Reinventing the Critic
Arts critics are forced to get resourceful when their old funding sources dry up.
The following is not a full transcript; for full story, listen to audio.
If you pay any attention to what is happening to today's newspapers, you know the news -- it is bad news. Circulations are shrinking rapidly. In today's scary media landscape -- full of layoffs and closing papers -- arts coverage is especially vulnerable. Arts critics must invent new ways to do what they do.
Mike D'Angelo has been a professional film critic since 1997. But there is one word in his job description that might go away: professional. One year ago, he was doing pretty well. He was writing regularly for "Esquire," nerve.com, and "The Las Vegas Weekly."
"In the space of about two to three months, I went from having three jobs to having half a job." D'Angelo now has a regular outlet for his film writing on his blog attracting a few thousand devoted readers. It is a place where he can write about whatever film he wants, however he wants.
"So I put up a post shortly before Sundance, letting the people who read my stuff know that I wasn't going to be there, and here's why. One of the reasons I said that I didn't want to go to Sundance was I only have so much money. I said if I am going to blow a whole lot of money on a festival, I would much rather go to Cannes, because, to me, that is a much more exciting festival in terms of the films that are going to be there."
He set up a fund on his blog in hopes of getting enough money to cover the costs. He had the funds within a week.
These days, to be a professional critic, it takes more than caring about art. To make a living, critics need to become something else: entrepreneurs. And not everyone is going to be up for that.
D'Angelo says, "I don't see how I can continue to make a living in this field, and so, I am scouting around to find another field. And that may be the case for a lot of people."
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