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Film critic

Film critics analyse films and produce reviews and articles for newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, social media channels and websites.

Annual Salary

variable

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

variable

You could work: freelance / self-employed; flexibly

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work at events, at a venue, from home or in an office.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • short training courses
University

You can do a foundation degree, degree or postgraduate qualification in:

  • film studies
  • journalism
  • English
  • 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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
For more information
College

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

Entry requirements

You'll need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English
For more information
Apprenticeship

You can work towards this role by starting with an advanced apprenticeship as a junior journalist before specialising in film reviewing and criticism.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information
Volunteering and work 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

Other routes

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.

More information

Career tips

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.

Further information

You can find out more about creative industry careers from Discover Creative Careers and ScreenSkills.

You can find more general information about working and training in journalism from the National Union of Journalists and National Council for the Training of Journalists.

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.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • 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
  • persistence and determination
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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