Alt Film Guide Guidelines: Introduction
First of all, thank you for your interest.
By submitting your articles for publication at Alt Film Guide (www.altfg.com), you agree to/are aware of the following:
Movies and television are, to some extent or other, representations of life on Planet Earth. So, before going any further, you should bear in mind that Alt Film Guide is a way out there liberal site. In other words, nonconformist, status quo-challenging, anti-herd mentality, politically incorrect whenever the facts warrant.
That’s how it is no matter the film-/TV-related topic: sociopolitical issues, culture (including religion), sex – you name it.
Obviously, prudes/moralists, flag-waving “patriots” (no matter the flag or fatherland), and adherents of right-wing/conservative, far-left, or politically correct ideologies will definitely not feel comfortable at Alt Film Guide.
On the other hand, rational, open-minded, free-thinking individuals should feel right at home here.
If after reading the preceding paragraphs, you’re still interested in contributing to the site, there’s more:
- You must be 18 or older.
- Bigotry of any kind is inadmissible, whether directed against a minority or, no matter how p.c. and trendy, a majority. That means absolutely no derogatory statements specifically targeting a person’s or group’s ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion (or lack thereof), age, and physical traits – or any combination thereof (e.g., refer to “heterosexual white males” as the root of all social evils and inane Academy Award choices).
Does that mean (however soft or harsh) criticism of specific individuals and/or groups is unacceptable? Of course not; much to the contrary. Just make sure you use qualifiers – and logical thinking – so as not to lump together people with disparate backgrounds, beliefs, worldviews merely because they share the same religion, ethnicity, and/or gender (among other “generic” traits).
- Alt Film Guide is located on the World Wide Web. Although the vast majority of our readers are U.S.-based (followed by other English-speaking countries), we get visitors from every corner of the planet. Therefore, it’s essential that you think globally. In other words, unless your article is a personal story, generally speaking whenever you write “we,” “us,” or “our,” you should be referring to the human race – not to any particular tribe.
- Submissions must have a minimum of 400 words. If you’ve received a screener from us for review, we ask for a full-length commentary (600+ words).
- Make sure your sources are reliable. Question the assertions and conclusions of others before passing them on. Be particularly leery of Wikipedia and p.r. b.s. under the guise of news.
- It’s okay to be a contrarian. It’s okay to love movies everybody else hates. No one must love (or even like) The General, Casablanca, Rashomon, La Dolce Vita, Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or Brokeback Mountain – or any other widely revered film or television program.
Now, in case you love all the major classics, make sure your commentary brings something new to the discussion. Don’t merely repeat what everybody else has been saying in the last few years/decades.
- It’s crucial to think, pardon the cliché, outside the box – with facts and logic (instead of the usual “good intentions”) to back up your assertions and opinions. That’s how you’ll challenge your readers, catching their attention, making them think. That’s how you’ll get noticed among hundreds of millions of websites, huge and tiny, most of which merely regurgitate the same trendy p.c. truisms; the same mean-spirited, simple-minded rants; and/or the same old and tired banalities.
So, if you assert that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should be “more representative of the moviegoing public,” make sure you can back up that claim by explaining how more teenage voting members, more Chinese and Japanese nationals in the Academy’s membership roster (China and Japan are the second and third biggest markets for Hollywood movies), and more voters who earn less than $25,000 or $30,000 a year would improve the selection process come Oscar nominations time.
Either that, or start thinking (and approaching trendy truisms) differently.
Make it special
Wrapping up this intro, we’re fully aware that numerous film- and TV-related articles/topics will have absolutely nothing to do with politics, social issues, religion, sex, etc. And that’s perfectly fine. But even these posts should be eye-catching, sharable, and cliché-free – else, you’ll be just one more particle in the Web’s vast ocean of noise.
In other words, no matter how long or how short, whether inspirational or provocative or merely informational, make your articles thoughtful and unique.
A few more stipulations
- The site’s editors are allowed to make stylistic changes to correct typos and grammatical issues, and to ensure that the submitted entries conform to the site’s guidelines. Note: Expletives are allowed, but should be used judiciously.
- Posts will remain on Alt Film Guide for as long as the site remains online, whether in its current form or with a different name, ownership, etc.
- Needless to say, we prefer original, exclusive pieces – and you must be upfront about whether your article has been originally published elsewhere. In case you decide to share your article on other sites/publications, you agree to ensure that they will be accompanied by a link back to Alt Film Guide if a) the article was originally posted on this site or b) you’re sharing our edited version of your piece.
- You agree that you will not copy, loan, or upload screeners or review DVDs.
- Plagiarism is, of course, inadmissible. If you quote and/or paraphrase material written by someone else, make sure to credit the author and, when applicable, add a link to the source material.
The stipulations listed below have been added to the guidelines as a result of issues/questions raised by (or because of) past contributors.
- Your reviews should contain your opinions. In other words, do not copy or paraphrase other reviewers. Also, avoid at all costs lengthy/detailed plot descriptions. It’s better to write an opinionated two- or three-paragraph review than a generic, plot-heavy twenty-paragraph essay.
- We highly recommend that you provide social, political, and/or historical context to your review/commentary – whether in terms of the plot and characters or of film/TV history itself.
- Avoid at all costs meaningless labels, no matter how often you read/hear them in the media or at your neighborhood coffee shop, e.g., “The West/Western” (as in non-European Japan or very European Argentina, or what?), “Latino/a” (as in a black Cuban, a Quechuan-Peruvian, or a German-Chilean?), “baby boomers/generation Xers/millennials” and all that nonsense.
- Avoid at all costs tired, simple-minded generalizations/clichés, e.g., “every red-blooded male would fall for Jennifer Lawrence.” After all, there are plenty of red-blooded males who couldn’t care less about Jennifer Lawrence and would instead fall for Firmine Richard or Ryan Reynolds – or both.
- Avoid at all costs moralistic, loaded language (e.g., “promiscuous” vs. “pure/innocent”). And keep in mind that certain p.c. labels are deemed offensive and/or unrepresentative by the very people they’re supposed to describe – case in point, “queer,” which many find as out-of-touch as any other anti-LGBT slur.
- On the other hand, don’t be coy by choosing politically correct wording that turns out to be blatantly misleading. A socialist is not a “liberal”; s/he is a socialist. A right-winger is not a “conservative”; s/he is a right-winger. And when exactly does a flag-waving nationalist become a “patriot”?
- Words/phrases that dehumanize groups of people are inadmissible – e.g., “aliens” should refer to beings from outer space such as E.T., Spock, Superman, and Sigourney Weaver’s insatiable Nostromo pal.
- Equally inadmissible are ad hominem attacks – the tools of sterile minds and rancid hearts… Via Merriam-Webster: These are arguments “appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect” and/or “marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made.”
In other words, if you don’t like a film by Director X, make sure you tell us why by discussing the film itself – instead of going on about Director X’s extramarital affairs, poor parenting skills, rudeness to journalists, or whatever else that’s unrelated to the topic/ideas at hand.
- We reserve the right to delete/refuse to publish any submission – whether a full article or sections (paragraphs/sentences/words) within an article – if found to be inappropriate for Alt Film Guide.
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