During Oscar season last year, as I was catching up on the films I had missed, I started tweeting my reactions to each of the films the moment they were over. It was fun trying to fit something meaningful into 140 characters, and with each tweet, I kept trying to top myself in terms of being clever. Then I got hooked. I started tweeting reviews from festivals… Sundance, then Cannes, then Toronto. Finding just the right combination of words to capture my thoughts was becoming a game. It was like writing a haiku.
About a month ago, I was sitting on an airplane, when suddenly a name popped into my head. Tweeviews. How cute. No wifi was available on this particular flight, so I had to wait until I landed before I could check out whether tweeviews.com was available. Nope, gone. How about movietweeviews.com? Got it.
I spent the weekend creating the web site and deciding how it would work. The idea was to get lots of people to tweet reviews and gather them in a live feed. However, I didn’t want it to be a free-for-all. It had to be curated. Contributors would be chosen for a combination of twitter skills and movie knowledge. I wanted a range of voices… professional critics, curators, people in the business (as long as there is no self-promotion) and knowledgeable buffs; young voices and more experienced voices.
Once it was ready, I invited a few friends to help me test it out. Caryn James was instrumental in beta testing the site, and with helping to decide on the #mtrv hashtag that would end up being used. It was at the opening night party of this year’s New York Film Festival that I started recruiting others to contribute.
So, the site has been up for about a month, and there are a decent number of contributors, but to be of any value, there needs to be many more. If anyone wants to become a contributor, just start tweeting your reviews with the #mtrv hashtag attached, and I’ll be monitoring them. If I feel like you are adding something to the mix, I’ll add you as a contributor, and your tweets (even the ones you have already tweeted) will appear in the official feed. Before you start Tweeting, make sure to read the rules on the site.
My hope is that a constantly updated feed will give a snapshot of the buzz that is developing on films as they are released. At festivals, it could become a barometer of reactions in real time. And please don’t give me shit about reducing film criticism to 140 characters. This cannot and should not replace serious film criticism. It’s just for fun.