Film reviewer, movie critic, film writer
Film critics analyse films and produce reviews and articles for newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, social media channels and websites.
Salary range: Variable
How to become a film critic
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- short training courses
You can do a foundation degree, degree or postgraduate qualification in:
- film studies
- creative writing
- film and television
Courses like these will help you to develop the analysis and writing skills you’ll need as a film critic.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you’ll need for this job. Relevant courses include:
- A level Film Studies
- Level 3 Certificate or Diploma in Journalism
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English
You can work towards this role by starting with an advanced apprenticeship as a junior journalist before specialising in film reviewing and criticism.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
Competition for jobs is strong, and you’ll need to show you’ve got writing experience. You’ll find it useful to keep examples of your published work in a portfolio.
To develop your experience and reputation you can:
- write for student and local newspapers
- create your own blog and build an online presence on social media
- submit articles to online film review channels and websites
- post video reviews online and produce podcasts
You may be able to do short courses, which could help you to develop your critical writing skills, as well as expand your knowledge of film and different genres.
Short courses are offered by some colleges, adult education centres, university film departments. and film organisations online. Courses include:
- film criticism
- history of cinema
- creative writing
- journalism skills
- cinema from other countries
It’s important to develop your own critical writing style and build up a good reputation to establish yourself as a film critic.
You’re likely to be self-employed or work freelance as a film critic, especially when starting out, and be paid per review. Some critics write about other media, for example TV, plays and books, to supplement their income.
You can find out more about being a film critic from Creative Choices. You can also get details about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of English language
- the ability to critically analyse information
- knowledge of media production and communication
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- excellent written communication skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- watching films of all genres, often several times
- making notes about scripts, music, storylines and influences
- looking at technical details like camera angles, lighting and editing
- submitting reviews by strict deadlines
- building up contacts with film-makers, agents and distributors
- attending film festivals, talks, previews and press conferences
- interviewing film-makers, actors and production staff
- researching archival information about films and film-makers
- keeping up to date with critical theories
You could work at events, at a venue, from home or in an office.
Career path and progression
As an established film critic, you could combine your job with writing books on film, editing, or teaching criticism on film courses. You could also work in film archives.