Last week I asked you all how you blogged, what your methods were and generally what your style of writing was, in a way to try and get to know the person behind the blog. Since it had such a great response, I thought I would do another (and maybe a series should this work as well) as I attempt to try and get to know you all a little better.
The response for last weeks Question Time was amazing, it attracted some people that haven’t commented before and it was nice to learn so much about people’s style and methods. If you haven’t had chance to read the answers, please go ahead and click the link below to learn how all your favourite bloggers prepare and do their thing (you may even find some new blogs to follow!).
This week I want to touch on something a little different. Screeners. Without trying to be patronising, for anyone that doesn’t know or recognise the term, a movie screener is defined as:
A screener (SCR) is an advance screening of a film sent to critics, awards voters, video stores (for their manager and employees), and other film industry professionals, including producers and distributors. Screeners help critics and award voters see smaller movies that don’t have the marketing advantage or distribution of major studio releases. Positive mentions can result in awards consideration. A screener often has no post-processing.
I would love to hear about your experiences with them, and what your thoughts on them are in general.
- Do you receive them?
- Do you get a lot?
- How do you get sent them?
- Do you ask for them or do filmmakers just get in touch with you?
- How honest are you in your assessment?
- Do you ever feel bad/awkward giving back a negative review?
- If you haven’t received them would you like to?
This isn’t an exam, and the bullet points are really just examples of questions that went through my mind when typing this out, please don’t feel you have to answer in this military style! I would just love to hear about your experiences with them.
I have been lucky enough to be in the position where filmmakers have sent me their movie to watch and review. Of course, Scorsese hasn’t contacted me yet, but the ones I have received have either been first time filmmakers, or people who have had a few films released on DVD. I honestly feel that whatever the quality of film and nature of it, I’m just stunned someone would take the time to ask me if I would give them my opinion on something they have crafted and poured their heart and soul into. I mean, who the hell am I in the grand scheme of things? Especially when some of these guys have won awards (real ones, not blog ones like I claim are the equivalent of Oscars when my family & friends ask how my ‘dumb film thing‘ is going!) and yet still value my opinion. It’s a nice feeling.
The ones I receive have either been through people messaging me on Twitter, or contacting me in private on my blog here. They then email me the link and code, and off I go to watch it. I have also been lucky that the ones I get, I also manage to get an interview with the director afterwards, so I can do it as a nice companion piece for my site. I’m hoping my first one will be up on here in a week or so, I do like to take my time as I want to appear as if I’m half-decent at what I do, not just some bumbling idiot asking stupid questions!
Obviously, being a horror-orientated site the films I get are geared towards the genre I love. There are exceptions, and I have actually turned a couple down, purely because the genre involved wasn’t something I’m comfortable with or knowledgeable in, and basically they didn’t interest me. That may sound awful, but if I don’t want to watch a soppy love story like New Years Eve which stars my film idol Robert De Niro, then I don’t want to watch one made by students starring students, in the nicest possible way. The majority though are thriller/horrors and whilst I do worry about how bad they could be, so far I haven’t been disappointed.
My biggest fear reviewing a screener is knowing that I have to give the film a rating out of ten. Well, I don’t have to, but for continuity purposes I rate every film I watch, and make my guest contributors give films scores, so why should a screener be any different? I know the director will read it, and then I get to chat with them in an interview about it. I mean, who am I to say something is terrible, and then try and explain why………I know this day may come, but I will always try and do it in the nicest possible way. So far I have had nothing to worry about, and whilst I haven’t seen anything which resembles Goodfellas in quality, I’m not going in with sky-high expectations and it’s the story and acting that’s the main thing when watching a low-budget film. I would never lie and give something a higher score than it deserves. I want to try and build credibility in this blogging niche, not ruin it by selling out and scoring any old piece of crap high just because I got sent a free film.
I’m amazed at what people can do, and honoured to be asked to share my thoughts on their work. Now I would love to hear back from you guys and girls, and what your experiences with screeners are. I know this is aimed more at movie review blogs than my previous question, but if anyone outside of this niche has any thoughts I’d still love to hear them. Thanks for reading!