As the only writer for the movie/TV review blog ‘How Have you not seen this’ for over 3 years now, I have picked up a few tips on writing reviews and what works best for me. Nevertheless, I do not get paid to write these reviews and everything is written in my spare time, as one of my main hobbies. Even though I work in the media industry, I am not a journalist, as anyone who has a quick glance at my website can tell. So basically… don’t take my word as gospel. Without further ado, here are my top tips on writing movie reviews.
Tone of voice/ point of view:
- Have a consistent tone of voice. Your readers should be able to identify that the blog is written by you so the tone you use should be consistent throughout every post. This can be anything from chatty to serious, rude to light-hearted. I have chosen the colloquial approach, like I am having a chat with my readers about a film.
- Try to encourage conversation, you are stating the pros and cons of a film or show and people will either agree or disagree with your point of view. Try to provide them a way to really engage with what you have written, to encourage a fan following. This can be through a comment section or links to your social media.
- Have a clear point of view on what you are reviewing and work from there. Understand what angle you are writing from. Did you love it? Did you hate it? Even though you may have a strong opinion on if the film was good or not, try to include arguments from both side, to avoid being too biased and give a professional review.
- Start by splitting your review into sections. Your reviews should have a clear structure. Try to then use this structure within all of your reviews. This can include Introduction, plot, trailer and then main review. The main reviews should then split into additional sections. This can include plot, music, actors etc. Try to focus on one point at a time and weigh up the pros and cons of that feature within the film. For example, why the music was good and why the music was bad.
- Including a for and against. You are reviewing a film so people want to know what was good about it and what was bad. You don’t need to have a point for every feature you discuss but try to balance it out.
- Include content your readers will be interested in. Try to post about what your readers are particularly interested in. My blog, for example, is aimed at movie buffs who understand film terminology and will want to know about features, such as camera techniques and use of sound and plot development. These usually have a key interest in recently released or ongoing films/ TV shows. Therefore, my content mainly focuses on these elements, meeting the needs of my audience.
- Spelling and Grammar. I know that when it comes to spelling and grammar, I am awful. I use to be much worse but writing this blog has actually improved my writing skills. When writing anything online, it is common knowledge that people on the internet will pick up on bad spelling and grammar so the idea is not to give them this material. Try to proof read everything you post beforehand and use spell check!
- Conclude your review. Have a quick summary to give your audience your overall opinion on the film. Should they watch it? What would you rate it out of 10?
- Spoiler warnings. Some people may have not seen what you are reviewing so either, post spoiler warnings or try to be as spoiler free as possible.
- Have a consistent and professional layout. You want to look professional so ensure everything is neat before posting. It is a good idea to preview the blog before postings, to ensure everything is how it should be.
- Be visual. You are showcasing a movie or TV show so include still and clips (be careful of copyright).
- Let people know where the important information is. If you have split your reviews into section, then include headings or bold text. Try to use Italics for film titles etc.
- Know what you are talking about. Watch the film or show recently. In addition, try to make a few notes during or after so you know the points you want to include.
- Research the film a little. Find out who plays who, the director and the release date. These are good bits of information to include. You could also release any news and behind the scenes knowledge to try and backup your arguments. You want to come across as knowledgeable on the subject.
- Try to post regularly. Try to post on a schedule and stick to it. This keeps readers happy and will motivate you, if you have a deadline. As writing reviews is a hobby for me and I have a very busy work life, I try to post once a week, on Mondays or Tuesdays. However, find a schedule that works for you.
- Have fun. Post about a film or show that you are interested in.