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Tips On How To Become A Film Critic

© by Photo courtesy of Pixabay

So you are interested in becoming a film or movie critic. Who doesn’t? It is a fantastic career path to follow. If you really enjoy movies, this could be a fantastic way to earn a living, by watching your favorite movies and then letting others know your thoughts about the movies you have watched. Most people are already natural critics, but the jump is significant from just letting family or friends know your thoughts to actually earning a living by telling strangers or even the world about your opinions. 

This jump may be large but definitely not insurmountable. The first step involves learning the right way to write great reviews. Well, this may seem obvious, but it sounds a lot easier than it seems. Read plenty of film and TV reviews to get a feel for how they are structured.  Anyone is capable of writing up a review, but not many people have the skills to write up compelling and intriguing reviews that will make people read the review before deciding to go and see a movie or not. So you may be wondering what is the difference?

  1. Actively Watch Movies

Watching movies is one of those passive activities, but when you watch a movie properly it is not something that you are doing, but rather something that you are experiencing. But if you plan to become a successful movie critic, then you need to learn the right way to watch movies using a critical viewpoint. This involves paying attention to even the smallest details. This includes noticing how an actor is placed in every shot, the music, camera angles, and the setting. These elements all play an important role when it comes to the narrative or story that the director is trying to tell. These elements are something you should be mentioning and talking about when writing compelling reviews, that are required of you if you would like to earn an income from reviewing movies. 

  1. Make Sure You Are Taking Copious Notes

This doesn’t mean sitting with a laptop or pen and paper in hand. But it does involve taking very solid and involved mental notes. Once you start making a name in this industry you will probably start attending many advance screenings, that you won’t be able to watch the movie again before releasing your review. This is why it is important to learn how to take very solid mental notes when it comes to the most important elements present in the film. 

Information about the director and the names of the actors is easy to find,  but other information such as plot devices or camera shots is not. This means that you need to learn to watch the movie for certain types of information and to remember these important elements. 

  1. Summarize, But Don’t Spoil

This is extremely important. Not much is worse than reading reviews that tell the entire story of the movie from start to finish, which leaves viewers with nothing to look forward to. You will be paid for an opinion, and not to become a spoiler. A brief summary of the overall plot is all that is needed. From here you can start talking about whether the plot actually worked or when you couldn’t work out what the plot was about. Allow the actual details of the movie to be discovered when the reader decides to watch the movie and not from reading your review. 

  1. Critical Analysis Is Essential

The differences between reviews that any person can write about and the reviews that you are not only paid to write but readers look forward to reading comes down to the way you have analyzed a movie. Think back to the papers that you used to write for your literature class during your college days. Your professor expected you to break down themes in books and the way the themes relate to characters, the plot, etc. Well, the same thing applies to movie reviews. Readers don’t want summaries of the plot or events. The best reviews examine the ideas or themes that the film raises and then discuss whether or not the movie executed these ideas and themes. 

  1. Pinpoint The Pros And The Cons

No film is perfect, but at the same time, it also rare that a movie is really bad. Make sure that you mention in your reviews when the film has excelled and where it hasn’t done so well. 

  1. Maintain An Open Mind

If you want to make a career out of becoming a film critic you will watch films from the genres that you might not like. You may detest action movies, but you may be forced into reviewing at least one of these movies every week. It is perfectly fine that you might not enjoy the genre, yet you must know how to detect a great film in this genre once watching one. A film can be an excellent movie and extremely well made, even though you really hate that particular genre. You need to know how to determine the differences between bad and good movies in the genre of films that you really hate. 

  1. Use Originality 

For some people, it may be 2 thumbs up, while for others it could be rotten bananas. Regardless of what you choose for a rating system, it needs to be original. Try finding the “hook” that works well for you. Just avoid using something that resembles someone else as it may come across as a poor copy or imitation. 

  1. Make Sure You Have Fun

This career path involves trying to save people’s movie-going experiences, so have fun, relax, and keep in mind that this is a fantastic career, when you can tell others that this is what you love doing to earn a living.