How to Become a Film Critic Online

Dec 06, 2019

Learn about the necessary educational background and experience needed to become a film critic. Online resources that can help you achieve this, like online degree programs and writing opportunities, are included in this article.

Film Critic Career Overview

Film critics assess the technical and creative aspects of films, including the screenplay and characters, cinematography, and editing. They also write about filmmaking and the entertainment industry as a whole and attend premieres and film festivals to report on which films are most likely to win accolades. Through their reviews, moviegoers will know whether a film is worth the trip to the theater or not.

Required Skills Writing and Communication skills, Critical-thinking Skills, Persuasive Voice, Social Perceptiveness
Job Growth* 0% (2018-2028, for all writers and authors)
Median Salary* $62,170 (2018, for all writers and authors)

Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Film Critic Online

Thanks to many available online avenues and resources, building a career as a film critic is an uncomplicated undertaking. There are many ways to achieve this goal, but the important steps are earning an education in film or writing and gaining writing experience.

Step 1. Obtain a Degree in Film or Communication Studies

Aside from deep foundational knowledge of film and filmmaking, educational background in writing, communication studies, or journalism is required. Aspiring film critics can major in either communications or film studies, then take additional courses to strengthen other skills.

Some accredited distance learning colleges offer online bachelor's degrees in journalism and communications. Students will study such topics as digital and media literacy, journalism, linguistics, media ethics, creative writing, and science and technical writing.

As for online film-related degree programs, schools like The Los Angeles Film School and Arizona State University have online degree programs that teach students technical aspects of filmmaking, film history, theory and methods in television and film, and even race and gender studies. These programs require 120 units of coursework.

Students have these resources to aid them in their undergraduate journey: lectures and course assignments given via a dedicated online portal, access to specialized software should a course require use of it, online consultations with professors, and 24/7 live chat services.

Step 2. Assemble a Portfolio of Reviews and Critiques

After (or while) completing a bachelor's degree, aspiring film critics need to familiarize themselves with all genres of film to write reviews that are more worldly and informed. This can be achieved by working on a portfolio of reviews on films from different directors, screenwriters, and cinematographers. Exposing yourself to films of other cultures helps you become well-rounded as a critic.

The more films you watch and review, the better you will be at correlating and comparing important ideas like themes and worldviews across movies. Importantly, building a portfolio of reviews, especially published ones, helps in the quest to find steady work in the field.

Step 3. Start a Film Blog

Blogs are a good way for writers to get exposure and earn credibility online. WordPress and Medium are two trusted sites that provide blog hosting services for free (but paid domains are also available). You can connect your blog to a social media account or page so that you can gain web traffic on your posts and earn from the ads you place on your website.

Another option is to create video essays, which are popular among young adult audiences, and publish them on YouTube.

Step 4. Land a Writing Job

Film critics usually have a permanent writing job aside from their work on reviewing movies. They may write broadly about culture or other fields of art, since film criticism is one part of those. Many film critics start out by establishing their careers in other fields of writing, such as news writing for periodicals or content writing for advertising companies. They may even work for radio or television shows. Landing a position in a culture magazine or publication gives aspiring film critics a big advantage because it gives them more opportunities to build a network with people in film.

Step 5. Submit Reviews to Websites and Online Culture Magazines

Websites like Bustle, Cineaste, and Taste of Cinema accept submissions and may publish your work on their sites. Sometimes, they look for regular writers to achieve a certain quota of articles per week or per month. Showcasing your writing skills in these reputable sites is a great way to build a reputation as a respected film critic.

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