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We write about a broad range of topics at Movie Pilot. Although upcoming movies is our bread and butter, we’re also active in television, celebrity gossip, video games and basically anything that can be considered pop culture.

The wide range of subjects means we have developed several formats that can be used across several topics. In addition to making your articles more streamlined and coherent, these formats can be easily understood by readers with little to no additional explanation. Furthermore, they can act as a great source of inspiration for thinking up your next blockbuster article.

Of course, you should not feel limited to these formats, so feel free to abandon them or develop your own. However, these are the formats we have found to be successful amongst our readers.

News

The simplest and most venerable of the formats, news is simply presenting the facts in a quick, digestible manner without meandering into too much additional information. These are often used if the story is extremely straightforward or needs to be produced very quickly. If the news concerns a serious or sensitive issue area, it's often best to present it as objectively as possible. Let the readers make up their own minds in a news piece.

If a particular news article does well, it might be a good idea to elaborate on it in a more personal follow-up article. This one could contextualize the event in relation to the movie/game/whatever industry as a whole, and provide your own personal opinion or spin.

A few points to remember with news:

  • Keeping a close eye on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds is a great way to find breaking news.
  • Match your tone to the tone of the subject. If the subject is fun and frivolous, keep it light. If it is serious, keep your tone professional.
  • Sourcing is extremely important in news, and the internet is now often awash with rumors. Try to find a reputable source, either from the verified social media account of an actor/director, etc. or from an article on one of the respected trade magazines such as The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, or Deadline.
  • If it is a only a rumor, make sure your article and headline state this.
  • Beware of second rate websites which make use of anonymous sources.

Examples:

Time Flies

One of our most popular and common formats, Time Flies is often used for nostalgia articles or reunions — which seem to be happening very frequently at the moment. They generally consist of side-by-side images featuring a photo of an actor/celebrity at the start of their career and then a picture from nowadays. A short description of their career and the highlights of it (if there are any) are also included. These are also regularly used for show anniversaries and celebrity birthdays as well as "Where Are They Now?" type articles.

A few points to remember with Time Flies articles:

  • Use large, high quality images.
  • Avoid paparazzi images.
  • Keep it text light, the images are the main hook of the piece.
  • Keep it positive. Time Flies shouldn't be an opportunity to insult someone's appearance, and/or the work of their plastic surgeon.

Examples:

Mock-ademic/’The More You Know’

A longer, more cerebral article that explains and goes into detail about a specific topic. Often this is related to science, history, or another academic field. Of course, we don’t write an entire thesis, instead we try to adapt the academic aspects for our readers.

The key for Mock-ademics is to link the academic interest to an area of pop culture from the start. Once the introduction is established and the reader understands the concept, it becomes much easier to explain the principles behind it. For example, a headline such as "Are Star Trek's Teleporters Possible? Science Explains!" is better than one such as, "The Theoretical Concepts of the Demateralization and Rematerialization of Matter within a Heisenberg Compensator."

A few points to remember with Mock-ademics:

  • Sourcing is especially important with Mock-ademics. Any claims you make should be supported with links to newspapers, journals, websites, etc. The more respected the better. Remember: Wikipedia is not a source.
  • Beware of pseudo and crackpot science. Even if you use a non-academic website for your initial source, try and trace back its claims to some kind of respected institution, even if you do not directly quote their research.
  • Break up the text with regular sub-headings or questions.
  • Use images and videos — for example from films — to demonstrate what you are discussing.
  • Try to keep the language as conversational as possible. If you use a particular academic phrase, explain it in laymen's terms.

Examples:

Insane Trivia

A list of movie trivia facts from films, television, and video games. These often take a "listicle" form featuring numbered sub-headed points followed by more in-depth explanation. The article should be fast flowing and easily digestible and complemented with videos or images. Also, make sure to find truly interesting pieces of trivia as opposed to common facts known by most movie fans, this might mean going beyond the IMDb trivia section.

A few points to remember with Insane Trivia:

  • Mention the number of points in the title. People seem to love that.
  • Keep the trivia legitimately interesting. A lot of movie trivia is now common knowledge, avoid these. Only use facts that you would be willing to put in the headline of article — this is a good barometer for how interesting the trivia actually is.
  • Less is sometimes more. It's better to have only 6 truly interesting facts, than 16 less interesting ones.
  • Use subheadings to broadly explain the trivia, then go into more detail with a small paragraph beneath.
  • Insane trivia isn't just for movies, it could also concern specific characters, directors, actors, or just about anything!

Examples:

Mind-Bending Theory

Fan theories are all the rage at the minute and barely a day goes by without someone waxing lyrical on their favorite film or TV show. A Mind-Bending Theory article involves breaking these often confusing theories down into their basic elements and leading the reader through them. It’s also important to find issues with the theory (if there are any) to show balance and avoid negative comments.

A few points to remember with Mind-Bending Theories:

  • If the fan theory is very long or consists of various different points, consider using sub-headers to break it down.
  • Images can also help to break up a theory.
  • Consider copying and pasting parts of the theory as quotes to relate it back to the creator. Embeds can also work in this regard.
  • Most fan theories have issues with them. Do not be afraid of pointing these out. If you don't, someone else probably will.
  • Make sure to give credit to the creator early on in the article and make it clear it is their theory, not yours.

Examples:

Awesome Fan Creation/Image Posts

Just like fan theories, fan art is also all very popular these days. Often fan art posts can usually be very image heavy and text light, following a subheading -> image -> short comment format. It’s important the artist be introduced and sourced early in the article, with links to their various websites and/or hosting sites.

A few points to remember with Awesome Fan Creation/Image Posts:

  • If your source is an aggregated article from another social publisher (i.e. Buzzfeed/ViralNova) do not take ALL the images but supplement your article with your own researched additions.
  • Many fan art sites, such as DeviantArt, feature comments from the creators on their images. Consider including these as quotes.
  • Less is sometimes more. Often fan artists create dozens of pieces of fan art. Consider only picking the best handful and directing the reader to the rest.

Examples:

Breakdown

These are usually reserved for new trailers or clips and involve breaking the video down to all its major beats, elaborating on them if possible. Sometimes elaboration will be difficult, especially if the trailer is enigmatic. However, many blockbuster/superhero movie trailers frequently feature Easter Eggs, big reveals, and hints to story elements. The various points are broken down with images, screenshots, and GIFs.

The majority of MoviePilot readers read our articles on mobile devices. Often they may also be in public and without headphones. The aim of a breakdown is to essentially recreate the trailer for people unable to fully watch it.

A few points to remember with Breakdowns:

  • Use websites such as Imgur, GIF maker, and apps such as GIFGrabber to make your own GIFs.
  • Use headlines to break down the important moments of the trailer, then add the GIFs and elaboration.
  • Generally keep it text light, unless you're conducting an in-depth look at one particular element of the trailer/clip.

Examples:

Assignment

Your assignment is to choose one of the formats we've covered in this lesson and turn it into a killer article of your own. Pay particular attention to the flow and coherency of your article, and make sure before hitting the 'publish' button that you've tackled your topic with a unique spin.

Let us know via Facebook if you have any questions — we're always happy to go into more detail to make sure your next article gets the attention it deserves!

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