Do you want to make a living as a movie critic? It’s not the easiest profession in the world to break into, but it can be a satisfying and lucrative career if you’re good at it. Roger Ebert seems to be making a reasonably good living anyway. (I’m not sure about Leonard Maltin or Gene Shalit, though.) But most people don’t get into the film critic business to get rich. They’re interested in movies, and they want to watch lots of movies and then write about them. Here are some tips for you if you want to pursue a career in writing about movies.
1. Get a journalism degree. Writing about movies for a newspaper or magazine is a journalism occupation, so having a degree in journalism can help open doors for you. This isn’t a strict requirement, and a film degree will work just as well as a journalism degree a lot of the time. Some people don’t need any kind of degree at all in order to make a living as a movie critic, but that’s trickier than you might think.
2. Watch a lot of movies. Don’t just watch current movies either. Film critics who have worthwhile opinions are able to put movies into the context of what’s come before. You can write a better review of the upcoming Arthur remake if you’ve seen the original Dudley Moore vehicle.
3. Read about movies. Another way to learn about films and movies is by reading a lot. Don’t just read online. Buy some books too. Don’t just read movie reviews. Read movie critic interviews, too–if you can find them.
4. Launch a website. Some people who are really good at search engine stuff can make a living running a website about movies, but that’s not as easy as some of your get rich quick gurus would like you to think it is. You don’t have to launch a site that focuses exclusively on movie reviews either. People love to read movie questions and answers, too. Movie news and movie gossip are also both popular topics to write about.
If you want to become a movie critic, you have a lot of work ahead of you.
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