O2 Reviews: Minds.com + Review Update

Hello there! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything review related. Here’s why:

In 2015, I had the idea for O2 Reviews which was basically my personal version of a dumbed-down Rotten Tomatoes where I categorized the film-making process and ranked each section with a breathable O2 meter. The downside was that it made the review process overly tedious for me and it was unintentionally super biased and would not remain consistent over time. I only got two versions of these completed and you can find them here on the site for an example. I haven’t removed them because I like the idea of them staying up for historical purposes haha.

The new version of O2 Reviews will be a lot simpler and, more importantly, fun for me write! I’ve decided that when I want to do a review, it’ll be on something that I already like. I figured writing a whole article on something I don’t like, or only have a marginal interest in, would be a giant waste of time. So basically I’m embracing my biases and being up front about it!

This leads me to the next segment of this post: My first review since 2015!

MINDS.COM REVIEW

Bear with me on this one. I’m going to be rambling more than anything else since I don’t have a great structure set up for these newer reviews. This one is going to also be a little unique as it is a website/app rather than a piece of fiction or entertainment. However, let’s dive right in!

BACKGROUND

I started using Minds about 8 days ago (Jan 10) after I saw the CEO on a podcast that I like. They were discussing a decentralized internet, block-chaining and crypto currency… yeah, I know, if you’d like me to break those topics down, I probably can’t. Over my head. But it did sound interesting and got me researching the site itself. They advocate free speech above all else and the ability to monetize users’ posts (more on that later). This was just as Parler was being taken down off Apple and Google stores for harboring “violent rhetoric”, but that’s beside the point and not really a motivator in why I downloaded Minds.

I downloaded the app on my phone while simultaneously setting up an account online at the website. Therefore, this review is of both of them, not either one in particular. The look, feel, and usability of the site/app works as you’d expect a big tech company platform to function. It’s kind of similar to Facebook but mixed with Youtube and Twitter, if that’s possible. There are a few hiccups as the devs seem to be battling with Big Tech to remain available on the app stores, so, for example, they disabled the Comments function on the Apple phones leading up to the inauguration, which has really hampered my experience on the app. But the website itself still functions at full capacity. The CEO has stated that they try to maintain a presence on various servers in order to prevent one company from having full control over access to their platform.

There are many familiar and new features on Minds. It has Groups for people to follow a certain topic and engage with others. For posting, it has the ability for photos and video (the video requires your silent button on the phone to be turned off) and you can tag your posts with up to 5 tags for more specified audience reach. You can filter out ads and also filter to only see Minds+ posts for more original content. You can also create membership tiers for your subscribers much like Patreon and Buymeacoffee. And when you and another member subscribe to each other it links you as a “Match” and you have the ability to DM that user in the messenger tab. The retweet function is here as well, but it’s called Remind. You can remind your own past posts and it brings that post back to the top of your profile along with any posts you have Pinned. I think you can only Pin 3 posts at a time since I pinned a fourth post and the first post I pinned no longer stayed at the top.

Let’s back up really quick. I had completely sworn off social media for all of 2020. Let me say that again, I did not use social media (other than Discord for gaming) for an ENTIRE YEAR! And I felt great. Twitter user engagement was nonexistent before that, not sure how that site works still. And Instagram was a narcissistic black hole for me, as I’d only post the best pictures I’d taken in order to get a smattering of likes. I deleted FB for good in 2019, best decision ever as that place was just a fight waiting to happen on a daily basis. Sorry. I promise this has a point. The reason I got onto Minds.com was to have a portal from my website into a social media platform that I felt was designed for creators. I’ll explain more about that below.

Cryptocurrency golden bitcoin coin. Conceptual image for crypto currency.

CONTENT MONETIZATION + CRYPTO INTEGRATION

The biggest feature I like about Minds is the ability to monetize your posts. So when you go to post an image, video or text it has a money symbol ($) and when you click on that it brings up a Terms of Service prompt which details what content can be monetized. I scanned through it. It’s basically anything that you have created, nothing reposted from someone else or trademarked material. I’m not sure how they are going to enforce that but I bet it’ll be case by case for now. For the monetization itself, it works by how well your post performs and you get paid out of the pool of money that their premium members pay for.

Premium membership is called Minds+. This costs $7/month. Having Minds+ is required in order to monetize your content and get verified by the site and have badges next to your username. I think you can have Minds+, get verified, then disable Minds+ before the 7 day trial period ends. I’ve seen a couple users do that. The site has pretty good analytics and shows you how well your posts perform in a myriad of ways from views to engagement. So with Minds+ you get paid in the form of Tokens (each token is worth $1.25, I believe) and you can spend tokens to Boost your content. Each token is worth 1,000 views. From my limited experience, I’ve gotten almost a token a day after Boosting a post. But overall, the token payout doesn’t seem consistent to me. It does show you the fraction of tokens you will be paid by the end of the day which is nice.

I honestly haven’t gotten considerably more engagement (likes and comments) from a boosted post as compared to a non-boosted post, despite the boosted post saying it has reached 1,000 views. The profile views are addicting though, because a post can lead to a profile view and that leads to more subscribers. Having subscribers and profile views are the big kickers when presenting your reach as a content creator in my opinion. A larger reach gives you more sway when approaching publishers or producers who might consider working with you in the future.

As of writing this I’ve only accrued .9 cents in my USD Minds wallet though, and it states that you only get paid when it reaches $100 AND at the end of the month. Also, it says that to get paid the $100 you need to be a Minds Pro member, which is the third and final tier. I don’t have any experience with this one, but it costs $40/month to be a Pro member. But if you’re making $100+/month on Minds then I suppose it pays for itself.

Last note on the monetization is the crypto currency aspect. It really opened my eyes to crypto since I had done little-to-no research on this subject leading up to Minds. So learning how to set up a Coinbase account/wallet and buying my first crypto currency was pretty neat. Minds tokens are propped up by ETH, or Ethereum, currency and in order to purchase more tokens you have to link an on-chain wallet (ex. Coinbase) to their off-chain wallet (Minds). Kind of confusing at first, but a good first step into the world of dealing with crypto purchasing and trading. Personally, I think this is the future of currency as the US dollar is likely teetering on the brink with the forced stimulus being pumped into the economy to prop it up. But I’m no economist, so I can’t really speak to that.

OVERVIEW + FINAL THOUGHTS

So Minds can be all of things to a lot of people, just as any social media can be. I’ve seen a great group of indie authors and comic book artists/writers on there in the past few days and they have pretty good user engagement. The Groups function is really cool, but I haven’t used it much. I also haven’t used the site’s Blog or Website function yet either. It prompts each post in the top right with a Blog option, which takes you to a separate page dedicated to that specific post. Not sure how it works, but has the potential to upload more than one photo at a time, which is a lacking feature when it comes to normal Posts. I also forgot to mention that the Website is locked behind the $40 Pro member paywall, but with the current climate of sites being cancelled for speech violations, I recommend not having your entire presence limited to one site as it could be taken down at a moment’s notice.

I mostly recommend Minds to content creators due to the monetization features it has the potential to provide. It feels good to re-engage with a social media, however limited that engagement is. I still try to keep it to a minimum due to all the political content being spread these days. And don’t get me wrong, Minds has plenty of that going on. If you pick your tags appropriately, you should be able to mostly filter it out. I do think censorship is a big deal and free speech is vital to a free society, but I also don’t like constant doom and gloom. That’s why I post mostly fiction and photography on my account.

Anyway! Hope you enjoyed this rambling review. If you want to check out Minds, here is a link. This is a referral link, so I will get paid based on any new users who use that link. I’m not being paid by Minds to write this article although that would be nice haha. Subscribe to me on WordPress or Minds for more upcoming content and give this post a Like. It’ll sure make my day!


About the author: Winston Malone lives in SLC, Utah, works full-time and writes fiction as a hobby. He’s been writing for over a decade, honing his style and ideas, pursuing different avenues of interest. Winston has written screenplays, comics, novels, and short stories while dabbling in poetry and flash fiction from time to time. You can find more of his work on his website Stormfallennovel.com.

Coffee fuels my creativity: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Winstonmalone

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ Trailer is here!

Quickly following the success of ‘Battle of Gods’, Akira Toriyama returns to the helm of his famed Dragon Ball franchise, directing the newest film ‘Resurrection ‘F”, coming to theaters in the US this August, 2015

The trailer showcases the entire DBZ cast, and even some new and returning faces. This new film appears to focus heavily on action whereas ‘Battle of Gods’ mainly relied on the build-up to the final fight. 

Now, here is the trailer! Tell me what you think in the comments.

Resurrection ‘F’ Trailer

O2 Reviews: Jurassic World *Spoiler Free*

Jurassic World-2015

Directed by Colin Trevorrow

Screenplay and Story by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Irrfan Khan

Summary: Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires horribly. (Jurassic World IMDb)

The park is now open! It’s been 22 years since the original dino-flick came roaring into theaters and into our hearts. Now it’s a fully-functioning theme park with jaw-dropping attractions, and they spared no expense! The film is that of a park ride itself, full of action and suspense, horror even, all leading up to its climactic finish that’ll have you gripping your seat out of fear, excitement, and awe. The IMAX 3D experience will leave you extremely satisfied and nodding your approval even after the hefty price. (Ahem, first and only movie I’ve ever felt compelled to clap for once the credits rolled.) But don’t think I didn’t have a few gripes about the movie: it had a few bumps, but none that could overpower the non-stop adrenaline this movie brings.

Cinematography 3/3

The picture quality and visuals were stunning. I had a few concerns going in about the dinosaurs being completely CGI and whether or not it would affect the feel of the movie, as the other films achieved amazing things with animatronics. But once the raptors were introduced, I realized how real they seemed. Not once was I taken out of the movie jurassic2because of bad computer graphics or lack of detail. In an age of green screen, this is a powerful statement and for that alone I give it full credit.

Genre/Direction 3/3

Jurassic World has a little something for everyone. I forgot how scary dinosaurs could be, honestly. This turned out to have real horror moments, more well done than most films labeled as Horror. The Indominous Rex comes off as the most creepy, and brutal, villain to come to the screen in recent years. With that being said, it’s also a summer action movie chalked full of all the great science fiction elements of the first film. I was so thrilled to see the amount of throwback teasers, or easter eggs, woven into the movie for all the fans of the original. I may have to write a separate article just for that!

Casting 3/3

Unfortunately, there isn’t any Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, or Laura Dern, but in a way, it was extremely refreshing. Hot off the success of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, Chris Pratt is most likely becoming a household name. His sense of humor is real and you easily welcome it among the screams and chaos of the park attendees running for their Jurassic Worldlives. Bryce Dallas Howard plays an integral role in the film, greatly portraying the common disconnect humans may have from the life that thrives all around them. Vincent D’Onofrio, who most recently played Kingpin in the new Daredevil series, acts very well and is perfect in his mysterious InGen role. And of course Ty Simpkins issues a great performance, bringing back the same level of wonderment that the children in the original film had, and basically portrays the audience in the first row of this thrilling rollercoaster ride.

Writing 3/3

The script couldn’t have been better. With all of the nostalgic easter eggs and fresh experiences of the theme park finally in full motion, the movie moved along at a great pace. It never dragged or felt out of character. It didn’t really try to live up to anything, it just was. And that’s what I love about the latest installment to the Jurassic franchise. They knew what everyone wanted to see, and they brought it, no holds barred, while still implementing a level of mystery and suspense that keeps you guessing. There were a few corny moments, one in which Howard’s character refuses to take off her heels the entire movie, but hey, the lengths we go to for fashion, right?

Sound and Score 3/3

The roars and seat trembling foot steps sound great in the IMAX theater. All of the original sound effects are back, bringing to life the characters of the dinos as you know and love them. The score was of course iconic and nostalgic in certain scenes, while knowing when to fade away for the intense chases, leaving you immersed in the action along with the characters on screen. All in all, a good balance of new and old.

Bechdal Test 2/3bryce-dallas-howard-jurassic-world

If you’re unfamiliar with the Bechdal Test, it gauges a movie’s treatment of women based on 3 criteria: 1) Does the movie feature two or more named women? 2) Do they talk to each other? 3) If so, do they speak about something other than the male characters?

In my opinion, the film passes, but only slightly. Howard’s character and her sister speak several times, and not about Pratt’s character. But the casting is fairly male dominated. I feel like Bryce Dallas Howard plays a strong enough female character to overcome this fact, but it was still an underlying issue. However, I hope that the movie can be enjoyed for what it is: a movie about dinosaurs.

Other mechanics: Editing 3/3 Costume Design 3/3 Set Design 3/3

O2 Verdict: Toxic/Polluted/Thin/Clean/PURE

jurassic-world-super-bowl-trailer-1Jurassic World is now in theaters! I recommend it for those that loved the original and/or love dinosaurs in general. Horror fans: look out, this one ranks up there with some of the best monster/killer movies ever. And fans of science fiction will love the questions about human morality, the advances in bio-technology, and how we see our place in the food chain. If you’ve got spare cash, check out the IMAX 3D experience. I highly recommend it.

If you have any questions, or want to comment, feel free to message me directly, or express your feelings below. I have all the links to my various social media profiles on my website: stormfallennovel.com. Thanks for reading and look for more O2 Reviews coming soon!

Images taken from google images. I do not own them in any form.

O2 Reviews: Welcome to the Punch (2013) *Spoiler Free*

Welcome to the Punch- 2013

Directed by Eran Creevy

Actors: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough

Genre: Action, Thriller

Summary: A retired thief and his longtime foe–a police detective–reluctantly join forces when they realize an ongoing conspiracy threatens them both.

1047849_859114In today’s world it is hard for an action film to stand out. If it’s not a highly-anticipated super hero installment, or a big-budget reboot, then it’ll most likely be swept under the rug, barely given a second thought. Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy a film as it is, unconsciously comparing it to the one we saw last week, but that’s not our fault. In the end, so many factors go into whether a film is successful, and if it gets swept under the rug, well, there was probably good reason.

Welcome to the Punch is one that falls in that category of ‘Rug Dweller’. But it’s not all that bad. It had potential and there were many things that it did well, if not better, compared to most current films. The cinematography was fantastic, even beautiful. The visual clarity of the film was probably one of the things I liked most about it, with colorful overhead shots of the city and unique camera tricks. Cinematography: 3/3

In terms of genre it was most definitely a standard action/thriller. There wasn’t much brought to the table that I would consider ‘new territory’. The plot was one that we’ve seen time and time again. But the director did try to take what we already new about police thrillers and add a pinch of flavor to it. There were scenes that I literally didn’t blink, especially during the slow-mo scene in the third act, but I’m not quite sure it saved the movie. When it was all said and done, I don’t think the film quite developed its true identity. It seemed torn between whether it wanted to be ‘The Departed’ or ‘Wanted’, not really nearing either film’s level. Directing: 2/3 Genre: 2/3

I was extremely excited to see David Morrissey in something other than ‘The Walking Dead’. He acted incredibly in this film. Actually, the entire cast worked well in this film. There wasn’t a point in the movie where I thought acting was an issue. Mark Strong and James McAvoy were good choices as rivals and Andrea Riseborough did an amazing job at balancing the male dominant playing field. Casting: 3/3

The script was decent and had a well thought out story. There were plot points that I found unbelievable or a bit on the cheesy side. For example, a scene where McAvoy’s character finds glasses at the scene of a crime and knows exactly who they belong to. The movie does try to pass him off as a overly perceptive detective but it just felt too forced and unreal. Writing: 2/3

There isn’t much I can say about the soundtrack/score as there wasn’t much of it. At least, it was fairly forgettable. The sound quality was great, effects and guns sounding true to their nature. But other than that nothing special here. Score: 1/3

welcome-to-the-punch-pic06Bechdal Test: This is a point I feel strongly about and will include in every review. If you’re unfamiliar with the Bechdal Test, it gauges a movie’s treatment of women based on 3 criteria: 1) Does the movie feature two or more named women? 2) Do they talk to each other? 3) If so, do they speak about something other than the male characters? BT results: 1/3. The movie does have two named women, but they only glance at each other in passing. On top of that, both of the women have, or had, an emotional/sexual connection to the main character at some point.

Other mechanics–Editing: 3/3 Costume Design: 3/3 Set Design: 3/3

O2 Verdict: Toxic/Polluted/Thin/CLEAN/Pure

Welcome_to_the_Punch_UK_poster

Welcome to the Punch is now available on Netflix, and in stores to buy. I recommend it for those who like a bit of action and a bit of mystery but not too much of either. It’s worth a watch, but not worth a buy.

If you have any questions, or want to comment, feel free to message me directly, or express your feelings below. I have all the links to my various social media profiles on my website: stormfallennovel.com

All images are taken from google images and I do not claim to own them in any form.