Keeping a film journal is a fun, relaxing, and personalized way to organize the overwhelming amount of movies we can access in this digital age of multiple streaming platforms.
However, coming up with film journal ideas is not always so easy.
Starting a film journal can seem a bit intimidating since there can be so many components of movies to potentially keep track of.
Not to mention, if you’re not a natural artist, you may fear ruining pages or attempting another failed arts and crafts project.
But don’t worry, I’m no artist but I’ve learned how to keep a simple yet aesthetic movie journal that produces movie review entries like this:
And sometimes, even a little like this:
And if I can do it then, hey, it’s anybody’s game.
This article is going to dissect what goes into a good film journal and provide some film journal ideas to help you create your very own stunning collection of movie reviews.
What Is a Film Journal?
A film journal is a series of pages used to document the movies you watch and recount your viewing experience.
There are several ways to keep track of the movies you watch but a film journal is one of the most unique and personalized methods.
Rather than leave your movie memories at the mercy of the often faulty internet, a movie journal provides tangible evidence of your movie-watching experience.
There is something satisfying about being able to hold your memories in your hands. This is why Polaroid cameras are making a comeback.
The vintage feel and distinctive style of your own film journal are things that can’t simply be replicated with an app.
How To Write a Film Journal
How you write a film journal is by starting with the identifying characteristics of the film like the title, the director, the genre, the actors, and so on.
Then you can include some identifying characteristics of your particular experience with the film like the date you watched the film, your opinions of the film, and your overall rating.
How much or how little you want to include in your movie journal is unique to you.
But there are some aspects of film journaling that are helpful to include and can help you organize your thoughts if you’re going for a more orderly aesthetic.
What Should Be Included in a Film Journal?
A film journal should AT LEAST include the following:
- The film’s name
- The date the film was watched
- What you liked and didn’t like about the film
- An overall rating of the film
Additional elements to add to elevate your movie journal include:
- The director(s)
- The actors
- The movie’s genre(s)
- The movie’s release date
- A short synopsis of the movie
- Notable quotes within the movie
- Your movie ticket stub
- A picture of the movie poster
- Images of movie stills
- Notable songs from the movie’s playlist
- Who you watched the movie with
- Awards that the movie has won
- A table of contents
- The movie’s country of origin
- Ect. Ect. Ect.
Anything that sticks out to you from the movie can be incorporated into your journal.
What Do You Need for a Film Journal?
What you need for a film journal is a film journal notebook and a pen at least.
To elevate your journaling game these are some of my favorite crafty tools to get your movie reviews at their peak level of aestheticism.
Tombow Dual Brush Color Markers: These double-sided markers create clean calligraphy art and regular lettering as well without bleeding through the page (as long as you don’t use too much pressure). They also come in nearly every color imaginable.
Tombow Brush Pens: For more fine-tipped writing that also doesn’t bleed through the page.
Colorful Washi Tape: A pop of washi tape to stick around your movie images does wonders for a plain white page.
Mini Pocket Printer: Probably my favorite discovery for a movie journal, this affordable and easy-to-use mini printer is perfect for printing movie posters and movie stills. The only caveat is that it only prints in black & white unless you pay more for the mini color printers.
You can view my film journal Amazon store here, updated with all of the latest tools that I use to create movie review journal entries.
7 Best Film Journal Ideas
1. Writing-Based Film Journal
Your film journal does not need to be extravagant. Especially if you have no affinity for illustrations.
A simple one-page journal entry expressing your verbal sentiments toward the film is perfect for the movie enthusiast who doesn’t need the bells and whistles.
Let your handwriting take center stage.
This movie journal entry simply names the film’s title, the release date, the director, and the cinematographer before going into a brief free structured critique of the film ending on the film’s “best bit.”
2. Film Bullet Journal
On the other end of the spectrum, film bullet journals take on a less predictable form.
The following journal entry creates its own structure using a dotted bullet journal base:
With all of the information on one film squeezed onto a singular page we get a colorful medley of fonts, images, patterned washi tape, and unique hand-drawn designs conveying the film’s essence.
This movie journal entry includes the film’s title, release date, genre, director, main actors, location, the awards that it’s won, notable quotes, an overall star rating of the film, the movie poster, movie stills, original illustrations, and patterned designs.
For more movie journal ideas that look like this one check out this gorgeous Instagram page.
This is another example of a bullet journal film entry. It’s most likely digitally enhanced but still maintains a rustic, handwritten aesthetic:
You can see the washi tape-like design enveloping the title, movie still images, and different colored backgrounds for each section to create a beautiful, dynamic movie review entry.
The biggest challenge with creating a film journal entry on a bullet journal is fitting all of the film’s information on one page without it looking messy or overcrowded.
The two images above are great examples of how to execute that.
3. Moleskine Film Journal
A lot of film journal ideas that you see on Pinterest will have a similar background template. It’s the movie review template of the Moleskine film journal.
The setup of this journal includes space for the film’s title, the country and year of the film’s release, the genre, awards won, when where, and who you watch the movie with, notable quotes, a blank space for notes, for your opinions, and for your rating out of 5 stars.
You can see that the placement of images is variable and up to you. There are also lettered tabs on the side of the journal pages to help you organize your movie reviews in alphabetical order.
There are so many ways to dress up this design if you’d like or to follow it exactly and keep it simple.
The Moleskine film journal, although pricey, is very popular with avid movie buffs.
4. The Film Spread
Instead of confining the film’s information to one page, the film spread uses both pages in dedication to the movie-watching experience.
The spread allows more space for in-depth analysis of the film without having to skimp on the visuals giving the journal entry a more captivating appearance.
For a film spread, you can have one of the pages primarily for your visual elements and the other primarily for your written elements. Or you can just extend your movie journal entry across both pages.
The example above ignores the crease in the center of the page and extends the film’s title and journal entry information across both pages.
It gives the whole page a grand appearance so that each page flip is an immersion into the world of a singular movie.
5. The Guided Film Spread
I really like the look of the film spread so I created a guided spiral-bound version for myself on Lulu.
When people were curious about the journal, I made it more easily available on Amazon, only it’s a standard bound book.
This journal combines several different approaches to a film journal making it highly adaptable to whoever is using it.
The left side of the page, much like the Moleskine journal, encourages a written review of the movie.
It guides you through identifying the movie’s characteristics and then forming a clear opinion on the film based on your compliments and critiques.
The right side of the journal is more free-form, similar to a bullet journal.
Unlike other film journals, this one includes an adjective word cloud with several adjectives that can be highlighted to best match your sentiments towards the movie.
The top section of the right page is blank, leaving room for additional words, movie quotes, movie posters, and anything visual or verbal that stood out to you.
So whatever isn’t included in the journal already, you can add to that empty spot.
You can read more about all of the journal’s features here!
6. Movie Tracker Approach
If you really want to conserve space in your movie review journal then you can simply include more than one review on a singular page.
Rather than each page representing one movie, it can represent several.
This is great for general, but aesthetic record keeping. A good way to aesthetically see what movies have been watched and your quick, general rating on them.
There are a lot of creative ways to design your movie tracker film journal.
Some people use movie reel strips and include the watched movie in each square.
As you can see above, some put one movie on each clapboard.
The one above that includes mini movie posters.
And some put one movie on each individual popcorn as it falls into a popcorn bucket.
This approach to your film journal is effective if you don’t have a lot of space to dedicate to movies and just want to keep a quick, light, and cute record of your recent viewings.
Shop the Film Journal Essentials!
7. Movie List Approach
Similar to the movie tracker, the movie list further simplifies your film journal allowing you to include even more movies onto one page.
This is good for creating a watchlist of movies you want to view.
You can also include a little bit of information on the film and your viewing experience on the side like the date you watched it and your rating.
But with the list, there is limited space for including a lot of additional information or decor to really elevate the aesthetic related to the movie.
By the way, in the artwork above, that galaxy is stunning. Check out their Instagram for more!
This is another clean movie list as well:
The artist includes adorable general movie-watching illustrations along the border of their movie list.
As you can see this list includes the movie’s name, release date, rating, and a checklist indicating whether they’d seen the movie yet or not.
Check out their Instagram page for even more journal decor ideas!
With so many film journal ideas to be inspired by, creating your own film journal can be less scary and more exciting!
For more freedom and less guidance, bullet journals are the perfect choice for a film journal.
And for cute and quick watch lists, there are several fun and creative designs to use that will make tracking movies a breeze.
For an Amazon wishlist of tools with which to decorate your journal, you can check out what I’ve found useful in my Amazon Storefront.
I hope this helps.
Happy movie-watching (and journaling)!
What are some of your favorite film journal ideas? Let me know in the comments below!
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Peace, love, and lots of popcorn,