is absolutely integral. Not just to show how many films I have reviewed and how I felt about them, but to create a timeline to find out what films I need to review next. 

Sometimes I may review a film and it will have a sequel which, for whatever reason, I have not reviewed yet. As a self-proclaimed Completionist, it would be a priority for me to review an entire franchise over random, sporadic picks. 

When it comes to tracking tools, I like Letterboxd. It is practical, easy to use, and solely dedicated to film. You can share your reviews, comment on other reviews, and log every movie you have seen with a star rating, all in one place. Not to mention the friends and followers you can make through the site - it is a very welcoming place. 

HAVE AN OPINION 

That seems like pretty vague advice, doesn’t it? Really what I am saying is: do not be afraid to go head to head with the critical consensus. 

Having your own platform is fantastic. It allows for a new opinion to break the mould of what is expected. If you feel a film is truly awful or fantastic, it is your right to tell us why. Reviews like this are needed to challenge the hegemonic reading of a film. 

Contemporary reviews are integral; both on modern films and classics too. And having your own unique opinion is what makes your writing interesting. Do not be afraid or persuaded to conform to an opinion that has already been set out by a majority. 

If you genuinely feel that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) is a great film like I do, do not be afraid to tell your audience that. Audiences appreciate honesty over conformity. 

ALWAYS WATCH THE SEQUEL 

 I hate the Rush Hour films, but I have seen all three of them. That is because I think it is integral that you watch the sequel. 

Whether the sequel changes your perception of the original film or not, is entirely dependent on the film, although sometimes the follow up is better than the foundation. Either way, watching the sequel can help you see the bigger picture, and the overall goal intended by the director or writer may not be entirely clear until you have seen the whole series. 

Looking for some film recommendations? Check out the link at the bottom of this article! 

REVIEW THE CLASSICS 

Sometimes it is not financially or physically possible to write reviews for the newest films. Although there are ways around this, most of them are illegal to various degrees, and so it is best to stick to reviewing the classics. 

There will always be an audience for reviews of older films. There is no harm in going back and reviewing classics starring Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Marilyn Monroe, and there is always somebody out there wanting to an updated review of Casablanca (1942), Citizen Kane (1941) or even Jaws (1975). The possibilities for what to review are endless. 

What I will say though, if you are reviewing to reach an audience and to establish yourself as a trusted, critical voice, be sure to broaden your watching habits, but try not to go too niche for considerable periods of time. Much like sticking to one genre*, this may not be something that is marketable to a larger audience. 

UTILISE SOCIAL MEDIA 

The most help you will ever receive is from the wonder that is social media. 

For example, setting up a group on Facebook and inviting your friends to join is a great way of advertising your writing. Asking your friends to invite their friends, and so on and so on, is something that genuinely works rather well. 

Twitter is also great. Retweeting has been the saving grace of some of my articles, especially if your article is retweeted by cast and crew. So, don’t forget to tag them! 


To see what films Ewan recommends every film critic watches, check out this post! This piece was written by Ewan Gleadlow - you can find out more about Ewan via their Twitter and Wordpress site, Cult Following