Origins: Paragraph Film Reviews

19 07 2010

Today’s “The Origins Project” entry chronicles Paul of “Paragraph Film Reviews.” He’s been providing succinct takes on movies for quite some time now, and I love reading them as a nice change of pace to everyone else’s (often myself included) long and verbose reviews.  He even included his own screenshot for the post.  Now there’s a guy that’s on top of things.

What movie began your love affair with cinema?

Not one, but the entire James Bond series. Seeing such a suave character living on the edge, saving the world, getting the girl, kicking ass and trotting the globe was just the best kind of movie experience and escapism you could hope for as a kid. Watched the VHS box-set every year when I was a nipper and just bought the DVDs to re-run the fun and get a Bond feature for the site.

When did you start blogging?

July 2009; I had a few days of sickness at home and had been toying with the idea for a while so collated all of my short reviews from a local music forum then posted them up online.

Why did you start blogging?

Main reason for the site is to document every film I ever watch. At university I was hitting 3 per day and trying to remember which films were which (let alone good or bad) is a nightmare. Between a review and the tags I have a much better chance at remembering what ‘that good Asian cop flick’, ‘that one with the car chase’ or ‘that one good Ryan Reynold’s film’ was way down the line.

What has kept you going?

Being able to look back to my year-old reviews and remember watching a film like it was yesterday means the site’s serving its purpose. The community aspect is fantastic too, a lot of readers will tell you what they think of a film and your review – good or bad – which is always great to hear. Sure the site would still be going without the comments and contributions, but it would be hella boring.

Has there been a particular person (or people) that has helped you along the way?

My girlfriend’s been really supportive of the site; especially seeing as my new natural state is either watching a film or being hunched over the laptop writing / reading / commenting on the site and my awesome blogroll. She has also sat through some god-awful films, for which I could never repay her!

What’s the best part of being a blogger? The worst?

Best: having a legitimate excuse to get into advance screenings! Discovering new films through other review sites. Engaging with people that have as much passion about movies as you have. Being involved in huge arguments & debates.
Worst: Wish the reviews would write themselves. I always say that taking a page full of notes on a film then trying to cut it down to a single, concise paragraph is probably as time consuming as writing regular reviews. Also, thinking about your review in the middle of watching a film is also quite annoying.

Has blogging increased or diminished your passion for movies?

Increased. Dramatically. I was always a film buff before but now I feel withdrawal symptoms if I go a couple of days without watching a film or posting on the site.The BluRay/DVD collection has expanded three-fold since starting up the site.

What’s your proudest moment as a blogger?

A small, self-serving, site like Paragraph Film Reviews will be under the radar forever. I don’t have major aspirations of going pro, getting published or winning awards (although wouldn’t turn stuff like that down if they came my way!!). Knowing there’s a hardcore of about 20 people who care enough about what I write to check the site regularly and chip in with their own comments and opinions is always reassuring.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow their passion? To someone starting a blog of their own?

Here’s a quick list of the stuff I wish I had known on day one:

Start as soon as you can; you’ll wish you’d done it years ago.
Don’t worry about your first few weeks/months; it takes a while to get into your stride and hone your own style.
Be honest with yourself; a lot of movie reviewers ‘go with the flow’ and mark a film depending on how it’s generally received. Don’t worry about being the stick in the mud, tell it like you see it and readers will genuinely respect you more.
Watch a film just before you review it: remember how awesome you thought a film was when you were ten years old, drunk or stoned? (you’re a legend if it’s all three) Watch it again to make sure you’re still in the same camp!
Review the movie, don’t re-tell the entire plot. Easily the biggest and most infuriating mistake of many ‘review’ sites – a sentence or two should cover the plot, any more and you’re probably in spoiler territory anyway.
Persevere; you won’t get 1,000 readers instantly, but once you’ve been discovered and indexed by google the growth is steady.
Drip drop; post semi-regularly instead of bunching reviews together. Start aiming for 2-3 posts a week to keep people interested and coming back to your site.
Most importantly, enjoy it! This should be a fun hobby, not a chore. If you ever feel like you may loathe watching films GET IN ZE CHOPPA and escape before it’s too late!!!!