There are many openings for movie and theater reviews and some journalists make a living from this line of work. From a simple school production to a Broadway musical, reviews are always needed. Read on to learn how to write interesting reviews.
Research the Film
Good reviews start with sound background knowledge. Here are some of the points to research before watching the movie or show:
- Sequel or remake
- Based on a book or play
- Musical score
Take Notes During the Movie
Jot down key points while watching the movie as well as noting scenes that are moving or well acted. How did the emotion come across? Was the lighting and music good? These facts will help in writing a quality review later.
Writing the Film Review
If writing a review for a specific magazine, newspaper or website, look up their guidelines or study recent reviews they have published. If guidelines are not available, here are some general principles to work from:
- Start with an interesting hook or quotation
- Lay a foundation of facts
- Summarize the storyline while not disclosing the ending or any surprises
- Include a personal opinion of what was good, bad and excellent and why
- Some publications ask reviewers to rate the movie on a scale of one to five
Writing for an Audience
Is the review for a teen publication, a woman’s magazine or a large newspaper? Gear the language and style accordingly.
Skills Required for Writing Movie Reviews
Movies and stage shows come and go in a matter of weeks so there is pressure to work to tight deadlines. Good writing skills and the ability to organize time and resources well are essential. A passion for entertainment is also important as watching movies can become tedious, especially when they are not personal favourites.
Markets for Movie Reviewing
Most newspapers and many magazines carry reviews. A simple method is to contact a publication and offer them a review on an upcoming movie. If they agree, approach the theatre or cinema and ask for a complimentary ticket as a reviewer. Be sure to follow this up with a copy of the review once printed. Even if there is no payment, it will be good practise and will provide published clips for future reference.
Writing movie reviews can be a rewarding way to earn a living or an enjoyable sideline for a journalist. For those passionate about the big screen and theatre, it’s a job made to measure. With persistence and perseverance, most writers will find an outlet for their work.