Heather Copfer: The Reviews Are In!
Writers create stories every day whether it’s in the form of a book or an article. The words explode off the page in the form of a story being told in a way that engages readers. This column has introduced you to many book authors, and short fiction authors. This week, you get to meet a writer who presents reviews on the entertainment we cherish.
“I started freewriting when I was in grade school because it was the best way I could express myself,” said Heather Copfer, an entertainment television and movie reviewer. “I was terribly shy and not very good at communicating my ideas, thoughts and feelings out loud, and I’d often stumble over my words repeatedly. It was frustrating. Even to this day, writing is my best form of communication although I’ve gotten better with using my voice out loud.”
Copfer attributed her favorite part of writing included the self expression it gave her and also the ability to connect with strangers throughout the world. It helped shape her into
the writer she is today and enabled her to focus on a certain cause that she enjoyed doing. Here, she writes about television and movies.
For writing and reviewing television and movies, one has to be adept at catching the minor things. They have to differentiate from what a regular viewer might see.
“I think you have to be observant and think beyond if it was just a good film/show,” Copfer explained. “What was good about it, what was bad about it, what worked, what didn’t (in your eyes), that kind of thing. I think it’s important to give your audience a brief synopsis so they have a general idea what the story is all about and then dive into your thoughts and opinions. Also realize that others may not share your same opinions and that’s okay. I love fun facts and behind-the-scenes stuff so sometimes I’ll throw some of that in an article so the reader can learn something fun/new. That makes it more interesting for them.”
When she reviews a source of entertainment, Copfer goes into the details of what she needs and hashes out the thoughts with people while going back and forth over the content.
“I love connecting with people who love movies and television like I do,” she added. “I think that’s the great thing about fandoms-- people love being so engrossed in them because everyone shares a common interest and can fangirl all they want. That’s how you make connections and build relationships, which is one of my favorite things about writing about movies/TV.”
Copfer explained that through entertainment reviews, it can lead to people finding other shows or movies of interest when they admire. She added that it helps her decipher what it was about the material that emoted such feelings in her,
Copfer does not just review entertainment on websites such as Medium. She also has a podcast in which she collaborates with two of her friends to discuss various forms of content.
“I started a podcast with two of my very good friends called Popshack,” she revealed. “You can find it on SoundCloud or Apple Podcasts if you’re curious. Prior to creating the pod, we were constantly video chatting, DMing, and texting about reality TV shows, books, movies, celebrity news, all that entertainment realm stuff. It was all day, every day, non-stop. My two friends are hilarious and have very different, distinct personalities so I thought, why not take all of this energy and put it into a podcast? My last semester in college I did a radio show with a friend where we would discuss similar topics and I realized I loved talking about these things as much as I loved writing about them.”
Along with the articles and the podcast, Copfer taught herself how to edit in school, using various video and audio editing softwares. She received her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.
“I wanted a new skill, something that could take me on a different path if I chose it,” she explained. “I knew I loved writing, so I settled on journalism. I enrolled at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and because of my community college credits, I technically started at a rising sophomore.”
She learned that hard journalism was the emphasis of the program and that was not what she was striving for. Despite her focus being more on the entertainment side of things, the program helped teach her some skills and enabled her to take the next step in her career.
“I interned for a local media company, Times Media Group, and eventually became a freelance writer for them,” she said. “This program taught me how to be disciplined and set goals for my writing, which has really helped me at this moment in my life since I publish and promote my own articles. The professors also overemphasized the importance of networking, which has been ingrained in my brain forever, but hey, they were right.”
With school behind her, Copfer sees what she wants to be and where she wants to be over the next decade.
“I want to create some type of fanbase (for lack of a better word) where people actively come to read my writing or listen to the podcast,” she declared. “And just. Keep. Writing. It would be dope to eventually make some kind of profit for my content but I think above all else, I just want to continue connecting with people and hopefully grow that community. I think if I can keep up my work ethic and continue to grow as a writer and podcaster that it will eventually open doors down the line.”
Copfer does not take her experiences or her struggles lightly and offers some timely advice for future writers.
“Always say yes to opportunities and if you can’t land a writing job, broadcast job, whatever it is you desire, make your own path and put in the work. You’re going to get a hell of a lot of nos before you finally get that yes. If you can remain driven and creative, there’s no limit to what you can do. And don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail or stray from your goals, you can always start again.”