Movie Critic: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Movie critics examine and evaluate films, either for magazines and newspapers or for broadcast media. Their goal is to assist moviegoers in deciding whether they should pay to see a specific film.

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Movie Critic Job Description

Movie critics write comments about a film without telling too much about the story. They critique the quality of a movie's writing, acting, lighting, filming and directing. A movie critic's job requires a deep analysis of why they feel a film is good or bad. They need to be familiar with different film genres. When writing their reviews, critics may compare certain films with others of the same genre. Film critics may work as part of a team with other critics, and they sometimes work for entertainment editors and online publications.

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 only six percent over the 2010-2020 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 $51,510, 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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