how to become a movie critic and get paid

Guide: How to Become a Movie Critic and Get Paid For It

Let’s not beat around the burning bush here, you want to learn how to become a movie critic and get paid for it. 

We get it. Not everyone is looking to review movies just out of the goodness of their hearts. This is a career path, and if you’re good at it, you definitely deserve to be paid for your work. 

Thing is, the movie critic career has changed quite a bit since the heydays of Siskel and Ebert, and we’re gonna talk about how you can make this job work for you today. 

We recently published an article about how to become a movie critic on YouTube, but that’s kind of a different kettle of fish, so this article will focus more on how to get paid for reviewing movies. 

We’re going to look at two different categories, each with its own set of options. 

The first category is movie critic jobs that will have you making some livable money right away, and the second category is methods that can still earn you money as a critic, but likely only after some time. 

Each category has its own advantages and drawbacks, so pay close attention to which of these options would work best for you. 

how to become a movie critic

Money Right Away

One of the biggest benefits to seeking one of the jobs we’re going to mention in this section is that these are real jobs, as in you apply for them, and if you get hired, you’ll be paid either via a salary or you’ll get paid per assignment. 

Of course, probably the biggest drawback to these types of jobs is the barrier to entry. An established media outlet or review website or whatever it happens to be is going to be looking for qualified candidates who have plenty of experience. 

So if you’re completely green to professional film criticism, you’re going to have a much harder time getting hired. So please keep this all in mind. 

Apply to a Major Website or YouTube Channel 

If you don’t have the patience to start your own website or channel, which we’ll be talking about further down the article, then you can just try to work with one of the major websites or channels that already exist. 

Again, you’ll be applying to a listing online, so there will be lots of other people gunning for the job, but you also might be able to email the outlet in question even when they don’t have any open listings and try to hype yourself up, at the risk of seeming like an overeager weirdo. 

But hey, if you get the job, then you’ll probably be a very public film criticism figure, and people will get to know you, meaning that you can potentially take your own brand elsewhere later on, hopefully taking some viewers along with you. 

Work with a News/Media Outlet 

Ok, so this is definitely the most old-fashioned option of anything in this article, but if you manage to get in, you could end up with a consistent film criticism career for years to come, and you’ll also probably receive some really nice perks, like getting to see advance screenings of upcoming releases and interviewing directors and actors. 

However, we can’t ignore the difficult realities of putting all your eggs in the major media basket. 

It’s no secret that newspapers, which have provided employment to many famous film critics through the decades, are struggling to survive, so even if you do manage to snag a job with a big outlet, they might not stick around long enough for you to make a living. 

It’s also difficult to get one of these jobs. You’ll be competing with plenty of other people, people who probably have a lot of experience in the field. 

Money After Some Time 

Ok, so unlike the options we talked about above, the routes listed below don’t have much of a barrier to entry at all. They’re also better-suited to the people out there who prefer to do things on their own, make their own way with little to no support. 

Obviously, the biggest drawback here is that you’re going to have to work very hard at these for a long time before you start seeing some real money from them. 

Still, if you put the time in and do everything you can to attract more readers or viewers or whatever, you can stand to make a whole bunch of money, money that you won’t be sharing with a whole big company because you don’t work for a company, you work for yourself. 

Start Your Own Movie Review Website 

Fifteen years ago, it was actually a lot easier to get some pretty big views on your very own website, but now of course many, many people are out here competing for page views and various monetization metrics.

It’s easy enough to start up a website, especially via WordPress or SquareSpace, but getting views is a whole other topic. 

You’ll need to learn about SEO best practices and work hard to increase your site’s score in the eyes of the major search engine algorithms. 

The more reputable your site is, the better the chance that search engines will recommend your content to people searching for reviews online. 

If you want your own domain name, you’ll also need to pay a subscription fee to keep the rights, or you could build your own website from scratch if you know a ton of HTML. 

how to become a movie critic and get paid

Start a Movie Review YouTube Channel 

Well, here as the last option is the topic of that article we mentioned at the top. Similar to starting your own movie review website, starting a review channel can be hard work. 

It’s possible that you’ll get lots of views right away, but it’s more likely that you’ll need to produce a whole lot of quality content before you start attracting big numbers of viewers. 

And you’ll need a lot of viewers to be able to monetize any of this work at all. 

In fact, if you want to collect ad revenue on your videos, you need to gain at least 1,000 subscribers and meet some other requirements first. 

Even then, the ad revenue probably won’t be very substantial. Though, if you have a dedicated fanbase, you could also try setting up a Patreon where you’ll receive steady financial support from your most dedicated viewers. 

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