I decided to cover this subject on my essay since
“film” in general as always been a subject that not only interests me, but also
interests masses of film fans. Because films always generates discussions and
fuels the passion of people and since film is art, it’s ALWAYS subjective and
being of that nature, there’s no right or wrong, there’s no winners or losers,
just people with a common passion, sharing with each other, and making this art
thrive and looking for the best, and unfortunately sometimes worst, in it.
I’ll be commenting on YouTube, or rather, the “Movie Review” and the “Reviewers” on
YouTube, people who took their passion and knowledge and understanding of film
and took it to the next level. There have always been critics in newspapers and
magazines and even on radio, but these are the people that I can honestly say
started a “movement” online, reaching millions of other people who love film
and the art itself and the entertainment factor of it, people from different
cultures, of different ages, from all around the world, and they did so not
only through reviewing film, but also with “video essays”, film analysis, film
theories, the exploration not only of movies themselves, but of critics and
general audiences’ alike, the reception of thousands of films of different
genres and eras, and also the celebration of people’s love for film.
I’ll be commenting on the ones who personally inspired
me, who made the most impact, who was/is original, who became “something more”,
and what their work has done for the industry. As well as commenting on the
importance of these people and what they do as well as talk about my personal experience
in this “world”.
I say this often as I’ll say it again: I don’t know
about much, but I know film.
When I got started doing film reviews I did it as a
hobby, I still was (and still am) a student, I still had my college projects
and essays to deliver and I had to have time for them, and still do, apart from
having time to go and watch movies because I love them, be it for fun or to
make a review and talk about movies, which I also love to do, and I did (and
still do) so by trying to get the pre-screenings on Tuesday and Wednesday
nights so I don’t have to worry about being the first to see a movie on
Thursday, day of wide releases, so I can get my Review out to my audience and
give them advice on which movies to see and which to not see.
I never did written reviews, never had the passion for
it, because I find that in video I am able to express and transmit much more
energy and personality, physically infusing it to my audience.
To me a film reviewer and their respective review MUST
ALWAYS contain a few elements that I consider essential:
Plot/Synopsis: One must give the viewer some idea of what
the movie is about. That is why one should start with a very brief synopsis of
the film. There are unfortunately some critics that go very deep into what the
movie is about, sometimes basically talking about the whole 1st act of the
film, giving too much away and making the audience feel like they don’t even
have to watch the 1st 45 minutes of a movie.
Start with Praise: No matter how bad one feels about a movie,
or how terrible one thinks it is, a review should always start with praise.
Looking at it from a teacher’s perspective, and the way one should critique
actual people, if a teacher is giving a student some kind of advice, he/she
will always start with the positives, complementing their sentence structure,
the spelling, etc. Only after that they proceed to talk about the possible
jumbled and messy organization of theme or subject of a work from the student.
Grade/Rating: This one is a must, however not in the way
it is used. One should always classify a movie if their reviewing/critiquing
it, there are several variations and different people use this element in
There are stars, letters, numbers from 0 to 5 or 0 to
10, create a personal grade/rating (I created my own). What this does is help a
person with is to balance out their opinions, feelings and thoughts on the film.
Grades are although the bane of some critic’s existence because viewers
sometimes start to compare each grade given to each film it was given to and
it’s important to have a notion that every film is made differently, and so
grades for every film are in a small way the grade according to that movies
Style/Personality: Probably the most important aspect in a
film reviewer/critic is this. One as to find out their own voice, find out who
one is as a person, with their tastes and thoughts and someone who has
something different to say and not just be another random person who talks
There’s a myth that a reviewer/critic is not supposed
to express his/her “feelings” in a review, and just report thoughts, and a lot
of people fall on that trap. Because without expressing personal feelings, how
one perceived a film and its message, one doesn’t have a unique voice to them
and just becomes a face in a crowd. One must talk with their heart, just like
one should one do this if they love it.
Connect with the Audience: This is the most ungraspable and hard
element of film criticism, because it can’t be calculated, because everyone is
different. Many reviewers/critics sound like newscasters; they talk about
something with no emotion almost feeling like they don’t even like what they
This is when the element of “passion” comes in, a good
film reviewer loves what he/she does and is itching to talk about it, needs to
talk about, wants to share his/her opinion with the world and the audience,
just like it would want to do in a conversation with friends, and many times
that is the best example to learn from. One should talk no different than their
natural way, like they talk with friends and family on a day-to-day basis.
What’s good/bad about
An unfortunate situation that comes with creating a
YouTube channel (about anything) is that sometimes one grows, sometimes one
doesn’t. This can and does happen for many reasons and it’s not anyone’s fault,
not the reviewer nor the audience’s.
If one is doing something that already exists and has
many people doing it for a long time, taking Movie Reviewing as an example,
people might think that it’s not worth it to check the newcomer out and just
don’t pay attention. One can’t blame audiences for that, sometimes I personally
find myself not paying attention to “small” channels on YouTube, be it because
they don’t appeal to me in style, or just because I believe to have my fix when
it comes to the people I follow and trust their opinions.
There’s another side to this however, and that is what
I nicknamed “The Elite”. It probably comes to no secret that most movie
reviewers/critics are from America (AKA where movies are from), they get to see
them earlier, they are “famous”, there are part of the press and run websites
and have contacts in Hollywood, etc…
This “Elite” has member such as Schmoes Know, Chris
Stuckmann, Jeremy Jahns, among others, and these people have their jobs as they
live off of their channels and they have their lives and they worked hard to
get to the point to where they can live off of making videos talking about what
they love. However, it also makes them not pay attention to people that, maybe,
were inspired by them and would like to work with them and maybe even become
“friends” with them.
It’s something unavoidable and as stated before, no
one’s fault, but to many it can come across as “big stars” of YouTube not
paying attention to the ones that came after them, with them paving the way, to
the YouTube Film Community that goes around the world an has inspired a
generation of content creators.
Does It Hurt or Help
Without a doubt it helps.
Film Criticism has existed for decades, and YouTube is
only a platform for it to thrive as it features Reviews in video format, but
written reviews have been around for a long time. In fact, many critics whose
names are know to the public are people who wrote, and some still writes,
Video Reviews emerged prominently with the famous duo
of Siskel and Ebert, two film critics who were colleagues and shared their
thoughts and opinions with the public, being big names in Hollywood.
People like them are who helps film get out into the
public’s eye view, they are the ones who give people a first thoughts on a film
so people can know if they might enjoy a certain movie or not, given that
unfortunately there are many instances of dishonest marketing in Hollywood.
Film critics, be it on YouTube or not, help the small
independent films get more word-of-mouth and people star to hear about them
from festivals, where only a certain group gets to go, so the first impressions
can get out into general audiences, who might only like certain genres, or
directors, or actors and they help the audience decide if they want to go see a
film or not.
Many times written reviews for websites, newspapers
and magazines and clashed and rivaled the video format of movie reviewing, and
it is an unfortunate situation, because analyzing it, they are no different.
Written or filmed reviews are movie reviews just presented in different
formats, and just like movies, it is up to the audience if they like to read or
to listen/watch someone talking about film.
There are means to a person to express their passion
and celebrate the art and spectacle that is film and filmmaking. To
congratulate the countless artists and teams of people who work to put
something together, to tell a story, which is what film is.
We humans are all storytellers by nature, that is
where art comes from, where film comes from, where film criticism comes from.
Context and Relation to Visual and Digital Culture
The film community on YouTube is not the most well
known community. YouTube holds several Island grounds like beauty vloggers and
gamers, daily vlogger and tech wizards, cooks and food reviewers, musicians and
Right now the film community has been growing, it’s a
form of art and content that talks about and discusses other forms of art. The
interaction becomes then the respect of others opinions, especially when we
mention reviews. The community is, because of that, united and the viewer
becomes part of the project cultivating discussion and the sharing of opinions,
it’s about commenting what you think of the object being discussed rather than
the person discussing it.
That’s why it becomes interesting and energetic and a
unique experience onto itself. The viewer gets to share instead of just watch
and comment, they become part of the opinionated, they become the person they
watch through the computer screen.
This is a type of interaction rarely seen in platforms
like YouTube, people usually comment and opinionate about the vlogger, in this
case we comment on the artwork the reviewer is talking about. The review itself
is a type of video not many people enjoy, because it’s giving credit to someone
else’s thoughts, usually one doesn’t like to be influenced, they just like to
know the general opinion so people know which is the better movie to watch.
What’s different with the video format of review is
that it becomes more interesting, like I’ve mentioned, the interactivity is
bigger and engaging, and the person we’re seeing is real, we understand the
digital possibilities within the video format but the person we see is not
digital and that grows a sense of respect and connection inside the viewer. The
video format is no more than a digital advantage to improve the definition of
self, inside of a usually written format that are movie reviews.
My Personal Experience
One aspect I purposely left to the very end was that
one doesn’t only grow with each film they watch, one also grows with each
review they write or shoot, they grown with each comment and constructive
criticism they receive, they grow with experience. One grows as much with themselves
as they grow with the interaction they have with the audience.
I have been doing movie reviews on YouTube for a
little over a year now, and it’s undeniable how much I’ve grown, so much that I
find my initial videos hard to watch, making it hard to believe how I’ve grown
in numbers, but maybe those videos are the ones that matter the most important,
they are the ones that made me grow the most, the ones which I’ve learned the
most from and the ones that brought me to the point of being proud when I work
hard and I go to sleep at 4am because I could give my audience an advanced
review, or maybe I reviewed a film that I loved and nobody else was talking
I can see how much I’ve grown both as a film critic
and a content creator altogether. I’ve now only grown in the way I communicate
with an audience but also how I make my communication come across right, saying
not too little but also not too much. I have videos that have generated so much
discussion and even paved a way to create a community where people daily
discuss film and tv and the passion and this group for each other and what they
love one of the few things in life I can say I’m proud of. It’s still hard to
believe that I created, or at least helped to create, such an active and
respectful and engaging group where the passion they have for a subject is
second to none.
I can’t say I’m elite, I can’t say I will ever be. I
can’t say I’m a “big star”, in fact, I don’t consider myself a star at all. I
know where I started, I did and do and will always do this for love, because I
love talking about film, which has been with me all my life, which has guided
my way of being and inspired me to grow and to communicate and to express my
visions and beliefs and dreams and stories through the art of film.
It’s a humbling sensation to everyday feel successful
about what one does out of passion, and through YouTube I have been able to
feel that because of a community of passionate, dynamic and engaging group and
respects its members and above all, respects the art of film and loves talking