If you love film, enjoy writing and have great analysis skills, the role of a movie critic might be the career for you. Before you decide whether or not this profession is the right fit for you, you should consider the role of a movie critic and what it takes to become one.
In this article, we discuss what a film critic does, educational and skill requirements and the steps to take to become one.
What does a movie critic do?
Movie critics are responsible for viewing, taking notes and analyzing the acting, plot development, writing, directing, editing and cinematography of films. They use their writing and analytical skills to craft a professional review that can help audiences determine whether or not they should view the film.
Their critiques also foster engaging conversations with others who have seen the film. In addition to their writing duties, movie critics may also vote on films during the award season.
Requirements for movie critics
The majority of film critics work for large publications that require a bachelor's degree. That said, if you have a Bachelor's Degree in Cinematography, Film Studies, Journalism, Communications or another related field, this could increase your chances of landing a job in this industry.
Moreover, typically, employers look for candidates who have some type of working experience through an internship, freelance work, self-publication or other means. You can gain experience while you're still in school and add it to your resume to help you gain employment post-graduation.
Related: How To Build Your Work Portfolio
Where do movie critics work?
Movie critics can work in a variety of places. Typically, they're found working for newspapers, radio, television or magazines. They can also work for their own publication, a blog, an online publication and more. In some cases, movie critics can work in a combination of these places.
How to become a movie critic
Though there aren't any specific requirements needed to become a movie critic, having an education in a related field and valuable experience can help steer you in the right direction and set you up for a more successful career. Here are the steps to consider as you begin your career as an aspiring movie critic:
- Earn a bachelor's degree.
- Gain experience.
- Learn about film.
- Create a portfolio.
- Gain entry-level experience.
- Build your reputation.
1. Earn a bachelor's degree
Earning your bachelor's degree is recommended as you build your career as a movie critic. In some cases, you may be required to have a degree in journalism, English, film studies or another related field. Studying any of these will give you a solid foundation in media.
Whereas your coursework as a journalism major will teach you the fundamentals of news writing, studying film will help you understand film theory, film history, screenwriting and various genres. The education you learn in your undergraduate studies will help you not only land a job, but also give you the fundamental knowledge necessary for this career.
2. Gain experience
While you continue your studies, consider joining your school paper or getting an internship to gain experience. This will give you hands-on experience in this field and if you decide to do an internship, you could potentially make valuable connections in your field. Also, consider starting a film blog during your undergraduate career. This will allow you to practice your writing skills while also giving you clips to add to your portfolio.
3. Learn about film
Whether you're still completing your coursework or you just earned your degree, it's important to continue studying film. This involves understanding the various director styles, art direction, plot, musical scores and cinematography. This will help you to properly compare films for your critiques.
4. Create a portfolio
Create an online portfolio where you can showcase your best work. As a movie critic, it's important to have a place where you can house your writing samples. Having this combined with a good social media presence will help you stand out from other aspiring film critics applying for similar positions. You can share your portfolio with prospective employers to highlight your skills and writing chops.
5. Gain entry-level experience
After you earn your degree, you should start applying for entry-level positions. This can be anything from a newspaper position or spot at your local radio station. Though you might not land a movie critic role right after graduation, the experience you gain in your first position will help you in your future career.
6. Build your reputation
After your first entry-level position, continue adding to your resume. Every time you publish a film critique, your name will be getting more exposure, which could open up several future opportunities for you. If you haven't already, you should also consider writing your own reviews apart from a newspaper or large publication to further your writing skills.