If you spend your evenings revising your Netflix queue and Oscar season ranks higher on your list than Christmas, then you may have considered becoming a film critic. Many national newspapers and magazines feature film review columns and there are also lots of blogs and websites dedicated to the art of film criticism. So how do you pursue a career in film criticism?
Education and Training
While not completely necessary, a good education is helpful if you're interested in a career as a film critic. Education Portal recommends classes in film study, theater, English and professional writing. A bachelor’s or even master’s degree in journalism is recommended. Jack Mathews from Moviefone.com majored in psychology as an undergrad, a study that may give some insight into why some individuals find certain films more enjoyable than others.
Gaining Needed Experience
When Dana Stevens of Slate.com wrote to famous film critic Roger Ebert asking how to become a film critic, he advised her to “write-write-write for anyplace that will publish your stuff.” College -- or even high school -- is a great place to start gaining this kind of experience. Seek out a position with your school newspaper and ask if you can start doing a weekly or monthly movie column. Check with your local community paper as well. Leave reviews on sites such as RottenTomatoes.com that accept movie reviews from the everyday moviegoer. You may want to start your own film review blog. Just start writing.
Print or Online
Consider the fact that in our digital age, fewer print publications can afford keeping film critics on the payroll. However, that shouldn’t dissuade you from film criticism. Now anyone with an Internet connection can be a film critic. If you find it hard to get your foot in the door with print publication, think about starting your own blog or check out online news and entertainment sites to see if they are seeking new contributors.
Making a living as a film critic may take some time. Jim Emerson, former editor at RogerEbert.com, states that in his first seven years working as a film critic writing for different print publications, he only earned $10 to $20 per review. Now, for many aspiring critics who publish online, it's the writers' responsibility to promote their work in such a way that they earn income, either from other publishing opportunities, or by monetizing their personal blog or website through advertising.