Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How To Become A Film Critic

Sometimes you happen to have some luck.  During the Durban International Film Festival 2013 I happened to sit in on a session with well known South African Film Critic Leon van Nierop.

He had some free time and decided to share his knowledge with the small group of writers who wanted to know all about being a film critic.

These were some of the tips he shared with us:

  • Always remember the Director is trying to share something with you
  • Don't tell the story, only write about 2 or 3 lines about it.
  • A review should open the film up for debate and analysis.
  • I never read reviews because it influences you.
  • Never go into a cinema with preconceived ideas.
  • The style of the film is so important
  • A good film critic cannot be bought
  • Be honest
  • A good camera interprets
  • You are working with peoples lives
  • Your review must be eloquent and entertaining
  • A review must be accessible
  • Ask your audience 'What do you think?'  
  • Make up your own mind about the film.
  • What was the film trying to say?
  • Does the director give you insight into the character's soul?
  • Is the camera a character?
  • Ask 'Why has a camera been placed there?' 
  • Look at the music, how is it used?
  • Look at the lighting, how is it used?
  • Do they all work if so why?
  • Do they all fail if so why?
  • Watch lots of movies.
  • Does the film communicate with me?
  • Does it motivate me?  
  • Does it entertain me?
  • Know about the history of a film eg Superman
  • Know the history of a genre
  • Talk about the film afterwards with your friends

For those of you that were there it was a wonderful session.

What tips do you have to share on being a film critic? 

Article by +Fred Felton 

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