Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Film Critic on YouTube

This is the first blog post I've had time to write in a few weeks.  There are a couple reasons for this.  The first is that, starting in May, I want to be able to have new content available to publish on a near daily basis (minus weekends), and I've decided the best way to achieve that goal is to write a series of articles that are not time sensitive so that I can have a buffer ready when the month starts.  Wouldn't it be nice if, in addition to the weekend reviews of the new movies, I can have a review of an archive movie every day?  Or at the very least an article that will be the basis of a weekly series?  At the very least I'd like to get the monthly "Great Directors" feature back on track (I love Ang Lee, but he's hogged my home page far too long).  The other reason is because I've decided to get serious about making videos on YouTube.  So far they've been, well...

...let's just say I've still got a long way to go.  The truth is, I'm a much better writer than a video performer.  I've always been introverted and even when I had dreams of actually making movies it was as a director or screenwriter.  The only time I've ever made videos are on occasion when I had something I really wanted to rant about, and even then the rant had to be heavily edited because I would just pause and take too many deep breaths.  So why am I focusing some of my efforts on YouTube?  Well, partly because the few videos I do have uploaded bring in pretty good money, and if I had more there'd potentially be a bigger financial payoff.  The other reason is that video reviews have been a force in this business since "Siskel & Ebert" was popular, and in some ways, it's the only reason there still IS a review industry!

Yeah, Rotten Tomatoes might calculate written reviews and there is no doubt that written reviews tend to be more insightful and thoughtful, but people are watching more videos than ever before.  Mobile devices and video game systems with streaming capabilities have more or less given people access to tons of video reviews with quirky critic "personalities" and sound byte blurbs.  The reviews on these videos are even more animated than any writer could be (and they have to be, since many of their reviews are going to be viewed on six inch screens).  It might not be real film criticism (though Chris Stuckman and Doug Walker are exceptions to the rule), but it sure is entertaining.  To ignore it would be to ignore what has been the crux of the business for the past forty years.

What happens if, like me, you aren't much of a video editor?  Well, much like writing a review, there isn't a right or wrong style in composing your review, just an effective one.  So long as the argument is expressed in a way that is well thought out and spoken clearly out it should work.  While the above video review I did might be weak, I'm much more happy with a recent editorial rant I did...

...which I feel works much better despite there being even less editing involved.  Chances are because I was more passionate about making that video, it came out better than a couple other videos that felt forced.  I'm writing this post as much for me as for people who are interested in getting involved in this business, but video content can't be ignored.  To ignore it would be to ignore a huge chunk of the market this market is built on.  Video reviews are NEVER going to replace written reviews, and in many ways we critics would prefer you read our pieces than watch our videos!  Also, while I will work on my video reviews, I think I'll be focusing on making videos that are poor retreads of my written stuff.  Focusing on rants and cool stuff commentary seems more logical.  So here's to my YouTube career: Hopefully it won't be TOO embarrassing!

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