People often tell me they’d like to be movie critics. I usually say, “Okay, I just waved my invisible magic wand. You’re a movie critic! Now, if you want to be a professional critic, you need to do this: watch a lot of movies. Start with the movies on the American Film Institute lists. Read a lot of great writing about film. And then write and write and write and write and write. You can have the most insightful, erudite analysis in the world, but if you can’t write well enough to hold a reader’s attention, no one will know.”
I like the advice from my colleague Matt Zoller Seitz, editor in chief of rogerebert.com and author of the superb The Wes Anderson Collection. I especially like his advice to be considerate of your editors, read up on history and psychology, and engage with people who disagree with you. That’s good advice for everyone.