Founded in 2006, Film School Rejects is a popular website about movies — publishing editorials, reviews, interviews, and podcasts — and has grown an enthusiastic online community around One Perfect Shot, in which the team shares stills from movies.
The publication recently migrated back to WordPress, unveiling a new site design. Publisher Neil Miller talks a bit about the move, what’s to come, and how he and his team pick the “perfect shot.”
You recently moved Film School Rejects back to WordPress! Can you tell us a bit about the new design?
Film School Rejects is a self-hosted site powered by WordPress.
It’s something that came together very quickly and without a lot of help. We picked up a great template from Codetipi and I spent three weeks tinkering with it, as I am wont to do. One of the things we missed about WordPress during our year on Medium was the ability to both present a clean interface and give readers a number of options for more to read. You never know how much you miss a sidebar until it’s gone, really.
From a publisher standpoint, we’re already seeing readers stay on the site longer, click around to more articles per visit, and engage further in the comments section. Beyond that, everything was about making it fast. Which isn’t so hard when you (a) pick a good theme and (b) have help from a host like WP Engine. Honestly, I was blown away by how easily it all came together. We went from deciding to make the move back to having a fully functional site within about three weeks. Beyond needing a nap, I’m feeling great about it.
You mentioned in your recent Opening Credits column that you’ll launch new features in the coming months. Any hints on what’s to come?
Ever since we brought Film School Rejects and One Perfect Shot together, we’ve wanted to find a way to bring back the One Perfect Shot Database, which is an easily searchable and filterable database for the “perfect shots” the account has shared over the years. That’s coming back very soon along with a second, very cool database.
We like the idea of branching out and creating hubs for people who love movies. Resources for the pop culture-obsessed. Also, since IMDb ditched their forums, we’ve been brainstorming some ideas. That’s a tough nut to crack, as message boards are a nightmare, but we have a few fun ideas that are in very early stages.
How do you select the perfect shot from a film? Do you typically have a scene in mind and then pinpoint the still? Are you driven visually or emotionally?
To be honest, it’s a little bit of all of that. In my mind, there are a bunch of different criteria that could go into a “perfect shot.” There are plenty of beautiful shots from films or shows that don’t move me emotionally, but I know they may resonate with someone else. There are some that work as little reminders of our emotional connection to a particular film. We — and I say “we” because there’s a lot of this that’s a team effort — start with shots we think are beautiful or meaningful, then we pay close attention to the requests we get on Twitter.
There are also plenty of times where one of us is watching something and catches the right shot, or there’s a right shot to pair with something else that’s going on in the world. On the latter, I’ll never do better than the shot of Furiosa falling to her knees in despair from Mad Max: Fury Road that we posted on election night in the US in November 2016.
New to Film School Rejects? A few of Neil’s recommendations:
- “The Melancholy of Don Bluth”
- “6 Things the Film Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know About”
- “For Science: Last Night Morgan Spurlock Saved My Life”
- “30 Things We Learned From the Swiss Army Man Commentary”
- “The 50 Most Beautiful Shots of the Star Wars Franchise”
Explore more commentary on film at Film School Rejects.