21 November, 2011

Blogger Syndrome - The Pressure to Review

When I started blogging about a year back I came across a relatively famous blogger (can't remember his blog name) who after about a month of me reading his posts declared that he was going to quit writing. The reason for this sudden decision was that he found himself not enjoying movies anymore. He claimed that in place of letting the film entertain him, he found his mind wandering off towards what to write in the review.

I too seem to be suffering from this case it seems. Lately, I have found my mind get distracted while watching a movie thinking what I would want to write in its review. I don't like this one bit. Just the other day, while watching True Romance for the very first time, I made a conscious decision that I would not write a review of the movie. To my surprise I enjoyed the movie a whole lot more because it had my 100% attention throughout its course.

I know some of you are seasoned bloggers who watch movies on a daily basis as well as publish reviews everyday. My question to you is if you too suffer from the same problem which i've termed as the "Blogger Syndrome"? Do you feel that as a result of the pressure to review a movie, be it for a personal blog or professionally, more time is spent fixating on the positives and negatives of the movie rather than its total enjoyment? In fact, in-between I even started taking my iPad to take notes while watching a movie in my home theater, a practice that I did not continue after a couple of movies.

In a perfect world, I would love to disassociate myself from any thought during the movie and just think about it afterwards when I write about it, but unfortunately that has not been the case. I have tried not writing a review on my immediate return leaving it at times for weeks afterwards, but still I find myself forming sentences for my write-up mid-movies. Ideally, repeat watching would be a great solution to the problem. Enjoy the movie the first time round and then look at it critically the second time, but with the abundance of movies to still watch, repeat viewings are few and far between.

For now I haven't reached the stage where I would give up writing and that might disappoint some of you, but I have had a hard and long thought over it and if this does continue, I fear I might one day follow on the footsteps on my above mentioned fellow blogger.


  1. Definitively, now I'm not the typical movie review blogger but I can see the problems with putting out a constant stream of content. Most of the times when I write longer pieces on a film I have seen it a couple of times.

    However, I do think this is an important topic for all movie bloggers to think about. If you for instance have the ambition to become a critic then you probably could benefit from taking notes on the first viewing. Sure its not that fancy being halfway into the films thinking of possible topics etc.

    Unfortunately for me I have become quite "damaged" after some in depth film history studies which make me extremely nit picky when watching films. So most of the times I'm not that sucked into films. If I get totally captivated its often a sign that its a really good film.

  2. My reviews aren't the academic, analytical reviews most people try to write at first. My reviews are almost entirely reflective, emotional reactions to the film I have seen. As such, if a movie is really good, thoughts of the review are sidelined during the viewing. I can just revisit the film mentally and jot down what I loved.

    However, if a film is bad/problematic, I do find myself stuck in reviewer mode. However, this happened even before I began writing. I just always strove to find out what made a movie not work.

    I carry a little Moleskin notebook with me when I see a film in theaters, since I won't be able to easily rewatch them like I do with DVDs. I've noticed that the more I am interested in/engaged with a successful film, the less I write. The worse/more problematic the film is, I can fill pages. Green Latern could have filled that whole damn book...

    In short, it seems like if a movie was destined to take me and entertain me, it still does. If it fails to entertain me, I will entertain myself thinking about what a failure it is.

  3. I'm still new at this compared to a lot of other bloggers, but I did notice my viewing habits changing slightly almost at the minute I began, although thankfully it has yet to get in they way of enjoying movies for me.

    Oddly, the place that it has impacted me the most is actually before the film, when I'm trying to decide what to see in theaters. I find myself much less likely to just see what's playing and pick one, and much more likely to ask myself which one I'd like to spend the time reviewing. I think it is because that investment of $12 and two hours has now accrued interest--It's now $12 dollars and several hours that I'm planning to spend "with" the film.

  4. I can totally relate to your problem! I experience the same that's why if you check my latest posts you'll see that I changed the format of my reviews. I'll be writing once a week just because I don't want the blog to die but I won't let myself suffer from being a blogger who has this pressure to write every day.

    By the way, I think I know who you were referring to at the beginning of your post. I remember I was sad that someone quits the blog but I can understand him now.

  5. Lovely post and I agree, I sometimes think the same! I do have the tendency to write during the movie, even if I am at home or in the theater(which is not good because I usually have to write on my phone and the light might disturb other viewers). I hope you don't quit and I hope I don't either! You can do what Lesya did, just write 1 or 2 reviews per week and enjoy the rest!

  6. I'm glad that someone raise this issue, because I had the thought sometimes. Although I blog about movies that to my point of view are recommended, but I have this 'schedule' to regularly post something weekly. But when I am busy or don't have a clue what to write, I felt that pressure.

    I felt it when I watch something that 'should be good' but when I watch it I tend to focus on the negative. That is when I realize, I might need a break from reviewing or watching a movie. Sometimes, just do stuff that you enjoy that have no relation to a movie. I realize that it might interfere with the need to post something, but at least it melts the pressure a bit.

    I have to agree with the comments above, just write something at least 1-2 posts per week.

    Thanks for posting this :)

  7. @Aziza...Oh you are one of those..... LOL

    I love this post Raghav, I felt the same a little while ago, when I started my study of film. But now I appreciate film on a different level to how I did before I started FRC.

    I miss the pure emotion sometimes, and I can completely understand your thoughts on the subject.

    I hope you come out of this cloud as I have done and move forward with writing your thoughts down, you are talented, so do not let this stop you.

  8. Certainly food for thought. I've only just starting movie review blogging and to start me off I have decided to do an A-Z of movies reviews. Despite seeing all the films I have decided to write about so far I have also been rewatching several of them and taking notes throughout about what I could include into a review. I intend to move onto DvD reviews in the new year and possibly cinema releases too but hadn't considered this being an aspect of the hobby.

  9. I think this is an important issue around the movie blogging world, and I can relate to it partly. If a film is really good, I get so enchanted that I don't think anymore, but if it's lala, I often think about stuff to write... and mostly I don't even write the review later on!
    But I've realized this a while ago already and therefore tried to focus on the whole of a film and just enjoy it while watching. Writing a review some days after watching a film is a good idea, and I think then it's okay to think about it when you have some time off, like in the bus or something.
    It's definitely a problem, but a problem one can solve.

  10. Now this is an interesting, and very valid point you make. I don't review too often, but when I do, it is almost never of a film I have seen only once. The first time round, I like to completely immerse myself in the film, and I like to rewatch films later on to pick up on the little details, and it helps when I write the review.

    So, essentially, this syndrome isn't really something that bothers me, but I agree it is something you have to be careful of.

  11. i've more or less managed to avoid this problem. i think as someone who's writing non-professionally, there's more freedom in terms of content and deadline. there are times when i'm watching a movie i want to write about for my blog that didn't pan out, or when i watch a movie just because i want to, not because i want to write about it. it kind of works both ways.

    and like you said, i am able to detach myself during the first viewing to just take in the movie as an audience, and then playing the movie a second time when i'm writing it. i've also taken notes during the first viewing. but only quick brief facts, and form my own thoughts and opinions after the movie's over.

    there are definitely movies that i watched and didn't feel right about writing a review until more viewings.

  12. Thank you everyone for the detailed comments. Sorry it took me a while to reply back.

    Joel - Like you mentioned I too think that if i'm not thinking about review while watching a movie, it is really good thing becasue it means that i'm captivated by it.

    Brian - Ah! I see you too are a moleskine fan :-) You should check out their special passions range with the movie journal. I agree with you and yes when the movie is bad I tend to pay less attention. Also my reviews are more emotional and less analytical just like you mentioned about yours.

    Never2Early - What you mentioned hasn't yet happened with me. It usually is the movie that attracts me and I never really think about if I would want to review it or not. But, its better to think about it before than during I guess :-)

    Lesya - I never pressure myself into writting. The good thing is that I have my travel and photography blog and a book i'm working on so I do whatever I "feel" like doing and I never really had a fixed schedule for anything becasue of family and my real business. But I do like your new review idea .

    Aziza - Thank you for the concern. I'm not quitting just yet. It has to get much worse before I reach that stage. Like i said just above, I have other blogs so when I feel pressured I just leave one blog for a few weeks and focus on another.

    Andine - Exactly, I do what you said. Thanks

    Scott - Thank you buddy... you made me blush which is only good if a girl makes me blush not a guy ;-)

  13. The Late Review - I think it is an excellent idea to rewatch a movie then review it. But like I mentioned with new movies coming up and old ones I am yet to see it becomes hard sometimes. All the best on your blogging.

    Mette - Agree with you and that is what I am planning to do. Maybe trick my mind into thinking I will not weite a review, enjoy the movie, and then actually write a review later on. :-)

    Tyler - I envy you... i wish I could do that. Although I love to watch movies again, but it just isn't possible for every movie I want to review. But I think what you are doing is really great.

  14. SaturdayNightViewing - Thank you and since I also do not write "professionally" yes the pressure is much less on me too.

    Lastly, to everyone, I would like to end on the a point of Live Tweeting a movie. What in the world is that all about? I am sorry if you do that, I do not mean disrespect, but if watching a movie for the first time you are live tweeting, isn't that distracting? That's something I would never do. I hope...

  15. Finally I'm feeling better and got over a 100 new movie blog mails unread in my inbox and many sites to visit to catch up. This is a great question and something that sounds very familair. I don't review all movies I watch and I don't know in advance which once I will write for. I do make mental notes of what I would like to point out if something stands out to me, but my blogging has never made me enjoy a movie any less.

  16. I know how you feel Nostra. I'm way behind in my reading. Thanks for the comment.