Critics can be one of the most scorned groups of people in the hallways of any major production company. Critics hold significant influence over the public, and filmmakers should have a clear idea of what their audience might want to see before approaching any project. Yet, positive reviews drive sales and affirm the choices we make as filmmakers.
Critics are not easy to define. They are also seeking fame, and they will develop styles and tastes that you have no control over.
The Critical Voice as a Barometer
When we think of critics, we tend to think of two (possibly three) men. Siskel, Ebert, and Roper. These voices represented quality. You could disagree with their assessments, but you could not deny their ability to accurately describe why they felt the way they felt. Plus, the dissenting voices offered viewers the chance to judge for themselves. Critics were a barometer for quality filmmaking once.
Roles change, and everyone is truly a critic today. Social media has largely opened the field for critical voice in film and television. This has made the peer review a lot more important to a person’s decision to see a particular film. If friends are talking about it, it’s likely someone might feel greater interest for a film. This has always held true, but social media has amplified this feeling.
Quality voices, and what determines quality, are getting harder to define. Critics will always have a role in the way we make movies, always pushing us for greater things.