Reviewing films is something that our society has done for a very long time. The idea of critiquing, understanding and obsessing over films is what makes people so interested in writing about them. But it isn’t always easy to become a respected and intelligent reviewer like Roger Ebert, so we’ve compiled a list of sme of the best tips to help you become a film critic.
Given the success stories of many big movie review websites, like Rotten Tomatoes (which even has it’s own Wikipedia page dedicated to the films that they have given 100% to) or MetaCritic, many viewers have come to rely on the perspectives of film critics when choosing whether or not to see a film. Not that seeing the musings of other people should always make a difference, but it is one of the essential reasons for people to write reviews as people can learn what’s a good film and what’s an awful film.
While there are not real requirements to become a film critic, earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism or in film studies or in any other related field might be necessary to work in the world of film. If you were to do a 4-year bachelor’s degree program in something like film studies, the course would include courses in the history of film, the theory of film, in screenwriting and the study of various different genres, be it musicals, horror or even the often disputed film noir. There are plenty of universities that offer film studies courses for their students.
Become obsessed by film
In order for you to successfully review films, you have to know the intricate and delicate world of cinema. You’ll need to become acquainted with all of the various different directors and study their styles, and you will need to pay close attention to any aesthetic differences in the art direction, in the cinematography, how the plot develops, and even to the musical scores.
Studying old films is a great way to get yourself into the world in which you can understand things. You can check out what people call “Filmmaker’s Films”, films that are aimed specifically at those looking to innovate, such as Orson Welles’ ‘Citizen Kane’ or Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ or even Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’. The more that you know and learn about film, the better chance you will have of learning what to do.
Start somewhere no matter how small
After graduation, future film critics really need to continue their newspaper or their radio station experience by applying for an entry-level position at any print or some online publication companies. Although you’re unlikely to be doing anything like critiquing films straight away, getting a foot in the door as early as possible is the most important first step that you can take.
Don’t be shy just because it seems new and something that you feel you’re overqualified for, many critics start out this way and many of them are thankful for it as it allows them to learn about the process of making films and about the ideas behind reviewing them.
Become an expert
If you want to review films, you will need to become an expert in the world of films. There are no two ways about it, you will need to know everything about different directors and their styles, actors and their processes and all the bits in between.
Studying foreign film is a good way to get going, looking up films by people like Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, David Lynch, Francois Truffaut, Federico Fellini, Luis Bunel, Andrei Tarkovsky and Stanley Kubrick, can have you seeing more about what people do with visual tones, their use of screen and the depth of field and these are things that you can only pick up on by watching the films and obsessing over every little detail and then you can think about writing film reviews. Learning about film and it’s history is essential.
Blogging is one of the most important parts of becoming a critic, you need to have a record of your work, you need to be able to show people what you can do and what’s more, you need to be able to show that you have the tenacity and the talent to go ahead and start writing and reviewing on your own. The more blogging that you do the better it will be, you’ll grow in confidence and you’ll learn more about your writing style. Starting a blog is a very good way to get yourself and your name out there.
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Thanks for reading and good luck!