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The Decline of Film Forums: What Caused It?

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The Decline of Film Forums: What Caused It?

#1

Post by St. Gloede » August 5th, 2020, 1:46 pm

Hi all,

In this episode we talk about a topic near and dear to our hearts: The Decline of Film Forums.

Once upon a time there was an endless horde of IMDb forums, each with their own subculture. We had Mubi (the auteurs), RottenTomatoes and as many here knows FG2, FG3, etc.

Then, they slowly started to disappear, to the point that only our forum, and a few others, mostly the IMDb clones, which have copied the archives and kept some of the same users, are active and popular.

What happened?

Fittingly, ICMForum co-founder Mightysparks is also with us for the very first time.

Join in as we put on our detective hats, and talk openly of our own loss and traumas (mostly soothed by this great place)

You can listen here:

Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/show/3GhRXnb6OzOnfae2Uvkvus
Sounder - https://talking-images.sounder.fm/episo ... ilm-forums

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#2

Post by OldAle1 » August 5th, 2020, 3:12 pm

OK I just listened. This was really nice - great to hear Lauren's voice, first of all (and it's interesting, as an amateur student of accents, to hear both her and sol in the same place - they sound rather different to me. Both raised in Perth, or just living there now?) Excellent summary of the state of things re: forums and their decline. I think I'd have appreciated more "psychological depth" - just why were forums popular 15 years ago, and why did they become less so? You do delve into that somewhat but it's a subject with a lot of complexity I think; the mention of the people who just give one-line reviews or comments in particular opens up a whole world of possible discussion for me. As someone who worked in video stores for a decade there was nothing more frustrating on a day-to-day basis than the people - regular customers who watched hundreds of movies a year - who could not articulate anything beyond "is it funny?" and wanted nothing from me beyond "it's the funniest thing EVER!" There is and has always been a large group of people who may be enthusiastic about a hobby or interest but have absolutely no interest in putting the slightest effort into thinking about it or communicating about it - and these days those people are perfectly happy tweeting "AWESOME" or whatever. 15 years ago I was a regular on a beer forum which got a lot of discussion - and which required somewhat detailed reviews for beers, which was I thought pretty useful; fast-forward a decade and Untappd had become the de facto site for people, where the idea of in-depth reviews is nonexistent, but hey, pictures! And this brings up something that you guys don't mention, perhaps because they're ubiquitous to all of you and became normal facets of life when you were all still young: smart phones. Of course some people, maybe most, are accessing this forum on phones, but an awful lot of smart phone users - my brother is a great example - just wouldn't want to spend the time and effort in reading a long paragraph like I'm writing here, going through a bunch of long reviews or discussions that are more than 10 words per post. Facebook/Twitter/Instagram are the platforms for today's technology as well as taste. Forums are dinosaurs in a lot of people's minds because they're old-fashioned and not full of bells and whistles.

Anyway I do still miss the IMDb forums, even with all their trolls, for many favorite users who are not here (one did join but couldn't get used to the no-nest style) as wells as for the sheer numbers - admittedly FG and OB and a few other forums were sometimes overwhelmed by the number of posts and posters - even the CFB and Horror could be too busy sometimes, but those large numbers guaranteed that one was never in the wilderness no matter how weird or off-base one was in some cinematic area. And I miss the question & answer forum (was that what it was called?) even if I never used it - because of the vast number of users it was nearly impossible to stump the userbase as a whole - no matter what your weird bit of trivia (say, isn't that Jean Renoir in that brief 5 seconds of that Hitchcock film), SOMEBODY would have an answer. I miss all that and I miss the forums devoted to specific movies - if they weren't newer/hot films, they usually wouldn't be trolled much and would have lots of passionate fans.

But the trolls were in the end overwhelming, and even the CFB which had been largely safe from them was trashed repeatedly in the last couple of years. There's also the whole "Free Speech Absolutism" movement - really a form of libertarianism - which made calling out trolls much, much worse than actually being a troll - even a really awful troll who deliberately tried to ruin whole forums - in many people's eyes. It was all about money for IMDbAmazon so it's no surprise really that they killed it all. And overall, this is a much better experience, for all of my nostalgia, than that was. I do think we need more active users to make this place even better - and I'm glad Adam in particular talks about that - but we don't need so many as to overwhelm it, as happened with IMDb. Even with moderation if you're getting thousands of posts per hour it's going to be rough. I'd think about double the number of current regulars might be the sweet spot, though I have no idea how to go about getting them. I also post now on a Reddit sub (run by the guy I mentioned above who didn't like this forum's layout), but that is slower overall than this forum, and most of the people there wouldn't be good fits honestly - there are a couple who are already here who are but I wouldn't really want to mine that place, or Reddit in general, for more potential ICMers.

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#3

Post by OldAle1 » August 5th, 2020, 3:31 pm

Oh I also want to mention my first forum experience, since y'all talk about that. It was before IMDb - not sure I knew about the IMDb forums though I had used the site since at least 1994 occasionally. It was a Yahoo group - remember those anybody? - called "Cinemasters" if I'm remembering correctly, and I joined at the behest of a friend of mine after moving to Vermont in 2000. Didn't have anybody to talk movies with IRL at that point apart from my brother, whose tastes are much more limited and mainstream, and so I joined up. I think it had around 100 users, not sure how many were active but the majority probably, and as I soon learned nearly everybody there was a professional critic or academic, so I really didn't fit in (neither did my friend but he was less self-conscious than I was), but I did stick it out for, I dunno, 6 months or a year or more. It was my first exposure to people who were at the same time "serious" about film but disliked nearly everything they saw (not the majority of people there maybe, but several loud voices); one of the regulars was Mike D'Angelo, probably my least-favorite pro critic who is neither a troll (like Armond White) or an idiot (like a lot of TV critics when I was growing up). Anyway I didn't really fit in there and my interest in movies was at it's lowest point from about 2001-5 so during that period I had little forum contact on the subject, apart from one general Yahoo group that a few of my real-life friends in Chicago were in. And I was on the Amazon forums for a couple of years and there was a fair amount of movie discussion there but those forums too were ruined by trolls - in some ways they were worse that IMDb because there were fewer people and just 1-2 really terrible trolls could really deface the place.

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#4

Post by Onderhond » August 5th, 2020, 3:43 pm

Will listen to the podcast later tonight, but will react to this (because it's something that irked me for the past 8 years.
You do delve into that somewhat but it's a subject with a lot of complexity I think; the mention of the people who just give one-line reviews or comments in particular opens up a whole world of possible discussion for me.
In 2012, I wrote this article (back then I still blogged a lot about my work/the web.

Long story short, social platforms abuse the inherent laziness of people. Their UX is tailored to reduce communication to quantity, not quality. Why type out why you like something when you can just click a button? Why make wide comment areas when you can just make them small and have 1 normal sentence look like a paragraph?

All of this drives "interaction", which is an important metric for platforms and users alike. What this statistic hides is the quality and worth of the interaction. Social platforms are social in the sense that people connect to many others, but their interactions are extremely limited. Not like these oldskool forums, where you can type half a book and it still looks like you've only written half a paragraph. For too many, that's simply too daunting.

In UX terms, reducing effort and friction drives interaction, but lowers the quality of interaction. And people will fall for it, because they're lazy by nature.

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#5

Post by sol » August 5th, 2020, 3:49 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 3:12 pm
Both raised in Perth, or just living there now?
I can't speak for Lauren, but I have lived here all my life.
OldAle1 wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 3:12 pm
just wouldn't want to spend the time and effort in reading a long paragraph like I'm writing here
Thanks for listening to the episode. You bring up some interesting discussion points. Unfortunately it's rather late at night for me to get into a detailed conversation, but I read everything that you said... and not from my phone. ;)
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#6

Post by mightysparks » August 5th, 2020, 3:56 pm

sol wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 3:49 pm
OldAle1 wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 3:12 pm
Both raised in Perth, or just living there now?
I can't speak for Lauren, but I have lived here all my life.
I have as well :)
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#7

Post by Teproc » August 5th, 2020, 4:04 pm

I didn't even know IMDB forums existed before the Big Migration happened actually, probably because I didn't use IMDB that much. I came to the ICM Forum through the Filmspotting forum, which is another one of those still-alive-but-just-barely film forums around, with some overlap with this one. I definitely think there is a generational element here, I feel like I'm towards the tail end of people who have any interest in forums at all (I'm in my late twenties), but I'd resist the notion that it's an attention span thing. I think OldAle is right in pointing out that smartphones are the key element here: I almost never browse forums on my phone, it's just unpleasant, if I'm on my phone I'm going to read Twitter or Reddit (or newspaper apps but that's not particularly relevant to this conversation), forums are just tied to computers for me, and people use computers less than they did ten years ago, simple as that.

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#8

Post by AdamH » August 5th, 2020, 4:08 pm

Thanks for the detailed post OldAle. Really appreciate feedback on these episodes. I do agree that a detailed discussion about why forums were popular years ago but aren't now would be great as well. I suppose we are limited in how much we can say and we recorded two episodes in one day.

I certainly think that, when forums originally took off, they had much less competition from other things online. Since then, multiple social media platforms have come along and become huge (with an emphasis on very short messages and instant replies) and also smart phones have become massive too and only increased the emphasis on instant replies and short messages. Back when forums first got popular, there weren't a lot of alternatives online. I also think the internet wasn't as widespread in usage at that point so different types of people were online whereas now everyone is and that alone has changed the nature of discussions and the platforms available for those discussions.

We always speak a great deal about growing the forum but, in reality, we never really do anything to try to make that happen. We lose some forum regulars over the years and gain some others like every forum does. The IMDb forum closing was sad for everyone who participated but had the unexpected benefit for us of a whole new group of users. Basically every user we've gained from the IMDb forum closing has been a great addition. That is very noticeable. I wonder if it's because Perception and St. Gloede purposely invited users who they liked and valued so we got some of the best users from the forum.

I think there are many options open to use to gain new users but it often takes time or isn't very easy. Posting about the forum somewhere might gain users but also might gain trolls. Or perhaps people would just ignore the posts advertising the forum. Then you have people on other film forums but you can't really go onto them and say "hey everyone, post here instead". Perhaps posting on Reddit or similar sites could have a positive effect.

I don't really know what the future holds for forums. I think there's probably been a move away from official forums like IMDb, RottenTomatoes, MUBI etc. to unofficial ones run by groups of fans. It seems like companies don't want to have a big forum associated with them. Perhaps because of the moderating work, the trolling or just because it's no longer "cool". When we first started, we wanted to be official but it didn't happen. We eventually got an offer to merge but it would basically have meant this forum closing down. In hindsight, I can see the advantages of us being unofficial from day one. You have much more freedom and don't have the same types of worries as there would be on an official site. At the same time, it also makes it so much harder to get members. I sent out hundreds of messages back in 2011 on icheckmovies.com just to get anyone other than a handful of us to join in the first place (there was no captcha code back then on the site). It was very hard work just to get people in the first place. We are/were in a strange position as a forum with a website in our name but not an official forum and on a completely different platform from icheckmovies.

Occasionally, I'll see another film forum likes ours and wish they'd all just move over to our forum but people like their own forum identity. If a big forum suddenly asked us all to move over there, we likely wouldn't want to do it.

We have made some progress. I think the forum is a better place than it was years ago. We've survived nine years and we had no idea what would happen when we created this in 2011. We've finally added a podcast. I still think we should do so much more like trying to promote the 500<400 list. I would like to have a wordpress type site attached to the icmforum.com domain with a page for each film, a screenshot and a review from a forum member (most of the films will have a decent review on here already). I'd also like to see some way of bringing new people in. It's hard. Other than the IMDb influx in 2017 and the occasional new active member, it's very hard to find a source of new members.

I think we do have a few users in their 20s. Most are probably 30s or 40s but that's just a guess and there are a wide range of users going up to users in their 80s. I like that there's a big mix. I also agree with OldAle that it would be nice for us to grow but I wouldn't want a huge forum with endless posts as that causes problems too.

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#9

Post by Onderhond » August 5th, 2020, 4:29 pm

If you want the forum to grow, maybe a Letterboxd account (with an overview of our forum lists) could bring in new people. That's where the more chatty/active cinephiles seem to be these days, and lists are quite popular there (+ get found without doing actual promotion). They're also quite easy to make, especially when you have the IMDb lists present.

The only problem might be that it's somewhat of an ICM competitor in that way, but since we're not an official forum, who is going to stop us?

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#10

Post by AdamH » August 5th, 2020, 4:33 pm

Yes, good idea Onderhond. Funnily enough, I'd been thinking of doing exactly what you said just a few days ago. I noticed someone got there first with 500<400 but I'd love to add all the main lists under the icmforum name. Is there an easy way to import iCM lists? Or import IMDb links? Do you need to be a pro user for that?

We are an iCM site but we aren't officially tied to icheckmovies. Letterboxd is also about 100 times more popular (probably more) as well so lists on there might attract users.

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#11

Post by 3eyes » August 5th, 2020, 4:36 pm

Interesting thread, thanks. Being of the Luddite persuasion (as well as hearing-impaired) I have yet to attempt to listen to a podcast, but I read this with interest. I came here via Lists of Bests - can't recall how I learned about ICM but it was in May 2011.

I like the size and relative intimacy of this forum, its internationality, its fine moderators. How many other forums offer(ed) challenges? That was a big draw for me until recently.

These days I'm doing a lot of rewatches and I'm continually astonished at how much I've learned about understanding a film since I've been here. I know I don't contribute much review-wise but I'm glad others do.

I don't understand the diff between and official an an unofficial forum but never mind.
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#12

Post by AdamH » August 5th, 2020, 4:39 pm

3eyes wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 4:36 pm
I don't understand the diff between and official an an unofficial forum but never mind.
Essentially:

Official-directly attached to main website (e.g. iCheckmovies, IMDb etc.). People can use the main website plus the forum generally without creating a new account. All users (pretty much) are aware of the forum.
Unofficial-has the name in the title but is run by fans rather than the main website people themselves.

Unofficial has much more freedom as it's not officially representing the main website.

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#13

Post by mightysparks » August 5th, 2020, 4:41 pm

I used List of Bests a lot as well but man was that site cumbersome. Ditched it after finding icm.
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#14

Post by Onderhond » August 5th, 2020, 4:43 pm

AdamH wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 4:33 pm
Is there an easy way to import iCM lists? Or import IMDb links? Do you need to be a pro user for that?
Should be extremely easy if you have a list of IMDb urls (they have an import function), and you don't have to be a pro user. I think in the beginning the lists were more limited, but it's become such a vital element to the experience there that they opened it up (at least, that's what I remember reading, haven't been there for a very long time either).

An ICMForum account with the ICM lists could give us a decent boost.

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#15

Post by AdamH » August 5th, 2020, 4:46 pm

Onderhond wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 4:43 pm
AdamH wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 4:33 pm
Is there an easy way to import iCM lists? Or import IMDb links? Do you need to be a pro user for that?
Should be extremely easy if you have a list of IMDb urls (they have an import function), and you don't have to be a pro user. I think in the beginning the lists were more limited, but it's become such a vital element to the experience there that they opened it up (at least, that's what I remember reading, haven't been there for a very long time either).

An ICMForum account with the ICM lists could give us a decent boost.
Thanks. Already set up an account called icmforum. Will take a look later today at adding lists.

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#16

Post by OldAle1 » August 5th, 2020, 5:00 pm

mightysparks wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 4:41 pm
I used List of Bests a lot as well but man was that site cumbersome. Ditched it after finding icm.
Fellow List of Bests user here as well. I stuck with it until it died, then looked around and found icheckmovies, which was certainly an upgrade, even if it was only movies - don't think I was following a lot of non-movie lists on LOB. It was a pretty crappy site, but no crappier than many others from it's era I guess.

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#17

Post by blocho » August 5th, 2020, 6:14 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 3:12 pm
And I miss the question & answer forum (was that what it was called?) even if I never used it - because of the vast number of users it was nearly impossible to stump the userbase as a whole - no matter what your weird bit of trivia (say, isn't that Jean Renoir in that brief 5 seconds of that Hitchcock film), SOMEBODY would have an answer.
A Q&A topic sounds cool. Do we not already have something like that somewhere in the archives?

But more importantly, Jean Renoir was in a Hitchcock movie?!??!??!? Did that really happen?

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#18

Post by OldAle1 » August 5th, 2020, 6:18 pm

blocho wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 6:14 pm
OldAle1 wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 3:12 pm
And I miss the question & answer forum (was that what it was called?) even if I never used it - because of the vast number of users it was nearly impossible to stump the userbase as a whole - no matter what your weird bit of trivia (say, isn't that Jean Renoir in that brief 5 seconds of that Hitchcock film), SOMEBODY would have an answer.
A Q&A topic sounds cool. Do we not already have something like that somewhere in the archives?

But more importantly, Jean Renoir was in a Hitchcock movie?!??!??!? Did that really happen?
:lol: I wondered if that would get anybody going. No, not that I know of - but it COULD have happened. I'm guessing they must have known each other, or at least met at parties or something.

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#19

Post by RogerTheMovieManiac88 » August 5th, 2020, 6:25 pm

I really enjoyed listening to that episode this afternoon. You four interact very well and everyone spoke with a clarity and made interesting points.

It was fun and well put together and allowed me to remember aspects of the defunct IMDb boards, that served as my introduction to film forums.

:cheers:
That's all, folks!

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#20

Post by Lammetje » August 5th, 2020, 6:32 pm

I liked the accents too. The transcription on Sounder.fm looks awful though. :P Is the next episode really going to be about Larry? :woot:

By the way, at least one entire episode should be dedicated to Monty's avatar. And maybe one about Ettie's avatar history.
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#21

Post by mightysparks » August 5th, 2020, 6:35 pm

Lammetje wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 6:32 pm
I liked the accents too. The transcription on Sounder.fm looks awful though. :P
Pretty sure you mean awesome. I am micus parks!

And yes Larry will be discussed.
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#22

Post by AdamH » August 5th, 2020, 6:38 pm

I've added an icmforum account on Letterboxd and started off by adding top 1001 plus the decade lists. https://letterboxd.com/icmforum/lists/

The 1980s is missing one currently as I can't find the Das Boot mini-series on LB.

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#23

Post by AdamH » August 5th, 2020, 6:47 pm

RogerTheMovieManiac88 wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 6:25 pm
I really enjoyed listening to that episode this afternoon. You four interact very well and everyone spoke with a clarity and made interesting points.

It was fun and well put together and allowed me to remember aspects of the defunct IMDb boards, that served as my introduction to film forums.

:cheers:
Thanks! :thumbsup:

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#24

Post by xianjiro » August 5th, 2020, 7:08 pm

well, this might be a hint - I prefer the written word when looking for information and certainly prefer it when I'm trying to express myself (although actual real-life conversations can work better if idea exchange is important). So, for example, if I want to cook something, I still prefer to read a recipe (maybe, but usually not, all that 'crazy' intro text these food bloggers love to provide) and I NEVER watch a video on how to make the dish. One thing about a text recipe, it's much easier to scroll up and go through the list of ingredients to make sure I haven't forgotten anything, which can be easy if it's a long list of ingredients.

And now there is TikTok with 15 second videos.

The world is moving away from the written word (though people still enjoy reading) and the less people do it, the less the skill matters and the harder work it is. When was the last time anyone (else) tried to keep up a snail mail correspondence?

Maybe the future of film forums is actually a hybrid of TikTok and a place where those messages can be saved, but gee, I imagine it will be "it was the ____-est film ever!" (funniest, best, worst, dumbest, etc) What else can one really say in 15 seconds?

We live in an age where the sound bite is morphing into the video bite.

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#25

Post by Onderhond » August 5th, 2020, 7:33 pm

It was a fun episode alright!

Personally I started my forum experience in the early 00s, on the official Production I.G forum, even before I had a fixed internet connection at home. It was built on the same software as our current forum and it attracted a similar sort of crowd, only with a strong focus on anime. It was a rather international crowd there, with a good group of active posters and lots and lots of lurkers (people who liked to read, but were a bit afraid to post - you get that with the PhpBB fora). What brought people together there was the interest in "elevated" (Japanese) animation, so even though a lot of the talk was about Production I.G projects, we also had a lot of threads about the more indie and avant-garde anime projects, a real treasure trove of information. It eventually became the forum's undoing, because Production I.G itself started to seek out a more mainstream audience and the forum had gathered a bit of a reputation for being quite critical and demanding, so in the end they pulled the plug. A sad day alright, though some of that community still lives on in IRC and other social platforms.

By then I was already a very active member on MovieMeter (started late 2003), which became my daily driver. It's a Dutch forum that still exists today (and I think is actually still bigger than ICM, which is quite a feat for a forum in Dutch). It featured comment threads on film pages that blended reviews and comments and a separate forum for broader (film-related) banter, games and challenges. An ideal setup. In recent years though, the userbase has been slowly shrinking (like most fora) and things have taken a nosedive once the owner sold it off to a commercial company. It's still relatively active, but nothing like before and you can just feel the community swindling. It's a shame because throughout the years it had a very solid userbase with people from all over the film spectrum. Actually a bit wider than what you find on our current ICM forum, though the overall focal point was slightly more tilted towards contemporary cinema.

As for the IMDb fora, I never really bothered with them. The fact that reviews and discussion were split didn't appeal to me and I wasn't a big fan of the threaded nature either. Such things are indeed useful when there are a lot of posts, but fora with too many people are usually not a very worthwhile place to be, as they get very hard to navigate. That said, I would've loved to be on that IMDb Classics forum to post my reviews, I'm used to getting a lot of flack but that has never held me back. Also, there was a lot of talk about ICM growing, which is definitely something we should look into, but getting too big isn't good for a community either. Never trade quantity for quality. As for the IMDb fora shutting down, you can be sure it was because the fora were tainted, which wasn't something Amazon was willing to deal with. Like most big companies really (moderation is really hard, especially when you have products to sell too).

I joined the ICM forum in 2012 because I'm attracted to lists and stats like most people here, though it took me a long time to find my place. On the podcast you guys mentioned people blasting others for their taste, back when I joined there was still quite a bit of that happening here, though that wasn't the biggest issue. It was just way too focused on pure list posting and challenges, with little actual film discussions going on. I'd say that's still a bit of an issue (which ICM still trailing the other fora I frequented), but it's definitely gotten better over the years. And the community is also a bit more geared towards classic cinema and more traditional arthouse, which isn't my primary interest.

It will be interesting to see where it goes from here, but I do agree with the comments that because there's a slightly older audience on here the forum might have a better chance of survival. Even so, you'll always need a fresh influx of users because life is always going to get in the way of regulars. Hopefully we can get some Letterboxd people to find their way here, because there are some really nice reviewers there that would be a big asset for this place.

-----

Props for the editing btw, this one felt much more like a natural conversation. Oh, and mightysparks has a lovely radio voice, a worthy addition to the podcast team!

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#26

Post by pitchorneirda » August 5th, 2020, 7:36 pm

I've been reading this forum for over a year now and I don't interact much, partly because I'm shy, partly because I'm not confortable talking about movies (I'd like to, though), and partly because English still causes me troubles sometimes (I'm a French speaker).

I really enjoy reading you all and participating to the polls and especially the World Cup but I feel like I should share my impressions:

About forums in general, as said before, the mobile percentage of website traffic has risen from about 30% in 2015 to 50% today and the quality of interactions tends to diminish.

About ICMforum in particular, what might be difficult is that most of you seem to be like a family who have known each other for over a decade and it's intimidating. Also, almost everybody here has seen over 5,000 movies and even 10,000 (I hope to reach 2,000 by the end of the year) and you've just all reached a level where you're just a handful in the world to have seen a particular movie that you want to talk about. I just haven't reached the point (and don't know if I ever will) where I've seen the entire filmography of any significant director and be confident enough to talk about it like you do, or take any genre and have an assertive and valuable opinion on it.
I know I probably have confidence issues that don't apply to everybody who's new here and I should probably repeat that's it's a pleasure being here but you should be aware that there are not that many people that can keep up your pace "moviewise"

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#27

Post by AdamH » August 5th, 2020, 7:37 pm

Great post, Onderhond. Thanks for sharing. I agree with you that there's still a bit too much focus on list posting rather than film discussion but, like you, I think that has improved. I also think there are a lot of really good posts in some of the challenge threads but they are a bit hidden away for new people who might not know where to look.

I also think Letterboxd people finding their way here is probably another key way to attract new users as that site is huge compared to iCheckMovies and I'm sure there are lots of users over there who could contribute well on here.

And, yeah, I've said frequently to Lauren that her voice is amazing for the podcast. Glad others are noticing!

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#28

Post by AdamH » August 5th, 2020, 7:45 pm

pitchorneirda wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 7:36 pm
I've been reading this forum for over a year now and I don't interact much, partly because I'm shy, partly because I'm not confortable talking about movies (I'd like to, though), and partly because English still causes me troubles sometimes (I'm a French speaker).

I really enjoy reading you all and participating to the polls and especially the World Cup but I feel like I should share my impressions:

About forums in general, as said before, the mobile percentage of website traffic has risen from about 30% in 2015 to 50% today and the quality of interactions tends to diminish.

About ICMforum in particular, what might be difficult is that most of you seem to be like a family who have known each other for over a decade and it's intimidating. Also, almost everybody here has seen over 5,000 movies and even 10,000 (I hope to reach 2,000 by the end of the year) and you've just all reached a level where you're just a handful in the world to have seen a particular movie that you want to talk about. I just haven't reached the point (and don't know if I ever will) where I've seen the entire filmography of any significant director and be confident enough to talk about it like you do, or take any genre and have an assertive and valuable opinion on it.
I know I probably have confidence issues that don't apply to everybody who's new here and I should probably repeat that's it's a pleasure being here but you should be aware that there are not that many people that can keep up your pace "moviewise"
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I agree that lots of people on here have seen a massive number of films but not everyone is in that position. I "only" have 2773 checks on iCheckMovies and many of them are shorts so I'm probably in a more similar position to you in terms of feature films watched.

I also struggle massively in terms of confidence in posting about films and English is my first language. I am gradually trying to post a little bit more over time in terms of reviews. Even just starting with a couple of sentences to try to articulate my thoughts. You aren't alone in having confidence issues. I think that some people on here able to write amazing, long and in-depth reviews and those are the ones you notice but there will be lots of others who don't feel confident enough or feel like they're able to easily write reviews like that.

I can totally see how it might be intimidating to new people to post about films when they see the numbers that some people have watched on here. There are people on here who haven't seen anything like 5000 though but I can totally see why the overall impression is that almost everyone has seen 5k/10k films.

You make a very good point about the family aspect as some of us have posted on here since 2011. That's true and it can be difficult for new people to feel like they can post when it's obvious that many users have known each other well. I think this is quite common on established forums. I'm not sure if there's anything we can do to change that perception or encourage new posters. There is a 'welcome new members' thread and people tend to get positive replies when they post in there but it's hard to know what else we can do to help with that issue. A decent number of the posters now are from IMDb and only joined in 2017 but they also knew each other before then (but most did not know us).

Main message is that, whilst some on here are confident about writing reviews and have watched 10k films, there will be others who are less vocal who lack confidence when writing about films and there are others who have seen far fewer films as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I enjoyed reading your post.

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#29

Post by Onderhond » August 5th, 2020, 8:27 pm

AdamH wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 7:45 pm
I can totally see how it might be intimidating to new people to post about films when they see the numbers that some people have watched on here. There are people on here who haven't seen anything like 5000 though but I can totally see why the overall impression is that almost everyone has seen 5k/10k films.
Like I said in my earlier post, this type of forum seems to have that effect on people. I've heard this so many times before on the Production I.G forums too, there's really nothing you can do about it.

Fact of the matter is, if you're not very confident expressing yourself, even a well-written 3-line review will look like you've just said "awesome film lol" on this type of forum. Line lengths are extreme and because you have a relatively high left column, the comment area will be 90% whitespace, which looks a bit daunting (as if you haven't tried hard enough). It's no accident that every modern social platform (even Letterboxd) uses small comment areas. Write a 3-line review and the design makes it look like you're the next Ebert.

To make it worse, people who are confident and expressive will dump their massive texts without shame and lurkers will see a succession of huge chunks of text, making it even more daunting to join. It definitely is a hurdle new members need to overcome when they're not used to writing large amounts of texts to voice their opinion.

And sure, if you see something go to 200+ films in a challenge, you may begin to wonder if you're really that big of a film fan after all. Which is a lot of words to say that I too have no idea how to fix it. It's probably just best to embrace it and see it as part of the identity of the forum. It would be nice to get more lurkers out of their hiding place, on the other hand these people do often enjoy reading along and see the forum as a form of authority, which is not a very bad place to be (unless there's a parent company who can shut you down :lol: )
pitchorneirda wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 7:36 pm
I've been reading this forum for over a year now and I don't interact much, partly because I'm shy, partly because I'm not confortable talking about movies (I'd like to, though), and partly because English still causes me troubles sometimes (I'm a French speaker).
There are quite a few French people here, I wouldn't worry about your language skills, they seem more than adequate. Comfort is something that comes with practise though, one thing that might help is start a thread about a subject you're already quite knowledgeable about. 2000+ films is quite a lot already, no doubt there's something you can speak about with passion, and it's easier than joining in on conversations that are about things you're less comfortable discussing.

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#30

Post by blocho » August 5th, 2020, 8:29 pm

pitchorneirda wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 7:36 pm
I've been reading this forum for over a year now and I don't interact much, partly because I'm shy, partly because I'm not confortable talking about movies (I'd like to, though), and partly because English still causes me troubles sometimes (I'm a French speaker).

I really enjoy reading you all and participating to the polls and especially the World Cup but I feel like I should share my impressions:

About forums in general, as said before, the mobile percentage of website traffic has risen from about 30% in 2015 to 50% today and the quality of interactions tends to diminish.

About ICMforum in particular, what might be difficult is that most of you seem to be like a family who have known each other for over a decade and it's intimidating. Also, almost everybody here has seen over 5,000 movies and even 10,000 (I hope to reach 2,000 by the end of the year) and you've just all reached a level where you're just a handful in the world to have seen a particular movie that you want to talk about. I just haven't reached the point (and don't know if I ever will) where I've seen the entire filmography of any significant director and be confident enough to talk about it like you do, or take any genre and have an assertive and valuable opinion on it.
I know I probably have confidence issues that don't apply to everybody who's new here and I should probably repeat that's it's a pleasure being here but you should be aware that there are not that many people that can keep up your pace "moviewise"
Other than not being a native English speaker, I had all the same hesitation issues you have now back when I joined in 2014. I barely posted anything for about six months. But look at me now -- I love it here. I hope you participate more.

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#31

Post by blocho » August 5th, 2020, 8:33 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 6:18 pm
blocho wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 6:14 pm
OldAle1 wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 3:12 pm
And I miss the question & answer forum (was that what it was called?) even if I never used it - because of the vast number of users it was nearly impossible to stump the userbase as a whole - no matter what your weird bit of trivia (say, isn't that Jean Renoir in that brief 5 seconds of that Hitchcock film), SOMEBODY would have an answer.
A Q&A topic sounds cool. Do we not already have something like that somewhere in the archives?

But more importantly, Jean Renoir was in a Hitchcock movie?!??!??!? Did that really happen?
:lol: I wondered if that would get anybody going. No, not that I know of - but it COULD have happened. I'm guessing they must have known each other, or at least met at parties or something.
Oh Oldy, you rascal, I must get to the bottom of this! Was the Renoir-in-Hitchcock story something you heard or something you just made up?

My head is abuzz. I'm now thinking of all the other random people who might be lurking in the background of a Hitchcock movie for a second. Abel Gance. Fatty Arbuckle. Fred Astaire. Leon Blum. Nikita Khrushchev. Vince Lombardi!

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#32

Post by St. Gloede » August 5th, 2020, 8:58 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 3:12 pm
Excellent summary of the state of things re: forums and their decline. I think I'd have appreciated more "psychological depth" - just why were forums popular 15 years ago, and why did they become less so? You do delve into that somewhat but it's a subject with a lot of complexity I think; the mention of the people who just give one-line reviews or comments in particular opens up a whole world of possible discussion for me. As someone who worked in video stores for a decade there was nothing more frustrating on a day-to-day basis than the people - regular customers who watched hundreds of movies a year - who could not articulate anything beyond "is it funny?" and wanted nothing from me beyond "it's the funniest thing EVER!" There is and has always been a large group of people who may be enthusiastic about a hobby or interest but have absolutely no interest in putting the slightest effort into thinking about it or communicating about it - and these days those people are perfectly happy tweeting "AWESOME" or whatever. 15 years ago I was a regular on a beer forum which got a lot of discussion - and which required somewhat detailed reviews for beers, which was I thought pretty useful; fast-forward a decade and Untappd had become the de facto site for people, where the idea of in-depth reviews is nonexistent, but hey, pictures! And this brings up something that you guys don't mention, perhaps because they're ubiquitous to all of you and became normal facets of life when you were all still young: smart phones. Of course some people, maybe most, are accessing this forum on phones, but an awful lot of smart phone users - my brother is a great example - just wouldn't want to spend the time and effort in reading a long paragraph like I'm writing here, going through a bunch of long reviews or discussions that are more than 10 words per post. Facebook/Twitter/Instagram are the platforms for today's technology as well as taste. Forums are dinosaurs in a lot of people's minds because they're old-fashioned and not full of bells and whistles.
Thank you for the brilliantly thorough reply (and the compliments). You really should have been part of this episode! I have to admit that I never considered the fact that how people engaged with the Internet had fundamentally changed. In part, I suppose as I did not see the big difference between, say, 2013-17 and now - but of course the usage of smart phones keep increasing, and the way we are used to processing information changes because of it.

A little amusig that you assume this possibly passed us by because it has been so normalized as part of our adult lives (which may be the case for others) as I still use phones first and foremost to make phone calls (yes ... still). I'm never on my phone in my own home (unless on a call), but I do occasionally browse the web if in a waiting room, etc. and what you say is true. Granted, I use the phone as an extension of my regular habits in these cases, but reading longer articles, or interacting on this forum is not as great. I was on a mini-break over the weekend without Internet, except on specific locations with my phone, and you are right, shorter messages is all you can really do. I can definitely see why people communicating via their phones would prefer slightly shorter communication, such as twitter, etc. All I can say is that I do not love the mobile internet experience.

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#33

Post by xianjiro » August 5th, 2020, 9:06 pm

pitchorneirda wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 7:36 pm

About ICMforum in particular, what might be difficult is that most of you seem to be like a family who have known each other for over a decade and it's intimidating. Also, almost everybody here has seen over 5,000 movies and even 10,000 (I hope to reach 2,000 by the end of the year) and you've just all reached a level where you're just a handful in the world to have seen a particular movie that you want to talk about. I just haven't reached the point (and don't know if I ever will) where I've seen the entire filmography of any significant director and be confident enough to talk about it like you do, or take any genre and have an assertive and valuable opinion on it.
Maybe we need a sticky topic along the lines "New to Cinema" - in other words, a place where the conversation is driven by people who are just starting to explore movies.

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#34

Post by St. Gloede » August 5th, 2020, 9:14 pm

pitchorneirda wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 7:36 pm
I've been reading this forum for over a year now and I don't interact much, partly because I'm shy, partly because I'm not confortable talking about movies (I'd like to, though), and partly because English still causes me troubles sometimes (I'm a French speaker).

I really enjoy reading you all and participating to the polls and especially the World Cup but I feel like I should share my impressions:

About forums in general, as said before, the mobile percentage of website traffic has risen from about 30% in 2015 to 50% today and the quality of interactions tends to diminish.

About ICMforum in particular, what might be difficult is that most of you seem to be like a family who have known each other for over a decade and it's intimidating. Also, almost everybody here has seen over 5,000 movies and even 10,000 (I hope to reach 2,000 by the end of the year) and you've just all reached a level where you're just a handful in the world to have seen a particular movie that you want to talk about. I just haven't reached the point (and don't know if I ever will) where I've seen the entire filmography of any significant director and be confident enough to talk about it like you do, or take any genre and have an assertive and valuable opinion on it.
I know I probably have confidence issues that don't apply to everybody who's new here and I should probably repeat that's it's a pleasure being here but you should be aware that there are not that many people that can keep up your pace "moviewise"
I think so many people struggle with confidence issues, and thinking their views or voice is not interesting. Honestly, they are usually wrong, and I can with quite a bit assure you, in the best possible way, that you are wrong too. Appreciating films is such a personal experience, and everyone takes a specific set of views and experiences with them. Just putting a word or two to these feelings - thinking "how did this affect me" and "why" will in almost every case be interesting as you are sharing how a film worked on some level, and people learn more about the film because of it.

I also have to say: I'm envious! It is far more interesting talking about films most have seen - than to talk about films next to no one has seen and maybe get 1-2 replies. If you are still going through top films on , say, TSPDT, those are the films so many are dying to discuss and getting a discussion started can be as simple as finding an observation you find interesting and running with it. There is really no award for seeing as many films as possible (ok, ok, there are kinda awards for that on iCheckMovies.com, but I am talking in general!). There is really no need to see 1+ film per day, many, many here do not have the time for that. If you see just 1 film a month you may still have something interesting to say about it.

That said, there is no need to do this. You can post screenshots, or just ratings, participate in challenges, etc. almost anything related to sharing can be interesting and valuable - and the more you do it, the more you may want to add or say.

I'd also like to add that you can see when people joined the forum, and so many of the regulars joined just these last few years, and they already feel like "family". I think what we are trying to do here is to make as many people feel as comfortable to talk and share their views as possible - and while saying "you are wrong" maybe slightly counterproductive to that aim, I hope it isn't.

Lovely to hear from you as well, and so happy you are enjoying the forum. Hope to see more of you, and I really think your English is excellent.

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#35

Post by burneyfan » August 5th, 2020, 11:50 pm

pitchorneirda wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 7:36 pm
I've been reading this forum for over a year now and I don't interact much, partly because I'm shy, partly because I'm not confortable talking about movies (I'd like to, though), and partly because English still causes me troubles sometimes (I'm a French speaker).

I really enjoy reading you all and participating to the polls and especially the World Cup but I feel like I should share my impressions:

About forums in general, as said before, the mobile percentage of website traffic has risen from about 30% in 2015 to 50% today and the quality of interactions tends to diminish.

About ICMforum in particular, what might be difficult is that most of you seem to be like a family who have known each other for over a decade and it's intimidating. Also, almost everybody here has seen over 5,000 movies and even 10,000 (I hope to reach 2,000 by the end of the year) and you've just all reached a level where you're just a handful in the world to have seen a particular movie that you want to talk about. I just haven't reached the point (and don't know if I ever will) where I've seen the entire filmography of any significant director and be confident enough to talk about it like you do, or take any genre and have an assertive and valuable opinion on it.
I know I probably have confidence issues that don't apply to everybody who's new here and I should probably repeat that's it's a pleasure being here but you should be aware that there are not that many people that can keep up your pace "moviewise"
I love to explore people's lists, and when I see members putting out favorites/poll lists that seem particularly interesting or appealing, I tend to prioritize those people's viewing activity and list changes. I just wanted you to know that I've been following your lists and getting ideas from them -- and I crossed the 17,000 film mark recently, for whatever that is worth. I still find your nominations lists and viewing records to be rewarding for ideas (and as a mystery/detective film lover, I'm also grateful for the Liège International Detective Film Festival list!). Like St. Gloede, I envy you for having some amazing first-time viewings ahead of you. I hope you will post your reactions (long or brief) to some films as you discover them, even if you think many members have already seen them. And please don't be worried about your English -- it is perfectly good (and your views on film would still be interesting even if it were not!).

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#36

Post by mightysparks » August 6th, 2020, 12:23 am

Oh wow, 17,000 is impressive! Amazing.

And yes I agree with everyone else on the confidence issues thing. As I mentioned in the podcast, when I tentatively began trying to share my thoughts and lists online I was immediately met with insults and it really turned me off and made it feel pointless. Irl I never had anyone to talk to about film and I got dismissed as a film snob if I even tried so I didn’t speak to anyone properly about film until we started the forum. And I was still met with a lot of negativity in the beginning so again, it seemed like a waste of effort to try. I only started really trying to articulate my thoughts last year writing little reviews on every film I saw and I don’t feel at all confident at translating my thoughts yet but I figure practice makes perfect! And I definitely feel much more welcome here in posting my opinions and rarely face the same kind of backlash that I did in the past.

Whether you’re a newbie or ‘differ from the norm’ I feel like this forum is definitely one of the more welcoming places and no one should feel shy. I love reading everyone’s thoughts and I feel like most people are very open-minded here.
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#37

Post by cinewest » August 6th, 2020, 2:51 am

Obviously an interesting topic, given the amount of people who have chimed in with interesting things to say.

Like Onderhond, I wish there were actually more film discussion, or discussion in general, and though I like lists, my main complaint would be that this forum some times seems to be mostly about listing favorite films or what people have seen with little interest in discussion (or differing views) at all, as though there is some kind of race to consume and stamp each movie with a rating, and then incorporate it in a list before moving into the next one.

For me, determining what I think or feel about a film, responding to it, and then discussing it with others, considering their opinion, and reflecting upon my own in light of that is a big part of what a film forum can offer, and for that reason I have really been enjoying the podcasts.

For those who worry they haven’t seen enough, while some knowledge of film history and what exists can be important in discussions, the ability to respond to a film and express one’s experience with it, as well as engage the commentaries of others is much more important, and not at all dependent on having seen thousands and thousands of movies.

In fact, I would suggest that film discussion can be a big part of one’s film education.
Last edited by cinewest on August 6th, 2020, 7:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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#38

Post by xianjiro » August 6th, 2020, 5:33 am

An aside: one day I was talking about opera with someone who really, really loves it as an art form. Can't say I do, but I try to appreciate it. Anyway, he played the same aria sung by two different, though both pretty well-known, performers and asked for my reaction. Of course I felt like I had nothing meaningful to say, I mean, how could I? I knew virtually nothing about opera at that point other than the aphorism about the fat lady singing.

But the one thing I did notice is one performer seemed to vary her voice, she held something back, while the other just belted out the whole aria as if her life depending on being heard miles away. Turned out that was a good answer though I'm sure actual students of opera would have had a lot more important commentary.

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#39

Post by cinewest » August 6th, 2020, 6:56 am

xianjiro wrote:
August 6th, 2020, 5:33 am
An aside: one day I was talking about opera with someone who really, really loves it as an art form. Can't say I do, but I try to appreciate it. Anyway, he played the same aria sung by two different, though both pretty well-known, performers and asked for my reaction. Of course I felt like I had nothing meaningful to say, I mean, how could I? I knew virtually nothing about opera at that point other than the aphorism about the fat lady singing.

But the one thing I did notice is one performer seemed to vary her voice, she held something back, while the other just belted out the whole aria as if her life depending on being heard miles away. Turned out that was a good answer though I'm sure actual students of opera would have had a lot more important commentary.
This is an apt analogy if you are discussing the technical aspects of a film, but in general, film discussion tends to be more about film content (story, themes, execution, etc.) and viewer experience (was it interesting, and if so how, why, in what way?, etc), which anyone can speak about after seeing a film, provided they have the ability to reflect upon and articulate their experience.

That said, it is true that some films require more preparation- familiarity with the medium, a filmmaker, an approach to working with the medium- than others do, particularly those labeled as "art house, experimental, avante garde, etc., but that will come with time and further understanding as a viewer provided one's interest in film takes one in that direction.

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#40

Post by joachimt » August 6th, 2020, 8:33 am

List Promoter wrote:
August 6th, 2020, 8:10 am
ignorant norwegian users who think they know more than critics.
Hey, are you back again? We (almost) missed you!
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