Critics Resources

Editors' Awards Season Advice for Freelancers

IndieWire, AwardsWatch, AwardsCircuit, and Rotten Tomatoes editors offer advice on covering the year's most coveted films and series.

by | November 22, 2019 | Comments

Regina King
(Photo by John Rasimus / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Covering the year’s buzziest movies, series, and chatter during the feverish time period known as “Awards Season” presents unique challenges. Screenings and screeners can be hard to come by, advanced access is limited, and everyone’s trying to articulate increasingly edgier takes about properties that everyone else is writing about, too. But there are ways to cut through. Ahead of the Golden Globes, Guild awards, and Oscars, Rotten Tomatoes asked editors and awards experts what tips they have for freelancers covering the contenders.

Eric Kohn, Executive Editor and Chief Critic, IndieWire

“Read as much as you can from the established pundits who cover awards season and pay attention to the calendar of awards events throughout the year — from the Gothams to the SAG Awards — so you can deepen your understanding of the awards season ecosystem. Your take on the race will have more authority if you make the effort to see how each piece fits into the larger whole.”

Erik Anderson, Founder and Owner, AwardsWatch

“For me, breaking into awards coverage was a 20-year game. I started out in forums, talking about movies, and then building my way up in the ranks, and then ultimately creating my own outlet. That might not be for everyone, but if I had to give any advice to people who want to break in, it would be to say ‘yes’ to everything at first. Publicists will grab onto to you and the reciprocal relationship will hopefully then bring you bigger and better things. I try and answer every email back, even if it’s with a ‘no.’ Be as persistent as they are. It’s respectful and it garners respect. Something else I will tell anyone, freelancer or entrepreneur, know your worth. It took me a long time to get to that, to even knowing what it was. But it made all the difference in the world.”

Clayton Davis, Editor-in-Chief and Owner,

“After removing the ‘glitz’ and ‘glam’ or just merely watching films and meeting stars for a living, you have to ask yourself, why do you WANT to write? If passion is the foundation for your pitches, then the next course of action is to show how your voice is unique in an industry that has so many perspectives and feels oversaturated. Be persistent, but not rude or overbearing when you receive a ‘no’ or a non-response. Get your foot in the door, no matter how trivial, and show what you’re worth when you’re finally inside.”

Rubin Safaya, Executive Editor, AwardsWatch & Cinemalogue

“The most consistent factor impacting a journalist’s visibility is speed. International festival coverage – Cannes, Venice, Toronto, etc. – is early in the cycle. From these reviews, studios pull quotes for FYC campaigns, trailers, one-sheets. In addition to notoriety as one of the first 15 to 20 critics on the Rotten Tomatoes listing for a feature, festivals provide resourceful journalists a feel for the rhythm and flow of the entire cycle: what films are being tapped by distributors for their awards potential, how public and press/industry screenings are shaping the distributors public and trade (FYC) marketing campaigns, and which films public sentiment and critical consensus are likely to coalesce around.”

Jacqueline Coley, Editor, Rotten Tomatoes

“One of the best assets for a freelancer is cultivating positive relationships with editors. Editors get hundreds of pitches a week. Having familiarity with them is always going to fare better than cold calls. So, make the rounds and say hello at screenings, events, or whenever possible. Get contact information and make sure to follow up. The next most important thing for pitches is uniqueness. If a site has four reporters on staff, then don’t pitch an article they could easily staff out. Give perspective or an outlook they would not normally contemplate. Make sure your pitch is tailored to you and make sure to explain why you’ll be the best person for the job. You can do this in the thoughtfulness of the pitch or with the subject matter. Either way – and forgive the quote, but – ‘Make them a pitch they can’t refuse.’ Best of luck, and pitch away.”

Check out more resources for critics from Rotten Tomatoes

Tag Cloud

Fox News composers Cosplay Interview Classic Film disaster APB Pirates GIFs Disney Channel spider-man Lucasfilm finale Amazon independent MTV historical drama toy story Video Games Fall TV San Diego Comic-Con Podcast Mary Tyler Moore Pet Sematary series Trophy Talk Writers Guild of America Martial Arts SDCC 2020 transformers Western period drama streaming Trivia Amazon Studios renewed TV shows science fiction Summer docudrama 2019 Shondaland Sundance Now Toys Winners richard e. Grant cartoon TCA Winter 2020 TV renewals animated Awards joker TCM CBS GoT doctor who Lifetime Reality Competition Rom-Com based on movie Sneak Peek Ellie Kemper Netflix Christmas movies Comics on TV The Purge halloween Valentine's Day ABC BBC Ghostbusters Drama sequel book Nominations spanish language History Disney Plus dramedy TV Land CW Seed FX Universal revenge YouTube Grammys Mudbound Tomatazos elevated horror BBC America movies VICE TIFF cancelled TV series versus Chernobyl space Comedy Central AMC The CW FXX OneApp game show spy thriller cancelled Women's History Month discovery Sundance TV WarnerMedia Baby Yoda Starz 21st Century Fox Music cooking canceled CMT hist RT21 Creative Arts Emmys DirecTV adaptation E3 Crackle Netflix Kids & Family Biopics justice league 2015 Elton John The Witch Hallmark binge zombie Turner Classic Movies Country latino New York Comic Con 20th Century Fox American Society of Cinematographers name the review sitcom cats ABC Family festivals NBC canceled TV shows screenings TruTV Character Guide Dark Horse Comics serial killer Britbox Apple TV+ Watching Series Adult Swim facebook Best and Worst singing competition BET Amazon Prime Star Wars Box Office rotten movies we love IFC Films HBO Max Amazon Prime Video SXSW Captain marvel robots SundanceTV Bravo DC Comics police drama Red Carpet CNN X-Men Television Academy 007 Cartoon Network 45 A24 sports Anna Paquin anthology Peacock natural history Emmys Extras Musical green book Comedy YouTube Red Countdown adventure thriller boxoffice war Comic Book Shudder Christmas travel dceu game of thrones Tarantino 2018 spain Song of Ice and Fire Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt comic Warner Bros. Pixar A&E Film DGA Mary Poppins Returns Spike stand-up comedy unscripted Masterpiece Stephen King Mystery E! Quiz true crime Super Bowl casting dragons Crunchyroll TV Pop USA Network batman dogs LGBT technology Columbia Pictures Esquire Avengers Rocky politics movie Year in Review Brie Larson Marvel nature Tumblr Arrowverse Ovation FOX Polls and Games 2016 The Walking Dead what to watch Superheroes diversity See It Skip It mockumentary Reality foreign Disney+ Disney Plus Turner reboot anime witnail medical drama OWN Mindy Kaling El Rey crime drama President Rock 2017 Trailer cancelled television Walt Disney Pictures Black Mirror Apple TV Plus Mary poppins Emmy Nominations Syfy RT History GLAAD sag awards psycho Paramount Network Marvel Television directors dc YouTube Premium Awards Tour Hallmark Christmas movies Tubi crime thriller Logo Animation Spring TV Set visit quibi Nat Geo television screen actors guild supernatural The Arrangement ITV miniseries Infographic WGN Epix Lionsgate theme song Winter TV documentary First Reviews cults zombies Sundance USA crossover Sci-Fi ratings hispanic ghosts south america breaking bad Superheroe Star Trek aliens cinemax free movies Freeform Showtime Endgame National Geographic psychological thriller Calendar LGBTQ PBS comiccon Lifetime Christmas movies Opinion golden globes werewolf Election VH1 Thanksgiving zero dark thirty IFC talk show christmas movies Musicals Binge Guide Nickelodeon Apple First Look Academy Awards Chilling Adventures of Sabrina romance NYCC Oscars video MSNBC comics PaleyFest social media HBO TLC Disney streaming service Family Horror TBS Sony Pictures Paramount Rocketman kids CBS All Access harry potter indie political drama mutant DC Universe ESPN TNT Action biography Disney Vudu spinoff Acorn TV Spectrum Originals Marathons MCU slashers cars 71st Emmy Awards cops Discovery Channel Food Network Heroines Holiday Certified Fresh vampires teaser children's TV Premiere Dates TCA Holidays Marvel Studios award winner tv talk Pride Month strong female leads Fantasy Hulu crime jamie lee curtis romantic comedy Photos blaxploitation Cannes Film Festival Schedule cancelled TV shows YA TCA 2017 Teen blockbuster DC streaming service 24 frames