Gosh, I love Letterboxd. It's absolutely my favorite service and so much more than a film diary. It's a brilliant discovery platform, mostly due to the many lists created by the platform's audience.
I've talked before about how I make and organize music playlists. My approach at Letterboxd is spiritually the same, but because there is no folder hierarchy to them, it uses a flattened system utilizing tags.
Letterboxd display & feature tags
As explained in my Letterboxd tips post, there are a number of tags that can be used to feature your lists on various stats pages. Of course, these require a Letterboxd Pro or Patron membership.
allstats will pin up to 10 lists to the "featured lists" section of your your All-Time Stats page while
top1980s will highlight them in the "top films" section.
yir2023 tags are reserved for yearly stat pages.
There are also list-specific tags used for denoting ownership. These are either
owned. Films added to lists with these tags will appear when filtering by ownership around the site. The dev team even implemented my idea of showing this status amongst the "where to watch" indicators served up by JustWatch.
I have one list for my physical media collection (Blu-ray, DVD, VHS) and one for what's stored in my Plex and iTunes libraries. I keep these private.
Topics & Groups
I use topic tags that fall into three specific criteria. If the list centers around a film studio, franchise, or genre, the appropriate tags are applied. Examples include
I also utilize more general "group" tags to organize lists that fall into the classification of
franchise. This makes it easy to share high-level categories of similar-in-style lists.
For example, the
franchise tag archive will show you the "film complete" lists I maintain for Star Wars , The Minions, or Slender Man. The
studio tag would give you more lists like my complete filmography of The Asylum. There is often crossover between these tags because I'm making this up as I go.
meta lists are really just placeholders for classifications I wish were native Letterboxd features. My owned media lists have this tag, as does my TMDb/Letterboxd Contributions list. I also keep my Most Anticipated, Posters I Love, and Top 100 (work in progress) lists here as they specifically pertain to me.
I use multi-part tags to simulate folders. This inspired by Letterboxd's
showdown:theme format. These are especially helpful for lists that fit a running theme.
For example, I maintain a number of natural horror mega-lists. These break down natural horror into subgenres. I've got lists for movies about creatures slippery, scaly, furry, and those with too many legs for comfort. I use the tag
series:natural-horror to keep them all together.
More of my Letterboxd list series:
In addition to the aforementioned
top2023 tags, I keep a few separate tags for rankings. First, there's
ranked, which I reserve for studios, franchises, and genres. These are broken out as follows for easier sharing:
year:ranked, which compiles the multiple lists I keep for new releases throughout a given year. This includes shorts and features, and maybe documentaries at some point as well.
Festivals & Challenges
I haven't been to many film festivals, but I plan to attend more. My tagging system for these is new and will likely need to be rethought for repeat attendance.
For now, I use a general
festivals tag to group all festival lists together. Then a second tag to indicate which festival the list belongs to (E.g.
festival:nightstream). I think in the future I will add a third tag for
This is also how I manage my movie challenge lists. There's my yearly horrorthon, 31 Days of Halloween, which has its own series tag,
series:31-days-of-halloween. There's also my friend group's annual movie draft, which lives under
Catch-all for the uncategorized
When I start a new list that has no obvious classification, I throw on the
project tag. This is a catch-all for the miscellaneous lists that have not been properly organized. Some stay in the "project" state until more lists are created, revealing some sort of pattern. Often that's a new series.
The descriptions of my lists follow a format:
- A basic summary of what the list contains
- A bulleted list of films that have yet been added to or have been removed from TMDb
- Links to to other lists or categories.
Those first two bullets are self-explanatory, so I'll jump to the third—for which I make use of the indispensable TextExpander.
TextExpander is amazing for stuff like this. I've got a handful of snippets, all prefixed with
;lb that contain formatted HTML, recommending other lists on my profile.
For simple series, I might use something like
;lb31 to expand the following:
Check out my previous 31 Days of Halloween <a href="https://letterboxd.com/jacob/tag/series:31-days-of-halloween/lists/">lists</a>.
Or, for a more complicated one, something like this (
<b>More lists in the Natural Horror <a href="https://letterboxd.com/jacob/tag/series:natural-horror/lists/">series</a>:</b> - <a href="https://letterboxd.com/jacob/list/natural-horror-aquatic-animals-a-complete/">Aquatic Animals</a> - <a href="https://letterboxd.com/jacob/list/natural-horror-creepy-crawlies/">Creepy Crawlies</a> - <a href="https://letterboxd.com/jacob/list/natural-horror-furry-fiends/">Furry Fiends</a> - <a href="https://letterboxd.com/jacob/list/natural-horror-dangerous-dinos/">Dangerous Dinos</a> [Coming Soon] - <a href="https://letterboxd.com/jacob/list/natural-horror-deadly-diseases-a-complete/">Deadly Diseases</a> [Coming Soon]
I've even got a few with selects and forms like
More lists: <a href="https://letterboxd.com/curbsideaudio/tag/[[genre-slug]]/lists/">[[genre name]]</a>, <a href="https://letterboxd.com/curbsideaudio/tag/ranked/lists/">ranked</a>, <a href="https://letterboxd.com/curbsideaudio/tag/ranked:studio/lists/">ranked:[[selection: genre|franchise|studio]] </a>
These additions to a list's description dramatically increase the discoverability of my lists. I find they work best when linked directly to other lists, but list tags seem to get some action as well. This is based purely on my observation of list interactions and not on any type of analytics.
One last note on TextExpander before we close: I use snippets like
;lbhulu to quickly paste a "Watch on [platform]" link into list entry notes, using the contents of my clipboard. All of my Letterboxd snippets are available here.
I spend a lot of time organizing my lists, making them more sharable and easier to add to. Making the best of what metadata options I have supercharges discoverability of my lists and, by extension, the movies they contain.
Given the platforms recent list sharing update, a precursor to properly collaborative lists, I anticipate elements of my approach to change. For now, this is how I do things. I hope it helps.
A brief list of lists
- Most Anticipated
- TMDb/Letterboxd Contributions
- Posters I Love
- Year-By-Year: Favorites
- Year-By-Year: Favorites Revisited
- Characters from movies that scared me as a kid
- High Stress: movies that stress me out
- various movie library collections
- a "hello world" 100 favorites list (work in progress)
- Aquatic Animals (a complete list of killer sharks, crocs, piranhas, squid, and snakes)
- Creepy Crawlies (a complete list of killer insects, spiders, worms, crabs, and other bugs)
- Furry Fiends (a complete list of killer bears, rats, cats, dogs, and other beasts)
- Dangerous Dinos (A complete list of raptors, rexes, and other prehistoric reptiles)
- Deadly Diseases (a complete list of infections, illnesses, parasites, and mutations)
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and the Yeti
- Slender Man
- Edgar Wright's Personal Libary
- Jerry Seinfeld's Apartment
- Dan Turner (Archive 81)
- The Research Campus (Archive 81)
- The Camera Shop (Archive 81)
- Professor Nelson Bighetti's Standford CS Film Studies
- Famous First Films
- Huluween, a complete list (2018-2020)
- Animals *were* harmed in the making of these films
- Matty Healy's Not A Top Ten IG Story List
- Framed.wtf (A Complete List)
- Denis-Carl Robidoux's 35mm Film Trailers
- All The Haunts Be Ours: A Compendium of Folk Horror
- COMPLEX: 20 Banned or Otherwise Unavailable Movies You Can Only Watch Online
- Blood Disgusting's Ultimate Horror Challenge
- Boston Globe's best scary movies from every year since 1960
- The Science of Scare: Top 20 Scientificially Scary Movies
- Movies produced by Lorne Michaels with a blue sky and clouds in the cover's background
- The Asylum Films
- The Beatles, a complete filmography
- The Surreal Short Films of Louis C.K. (1993-1999)
- The Works of Andrei Tarkovsky (and links to watch them)
- The Star Wars Universe in Film
- Star Wars Fan Films
- Scooby-Doo (The Complete List)
- The Shrekiverse: A Nauseatingly Complete List
- Despicable Minions: An Exhaustive List
- The Alien Universe Chronology