Editorial Movie Blogging

What Makes a Great Film Critic?

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There are many things that go into What Makes a Good Film Critic. Below you will find five that may be considered the most important. They are completely arbitrary but they may help some in their film critic endeavors.

Be Prolific.

The more you practice something, the better you get at it. This holds true with writing film reviews. Some approach film reviews as mini essays, mini papers. They have a thesis, the body for support of the thesis and then a conclusion that ties everything together. Some analyze the film they are reviewing, that film’s genre or the film in relation to the director’s filmography up to that point. All methods, including those not mentioned, are correct. It all depends on the readership you are writing for, the review parameters you set for yourself and the guidelines set forth by the site you are writing for. Once you find your method, your voice, stick to it, refine it. It will come to identify you and become you defacto signature in the film critic world.

The Ability to Write Quality Reviews.

If you can not write well organized, precise reviews, reviews free of grammatical errors, people will not return to read your future reviews. Each review should be an island with its own point of view and its own story to tell. In other words, the review should be unique to the author writing it. Here is an excellent article on how to write a movie review.

Watch Tons of Films, even Films you find Abhorrent.

I have sat through films that could be considered purified excrement. I have gone to and seen so-called chick flicks, documentaries, almost everything under the celluloid sun. Most of the bad films I have seen (DOA: Dead or Alive, 88 Minutes, Friday the 13th (2009)) I went to in the hopes that they would be good films and was later disappointed during their viewing. Most of them I have not written reviews for, a few I have. Though these films were foul, they extended my film lexicon. I could reference them accurately in other reviews from having seen them, making those reviews all the more richer and thorough. Seeing a diverse array of films also expands your knowledge of the film world. If you are reviewing an action movie having only seen one action movie, the movie you are reviewing, your review will be flat. If you have seen dozens, your review will be broader and vastly different.

A Love for the Film Medium.

This is a no brainer. If you do not like films, how can you possibly be a good film critic? If you do not love what you are writing about, there will be no passion in your words (which is true of any writing) and your reviews will suffer. When the writing is from the heart, it usually shows.

Accessible Film Reviews.

If no one can find your reviews and posts, what good are they for you or the film community. Good SEO can help with that as well as site design. Take Film-Book dot Com for example. Most visitors can find this site’s Film Reviews fairly easily through the Archive tab at the top of the page and Review link on the sidebar.

Suggestion: Read “the little book

Reading William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style, 4th Edition will not only help the quality of your film reviews but your writing in general. It describes and illustrates all the major do’s and don’ts of grammar. “The little book” will help with the quality of your film reviews and the diction within them.

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created ProMovieBlogger.com and Trending Awards.com.

  • Great recommendations here. #3 is definitely one I struggle with. It’s so hard to make yourself sit through a bad movie, and even worse when you hope it will be good.

    And #1 is #1 with a bullet, I think. I’ve become MUCH more comfortable in the year and a half since I started writing reviews. Mostly what I mean by that is that I’ve find it easier to translate my thoughts to paper. They may not impress others, but they at least help me process what I’ve seen.

    Daniels last blog post..Oscars Afterglow

  • Great recommendations here. #3 is definitely one I struggle with. It’s so hard to make yourself sit through a bad movie, and even worse when you hope it will be good.

    And #1 is #1 with a bullet, I think. I’ve become MUCH more comfortable in the year and a half since I started writing reviews. Mostly what I mean by that is that I’ve find it easier to translate my thoughts to paper. They may not impress others, but they at least help me process what I’ve seen.

    Daniels last blog post..Oscars Afterglow

  • Thx Daniel. The studios usually help with Number 3. They produce a great trailer for a film, like Jumper, then you see the film and its lackluster.

    I’ve found Number 1 to be the most important as well. I write better reviews now than I used to and I am able to translate them from mind to paper better as well. Reading other people’s reviews has also helped the quality of my reviews.

  • Thx Daniel. The studios usually help with Number 3. They produce a great trailer for a film, like Jumper, then you see the film and its lackluster.

    I’ve found Number 1 to be the most important as well. I write better reviews now than I used to and I am able to translate them from mind to paper better as well. Reading other people’s reviews has also helped the quality of my reviews.

  • Great look into writing reviews. Hopefully enough people read this before they hit that pretty “publish” button on their sites.

  • That is why I wrote the post.

  • That is why I wrote the post.

  • Thx. I think that would be a wise procedure to follow.

  • Thx. I think that would be a wise procedure to follow.

  • ac condensers

    is it normal for a film critic to choose what to film to review? Isn't it that a film critic must not be bias? at my age of 17 i am so curious about how film critics review films.

  • It is not normal if you are working for an news organization that pays you to review new films in theater. You have to do what you are getting paid to do, no matter the quality of the film or your personal desires.

    It you run a website or organization like I do, you can pick and choose what you review. You are your own boss.

  • Anyone can be a film critic. I would suggest maybe Journalism or Film? Film majors have to become a film critic one way or another. I think Roger Ebert has a degree in Journalism, so I’d say go for that.

  • True but not everyone can be a “great” film critic. I believe Ebert has a journalism degree as well.

  • In the beginning, working at a paper or magazine, I believe the film critic is assigned films by way of his/her editor and press screenings.

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