Effective Digital Writing Through Film Blogs

Digital writing in the online film community takes two distinct, prominent forms: forum discussion and news writing. While journalistic style may allow for less leeway in terms of both prose and content, forum discussion plays a massive role in these communities and serves various purposes that can be detrimental or work in a blog's favor.

Ethos and Journalistic Style

Websites whose main purposes are to provide its audience with up-to-date film news carry a heavy focus on both ethos and site layout. On a website such as /Film, ethos is clearly displayed in the writers' use of professional, journalistic prose. The neat, confident nature in which these people write gives them a sense of hierarchy in relation to the site's audience. It allows readers to assume that the writers are not only knowledgeable, but reliable and authoritative. This ethos and resulting sense of authority is crucial because it is what helps lend credibility to a blog, thus creating potential for a larger group of followers. For example, a recent post on /Film is titled "Kanye West Still Creative Director of 'The Jetsons' Movie, Says Kanye West." The brief post follows a common journalistic format in the sense that it immediately gets to the main information concerning West's involvement in the upcoming film, stating that he claims to be the creative director for a future film based on "The Jetsons" cartoon.



As you can see above, from the main page, you can click on the option "Read More" which allows you to go to the full article. Here, one can see, both journalistic style and layout complement one another to effectively serve the purpose of the blog. The writing style allows for one to casually read the main content of the post, so one does not have to read the entire article if he or she does not want to. Also, this allows for more posts to be displayed on the main page, by shortening the length of the displayed articles while still allowing for someone to click on the "Read More" option if they want to find out more specific information concerning that piece of film news. The blog's initial purpose can be seen through the simplicity of this layout. One simply has to scroll down the page to see film news headlines from most to least recent. Furthermore, when one clicks on the "Read More" option, at the bottom of the page after the story, there is a forum section where one can discuss that certain film news with other /Film readers. This allows the blog to surpass the perception of being purely informative, but instead offers readers a much more interactive and communal experience.
To better understand how layout impacts a blog and how to effectively design your own blog, look here.

Quality of Discussion through Forums

While the SubReddit True Film is not truly a blog, it is an excellent example of the type of discussion that these blogs encourage, as well as a perfect demonstration of the depth of knowledge that these blogs contain, and in return, its readers expect.

The "About" section, displayed on the side of the forum's main page, is an apt summary of the type of discussion expected on both this site and film blogs in general. It states, "/r/truefilm is a subreddit for in-depth discussions about film. We want to encourage and support intellectual discussions, not memes or one sentence responses. Clear, polite and well written responses should be what is up voted, whether you agree with the opinion or not."

The purpose of having forum sections on a film blog is to intellectually stimulate other members of that online community. These people come together through a mutual love for cinema and an effective forum post should challenge others in the community to think critically about a certain aspect of film, a director's work, etc.

Through a display of in-depth knowledge and a serious, analytical viewpoint, both the forum and blog overall is further bestowed with a sense of ethos and can act as a point of attraction to make your blog more interesting to your target audience: cinephiles. For example, user Al_Scarface_Capone writes an extremely long essay exploring the subtext of the highly controversial 2010 film "A Serbian Film." He states, "It is a statement on our fetishization of violence passed off as art, a sort of 'Natural Born Killers' as a porn film: by embracing everything it purports to criticize, 'A Serbian Film' goes beyond the limits of true satire and enters that strange state between trash and art." He demonstrates his depth of knowledge not only by choosing a film too obscure to be known by anyone with an outsider's knowledge of film, but also through his display of delving beneath the surface of a film and interpreting key themes which can change one's perception of the film entirely.


Consider Your Audience

All of these aspects concerning effective blogging can be seen in relation to one (rather) simple concept: defining one's audience. Before you write almost anything there is always the consideration of who you are writing for, whether that be yourself, friends or your college professor. Here, using film blogs as an example, one can determine how these elements of style, ethos, layout and discussion work towards setting standards for these online communities. In order to keep your audience interested, the site not only has to be visually accessible, but it also has to contain the information and critical analyses that they strive to obtain. Internet bloggers have high demands, thus an understanding of those demands is crucial to your blog's success. To further see how audience demands and effective blog design complement one another, look here.



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