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How To Become A Film Critic

"How do I become a film critic?" is one of the most common questions film critics receive. Here's the best answer I can give you.

1) Don't do it. It's a job of constant pressure, unrelenting deadlines, often little pay and even less gratitude. And think about all the crap you have to sit through ("Sex Tape") -- it's not just about getting to see "The Avengers 2" before all your friends.

2) If you're still reading this, maybe you have the conviction it takes to make a go at being a professional film critic.

3) First things first: Be an avid reader. You will not be able to write if you're not familiar with language. The earlier this starts, the better.

4) Watch movies. See everything -- good, bad, ugly, awful, long, short, everything. Then to truly try your patience, watch "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" (1967).

5) Write about movies. You need to find your voice, and you will not truly find it until you've written reviews for years, so the sooner you start, the better.

6) Get feedback. Real, solid, constructive feedback. Not from an enabler who just says "that's good!," but someone who'll tell you it sucks and specify exactly why in an effort to help you improve. As Fletcher says in "Whiplash," the two worst words in the English language [can be] "good job." (And if you haven't seen "Whiplash" you should do so immediately.)

7) Once you've written a handful of reviews and gotten feedback to make them better, and actually went back and incorporated the feedback and made them better, start a blog. Or your own website. Anyway you can publish your work to show others and develop a following.

You may also (optional): Reach out to a film-based website to see if it needs a reviewer or film writer. You never know, and it doesn't hurt to ask. This is how I've found many of the writers for my site.

8) Once you've proven yourself as a regular reviewer with a legit web presence, depending on where you live you can solicit the local studios to grant you access to press screenings and materials. This can be done by speaking with a screening monitor at a press/advance promotional screening in your area, reaching out to a film critic in the hope of him/her sharing access (don't count on it), or reaching out to the theaters that host advance screenings for a contact person. Where there's a will there's a way.

9) Always remember, you have to love what you do. I'm not saying do it for the love, I'm saying don't lose sight of how much you love it when you're rolling your eyes through the next "Dolphin Tale" movie.

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