Long Story Short
School of Writing
'The tribute to learning is teaching.'
The Reel Deal: Writing about Movies
Instructor:  Betty Jo Tucker

Hey Betty Jo!!!!

"I just took a look at the first assignment! And let me just say WOW! I can tell this course is going to be a lot more incredible than I thought it would be! (and that's saying something!)

The first assignment looks/is amazing. Not only have you given the assignment, but you've given tons of background (yours and others) information to show what you mean by a movie philosophy, to illustrate what you want in the assignment.

I especially loved your review of Vanilla Sky. I didn't like that movie either and almost left the theatre half way through; I would of too, if I hadn't paid full price ($13.50 at the time) to see that lousy flick. LOL

You've given me food for thought. I've never thought of my movie critic philosophy; what I see/think when I watch movies, what draws me. I'm going to have to think about that before I write the assignment and perhaps read the assignment again.

Way to go, Betty Jo! I can't wait to get started!!!!!"


In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising. --                                                                                       --Pauline Kael

It stinks! -- Jay Sherman

Reviewing movies, of course, is much more difficult than tossing off a cryptic comment like the one from cartoon character Jay Sherman above. And it’s more complicated than Roger Ebert’s “Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down” appraisal. Nevertheless, because of the powerful role movies play in popular culture, good critics are needed to provide honest, independent opinions about the quality of films being released today -- just as the late Pauline Kael pointed out in her famous quotation.    

Maybe being a film critic isn’t the best job in the world, but it’s one of the most satisfying if you have a passion for movies and writing. This course is designed for students who want to learn various techniques for writing movie reviews as well as for interviewing actors, directors, screenwriters and other film-related personnel.

Perhaps you’d like to be the next Roger Ebert or Pauline Kael -- a respected critic with influence throughout the world. Or maybe you’re simply interested in writing better reviews for your own Website or Blog. In either case, this course is a good place to start.    

First Session:  Developing a Reviewing Philosophy.

In this session, we’ll explore the role of the critic and his/her responsibility to readers as well as objectivity vs. subjectivity, film knowledge and ethical concerns related to film criticism.     

Second Session: Deciding What Matters about a Film.

The second session examines such important topics as: art vs. business; universal themes; personal and social impact of films; plot and character arc; production values; directing; cinematography; background music; editing; music; and actors’ performances.      

Third Session: Organizing and Writing the Review.

This session covers the basic steps involved in writing a cohesive, insightful and entertaining review.

Fourth Session: Dealing with Negative Feedback

Most critics receive their fair share of “hate mail.” Our fourth session provides tips for appropriate responses to such messages. This is the most fun session – and a prize will be awarded to the student who writes the best reply to a hypothetical “hate mail” message.      

Fifth Session: Conducting Celebrity Interviews

The fifth session offers suggestions for questions to ask actors and other film personnel when interviewing them about their movies. It also includes information about how to obtain such interviews.

Sixth Session: Finding Outlets for Your Articles.

Our final session provides advice on how to get movie reviews/interviews published in print and on the Internet.   

Start date:  Every other Wednesday - contact Instructor.
6 week class
Class limit:  NA
Tuition: $49.95
Contact Betty Jo Tucker

“All art forms converge in the cinema; that's why I enjoy writing and talking about movies so much," says Betty Jo Tucker. Because of a passion for film, Betty Jo and her husband Larry see almost 200 movies a year. A retired college dean, Betty Jo serves as lead critic for ReelTalk Movie Reviews
(www.reeltalkreviews.com) and for News First Online (an NBC-affiliate Website). She also writes film commentary for the COLORADO SENIOR BEACON, and many of her reviews appear on The Romance Club site (www.theromanceclub.com) and on the Real Movie News site in the United Kingdom. Her latest adventures involve hosting the ReelTalk Movie Reviews Radio Show
(www.ReelTalkRadio.com) for the iTRC network and teaching an online course titled “The Reel Deal: Writing about Movies” for the Long Story Short School of Writing.  Her latest adventures involve hosting two radio shows, Movie Addict Headquarters for BlogTalkRadio and the ReelTalk Radio Show for the iTRC network, plus teaching an online course titled "The Reel Deal: Writing about Movies" for the LSS School of Writing.  Phil Hall, book editor for the NEW YORK RESIDENT, calls Betty Jo one of today’s finest film critics and “a graceful, intelligent judge of cinematic offerings.” According to Hall, “Tucker is wonderful as an observer and cogent as an interviewer.” 

During her ten years as an entertainment journalist, Betty Jo has interviewed such stars and filmmakers as Susan Sarandon, Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Angelina Jolie, Guy Pearce, Aidan Quinn, Barry Bostwick, Phillip Noyce, Tony Shalhoub, Fred Willard, Chen Kaige, Aaron Eckhart, Willem Dafoe, M. Night Shyamalan, Oliver Parker, Douglas McGrath, Hector Elizondo, and Annette Bening.

While serving as Dean of Humanities at San Diego Mesa College, Betty Jo supervised expansion of film studies classes, designed an “Exploring Human Values through Film” course and coordinated a “Reel to Real Public Film Forum” program.  

Register by Check.
Purchase this course in Ebook format - $22.95
and receive a free copy of Betty Jo's Book, Confessions of a Movie Addict

Filmmaker Praises The Reel Deal Course: 

Dear Film Lover,

Whoever you are – a student, a teacher, or just a film addict who wants to move forward and explore the enigmatic world of cinema at a new, professional level, - Betty Jo Tucker’s course on writing is the right place for you to be. Think about it: you’re given six marvelous sessions . . . (MORE)
Buy this Book!
by Betty Jo Tucker
and a
donation will be made
to The Imagination Library.

The Romance Club has published a new eBook edition of IT HAD TO BE US (the romantic memoir Betty Jo and her husband co-wrote as Harry & Elizabeth Lawrence), and they're using it as part of a donation campaign for the IMAGINARY LIBRARY, a children's literacy program. 

Betty Jo helped found the San Diego Film Critics Society and is a member of the Online Film Critics Society. Her amusing life-at-the-movies memoir, CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT, received rave reviews from fans and critics alike. Her latest book, SUSAN SARANDON: A TRUE MAVERICK, is a fascinating look at the extraordinary film career of an actress who’s become an American icon with influence throughout the world.

Betty Jo and Larry (a.k.a. Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence, co-authors of IT HAD TO BE US, a romantic memoir published by TRC which won First Place in the E-Book category of the 2006 Hollywood Book Festival) enjoy spending time with their son and daughter and seven grandchildren – who also love movies. The Tuckers live, where else, just five minutes away from Tinseltown, the only multiplex theater in Pueblo, Colorado.

Visit Betty Jo at her website www.BettyJoTucker.com, at www.authorsden.com/bettyjotucker or at www.theromanceclub.com/authors/bettyjotucker/default.htm. Check out her movie reviews at www.ReelTalkReviews.com and her blog at http://Memosaic.blogspot.com.   

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