You eagerly awaited every new episode of Lost when that was the most talked about show in the office kitchen. You sat through every beautifully crafted Mad Men episode no matter how slow, and you were super into Breaking Bad. Your tastes in television range from the critically acclaimed dramas to the worst sitcoms to the most brilliant reality shows (admit it, we all enjoy a good reality show every now and then). You are the definition of a TV addict. You believe that TV helps you do everything better, including making you more productive. You give new meaning to the term couch potato and you don’t actually see that phrase as an insult. Because, hello, you’re completely in love with TV and you basically want to marry it, and how can that be a bad thing? But have you ever thought about taking that insane love and making it a career? Read on for this helpful guide on how to turn your TV obsession into a job by becoming a TV critic. I know, your day just got made.
1. Get Educated
There are lots of jobs that you can have in the field of TV, and all of them are creative. You can write, produce, direct, act, or work as a crew member as a production assistant (affectionately called a P.A.) You can even be a background actor. But if you want to truly turn your love of the small screen into a super fun career, then you need to become a TV critic.
Unfortunately, there’s no TV Critic School or special undergraduate degree that you can get. That sucks. But you should probably have some sort of English degree or journalism school training. That can only help, and if you have a dream, you always want to plan ahead and make sure you’re putting your best foot forward so, you know, you can actually get your dream. And not just dream about it. Take an online writing course or some sort of journalism class if you can swing it – you’ll learn the basics of reporting and writing, and that will definitely help.
2. Start a Blog
So, we’ve established that your best bet in the wonderful world of TV obsession is to become a person who reviews TV. It’s the only way to literally watch hours upon hours of TV and get paid. That sounds like heaven, right? It basically is heaven, and no, it’s not too good to be true. It’s completely possible.
But you can’t just walk into a newspaper office and demand a job. It’s always best to start small with some baby steps. So why not start a blog? You can review your favorite shows and develop your writing voice. Be funny, be wild, have fun with it. The sky is the limit. It’s your own personal blog, so write whatever you want (within reason, of course – you definitely don’t want to offend anyone or your career TV dreams are over). Okay, so you’re not getting paid to write these blog posts, but we all start from the bottom. Think of it as an internship. Except you get to watch TV and you’re not being yelled at or insulted by your so-called mentor.
3. Get Some Clippings
It’s a good idea to write about things other than TV. I know, that makes zero sense. How can writing about other subjects possibly help you? But hear me out. The industry of entertainment journalism is a difficult one, and it’s full of bright-eyed young kids who want exactly what you do. It’s a jungle out there, basically, and everyone watches the same shows and has the same TV obsession that you do. I know, that’s a huge shock, because you thought you were the only person who loved TV. Sorry to break it to you. So, if you want to show your writing chops, it’s a good idea to build up an online portfolio of some website clippings. Write for a local news site for free, just to get some work. Or write about something arts-related so at least you’re in the right area.
Once you have some non-TV related clippings, you can also write some TV reviews for free, maybe for some of the sites you’ve already contributed to. Pitch some ideas and they’ll most likely go for it since everyone loves getting free content. It’s just the truth.
Wait, you don’t want to write about TV for free? You thought you could skip this unfortunate step and become a paid TV critic immediately? Sorry. You can keep up your blog, but you should also find some websites that will allow you to write some reviews free of charge. Maybe that can lead to some paying gigs later on when you start to freelance. But don’t think about that yet. And you might as well get prepared now because people are going to say some pretty silly stuff to you when you’re a successful freelance writer.
4. Find Freelance Online Work
After you’ve been blogging for a while – say, a few months at least – it’s definitely time to start looking for some paid work. Your best bet is online. The web is definitely a wonderful place, and since you’re not going to get hired as a newspaper or magazine’s full-time TV critic right now (and maybe not ever – hey, the truth hurts, and it’s a tough market out there in the entertainment journalism world), it’s smarter to start online. Look on some online job boards or find some online sites that cover TV, and apply. If you don’t see any freelance writing openings, create your own luck and email some editors of websites that cover the kind of TV that you want to write about. You just might hear back and get what you want.
5. Be Prepared
There’s this saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Well, that’s going to be you if you’re not super prepared for this kind of career. It’s basically a lifestyle. Your eyes are going to burn after watching hours of TV. You’re going to mix up plotlines and characters and sometimes not even have any idea where you are or what show you’re even watching. But the real bad news? You’re going to have to review shows that you hate and have absolutely zero interest in watching.
Hey, you wanted this life, didn’t you? You’re still getting paid to watch TV. That’s basically like getting paid to do nothing. Everyone else is slaving away in front of a computer screen five days a week, 9-to-5, taking crap from their mean bosses and getting more and more annoyed by their coworkers every day. Consider yourself very, very lucky.
6. Get a Full-Time Gig
In your wildest dreams, you want to be a full-time TV critic and have a steady job at some sort of publication. That’s going to be pretty hard. Actually, it’s almost impossible, since TV critics are often the first to go when lay-offs happen at newspapers and magazines, and now it’s become a bit of a dying art. But miracles do happen. So never stop dreaming. Cheesy, I know. But it’s still very true.
See Also: How to Become a TV Presenter in the US
Want to turn all that couch potato time into a fun career? Why not become a TV critic? You already know you have the capacity to watch TV for an entire day, let alone an entire weekend. You’ve done it for free, so why not do it for money? You might not get rich. You might not get steady work. But you’ve got to start somewhere.
Are you a TV addict? Would you turn your passion into a career? Let us know in the comments section below.