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So here’s a departure from the usual criticism and watch lists here on the blog. Today, I offer you my very own attempt at a DIY post -a tutorial on how to craft a film watcher’s bullet journal.
Don’t know about bullet journals? Well, first of all, you’re not very hip (SAD). And second of all, I can help with that. Here are the receipts:
A Quick Bullet Journal History
The bullet journal came to be a few years ago by the talent of digital product designer Ryder Carroll. Not a product in itself, but a basic cataloging system, it gives anyone with a notebook and a pen an easy and consistent way to keep their notes organized.
BuJo’s (yes, they even have a hip little nickname) can be used as a daily life planner, data tracker, or simply a better way to organize notes. In this case, I’ve created my own bullet journal for the blog, and to maximize my film watching (and remembering – I’m not so great at remembering #thisis30).
Into it? Even if you’re not blogging about all the film and television you’re watching, you may be serious enough to want to log it.
To make your own critic/watcher/nerd journal, you’ll need:
- A notebook – some people prefer gridded* or dotted paper*. I’ve used one with the usual lines, because that’s what I had on hand.
- A pen/pencil – pick one you like. Or one you don’t. Make it difficult for yourself if you want – it’s your damn journal.
- Highlighters, stickers, other decor – This one’s optional. You can be a total plain jane and no one will be the wiser.
Ready? Let’s get bullet journaling.
1. Get your journal
I went with this mini moleskine* because it can fit in a coat pocket or a tiny purse. Give it a title; I went with One Critical Bitch because I am one, and it’s conveniently the name of my blog. I added a peace sign sticker to remind myself to sometimes be nice (not to movies, but to people).
2. Make a Key.
This is the “official” bullet journal format. A bullet point (•) denotes a task, an (x) marks a task complete, (<) and (>) schedule and migrate events from day-to-day, a bubble indicates an event or appointment, and general notes are written with a dash (-). To mark something high priority, use an asterisk (*), a big ol’ exclamation point (!) for something extra inspiring and, my favorite, a little eyeball for things you’d like to explore further. I use that one in particular for films that I think I’d like to write a review or criticism for. I put the key on the inside cover of the journal so that it’s immediately accessible from any page. And those eyeballs are a nice reminder to refer back to it when I can’t remember what my bullet journal secret code means.
3. Make an Index.
Use the first page (and leave a few after so you can add as you go). Number pages of the journal in the bottom corners, and then indicate what they correspond to back in the index. For example, I have pages 1-3 as my future log, my movie-watching goals for the year on page 4, and the rest of my journal is divided into four pages for each month – giving me a page for posts and events, blog specific tasks, my monthly watchlist, and any extra notes. Best part about this? Bullet journals are flexible – so make pages to fit your needs.
4. Create a Future Log.
For my purposes, I broke this up by month. Under each month, I left four lines blank. I then went in and listed any particular events that are important to either my film watching (The Oscars are this month, for instance – can’t forget those) or something I may want to pay special attention to on the blog or otherwise. Definitely thinking of a deluge of films to watch around D-Day in June (seriously). You, on the other hand, may want to plan a bunch of picnic specific films for National Picnic Month (Picnic at Hanging Rock*, anyone? Just me?)
5. Design a page for yearly goals.
Mine is specific to the blog – I want to get my email list rolling, a monthly newsletter designed and sent out, and update my logos and icons. For you, film goer, this is an amazing place to lay out your viewing goals for the year. Is there a director whose work you want to watch every last bit of (Herzog. Herzog. Herzog.)? A festival you want to attend? Refer back monthly and (x) out all you’ve accomplished. Mark anything you must do this year with an asterisk (*). If you need to look into making further plans, great time to use that eyeball.
6. Create pages for Monthly Films to Watch, Events, Tasks, and Notes.
I use this as my main editorial calendar for the blog. If I think of a post, I schedule it under the appropriate month (those numbers and letters down the left hand page correspond to the date and day of the week). For the casual filmie? Use this as a place to plan out what you’re going to watch this month. On the task page, I make any notes on guest posting or research I may need to do for a particular post. You might use this as place to note theaters playing particular films, tickets to pre-order, reviews you read or want to read (like, all of mine), etc. Especially convenient is to make a quick note in the tasks section (say, for instance, a release date), and then schedule it into your events list later on. Organization is so sexy.
7. Now make that Monthly Watch List.
This is easily my favorite part of the whole journal. I’ve always written down what I’m watching, but the bullet journal provides me with an organized and consistent place to keep the list. Plus, with the notation system (refer back to that key), I’m able to keep track of what was spectacular (!), what I need to watch again or think about more (eyeball), and if it was really bad? I invented my own little symbol – the down arrow. Kill Your Friends*? Wasn’t a fan. Next door to the Watchlist, I’ve got my notes. suspiciously empty for February, but we’re only seven days in. You’ll see on my watchlist I watched the first episode of The Young Pope the other night: You can be sure my notes page will soon be full of every crazy thought I have while I get through that beautiful train wreck. For instance, I should have written (eyeball) Pope crawls out from underneath a mountain of babies. Also (!), what great thing did we do to deserve this wonderful, terrible show?
- An episode tracker for your favorite show(s).
- Pocket for ticket stubs (mine has a little pocket already, but you can grab these adhesive pockets* to add your own).
- A rating system (if you’re into stars, you do you).
- Category/Genre lists – when you’re looking for a romantic horror movie for next Valentine’s Day, you’ll know where to refer to.
- Anything you so choose!
That’s really the beauty of the system – you can add or subtract based on your own needs. Make them as heavily designed or as basic as you want (for excellent bullet journal porn, see these Instagram accounts – @showmeyourplanner, @my.life.in.a.bullet, @painted_illustrated, @pages2plans), and most of all, use them to serve your movie going needs.
Or were you already on that BuJo train? Upload pics of your bullet journal – and if you happen to do this DIY (!) I’d be so flattered if you’d share your work with me. I still have a few empty pages in the back of mine, so throw your ideas my way.