You know how sometimes bad things turn to good when you look at them in perspective of time? Well, that’s what happened to me when I decided to commit to writing a weekly movie review in 2020.
It all started when I lost any motivation to write and went into the 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 arena”… I guess many of you have gone down that road.
The question is – How do we get out of that non-supportive thoughts, that was my first lesson
Nothing Beats Commitment
Though the word commitment is one not many people like, I’ve found out that committing to yourself to do something and then announcing it on the wide-world-web helped me the most in doing the stuff that I was dreading to do.
The fear of losing face, disappointing those people that were cheering for me, disappointing myself and worse of all giving up 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, it didn’t matter 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 in writing more than just movie reviews. That “little” ego of mine was raising its head again and saying “If that movie was produced, I could surly make something just as good as that or even better,” I just need to sit and write.
Once the ball was rolling the next question was “How the hell am I supposed to write something that would be both entertaining and educational”? And here came the second lesson.
Never Compromise on Your Opinion
Each of us has his or her taste about what type of movies we like and dislike. But when it comes to writing a review you want to go beyond your personal taste. Nevertheless, what would make your review stand out will be your honesty about it.
There were several movies that 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.
Next lesson was all about being a professional. Writing movie reviews can help hone your ability to think critically and watch movies with a response that goes deeper than “that movie was awesome!” and the lesson is:
Do Your Research and Ask the Right Questions
As I wrote above we all have our likes and disliked, but when it comes to reviews we need to turn it down and check it through some objective criteria, which are the elements of the craft of writing movie scripts and directing. This is the part where most of us struggle, to back up our opinion with valid arguments. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when reviewing the movie:
* 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?
* Is there any character development,
* Are dialogues only serving to advance the plot
* Did the actors play their parts well?
* Did the special effects feel natural?
* Did the movie tie all its loose ends?
* Are there any plot holes?
* Did all the characters play a relevant part?
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.
The next lesson was an unexpected one. It had to do with how I watch movies. I think I’ll never watch movies in the same way after these this year. What I’ve learned is:
It’s the Small Stuff that Makes the Difference
I came to realize 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. 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 up only in the slightest shots.
Catching that is what makes the difference in making a movie a great one or a flop.
The last lesson was probably the hardest one, which was
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.
Realizing that no matter how hard I will try to give reasonable explanation for my decisions and my opinion some people would always fight it and have contra opinions. It’s time for me to let go of being RIGHT and try and convince them and just be happy with what I’m doing.
Would love to hear in the comment box below what would you learn from such an experience?