How to Train your Content

Things have really taken off with Cinemagogue, from increasing emails to a a few interviews culminating in articles to more connections with writers, pastors and filmmakers. The Mars Hill blog began promoting film and theology events where we capture the audio, and I started blogging for The Resurgence using video. The embedded review of How To Train Your Dragon was our first foray into video reviews, showcasing the movie, my geeked out office, and my ugly mug.

FYI, there’s a Hitchcockian glimpse of my camera-operating wife at about 3:11.

I’m curious what Cinemagogue followers would like to see as we move forward. In his hay-day, former film guru Roger Ebert used all three mediums to review and examine film (before he lost his edge on darker films,¬†and started suggesting that video games could never really be called art – guess he hasn’t seen the trailer for Gears of War 3) so I’m trying to get a feel for what should garner the most focus, or what balance of all three forms should be leveraged.

  1. Film is a visual medium, so film reviews using video makes sense

  2. Audio content could be used while people are active, jogging or riding the bus

  3. Written content may be the most accessible to online users.

Also, it could be that we cook up a recipe that leverages all three for the same films:

  1. Video content for a new release

  2. Written review for a DVD release

  3. Audio exploration for a Film and Theology event

There are also some other facets of the site I’m hoping to add or flesh out that could be written, or an audio or video podcast:

  1. Geek musings on film trends

  2. Announcements of casting, what’s in production, etc.

  3. Reviews of trailers, upcoming releases and what Cinemagogue expects

All this to say, to those who are gleaning enjoyment and value from the site and want to see it go forward, Cinemagogue would love to have your input on how to move forward in these areas and have those benefitting from its existence help shape its future. Would you like to see more audio, video, or written content? What formats would you prefer for various elements? Drop your comments here…

  1. Elliott Greisen

    I would like to see all options available for each film. I think each medium offers a different way to view and see the text of film and should be used. You approach your subject differently for each type of medium. and I think it is helpful to use all three. Hope this is helpful. If no ignore everything i just said. and keep on doing what your doing.

  2. Randall Chrisman

    I could help you with #2 like you just don’t know…

  3. Ben

    I would love to see a “topics for discussion” paper that could be included with each review. I’m a little far from Seattle, so I cannot attend Film & Theology nights. So having some suggestions or “things to think about” would be great.

  4. Clay Conry

    I enjoy the video reviews.

    An audio review would be something i could listen to in the background.

    Some friends from do a podcast and it’s usually a discussion about film related topics (ie summer blockbuster predictions or oscar reviews) I always enjoy those. I think it would be cool to get a Biblical perspective of a group of people maybe in an audio podcast format.

    Other than that I appreciate the non-condemning thoughtful reviews that are all about Jesus.

  5. Alex Davidson

    as a filmmaker who loves to see story analysis of films from a christian and biblical perspective i have to say that the real reason i love this site and keep coming back is the audio reviews. i dont think video is necessary because i usually do something else at my computer while i listen. in general i dont think many people care if they watch someone go back and fourth on a stage. if it were up to me it would be nothing but in depth audio reviews supported with cultural trends and of course, the bible.

    text is also usefull, but it seems that more gets explored in the audio reviews when you are able to speak your mind to a real audience.

  6. Dave Roper

    Hi James
    I think the blend at the moment works really well. I enjoy dropping into the website to read your musings on new releases and I can easily do that during my lunchbreak (as now) or of an evening at home. Please keep Film & Theology as a downloadable mp3 as I can listen to them to and from work on my player. Maybe add a weekly or occasional podcast on newer films or old classics?
    The video footage from your office causes me to stubble by making me covet your posters and Optimus Prime memorabilia. My issue. I’ll deal with it.
    Keep up the outstanding work.

  7. solomani

    I’d like to see all options for all films – but I think you would be painting yourself in a corner in terms of work load. I like your recipe for all three options. I’d love to see older films reviewed, even in article form, on the blog. And would prefer your video reviews to also be posted to a cinemagogue podcast if possible. That’s easier for me to keep up with new posts then depending on youtube updates etc.

    RE video games as art I think this (in particular the last pane) says it all:

    Otherwise, keep up the good work!


  8. Philip Thomas

    Hey James,

    Great review. I really appreciate the Cinamagogue website and the many reviews posted. I work as an animator in Canada by trade and I just love to see the consideration of what is being said to us through media and how we as believers in Christ can identify with the truth of the Gospel.

    Keep doing your thing, I’ll definetely keep tuning in,


  9. Tim Clark

    James, I really like what you have been doing lately. I think my favorite thing will always be the film and theology audio, but your written reviews and video content for new releases are awesome too. Keep it up, man. You’re one of my favorite Christian teachers. Peace.

  10. Matt New

    I’m a huge fan of the Film and Theology series and a number of friends have suggested it would be excellent to have video versions to do in a small group setting. Watch the movie, watch your talk and then discuss. Keep up the great work!

  11. Tim Clark

    I would love to find someone who reviews Video Games from a Christian perspective. Do you know of anybody doing that, James?

  12. Lindsay Dreher

    My favorite is the audio sermon/review. I’ve been downloading them for over a year now (I live in Texas and can’t attend the F&T events) and I’m really disappointed that there are only two new ones since I last checked in!

    I especially like the audio ones for three purposes:
    My husband wouldn’t ever sit and read the entire text of, say, the avatar articles. He might read one, but not all. However, if I throw it on his MP3 player, he’ll listen to it on his way to work (2 hr commute each way). Especially so because although he’s a believer, he is in a phase where he’s not super interested in “getting churched”. This is a way to fill that need, entertaining enough that he won’t blow it off. And he knows it’s happening, but will listen anyway.

    Same thing with our big kids (12&13) – they’re not allowed enough computer time to read the whole thing, but I do like to go over recent movies with them. Burning it to a CD for them, or putting a copy on the mp3 player, allows them to listen to it during the day and gives us something to discuss.

    Finally, as for myself, I have two little ones (2 and 9mo as I write this) and don’t always have time to sit and read articles. I can get really behind on my blog reading, really fast, and if something got taken down I wouldn’t have a chance to read it (I just copied & pasted and emailed myself the avatar thing because I don’t have time to read it now but don’t want to miss it). I like to throw on my mp3 player while I wash laundry, or put in a CD while I play with the babies in their room.

    Just my two… or twenty-five… cents

  13. Tony Sunzeri

    CinemaGUY, I’m lovin the audio f and t reviews. I drive a backhoe on occasion at my work and listen in with headphones and an iphone. Your audio really provides meaningful insight, and thought provoking metaphors to ponder. Thanks, and I’m looking forward to your book on film and the gospel. Audio book for itunes would benefit a person such as myself. Keep up the great woek, and God Bless!

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