Best film critique or best film review


How do you measure your creative film and video work?
For release February 13, 2017

We live in a world where different professions each have measurements to indicate progress. Business uses metrics, teachers use performance-based standards, safety departments use established industry standards, athletes use games, competitions or matches, and artists use entered competitions or festivals. Measurements help us understand how we compare to our fellow individuals or teams, how we need to improve in order to become better, and it becomes a motivation to reach higher.

Filmmakers enter awards competitions and film festivals depending on what kind of film or video they create. If they create motion pictures or "movie: they hope to be nominated for an Academy (Oscar) or Golden Globe Award. If they create prime-time television in the form of series, specials, reality shows or other prime-time material most often displayed on CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC, HBO, Netflix to name a few, they enter to be part of the Emmy’s where the “Best of…” is selected. When a filmmaker wishes to be recognized for a short film, documentary or special topic film then they typically enter a film festival like Cannes, Toronto or Sundance Film Festivals. If they are not accepted to the big festivals they enter their work in small festivals that satisfy the need to be measured, but it is not always an accurate measurement because it is based on the total quality of all the entrants – which there is always a top winner and if the quality entered is so-so then the award is not representative of their ability and the connotation of award-winner is distorted.

Are there great films not caught by the radar of the top awards? Yes, and where do they go? Are they not recognized for the high quality productions they are? Sometimes, if they don’t extend their efforts in seeking the competitions who will recognize them when a high standard has been achieved. Like the Aurora Awards, who recognizes not only film shorts, feature films, and documentaries but also the film teasers, film trailers, film extras, and other promotional marketing to draw people to the film – you can be recognized for all kinds of great contributions.

Filmmakers not reaching the most publicized gala events still need to earn a living and they try to promote their work independently. What they don’t realize is that smaller independent screening venues often check other recognition sources for filtering. And often these sources, like The Aurora Awards, can lead them to some great and entertaining works without having to pre-screen the content themselves – eliminating the expense of attending festivals or filtering the internet chatter. By seeking out recognition companies, who don’t normally work on a nomination platform, they can wisely put themselves ahead of the enormous array of new works created--if they meet high industry standards.

And who measures regional, cable and internet promoted film and video for corporate, education, instruction, commercials, technical, interactive, and broadcast applications? There’s another tier of film industry which fill that niche, but you need to be careful in selecting the right company based on the judging criteria, the quality of judges, and the kind of information you receive that will help you understand your results. In these competitions you must enter your work to be assessed. The playing field in these areas are expansive and the sheer number of works created are too large for a nomination. They award high quality work as mostly recognized by their filmmaking peers nationally. Be cautious when entering work as some companies who offer awards for integrated marketing campaigns which include video or companies who judge massive volumes of work and have people’s choice awards – they don’t always use credible judges and sometimes resort to individuals who are not even filmmakers (ie. project managers, account executives) to measure the quality of their work. Some even send the work overseas for judging. So ask who they have judge your work.

It is important that filmmakers seek an accurate measurement of film, video and motion media. Look for an award company who produces feedback so you can learn how you can learn of your strengths and weaknesses – not someone who just announces if you win or don’t win. What will that get you? Not much and probably a lot of questioning. Ask for the qualifications of the judges and the number of entries each judge is expected to review. Will there be more than one judge reviewing your entry? There should be. And, if each judge is required to review massive numbers of entries in a short amount of time, this is when they are overexerted and sometimes do not accurately measure your work. Many award-winning filmmakers who invest their time as judges already are creating in their own companies and do this to drive the industry standard higher. They see the value of acknowledging the best work.

Look for judges who are pared to the kind of work you are asking them to measure. Your feedback will be more appropriately directed to give you the results you need. If you are creating a documentary, check to see if the judges reviewing your entry are specialists in creating documentaries. Not all corporate filmmakers know how to accurately judge broadcast work and not all filmmakers who create commercials should be reviewed by filmmakers in the entertainment industry. The Aurora Awards is currently the only company in the recognition industry which is closely aligning the judging specialties to the work created.

Before throwing out hundreds of dollars in entry fees or travel, do your research in finding an accurate measurement of your work (or the creative work you just have paid for).  You may also learn that the parent company in a few of these awards contests are the same, using the same judges and just name their awards contests differently based on the market segment they are trying to attract. So don’t enter their competition more than once (if you chose to use them) because they are essentially awards mills whose interests are seeking your money over providing a quality measurement of your work.  Look for a credible recognition company you would be most honored to receive their award. You will learn that in some of these great awards companies there are fewer awards issued over the years and awards are more difficult to earn. They don’t require exorbitant entry fees and don’t require that you purchase their awards if you do win. In fact, they should provide a complimentary certificate that you have reached this level of proficiency and have achieved this recognition.

In your ultimate quest to measure your film, video and motion media work, please do yourself a favor and get to know who will give you an accurate and quality measurement tool.

Krista Groll is Creative Director at The Aurora Awards and an experienced commercial artist, which has felt that if she always sought out the best artists to review her work instead of the just people around her, then it would more often be a better indicator of what kind of growth she needed to achieve. Krista enjoys many outdoor adventures and sports with her family.

2022 Aurora Awards