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Creating Film Critic Circle?

New Film Critic Circle  

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On 6/3/2016 at 1:32 PM, kenmorefield said:

Just bumping this thread to see if people's interest level has changed in the intervening 18 months or so...

Since you're bumping it, do you see this as something different than the ecumenical jury from the last couple years?

 

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I had no specific agenda in mind. Just seeing which way the wind was blowing.

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Doing my bi-annual (or so) bump of this thread to see if interest has changed.

I had lunch with publicist at SXSW and we discussed how more and more sites are decreasing or doing away with movie "reviews" altogether. CT, for example, has pretty much eliminated movie reviews, though they still run occasional "trend pieces." I've been told that Crosswalk has done the same. Seems like the only ones doing movie reviews in that space are the content monitors (Plugged In, MovieGuide, Christian Spotlight) or individually run blogs. But it's not really possible for blogs to be anything approaching comprehensive.

Anyway, now that CT has shelved the weekly e-mail newsletter as well, it occurs to me that an FFCC type affiliation could have a weekly newsletter through MailChimp or whatever that ran short blurbs/recommendations of new releases or provided links/excerpts to member reviews at various blogs, Letterbox'd etc. That is, of course, assuming people are still writing movie reviews in various places all scattered to the wind...or is the review dead and we all just live in the age of the trend piece? 


Any thoughts?

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18 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

is the review dead and we all just live in the age of the trend piece? 

This is a question which deserves a much more detailed and thorough response, but I haven't the mental space for it now. There seems to be a polarizing evolution of the review format between the lengthy analytical "hot take" and "long take," and the star-rating with super-short blurb review/plot summary for Rotten Tomatoes purposes.

Regarding the creation of a film critic circle, I think it's something worth pursuing, especially as it may add legitimacy to the reviews that are being written by/for a religious audience, as well as continue the connections we've fostered within the A&F Ecumenical Jury each year. I'd certainly want to be a member of it. I think there's also something to be said for podcasting, although I don't have the knowledge or equipment to start one.

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I'm definitely interested and think it would be great to get something like that going. A mailing list that provided links to members' reviews written for their various platforms could work well. I think we'd probably want to tag team to make sure the majority of new releases got covered, but if we got enough people, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

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I'm interested. I did very little writing in 2017 because that was a bad year for me all-around, but this year I've forced myself to write occasional capsule reviews, just to keep my foot in the door (anything longer than a capsule would take too much time and effort, given that I'm basically not getting paid for these reviews) -- and I've written a few newspaper reviews as well (which still tend to have relatively small word-counts, in the 600-word range, so when I post the reviews to my blog they might seem briefer than a blog post could be, but oh well). I'm still a member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, so I wouldn't mind being a member of this proposed circle as well.

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So, I'm torn. 
On the one hand, a loose affiliation producing an e-mail newsletter shouldn't (theoretically) add too much work. 

On the other hand, it is work, and it looks like even corporately we are not producing content regularly. I average about two posts to 1More FIlm Blog a month, and they aren't typically new release reviews. Joel and Evan both have most recent content listed as 2017 lists. Peter updates pretty frequently but concentrates on niche market a bit more. 

Of course, it could be argued that having a project that wants reviews or ratings for new releases would prompt some people to write them, especially if it was the 100-200 blurbs that a newsletter invites. 

There is also the matter of building subscription lists, which takes time and effort. and the question of who owns the products of such a circle -- and if they are corporately owned, that probably means by-laws, elections, etc. 

I was looking for mechanisms that would allow quick and easy reporting rather than making one person go to everyone's site to look for new content. Has anyone used Slido? 

I put up a poll question at Slido.com . Simply go to that site and type in the reference number 9432. If you are interested, please try it. You can put in a couple sentences about a movie or a link to a piece you've written elsewhere. 
 

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20 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Joel and Evan both have most recent content listed as 2017 lists

I aim for one new release film review per week, if possible, the goal being 40-50 reviews published per year on Cinemayward.com. This doesn't include pop culture reviews I write for other places, such as Think Christian.

20 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Of course, it could be argued that having a project that wants reviews or ratings for new releases would prompt some people to write them, especially if it was the 100-200 blurbs that a newsletter invites. 

With CT's newsletter seemingly dead--Ted never responded to any of my questions about the newsletter--I'd definitely be up for writing 100-200 word reviews of any pop culture medium (film, TV, music, books). Still, one big question I'm wondering is how this type of email newsletter would differentiate itself and gain an audience without a large magazine/publication distribution. For better or worse, it seems to me that online content and reviews are distributed now more via social media (i.e. Twitter links/RTs and FB) rather than email newsletters or RSS feeds. At least this has been my own evolution in my online presence. Yet I think some sort of film critic circle or organization which connects Christian film critics would be beneficial, as I keep discovering and connecting with new Christian critics and writers all the time via Twitter, and it'd be great to have a way to either collaborate or share content with a wider audience.

Also, I sent a blurb from my review of A Wrinkle in Time via Slido, just to test how it works.

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So here is a sample template of a newsletter made using MailChimp from links given at Slido (I looked up Peter's using URL).

It took me about 20 minutes, which isn't much but is still an investment of time when something is monthly, weekly, bi-weekly or whatever. (Add to the writing, the time to set up Slido, downloading images, etc.)There are parts that could be changed/updated, such as the copyright and social media links at the bottom. 

https://mailchi.mp/3d0c9f6dbda6/faith-and-film-critics-circle-newsletter-prototype

I have a feeling like a mailing list/newsletter would be flexible to suit our needs. Slido also does ratings/polls, so we could just take a poll of how everyone feels about one movie, assuming people have all seen it. 

Obviously, if more people joined a circle this would be more work...more links or blurbs to sort through, though even the CT newsletter rarely had more than four or five in a week even if there were a greater number of people who contributed content occasionally. 

There is also the matter of how to build a newsletter subscription list. MailChimp allows you to create forms to add to web pages, but that would mean everyone putting it on their webpage...or making a Facebook or Twitter page, etc. And there is always the matter of who owns the subscription list, who decides which blurbs get run, etc. 

Thoughts? Does seeing the prototype make it seem more doable or not very? 

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I think template looks good, although make sure to include the link to 1More Film Blog.

If we want to start a newsletter like that, I'm happy to help in anyway that I can.

I think we'd need a few more people to make rating/polls worthwhile, and to be honest, I prefer short blurbs to simply a number score from a group of people, but I wouldn't be opposed to doing that either.

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