How does one become a DVD reviewer?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DeathStar1, Aug 4, 2002.

  1. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    I'm just wondering, how does this work? It's not so much getting stuff free that intruiges me, since I can usually easilly pay for my two titles a month purchases, it's getting it early that's the real perque to a job like that.
    Especially considering that I am not a patient waiter [​IMG].
    do you have to be a part of a website that is solely DVD based? Or are there other critereas they'll look at to decide these factors? Like Traffic hits on a counter or something?
     
  2. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  3. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    Hmm, Damn.
    I knew there would be some work involved, but not that much work.
    As far as watching DVD's ASAP goes, that's no problem for me. I always pop 'em in, since I usually get them while going to get some lunch as well, and do both at the same time.
    What I was thinking to do, when starting off, is do a review of an entire series on my site, to accopmany the clips that'll be up. Maby that'll encourage any officials to help me out with free screeners of either the new show, or the release of the old movies in September [​IMG].
     
  4. Pete M

    Pete M Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a question about free screeners maybe Ron can answer. Are the copies you receive in any way marked as such? I remember seeing VHS tapes a long time ago that would say "Not for resale" on the cover. And some went as far as to put a message on screen, during the movie, that said something to the effect "This copy is a promotional copy from xyz studios" and would scroll by every 10 minutes or so.

    I'm just asking out of curiousity... I have no plans of becoming a reviewer, but just remember seeing a few of those 'promotional' copies a few years back.
     
  5. Adam Tyner

    Adam Tyner Screenwriter

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    It depends, Pete. I get a lot of screeners, and the way they're marked varies. Some aren't marked at all, some have a hole punched through the UPC, some don't have a UPC at all, some have "for screening purposes only" printed on the disc (generally Fox discs; haven't really been paying attention lately, but I haven't noticed this lately), some have a slice on the spine...
     
  6. Pete M

    Pete M Stunt Coordinator

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    Adam- Have you seen any that have the banner scroll by on the bottom during the movie that says promotional or screener copy?
     
  7. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Pete: I have one like that.
     
  8. Adam Tyner

    Adam Tyner Screenwriter

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    They're pretty rare and anymore, typically only present on incomplete discs. The only two I have are Brigham City and American Psycho 2, both of which were missing all of the supplemental material and even the DD 5.1 audio found on the final releases...
     
  9. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    There was a small revolt when Dreamworks did the "not for resale" on Gladiator, I haven't seen or heard of any of the majors doing it since.

    One thing you have to remember, the "Not for Sale" stuff usually goes out to video stores MONTHS ahead, for example, they got VHS screeners of Spider-Man over a month ago. Most of the time they just run VHS tapes. The stuff we get at sites to review is the final product, we insist on final product so you know exactly what you're getting.

    If you want to start a new DVD site, find yourself a unique angle. Anime is well covered, Horror's got some great sites, Find a good niche, and stick to it and promote yourself.

    Otherwise, as David said, wait for a site to put out a call for critics
     
  10. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    It should be noted that putting yourself up for a writing job with a magazine or website on the main basis of you just wanting discs early isn't going to get you very far. Seriously, the novelty of having something early, something everyone will have eventually, lasts for about a minute.

    I pick up discs early often because that's just the way it is with importing Region1 discs here in the UK, streetdates are broken frequently by as much as two to three weeks (often more). One should never go out of their way to get of all things, something as little as a DVD early. If you can get it early, fine, get it, but I'd never lust to have something early or go nuts over reading someone had something early that I could not get until a later date. Why make the fuss over something that everyone gets to see eventually is my point.

    I've done various freelance DVD reviews in the past, and to get things early under those circumstances is to have something expected of you in return, a good, honest and well written review. Free and early discs should not have anything to do with wanting to write for a DVD site or Magazine.

    If you are serious about starting a site of your own, Jeff makes some very good points above. Find a niche and exploit it.

    Dan
     
  11. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Guys, he's already got a website. [​IMG] The TMNT one he links to with the "www" icon, above his messages and between the "currently online" lightbulb and the profile icon.
    Primarily, he wants TMNT screeners, methinks.
    Neil, it is POSSIBLE that the appropriate studios will grant you JUST screeners of discs related to TMNT product, since that is your "niche". You'll still have to do the legwork of contacting those studios, figuring out who to talk to and how to talk to them, and convincing them that this idea "helps them promote the product" or whatever.
    As long as ALL your are asking for is TMNT product, and your site can prove your "need" for it, you have a better shot at getting your foot in the door. Perhaps later you could parlay that into other material...but as I said, they are being scarce with this stuff lately.
     
  12. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Hey, good Ninja Turtles site at that! Exploit away! [​IMG]
    Dan
     
  13. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    >One should never go out of their way to get of all things, something as little as a DVD early. If you can get it early, fine, get it, but I'd never lust to have something early or go nuts over reading someone had something early that I could not get until a later date. Why make the fuss over something that everyone gets to see eventually is my point. >
    Now now, no need to get serious over this. Just something that has been on my mind the past few days after Ron wrote his note about calling the studios.
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who has little or no patience when waiting for a cool disc [​IMG].
     
  14. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    >
    Neil, it is POSSIBLE that the appropriate studios will grant you JUST screeners of discs related to TMNT product, since that is your "niche". You'll still have to do the legwork of contacting those studios, figuring out who to talk to and how to talk to them, and convincing them that this idea "helps them promote the product" or whatever.
    As long as ALL your are asking for is TMNT product, and your site can prove your "need" for it, you have a better shot at getting your foot in the door. Perhaps later you could parlay that into other material...but as I said, they are being scarce with this stuff lately.
    >
    Heh, yep, that was the angle of the original note. But I was hoping that I might be able to expand my current site into other favorite animation series as well. Stuff that other sites don't cover. For example, trying to get interviews with the rare-er Simpsons Actors, for instance.
    I've already gotten possible contacts/links to Thundercat and He-Man interviews. I'm hoping to nail a few with the writers and voice actors of each show within the next few months.
    But as far as searching goes, I'm pretty good with that type of stuff [​IMG]. That's how I was able to nail my Earle Hyman interview(Panthro on Thundercats, and Bill Cosbys father on the Cosby show), and a contact for the actor who played Tatsu in the first two TMNT movies. Although occasionally I do hit dead ends, I find Studio contacts the toughest to find. Took me a month to look for a good one for Artisen. If anyone has any tips to help with this one, greatly appreciated [​IMG].
    What I'm basically hoping, is that I can land a contact who works on the new show, and is able to send me some promotional stuff for myself, and fellow fans to review. I'm just dying to see what they are planning to do come January [​IMG].
    Thanks!
     
  15. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Real Name:
    Francois Caron
    I write reviews for my own Web site as well as The Canadian DVD Users Group. I started out small by writing reviews for my own Web site when the owner of CDUG asked me if I was willing to have a few of my reviews published on his own Web site. I've been part of CDUG's small group of "staff reviewers" for quite a while now. When the Webmaster receives screeners from some studios, we'd get an e-mail listing the currently available screeners and who would like to review them. We even get to keep the screeners afterwards.
    I've made it my policy to be totally honest and up-front in my reviews regardless of the origins of the disc. Because of my slightly unusual taste in movies, I tend to review the type of movies very few would even consider reviewing at all. And yes, I have blasted away at movies I really hated (the worst being "Medium Cool"), yet this didn't affect the availability of the screeners in any way. If anything, it sometimes makes for some very interesting reading.
    So how do you get started? Set up a Web site and post reviews of some of your discs. Remember to describe the content of the movie along with your own personal appreciation, the quality of the audio and video transfer, and a description of the special features on the disc. With time and practice, you'll develop a writing style of your own and maybe attract the attention of another Web site somewhere.
    Now get out there and start writing!
     

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