Mar. 28 Update

Hey hey hey everybody,

Another month, another round of movie reviews due. Also, lots of BIG
news, so keep reading!

First and foremost, the next round of reviews are due April the 4th.
Here is what I expect in my inbox on that date before midnight!

Beowulf: John McCurdy
Brokeback Mountain: Leigh Taylor
Chronicles of Narnia (Lion/Witch/Wardrobe): Brie Britzius
Clockwork Orange: Jessica Cole
Choke: Tanya Ibarra
Atonement: Katie Halley
Into the Wild: Chuck Palmer
Golden Compass: Marie Uhler
Harry Potter and Order of Phoenix: Daniel Singleton
Harry Potter and Sorcerer of Stone: Stephanie Shapiro
A History of Violence: Wesley Fenlon
Notes on a Scandal: Sarit Schneider
A Prayer for Owen Meany: Kathleen Walsh
The Princess Bride: Amelia Kohli
Zodiac: Courtney Holbrook

Please sign up for an assignment if you haven't done so yet. Some of
you have yet to even write your first assignment. For those slackers,
this is your last chance to be part of the staff. If you can't log
onto the staff website at, please send me an
e-mail specifying what book/movie you would like to review so I can
put your name down.

We Have An Advisory Board! :D

7 industry professionals will be looking over the site periodically,
offering advice and critiques to editors and reading your reviews, so
write to impress! Especially for those of you who think they want to
pursue this as a career, this is the time to get noticed.

Who is going to read your stuff?

Scott Mendelson - movie critic for and Huffington Post
Bob Longino - former movie critic for Atlanta Journal Constitution
Noel Holston - former TV critic for Newsday and Los Angeles Times
Frank Wilson - retired book critic for Philadelphia Inquirer
Amy Alexander - commentator and reviewer for The Nation, The Root,
Boston Globe, Miami-Herald (not all at same time :P)
Valerie Boyd - Grady professor and former Arts editor at Atlanta
Journal Constitution
Julie Wilson - creator and editor of

We will have an Advisory Board page on the site shortly.

New Uploading System

Rather than uploading reviews all at one time or even weekly, the
editors and I have decided to stagger the posts to upload one at a
time every few days. A lot of people's blogrolls will bump the blog
with the latest updated post to the top, and we want to end up on top
as much as possible [that-what-she-said wholly intended].

Reviews with little to no edits needed will naturally go up the first
week. Any reviews needing edits will be handled 3-4 at a time on a
weekly basis. Revisions will be sent out on Monday and are expected to
be back by that Friday at 7 pm. Failure to adhere to deadline will
throw off this system and result in my ire.

Overall, is off to a strong start. We have some
really fabulous reviews that could probably rival professionals'. I
want to point out John McCurdy, Courtney Holbrook, Gage Henry, and
Zaid Jilani as this month's frontrunners. I highly encourage you guys
to read their pieces. They have a polished style, avoid discussing the
movie or book disproportionately and never lose the reader. They've
truly set the bar.

The key to successful review writing [as I see it] is to tell the why
and tell it entertainingly. It's not enough to say, "So-and-so plays
the role brilliantly" or "So-and-so is a fine choice." I need examples
and descriptive writing. That means NO PASSIVE VOICE. Take every "is"
"are" and "was" "were" in your review and try your best to REPLACE it.
Ex: Helen Mirren is Queen Elizabeth vs. The venerable Helen Mirren
slyly portrays Queen Elizabeth as a heinous bitch.

Also, there is a matter of tone. If you are writing about a
tear-jerking, serious drama, a conversational or brash style isn't
appropriate. Match your style to the movie's tone. Example: Compare
Bob Longino's reviews of "Snakes on a Plane" and "Little Children"

Bottom line is, if you read over your review and don't find yourself
laughing at your own cleverness or feeling substantially proud of your
sparkling prose. I don't want to run it.

Stuff (nearly) everyone is missing

• In a series, the comma before "and" is not necessary. Joe, Billy Bob and Moe
• Movie and book titles need quotation marks
• like vs such as: "like" — your mom is fat like a whale, "such as" —
this movie resembles other movies such as this movie and that movie.
• Don't forget to grade your piece and add the extra information at the end!

As a final send-off. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help promote I've been spamming people like crazy about this
site, but I can't do it alone. Link the site to your blog and talk to
other blogs about adding us to their blogroll (we'd return the favor).
There's also just talking it up among your friends and getting them to
comment. Furthermore, subscribe to our RSS Feed and try to get others
to too. Our goal is a large and active readership.

As for ads, you'd think people would jump at the chance for free
120x120 pixel ad space, eh? Well, if anyone bounces me an ad with the
right dimensions, I'll toss it up there.

And that's it, sorry I've made you read an e-mail of novel-like
proportions. It's either that or I send you annoying messages every
other day. Can't wait to read everyone's reviews! And if you have any
questions, call me!

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