Who Are You and What is “Wherever I Look?”
My name is Amari and “Wherever I Look” is a kind of outlet for me. I’m a writer and the whole “Wherever I Look” blog originally was to post stuff I wrote. Be it poetry, birthday card messages, short stories, or spec scripts, that was the original intent of having a blog. Problem is, after awhile I ran out of stuff to write about thus leaving my old blog dormant.
So, after seeing The Dark Knight Rises, I decided to start writing reviews, posting quotes I found, and that has been the main feature of “Wherever I Look” ever since. Though, of course, I still post my own work from time to time.
What Do You Mean By “Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)?”
For 4 or 5 years, when Wherever I Look was on Blogger, I had gone through multiple review templates. Originally I was doing what I’ve dubbed the “Play by Play” format. With that, I would note basically everything that happened in an episode and my reactions to it. Imagine something like a Twitter feed, but I’m giving you full details about what I’m reacting to. That lasted for a while but then became difficult for I was in school, working, and didn’t have time to do detailed, spoiler ridden, reviews for 20+ reviews a week.
So, the format changed – multiple times – to accommodate how my life was changing. Thus leading to the “Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)” format. With this current format, the goal is to limit myself to around 1000 words, have one to three topics per section, and also limit the amount of spoilers I include.
The objective with spoilers, as of now, is to give just enough away so my commentary can make sense.
So What Happened to Your First Blog?
Despite the spoilers I would post, including the “Chapter by Chapter” reviews in which I break down a book by chapter as opposed to the book as a whole, I received multiple DMCA complaints due to the anime I reviewed. Mind you, I didn’t post links to episodes, but as the complaints would cover whole series, meaning sometimes 20+ at a time, Google decided to suspend my Blogger account and delete my blog.
What Is Your Format?
Currently, I have 4 formats of which all of them stem from the Movie Review format. The gist of what each one has is below.
The goal here is to give a summary of either the media or my feelings on it in one sentence or a paragraph.
I’m not going to pretend that I know the full list of triggers out there, though I do reference this Tumblr page, but with commenters in the past asking if anyone vomits in a movie, me being asked to tag my reblogs on Tumblr because of how they made someone feel, and just trying to prep people for what they may see, I let people know if there is anything seriously worth noting. However, I don’t really add trigger warnings if the movie or show consistently has advertised or has something like certain kinds of violence, homophobia, and things of that nature. To me, it should be more so for surprises than things already expected.
Play Through Time – Video Game Exclusive
Being that the length of time it takes to beat a game is a factor in my overall labeling of the product, I note how long it took me to beat the game. Sometimes I include my percentage so that it is known I didn’t just speed through the story and ignored everything else.
Review (with Spoilers)
Though not consistently used, when I do enter something here it usually is some sort of interlude before really diving into the review.
Main Storyline, Storyline, Chapter Summaries (with Commentary) or Main Plot (with Commentary)
Within this section, I try to build a case for my thoughts on whatever the media is. For movies, series premieres, video games, and book reviews, ones which cover the whole book, I try to keep this section brief and just cover the main points of the storyline. For just about everything else, at the minimum, there are three topics. As a rule, I rarely go beyond this unless it is a special episode, like a season or series finale, it is a Chapter by Chapter review of a book I’m flying through, or it is a concert review and there are more than 2 opening acts.
Things to Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
Certain information worth coming back to, because it may matter later on in the show, is the main use for this section. However, for movies and live performances, I may note things here that just didn’t fit into the review.
If anything is said within an episode, movie, and etc which resonates with me, it is placed in the post and also placed in a monthly post which holds collected quotes from the course of the month.
As the name implies, here I try to summarize the highlights of the episode. Be it certain storylines, an actor’s performance, how excited I am about the show’s future, and etc.
Here you’ll find some aspects I just couldn’t understand, couldn’t get into, or perhaps as a viewer, I think may make you not like whatever it is I’m reviewing.
On The Fence
Naturally, there has to be some kind of grey area. Within this section are the things I can’t say may negatively impact whether you should check out the product or may very well be a reason you’ll love it.
The “Overall” section is used to summarize the three topics above and justify the category given.
What’s Your Rating system?
I wanted to avoid the number system and grading system since honestly how does one calculate a grade or number based on your opinion? No really, how does one decide? I mean, if you look at my IMDB ratings you’ll see there I do choose numbers, but pretty much the ratings are: Positive, Mixed, and Negative. Positive you can consider an A or high B, if not a 9 or 10; Mixed would be a mid-B to a C, or a 7 or 8; Negative would be a D or a 6.
So How Do You Decide On Your Ratings?
Primarily by how entertaining the production was and whether I could get into it. Take, for example, 12 Years a Slave. That film was able to, for more than 2 hours, keep me engaged, it made me cry, solemnly laugh, and the actors made you care. It got a reaction out of me. That is perhaps one of the strongest factors which decide whether something is labeled Positive or Mixed. Was there something which got a reaction out of me? Does this actor/character make me feel something? Do they make me love them, make me hate them, do they give me complicated feelings? What about the story they inhabit? Are the actors able to keep me loyal to the screen and not feel distracted by what else I can be doing? These are some of the things considered.
Now, as for what makes something Positive, much less recommended? Honestly, it’s about would I watch the film again and have a real life conversation about it? Which isn’t to say some Mixed categorized productions are a waste of your time. The thing with Mixed labeled or categorized media, is that they had potential. You can see the potential, but it is not fully realized for one reason or another. With that, you’re left yearning for more and not like with Positive labeled media in which that yearning stems from feeling you can’t get enough, but that yearning which stems from feeling you didn’t get enough.
How Do You Choose What To Write About?
It is all about familiarity and accessibility. For movies I usually learn about them through IMDB’s “Coming Soon” page, this website called “Shadow & Act” which features media of the African diaspora, Google Now alerts me to movies, these two YouTube Pages (1 & 2) that are run by Fandango and, of course, there are trailers before movies.
When it comes to live performances, pretty much my knowledge of any of them comes from the tons of e-mails and the fliers I get. I think I’ve seen only a handful of plays and concerts but with me signing up for a few newsletter, now I get e-mails daily about new productions.
For TV shows I try to keep up the best I can. I mostly watch things On Demand, through Netflix or through Amazon Prime so I don’t get a lot of commercials. So, pretty much, unless it gets advertised well, and said advertisement is within a video so uBlock Origin doesn’t catch it, I usually only learn about new TV shows through checking IGN, Shadow & Act, IMDB or else word of mouth.
As for Anime, pretty much I check anichart.net every few months and plan accordingly. Also, I’m subscribed to two anime focused blogs which keep me up to date. One being Seasonal Prattle and the other being 100 Word Anime Blog.
With video games, pretty much I only track TellTale Games since my skills with anything that requires using a gun dropped since I went exclusively PC. However, I still check out the occasional action-adventure like Deus Ex and games like XCOM 2 which I suck at but still enjoy.
Leaving books. The main focus are books being adapted into TV series or Movies, as well as the biographies, or memoirs, of famous people.
Long Term Coverage
As for choosing what not only gets its series premiere reviewed but an entire season, if not the entire series, it’s honestly about if it can maintain my interest. That and if it is the type of show which can be analyzed. For some shows just don’t hold well against scrutiny and while they are excellent in terms of just entertaining you, put them under a microscope and watching them will become a chore to do.
I use Grammarly, on top of what MS Word offers, to try to prevent grammar mistakes. With that said, not everything is caught and with me preferring to speak to you in a conversational tone, sometimes I ignore some errors for they sound more formal than I would like.
When Do You Post?
Generally, posts are done sometime in the afternoon or evening since I have a day job.
When it comes to TV shows, being that I have “cut the cord,” a lot of times I end up posting the review within 24 hours. Maybe 48 if I got swamped with shows I have a stronger interest in, get sick, or what have you. But, in general, I try to post the review as soon as possible but I don’t aim to be the very first one out there.
Movie reviews usually are within a few days of their release, unless it is something from Netflix or me digging into an actor’s filmography. The major days, however, are Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend.
Book and Video Game reviews are either posted in the middle of the week, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, or on Sunday. The reason being, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my usual light days. The days when, historically, there is no TV show scheduled or, before VOD started to take off, I would have a movie to watch. Same goes for Sunday. While Sunday night there would usually be something on HBO, the rest of the day would be empty so fitting in time to go over notes for a book review wasn’t hard and, by Sunday, I should have gotten at least a grasp of the video game to give some initial thoughts.
Collected Quotes for the month are published on the last day of the month at 11:59 PM. As for collected quotes for books, they are published usually with a day before the book review. Making their release usually on weekends. For TV series, their collected quotes are published after the season or series finale.1
If interested in when future postings are, on the right-hand side, or else the bottom of the page, you’ll find what reviews are scheduled to be done. For the complete calendar, just click here.
When Do You Update Your Pages?
Usually on weekends.
What are Affiliate Links?
As you can tell, unless you have an ad blocker, this site is monetized through ads. However, there are also affiliate links used to drive revenue. Now, what affiliate links are is basically referment commission. Through a link you get provided by Amazon, some anime streaming sites, and what have you, if people click on them and buy, you get a percentage of the sale. Nothing huge, maybe 10 – 15 percent, but every little bit counts.
I, for the most part, only place them on media I think is worth the cost. You shouldn’t see them on anything I say to skip. They maybe on media labeled as “Mixed” though.
What Is Your Goal With This Blog?
Just to keep writing honestly.
In the long run, I do hope to produce more original articles, post spec scripts, and other things which would be featured in “The Works of Amari Sali” versus just doing reviews. But for now, I’m cool just acting as a media commentator. Something which, despite how jaded I get sometimes by how inundated I am by the amount of media I consume, I still very much enjoy. To the point I, on occassion, either write for other websites or see if I can do this as a day job.