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Film reviewers spend their time analyzing themes, plot, acting, music, cinematography and other aspects of making movies. With all of this effort, getting paid would be nice. That, however, requires working for a reputable publisher. And working for a reputable publisher requires not only excellent writing skills but the right amount of experience.
See The Classics
Roger Ebert, the renowned film critic from the "Chicago Sun-Times" who died in 2013, advised aspiring film critics to watch all the good movies you can. Go all the way to the early days of film and watch the movies that have stood the test of time. Look up films that are considered classics and watch them. You'll eventually develop a taste for movies and begin to learn what works within a movie and, most importantly, what doesn't work. Knowing the difference between the two is one of the most important skills you can teach yourself as a film critic.
Don't wait for anyone's permission to start reviewing films -- start doing it on your own. Create a blog and write reviews of your favorite movies, and throw in a few films you hate, too. Write as much as you can, promoting your blog posts on social media sites and connecting with other film critics. Comment on other blogs and promote your latest review if it is relevant to the topic you're commenting on. Consider also putting a link to your latest blog entry in your e-mail signature.
Get an Education
Earn a degree in journalism, English, communications, broadcasting or film studies. A bachelor's degree in one of these areas increases your chances of landing a paying gig, whether full-time or freelance. Courses that expand your knowledge of film and writing include film criticism, film-making, art history, screenwriting and film theory. While earning your degree, write film reviews for the school paper.
Apply to Professional Publications
Apply for an entry-level position at a newspaper or online publication after graduating from college. Your resume should include your education and prior experiences writing movie reviews. If you can't get work right away as a film critic, take on a writing position that may lead to a reviewer position in the future, such as news writing. A foot in the door always is a good step.
Johnny Kilhefner is a writer with a focus on technology, design and marketing. Writing for more than five years, he has contributed to Writer's Weekly, PopMatters, Bridged Design and APMP, among many other outlets.
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