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If you have a passion for film and love to write, you may want to become a movie critic. With a great many people competing for just a few jobs, movie criticism can be a very difficult field to enter. Nevertheless, there are a few steps you can take to strengthen your chances of success. First of all, study both communications and film, and complete an internship to gain valuable hands-on media experience. In addition, build your criticism skills as well as your portfolio by writing reviews for a school or community paper or a website.
You should begin your quest to become a movie critic by getting an undergraduate degree in communications or journalism. This major will give you an in-depth knowledge of print, broadcast, and online journalism, as well as a chance to develop your writing skills. If you have already completed an undergraduate degree in an unrelated subject, you may wish to consider earning a master’s degree in communications.
In addition to understanding the finer points of the field of journalism, you must also have an extremely broad knowledge of film to become a movie critic. If you are currently enrolled in an undergraduate program, consider completing a minor in film studies. Even if you are not a college student, you may be able to take film-related classes at your local community college. You should also build up your ability to contextualize and deconstruct new films by watching as many movies as possible. Try to familiarize yourself with a broad range of “classic” films, independent films, genre movies, foreign movies, and so forth, and consider reading what other critics have said about the films you watch.
Demonstrated experience can prove invaluable to you in your quest to become a movie critic. Try to complete one or more internships at local newspapers or television stations. While such internships are often unpaid, you may get college credits for them. Further, they can help you establish contacts in the media, which may give you an advantage when you are applying for jobs.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare yourself to become a movie critic is practice. Write reviews for a community paper, or start a criticism blog. Save copies of everything you publish, no matter how insignificant the publication might seem. Reviewing for small publications will help you tighten your writing and criticism skills. Further, it will provide you with a portfolio of work which you can show to potential employers.
Once you have completed your studies and gained some experience, you will likely wish to jump right into a career as a movie critic. Unfortunately, the supply of critic candidates generally greatly outweighs the number of available paid, full-time positions. Consider taking an entry-level reporting job at a newspaper or television station, even if the position is not related to film criticism. Many of the most successful critics got their starts by taking unrelated reporting jobs and eventually working their way up to a criticism position.
One of the women I work with has been an extreme fan of movies for most of her life. She knows actors, plot lines and virtually everything there is to know about a wealth of films. Everyone at work was always saying she should get a movie critic job.
Finally, she took matters into her own hands and started writing movie critiques for a social website. She doesn't get paid, but she really enjoys discussing the movies and the work is good experience that will come in handy should she ever get the chance to become a professional reviewer.
I had a professor in college who wanted to be a film critic. He went to a local television station and asked to be given a 30 minute show where he reviewed movies. I don't know what he said to to the managers of the station, but he must have had a convincing presentation because he got his 30 minute show once a week.
This shows what a bit of initiative can reap. However, he was a journalism professor and he taught a couple of classes about movies and movie production. I'm sure this gave him an advantage when he went to the station with his idea.
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