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To Watch Or Not? Your Process In Deciding Whether An Unfamiliar Film Is Worth A Look…

To Watch Or Not? Your Process In Deciding Whether An Unfamiliar Film Is Worth A Look...

So there you are, looking for a movie to watch, but not quite sure what you’re in the mood for, or don’t have any particular titles in mind, and are feeling impulsive. You’re strolling down the aisle of your local video rental store (assuming there’s still one in your neck of the woods), or, on your couch, scrolling through Netflix’s immense library of streaming titles, or Amazon’s amazon-size lot of movies.

Eventually, something you’ve never heard of gets your attention; you finally stop on a film, pick it up (or click on it) to find out more, and, if you’re in a position to do so, you look up the film’s trailer and watch it, eventually deciding, after all the information in front of you, that the film is either something you’d like to watch, or it isn’t.

Let’s visit those moments, shall we? What I’d like to know is, what is it about this film that first got your attention, when you stopped to investigate it – especially if you don’t know any of the faces on the cover or poster, nor the director? And after you investigate it, what factors help you decide whether you want to actually take the time to watch it, or NOT watch it?

I think your answers might actually assist those who decide how to package a film and how accessible they want it to be to audiences. When you’re deciding to watch a film you aren’t at all already familiar with, starring actors you don’t know, and directed by a filmmaker foreign to you, if you’re like me, you have a list of criteria that you mentally check off as you move from one step to the next, in deciding whether you want to watch an unknown film or not.

I’m interested in your process in making those decisions, so do share…

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1) A creative cover/poster and catchy title will always get my attention. Anything that goes beyond a bunch of giant floating heads or an amateurish Photoshop job.

2) A clear and interesting synopsis.

4) Blurbs about film festival awards or positive reviews from film critics/websites.

5) A trailer that matches the synopsis and showcases decent production values, solid acting, and GOOD writing.


I haven't visited a video store in ages and don't remember how I'd decide if I wanted to give a movie a chance.

These days I look at the synopsis, then go searching for a trailer on YouTube or elsewhere. If it has good word of mouth (in the comments section), I usually will try it out. I have found quite a few gems this way. Too many negative comments will dissuade me from watching even if it was something that I was originally interested in. I am not fond of wasting my precious time.


I generally judge by the synopsis if it reads like something I'm interested in then I'll click play to check it out. But most times I've already read about it on sites like /Film or this one and if the write up was positive then I'll give it a play.


I usually go by genre. I love black history, so if it's a historical film based on blacks I'm interested. Extra points if it involves period costumes! If I notice that something is based off a book I've read, I watch the film. I also look at the title, if it's something ignorant, I skip. I like watching films where I'm somewhat familiar with the actor/actress (not famous), but still well known.

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