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The Future of Film Criticism 
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Post The Future of Film Criticism
I want to be a film critic. I want to make it my career. I'm not going to fail...unless the industry ceases to exist. James wrote about this in his Reel Thoughts, and I agree, the future is definitely online. But what do you guys think, will film criticism be something that, in the future, will stop providing career opportunities?


Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:59 pm
Post Re: The Future of Film Criticism
Film criticism is predicated on a good number of people caring about an informed opinion. That won't change and so, really, it seems that the opportunities it offers now (in print, on the internet, in podcast, etc.) will be much the same in the future, minus some of the print of the present.

The challenge will be in differentiating yourself from those with a microphone and internet connection. What makes Berardinelli good? It maybe starts with agreeing with a percentage of the reviews but the writing, ultimately, has to be the reason people stick around. What makes your reviews unique?

No matter what the cynics say, there'll always be an opportunity for you. The amount of time it will take is unknowable and I'm lead to believe that there are other factors (historical knowledge, technical knowledge, etc.) are what readers tend to want shaping an opinion rather than 1,000 words of high praise or bashing. Take a look at Ruthless Reviews for some examples on what not to do and at Slant, Ebert, and this site for some better examples.

The internet has created an outlet for everyone to voice a strong opinion on the smallest thing. The best critics out there don't resort to ad hominem attacks and lengthy personal anecdotes that 'validate' their opinion.

This is all coming from me, of course. I'm not a film critic even on my best day. I ultimately chose a wildly different career than the one I assumed I'd be working in because I got impatient and maybe a little bit greedy. Although when people say "You can accomplish anything you put your mind to," they're singing a myth, it's safe to assume most of those advice recipients haven't spoken of becoming a film critic.

Good luck.


Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:22 pm
Post Re: The Future of Film Criticism
majoraphasia wrote:
Take a look at Ruthless Reviews for some examples on what not to do

They're hit and miss for me. Mostly miss these days though.


Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:26 pm
Post Re: The Future of Film Criticism
mailedbypostman wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
Take a look at Ruthless Reviews for some examples on what not to do

They're hit and miss for me. Mostly miss these days though.


The critic Matt Cale is to whom I was referring. Film criticism ultimately comes down to closing the sale or offering valid reasons to avoid the experience. Take a look at Cale's review for The Dark Knight; it veers between criticism for the film and criticism of those that have enjoyed the film. That's status quo for the site. Carter Moulton's review of Adventureland gets it right immediately: placing the movie in the correct context (modern R-rated comedy) and then giving a brief overview of both the film and why the movie would work for the intended audience. Note the lack of hostility and appeal to a general readership.

Don't be fooled by the essay-like Ruthless Reviews by Matt Cale; it's far easier to offer a blog entry on pop culture and the downfall of civilization than it is to write a competent review.


Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:38 pm
Post Re: The Future of Film Criticism
majoraphasia wrote:
mailedbypostman wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
Take a look at Ruthless Reviews for some examples on what not to do

They're hit and miss for me. Mostly miss these days though.


The critic Matt Cale is to whom I was referring. Film criticism ultimately comes down to closing the sale or offering valid reasons to avoid the experience. Take a look at Cale's review for The Dark Knight; it veers between criticism for the film and criticism of those that have enjoyed the film. That's status quo for the site. Carter Moulton's review of Adventureland gets it right immediately: placing the movie in the correct context (modern R-rated comedy) and then giving a brief overview of both the film and why the movie would work for the intended audience. Note the lack of hostility and appeal to a general readership.

Don't be fooled by the essay-like Ruthless Reviews by Matt Cale; it's far easier to offer a blog entry on pop culture and the downfall of civilization than it is to write a competent review.

The only reviews that are good these days from there are the ones that are positive. Let's not even get into the 300 review.


Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:42 pm
Post Re: The Future of Film Criticism
I increasingly believe that with the declining print media and the internet continually growing, we will see the future of film criticism on line. However, I disagree that the future of film criticism is to simply move the same style from print to web.

With data speeds increasing the future is AV. After all it's a an audio visual medium. Audio and video blogs will become more common and critics will deliver 5 minute monologues about the movie and then take Q&A for later editions.

Mark Kermode, Filmspotting, The Chronicle are all pointing the way.

Rob


Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:19 pm
Post Re: The Future of Film Criticism
dude, develop your style as much as you can. the good major put it best, what makes you unique? as for the medium in which to do it. thats just demand and supply. get a lot of feedback and do that. i think rob in right in saying that AV is looking like a big thing in the future.

majoraphasia wrote:
I ultimately chose a wildly different career than the one I assumed I'd be working in because I got impatient and maybe a little bit greedy.

oh..care to elaborate? i just love hearing people's stories.


Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:54 pm
Post Re: The Future of Film Criticism
i'm trying to develop a style, it will develop with time. I have A LOT of room for improvement, but i'm excited for the future! i wish more of the public actually read the reviews instead of glancing at the rating. that's why i put my rating at the bottom--there's no need to have one, but I like doing it.


Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:14 am
Post Re: The Future of Film Criticism
aameen wrote:

majoraphasia wrote:
I ultimately chose a wildly different career than the one I assumed I'd be working in because I got impatient and maybe a little bit greedy.

oh..care to elaborate? i just love hearing people's stories.


I started college in 1997 with the dreams of going into literature. I was positive that it would be only 3 or so years before my first novel was published. 12 years later I'm far more humble, the novel hasn't materialized in any form whatsoever, and I'm in the sciences not because I love it but because I chickened out of something more creative (to me, at any rate) because the constant questioning of "Gee, what will happen if you don't get published?" got to me. Which really is ironic because, when it was busy getting to me, I was at my most pathetically arrogant. I told myself that I could still publish a novel (or anything) working in my current field (after all, it's been done) but, still, nothing. Now I'm off to start an actual career career (it's all been so much hazing until now) in Cleveland, OH. The 1997 version of me believed that in 2010 I'd be living on one of the coasts writing 14 hours every day. The 2009 version of me knows that in 2010 I'll be living in Cleveland.

It all sounds like a cautionary tale but, really, it's not. Whatever Bohemian life I thought I'd be living didn't happen exactly as I thought but, as usually is the case for people that never had to suffer, things are great and that they're different than expected is losing its impact.

So, really, Carter: keep being a more mature thinker than I was at 19 and tell those that question your plans to f*ck themselves. This world could use far less cynicism than it has.

Weird. This post has the ring of Brando's speech from On the Waterfront.

Or Barney's "Don't cry for me, I'm already dead" line from The Simpsons. Still, I mean what I say despite the cliche.


Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:29 am
Post Re: The Future of Film Criticism
To be honest, I see film criticism going more into a general "blogging" domain rather than one that is commercially viable. I started writing last year out of general interest to see how far I could go and haven't really stopped yet. Do I see myself ever making a living off writing about movies? Not at all, although I don't think I'd turn an offer down. For now though, I'm quite content to keep it as a hobby and a way to experience one of my favourite art forms to the fullest.


Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:55 pm
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