TV and Movie Critic
We have this in our “Fun Jobs” section as if you are successful you could be invited to movie, TV show premiers and other exciting social events.
Here are our top findings for you:
1. TV and film critics report on and review the latest programmes and movies, often in newspapers and magazines but also online and on the small screen.
2. For many people, being a TV or film critic is a ‘dream job’. That is, you get paid for doing little more than watching TV or films and then talking about it.
3. However, the job has its downsides, including spending a lot of time on your own and the fact there is fierce competition for very few jobs.
4. There are no fixed qualifications for becoming a TV or film critic; some of the most famous critics studied completely unrelated subjects at university.
5. However, a journalism qualification could help set you on the right track to being a critic. The NCTJ lists journalism training providers in the UK.
6. Whether it’s alongside your studies or alongside a completely-unrelated day job, you should also work to build up a portfolio of relevant work and start making a name for yourself as a critic.
7. A blog or even a showreel on YouTube could help you land a job, especially if you are proactive and want to sell yourself to editors.
What Do Critics Do?
TV and film critics report on and review the latest programmes and movies.
As well as writing columns in newspapers and magazines, critics’ work also appears on websites and on television, with the target audience – and so the style of criticism – varying considerably.
For many people, being a TV or film critic is a ‘dream job’. That is, you get paid for doing little more than watching TV or films and then talking about it.
While this is true to an extent – Clive James, arguably the finest TV critic of modern times, often wondered how he got paid for doing so little – the work does have its downsides.
As well as the solitude, very few critics are able to rely on this job alone, with most doing it on the side. Moreover, the field is also fiercely competitive, meaning that, not only are there very few jobs to go around, but those opportunities that do open up may offer little, or even no pay.
Getting Started as a Critic
That said, since the dawn of the internet age, opportunities for critics have increased considerably. Plus, unlike many other areas of journalism, there will always be something to write or talk about.
Training and Qualifications
There are no fixed qualifications for becoming a TV or film critic, with different critics getting there by different routes.
AA Gill of the Times in London, for instance, studied art and painting in London, only moving into writing after he had turned 30.
Charlie Brooker, TV critic for the Guardian and presenter of the Screenwipe review show, took a degree in Media Studies and concentrated on writing video games reviews before finally moving into writing about TV and film.
Meanwhile, film critic Mark Kermode studied English literature at university and started his career writing reviews for local newspapers and magazines.
That said, a sizeable proportion of film, and especially TV critics, work in journalism before specialising. Indeed, many newspapers appoint critics internally, with the role often going to a writer with a good knowledge of culture. As such, a journalism qualification could help set you on the right track to being a critic.
The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) has a list of accredited courses, ranging from full undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to shorter, part-time courses.
Look out for courses that offer a grounding in writing for the internet, as well as providing you with technical skills, since the days of being able to make a living from just writing for print publications look to be numbered.
Additionally, some course providers also offer some training in criticism: Suffolk University College of Arts and Sciences, for example, offers a module on Media Criticism through its Communication and Journalism programme.
Whether it’s alongside your studies or alongside a completely-unrelated day job, you should also work to build up a portfolio of relevant work and start making a name for yourself as a critic.
If you’re at college or university, volunteer to write reviews for the student newspaper and use this as a springboard for making contacts in the entertainment business as well as for building up an impressive collection of clippings.
At the same time, you should also try and build up an online presence. Numerous online news and culture sites are always after free contributors, though be wary of having your name linked to a poor quality outlet.
Blogs are a good means of both honing your writing skills and keeping on top of the latest news and developments in the TV and film business on the one hand and of getting you writing ‘out there’, and hopefully noticed by prospective employers.
Similarly, video blogs or showreels posted on YouTube can also serve as a useful stepping stone towards your dream career, though, given the number of would-be-critics already doing this, you will need to be extra special to stand out from the crowd.
Its easy these days to set up a website to post your reviews to, have a look at Wordpress and there are plenty of free templates so you can choose, you have to buy a web address, if you are unable to do this yourself then we could set you up for a fee of £250 plus vat so contact us if you need help. With Wordpress you can add, edit your content anytime.
Once you have a website, get a twitter account and set up a facebook fan page for your review site.
Again, in the case of magazines and newspapers, many critics are appointed internally, so getting on the staff of a publication is arguably the best way of eventually landing this type of job.
In fact, very few TV and film critic jobs are openly advertised. The jobs page of Journalism.co.uk may be a good place to look once in a while at the Journalism website, and search for "TV Critic" or similar, as will the career pages of individual newspapers and magazines.
However, you are far more likely to find work if you go for opportunities that are not openly advertised, whether this is by speculatively sending your CV and work examples to editors, or working on building a big enough following online that editors will get in touch with you.
On UK Jobs Guide we have an section where you can find your local jobcentre , with contact information and plenty of jobs to keep you busy while you plan your future. We also have plenty of other Career Guides for ideas if you are undecided upon your career path.
Please let us have any comments on how we can make this guide better, thank you.
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