Granted, this isn't my fight, but I'm still pissed off because over the years I've had people try this on me.
While I know there is a lot of talk about how critics shouldn't be mean in their reviews, recently a certain PR person savaged a friend both personally and professionally for being "mean: and "the only negative" review of a film they were handling. The PR person told the outlet that if they didn't take the review down they wouldn't work with them again and then work to see that they have their credentials pulled from a festival.
This is wildly over over the line and complete and utter bullshit.
Reviews are opinion and everyone has the right to their own. If the reviewer didn't like the film too bad, you can't make someone like a film.
The PR person lost the argument when they said the review was the only negative review as if that means something. It means nothing only that someone person didn't like the film. (And if it was the only bad review why care? The weight of the good reviews will win out.)
Having read the review in question it wasn't mean, it simply stated what the reviewer didn't like about the film (which was a great deal).
The PR person claimed that publishing the review was out of line and the reviewer should have declined to review if they didn't like the film. No, out of line was was attempting to blackmail the outlet into removing the review by having their credentials pulled and withholding other films.
I have been doing film coverage for over 13 years now and I have never gotten an offer that said "Could you please cover this film... but only write something if you have nice to say." All the offers were for coverage, good bad or indifferent. Reviews are supposed to be honest opinions not something written at gun point or from one point.
If you send out a film, or put anything out for people to see, you run the risk of not getting a good reaction. It's a roll of the dice. I know I've been savaged for some of the things I've written. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. You do not threaten anyone to pull a bad review. Ultimately it will backfire since in the end the films you handle will not get coverage from any outlets. This is mafia tactics and who wants to put up with that crap?
As numerous PR people have said any coverage is good, particularly since so many films simply do not get any coverage. If a filmmaker wants a good review they must make a good film, but filmmakers and PR people have to understand that sometimes people just don't like a film.
Honestly, I'm considering not working with that PR person because I am so disgusted.
This wasn't an isolated incident.
Speaking of films not getting coverage...
I want to know what my fellow film writers are doing regarding coverage of inde films and shorts.
I asked this because while doing a couple of recent film fests I got emails filmmakers and PR people were shocked when I asked for art to run with the review. I noticed it because I got 3 or 4 shocked emails during my coverage of Santa Barbara, and a couple more since then.
Apparently some filmmakers didn't think I would actually cover the films. But unless I truly don't have anything to say or there was a technical issue I cover whatever I ask for.
I know it isn't always possible for other writers because editors at some outlets don't want coverage of small films or shorts because they think they won't get clicks (they will when people know your outlet covers them) but please, please, please do make an effort to cover the small films you run across. The filmmakers busted their asses to make the film and word needs to get out.
I'm very serious about this. getting any sort of coverage is vital. If one person/outlet can cover a film very often that can get more people to cover the film since one noticed it so other people will want to take a look. Filmmakers have told me repeatedly that if I can get something up they can get into festivals and more reviews.
Too many filmmakers that no one or very few people will look at their films and then say something. Trust me, thinking you have no audience hurts. See these small gems and talk about them.
And even if you can't review it, and you see it say something to the filmmaker, or on social media so they know they have been seen
A reminder- just because some of us aren't on Rotten Tomatoes doesn't mean we aren't worth having us cover your film. We are.
This is in reaction to being told multiple times this week (and few more in the weeks before) that I would not be getting screeners because the studio/producer only wanted RT accredited sites to cover a film.
Actually this is something not directed at the PR people as such since the people telling me "no" were people I have been dealing with for years, so they know I'm good, and I know the orders were not from them. This is more directed at the producers.
RT is a false indicator of quality and worthiness.
Yes I would like to be on it but truthfully my interest in being accredited is purely related to the "you can't cover you aren't on the site" problem.
(And for the record RT will not accredit me because Unseen is my site and you can not be accredited for your own site. Which is why some of the other writers here can have their work put up at RT)
I have seen the BAFTA/Oscar winning IRISH GOODBYE and while it's good I think the other films its up against for the Oscar are better.
I also saw the Oscar shortlisted, but not nominated BAZIGAGA and that too was very good.
Apologies to the filmmakers for both but despite my best effort over the last few weeks I have no words for a review.
If the studios want to keep theaters in business they have to do something so the theaters don't have to charge 10 bucks for a popcorn and 8 bucks for a soda. The prices are out of control.
Coverage is coming of Boston Underground, Overlook, New Directors New Films and other fests. Plus look for a bunch of new releases.
Lastly people have asked me if I really like the films I rave about.
Yes I do.
I write what I feel. And while I will try to find something good in something bad, if I like something, I say so. If you need proof go to lunch with me and ask me about some of films I like. I won't shut up, so much so my lunch will be cold and you will be done.