Movie Critic: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a movie critic. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and internships to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Movie critics review and critique the quality of films without giving too much of the plot away. Most working movie critics possess a bachelor's degree in a field such as film studies, cinematography or journalism, and an aspiring critic's credibility can be further strengthened by a master's degree in film studies, internship opportunities, and/or freelance work.

Required EducationBachelor's in film studies, cinematography or journalism
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)3% for all writer and authors*
Mean Salary (2014)$67,870 for all writer and authors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Movie Critic Duties

As part of their job, a movie critic may evaluate several movies a week, report on general entertainment news, attend film festivals and premieres and analyze trends in movie ticket sales. Movie critics discuss their opinions on films in broadcast media. They attend meetings with editors and adhere to deadlines. They generally discuss the goals and meanings of the films they analyze and give reviews that are entertaining and insightful.

During awards season, it is common for movie critics to give their opinions on the top contenders for Golden Globe or Academy Awards. Well-respected movie critics have opportunities to attend these awards shows. They may also interview actors about their work.

Movie Critic Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports employment opportunities for writers and authors in general are expected to increase by three percent over the 2012-2022 decade. Despite the slow overall growth rate, professionals who can write in an online environment may still be in demand. In 2012, the average salary for writers and authors in newspaper, periodical and book publishing was $55,640, based on the BLS' data.

Movie Critic Requirements

Bachelor's Degree

Anyone can call himself or herself a movie critic, even those without a degree. However, formal education and credentials lend credibility to aspiring movie critics. It is helpful to take liberal arts or film classes in high school. A movie critic should possess at least a bachelor's degree in film studies, cinematography or journalism. Individuals who have opted for journalism degrees need courses in film studies and vice versa.

Courses of study for film students may include history of cinema, documentary history, technology, communications, screenwriting, filmmaking, theories of film and film workshop. Journalism students take classes in photojournalism, broadcast journalism, public relations, magazine journalism and general studies.

Master's Degree

Students who are interested in obtaining their master's degrees in film studies focus on advanced courses in film criticism, history and theory. Classes may include television culture and history and film form. A master's takes approximately 2-5 years to complete and may include a thesis and comprehensive examination.

Internships

When entering the movie criticism profession, students may participate in internships in order to gain experience. They can start out writing film reviews for their school papers. Students may also write movie reviews on a freelance basis to become more experienced in the profession. Freelance opportunities may exist with online websites and print media.

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