Whether it was three decades ago or today's online community with its social media, good buzz on a movie has always been necessary. Things have changed though and the expression "there's no such thing as bad publicity" does not apply to films when it comes to their online ratings.
We don't buy printed movie guides anymore. Instead of just what one reviewer says being pertinent it is now the average of what anybody says that determines a movie's online rating. So if everybody is talking, just how can you influence everybody? Well, you can't; but you can influence the talk before it gets started.
For some context for this article, I am just someone with a blog who posts opinions about movies. That does not make me a film critic and I am certainly not a filmmaker. As a filmmaker, you know better how to promote your film than I would, but as a reviewer I know some things that makes reviewers tick, and I'm going to share one of those that will help some of you to get better ratings on your films just starting out.
The key is that we who review movies online are not very original. We're even less original than the flurry of remakes, sequels and reboots flooding the theaters and TV today. This is nothing new as often times through the years anybody who has had to share an opinion on something has often relied on the opinions of others to form theirs.
The reason, as I have probably stated to some of you, that I don't read reviews before I write mine is that I find so much duplicity in online reviews. People are often swayed by the opinions of others for their own opinions, and that is central to getting good ratings at the outset.
What you need is 1) to find reviewers you feel will be friendly to you and/or your type of movie and 2) who also rate the movies they review on other sites like IMDb, TMDb, and Letterboxd. If your initial wave of reviewers is friendly to you, then your rating is going to be higher. IMDb is the most important site to get a good average rating on as it is the first one that comes up in searches for your movie, and other reviewers will be using it to cull information for their reviews, and will be influenced by the rating; it only takes 5 ratings on IMDb to get a rating average.
Well now just how do you find reviewers who will likely be friendly to you, and who rate movies on IMDb? Well through IMDb, silly. Find movies on IMDb you feel are in a similar category as your movie, that have a good average rating, and check under the critic reviews. Those sites/reviewers most likely posted links themselves and probably rated the movie on IMDb as well. You can follow those links and if you're smart enough to make a movie you're smart enough to figure out who's the easy pickings by reading their reviews.
Of course the bigger sites are important. If you get one of the bigger sites to give your film a review and they pan it, then you're going to have reviewers influenced by that. You may want to consider getting some positive vibe going first before asking the bigger review sites. Reverse the influence so to speak.
I am not an expert on movie promotion or on other reviewers. This is just a trend I have noticed. That doesn't mean it's science or foolproof. But it does give you a perspective you might be able to use to help get your films noticed, and in a more positive light.
Will some reviewers likely be upset with me for posting this, or even likely be offended by my comments? I can only hope! :)