We all need an excuse to escape into another world sometimes. This month, help us do just that—by reviewing a film or TV series for the Write the World audience! Share with us the merits of storyline and plot, and the nitty-gritty on cinematography, editing, screenplay, score, and more. After carefully considering the intricacies, turn your gaze to the magic of the whole, and how all the film’s various components come together to make meaning, or how a series’ progression of episodes builds into a satisfying finale. We can’t wait to hear about your fave film or series, and get watching!
What is a film/TV review, exactly? Critics set out to do the following, all while keeping the reader engaged with vivid description and insightful analysis:
The Planning Phase
- INFORM: Give the reader the nuts and bolts such as genre, notable actors, etc.
- EXPLAIN: Tell the reader just enough so that they understand the basics of the storyline.
- ANALYZE: Tell the reader what worked and what didn’t, and why.
- RECOMMEND: Is the film/TV series worth seeing?
- Step One: One of the best ways to become a film/TV critic is to immerse yourself in published reviews, noticing the various styles and techniques: How does the writing draw you in? What elements does the reviewer discuss? How detailed is the analysis? Does the writer back up their recommendation (to see or not to see) with particular reasons/evidence? We recommend the following:
The New York Times: Movies
The Washington Post: Movies
Rolling Stone: Movies
The Atlantic: Film
The Viewing Phase
- Step Two (optional): After reading some published reviews, watch the reviewed films for yourself. Do you agree with the reviewer? Where does your opinion differ?
- Step Three: Decide on a film or TV series that you’d like to review!
The Writing Phase
- Step One: Have popcorn at the ready!
- Step Two: If you're able to see the film/TV series more than once, use the first viewing to take in the cinematic experience without a pen and paper in hand. Just watch, listen, and absorb. Then reflect, go for a walk, make a cup of tea, stare into space—all while thinking about what you just saw. Next, write down your initial thoughts: anything that springs to mind, uncensored.
- Step Three: Familiarize yourself with the “Elements to Consider” resource, and on your second viewing, jot down your observations and reactions as you watch, taking notes on performance, storyline, editing, etc.
- Step Four: After the film/TV series is over, take 10-15 minutes to record any other reactions, big or small. Make sure to include your thoughts on how the various elements contributed to the film's overall theme, meaning, and mood.
How you structure your review is entirely up to you, but almost all reviews include the following:
- Opening Hook: Grab the reader’s attention!
- Key Information: Provide the title, genre, lead actors, director, etc.
- Plot Summary: Because most readers know little if anything about the film/series, provide an overview of the premise, drawing your readers into the storyline, without giving too much away.
- Impression: Describe your experience watching the film/series, and how it looks, feels, and sounds.
- Analysis: Explain which elements were most compelling, and which fell short. If you were glued to your seat, describe what made the film so gripping. Alternatively, if you found yourself ducking out for more popcorn, explain how the film failed to hold your attention. This is the most ESSENTIAL part of your review—the main course. By making meaning of the film, you demonstrate that your recommendation (whether or not to see the movie/series) is founded in thoughtful, carefully considered observations.
- Final Rating: Tell the reader whether or not you recommend seeing this film/TV series, and what type of viewer would enjoy it (you might decide, for example, that action junkies will be thrilled with the latest James Bond flick, while those viewers hoping for a more nuanced plot should see Cate Blanchett’s current film instead...)
- Title/Headline: Your title or headline should make your audience want to read on!
And to brush up on your film/TV terminology, check out the “Glossary” resource.
Who is Eligible?
Young writers ages 13-18
600 – 1,000 words
Mathew Kesting, CEO and Creative Director, Adelaide Film Festival
What’s Different about Write the World Competitions?
- Best Entry: $100 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the winning piece, and an interview with the author will be featured on Write the World’s blog)
- Runner up: $50 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the piece will be featured on Write the World’s blog)
- Best Peer Review: $50 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the best peer review and an interview with the reviewer will be featured on Write the World’s blog)
- Prizes: The winning entrant will receive $100, and the runner-up and best peer-reviewer will receive $50.
- Professional Recognition: The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured on our blog, with commentary from our guest judge.
- Expert Review: Submit your draft by Monday, September 13, and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.
- September 6: Competition Opens
- September 13: Submit draft for Expert Review (Optional. We will review the first 100 drafts submitted.)
- September 17: Reviews returned to Writers
- September 21: Final Submissions Due
- October 1: Winners Announced
Looking to take your writing skills to the next level while learning from professional authors, poets, and educators? Check out Write the World's Global Writing Workshops program here
Our Nature & Environmental Poetry Competition opens Monday, October 4th.
Stay tuned for more details!
Is previously published work eligible?
Our monthly competitions are designed to get you writing across a range of genres throughout the year, so we encourage you to write a new work for each competition, but we will also accept work that has been previously shared with a small, local audience (for instance, a piece that was published in a school journal).
How to Enter
- If you haven’t yet, sign up for a free account for Write the World as a young writer here
- Hit the “Start Writing” button above!
- Draft your entry! Hit “Save” to return to it later.
- The first 100 people to submit a draft will receive an in-depth review from one of our Expert Reviewers—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals—that you can use to revise your final entry. The “Submit for Expert Review” button will be clickable if slots are still available—click it to have your draft reviewed. (Note: you can still enter the competition if you haven’t received or don’t want to receive an Expert Review!)
- When you are ready to submit your entry, hit the "Submit as Final" button (You can revise, re-publish, and mark any version as your "final submission" until the deadline.)
- Only one entry per person, please.
The power of our writing goes hand in hand with responsibility. Make sure that you’re supporting other people through your writing rather than pulling them down. The types of content that will be removed from the site include, but are not limited to:
- Anything that may be deemed hurtful, defamatory or discriminatory in nature.
- Anything deemed explicit or gratuitously violent.
- Anything referencing self-harm.
- Any commercial posts and/or spam.
- Plagiarism (see more at our Writing Guidelines page).
- Personal contact information—including usernames on social media or other platforms. This is to protect the privacy of our members.
- Links to any external websites, with the exception of links to citations as part of an essay, or including links to illustrations or audio as part of a Write the World competition or prompt.
If a writer posts content that violates our terms or goes against our guidelines, we will remove the post and contact the writer when necessary. Please refer to our Writing Guidelines
and site’s terms
for further information.
All final submissions will automatically be published on Write the World’s website.