Week 755 brought a modest web article assignment and some freelance subediting (a nice bonus for a short month) that continued into the following week, leading into three straight production days, and the requisite subbing, layout and hair-pulling (a bit less of the latter than the last few deadline, though). But it began with a full day of film screenings, one of which was decent fodder for a review (and which I linked last week; I’m doing better!).
You might think watching films all day is a big doss, but it can be quite exhausting, especially when you’ve got a few hours between them to fill with errands and other work. Oh boo hoo, I hear you say, but try watching two modern films in a row even for leisure and tell me you’re not in any way fatigued. I don’t envy the full-timers as much as I did when I fell into this gig.
It should go without saying that I’m watching these films with a purpose, even if I don’t end up reviewing them for money. But what can I write about the process of film reviewing itself? Well for starters, there is no ‘the process’, only my process. And it’s a pretty simple one: I watch the film, I think about it afterwards, and then I write about whether I think it works, how I responded to it, whether others should see it or get anything out of it. It’s complicated!
Sometimes, but not always, I take notes. I have a cheap little notebook, a lot like this one, to jot a few words of thoughts if something particularly significant comes to mind (it’s hard to write any more than that in the dark and be legible in the light) but for the most part I watch like I would if I weren’t there for work, and leave the heavy analysis till after the fact.
And when I write the damn thing, I try to keep in mind how I would explain it to a friend were they to ask if it’s worth seeing. As with anything else, that’s easier for some movies than it is for others, so the writing process varies considerably. As often as it’s a breeze, it’s a time suck. I’m suspicious of those who can bang these things out in a matter of hours, though maybe that comes with years of practice and frequency.
That’s pretty much it. Every writer has their own workflow or technique or little rituals, it’s not really quantifiable. Give me my computer with a net connection, a comfortable room and some silence, and I’m usually good to go. (And that goes for all the words I mine, day in day out.)