What I (and a fellow critic) take out of film criticism (The Odyssey – 3/21/2016)

By Casey Campbell

The inception of my interview with one Emerson graduate and film critic, Evan Crean, was incentivized by a project for the speech class I am enrolled in. What began as a way to speak to someone in my future profession and get a grade, became enlightening on a level above any letter marked on a sheet.

My first encounter with Crean’s work was back in December, a week before we were let out for Winter Break. Emerson was holding a film criticism panel with Boston Globe critic Ty Burr, and the man I interviewed, Evan Crean. Crean graduated back in 2008 with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism, and shortly after found himself putting to paper his thoughts on film.

I took many a tip from Mr. Crean’s well stated responses to my several questions. One such question requested the skills necessary to “make it” as a film critic. While most think of critics or reviewers as people who write their opinions, he expressed that the written word is not strictly the home of a critic’s thoughts. Vocal communication is needed as well, especially for Crean, who hosts a brilliant podcast from his website, reelrecon.com. But aside from his podcast, he sat in on the previously mentioned film criticism panel at Emerson, in which he answered audience questions and spoke on criticism as a whole.

An equally important lesson I took from the interview was, in his words, “practice, practice, practice.” While even he recognized it’s now clichéd nature, he expanded, “the more you do it, the better you’ll get. Kind of like a muscle. With exercise you build strength and confidence in your own abilities.” This is a fact not just for film criticism, but anything at all that you set your mind to. With that being said, he transitioned into the most formative piece of information he had to offer: be yourself.

That is, in itself, another rather clichéd statement. Who else can you be, than yourself? But it holds an immense amount of weight, especially how he divulged what that meant. He expressed that people will have differing opinions on your work, whether handled maturely and with constructive feedback in mind, or as a belittling child taking to the internet to express their pent up aggression. Either way, I’ll paraphrase, stay true to yourself, because they are only your opinions, and opinions change. The personality that is brought into the review helps distinguish you from another. And like the last tip, this idea transcends film criticism to encompass most aspects of life.

Like most people at Emerson, I love film, and I love talking about film. But, I am a writer first, so I’ve used my words to express my opinions on film via The Odyssey, and on my own time. I believe film criticism is important. It allows your thoughts on a movie to be conveyed, while an audience has the ability to chime in, whether with their agreement or their denial of your claims. Either way, it opens up a discussion for one of the best mediums of entertainment, subjectively of course, film.

I also believe that his website, which features a genuinely funny podcast, and many different kinds of reviews, to be worthy of your time. Check it out, at reelrecon.com.

Originally published at The Odyssey: 


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