Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How to be a Reviewer Series

How to Write a Movie Review
By Debbie Roome

Before watching a movie, most people seek out a review for more information. They want to find out if the movie or show is something that would interest them and suit their tastes.

Do Some Research
It is easier to do a good review if you do some research before watching the movie or performance. Here are some of the points to consider:
· Main actors
· Rating
· Genre
· Sequel/remake
· Based on a book
· Length
· Musical content
· Setting

Take Notes while Watching the Show
Jot down key points during the movie as well as noting scenes that you find particularly moving or well acted. These will help you write a convincing review when back at your desk.

Writing the Review
If writing a review for a specific publication, make sure you are familiar with their guidelines or study reviews they have printed in recent weeks. If guidelines are not available, here are some general principles to work from:
· Give some background information as mentioned earlier
· Write a summary of the storyline while not giving away the ending or any surprises
· Include a personal opinion of what you liked and disliked.
· Some publications ask reviewers to rate the movie on a scale of one to five.

Define the Audience
The tone and style of the review will depend on the audience you are writing for. Is it a teen publication, a woman’s magazine or a large newspaper? Gear your review appropriately.

Getting Started as a Movie Reviewer
A simple method is to contact a publication and offer them a review on a movie that’s starting in the next couple of weeks. If they agree, approach the theatre or cinema and say you are writing a review for this publication and ask for a complimentary ticket. Be sure to follow this up with a copy of your review once printed. Even if there is no payment, it will be good practise and will give you published clips.

Skills Needed for Writing Movie Reviews
Normally movies and stage shows come and go quickly so there is always pressure to work to tight deadlines. Good writing skills are a necessity as is the ability to organize time and resources well. A passion for entertainment is also important as watching movie after movie can become tedious, especially when they are not your personal choice.

The Downside of being a Movie Reviewer
As a Christian, there is a danger that you may get asked to watch x-rated movies and shows that are against your Christian principles. Personally, I would rather lose the work than compromise my beliefs but this is a personal choice. It is often easier to review on a freelance basis as it gives more flexibility.

Writing movie reviews can be fun. I went through a stage where I wrote reviews for a local newspaper. My pay was a double movie pass which I used to watch another movie ... and then review it. For those who are passionate about the big screen and theatre, writing reviews can be a rewarding way to make some cash.

Come back next Wednesday to learn about restaurant reviews.

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Visit her at Debbie Roome or read some of her work at Suite 101 , Take Root and Write and Faithwriters.

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