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Welcome to RT Labs: A New Educational Resource for Up-and-Coming and Working Critics

We’re kicking off a new program designed to help critics develop their careers and craft.

by | August 24, 2021 | Comments

We are thrilled to launch a new program at Rotten Tomatoes, RT Labs, and couldn’t be happier to share it with the world ­­­– especially all the critics and aspiring critics out there.

This new educational resource, which will take ­the form of engaging videos, live events, written guides and features, to support entertainment critics as they crack into the industry and navigate their way through it.

We wouldn’t exist without the great work of movie and TV critics ­and fans, and we hope they find the RT Labs valuable.

Now let’s get to the details.

What exactly is “RT Labs”?

Well, pretty much what it sounds like: An online (and eventually also IRL) educational resource program to support aspiring, up-and-coming, and working entertainment critics in their career development.

RT Labs will feature recorded panel discussions and classes with critics and industry experts on topics like self-publishing, pitching your work, building relationships, and, of course, the craft of producing a movie and/or TV review.

Not only will RT Labs showcase engaging conversations between whip-smart people, but it will give critics real actionable guidance on how to effectively use their talents and develop their careers.

And we think non-critics who love movies, TV, and engaging with critics will get a kick out of the RT Labs, too. (Hey, it’s the rare school that doesn’t cost a thing, so why not check it out?)

Where can I find RT Labs?

Right here on Rotten Tomatoes! Just go to our Critics section and click on Critic Resources. This is where we’ll be posting our videos and other materials. And while you’re poking around, check out all these other great resources we have for working and aspiring critics.

What’s up first?

We’re kicking things off with RT Labs: Critics Edition, the first in a two-part video series focused on the ins and outs of self-publishing. The panel is moderated by Sharronda Williams, who self-publishes on the YouTube channel Pay or Wait, and she is joined by Erik Anderson of AwardsWatch, freelance writer Robert Daniels, Li Lai of Mediaversity, and IndieWire’s Kristen Lopez.

In this first video, they tackle topics like branding yourself, platform management and budget (a.k.a. how to make a buck!), and editorial oversight. In the next video, you’ll get their thoughts and guidance on networking, hiring contributors, and making the transition from self-publishing to freelancing.

We plan to release new resources as part of the RT Labs on a quarterly basis – so stay tuned.

… And a bit of background (the “why”)

At Rotten Tomatoes, we remain committed to supporting aspiring and working critics. We’ve done it with educational resources and live and online events and panels; by revamping our Tomatometer-approval and Top Critics criteria to better reflect the current media landscape and ultimately enrich and diversify the pool of critics whose views form our Tomatometer scores; as well as through more material support, like the $250,000-plus we’ve donated to film festival press inclusion programs and university and junior-college scholarships.

RT Labs is a continuation of that commitment to critics and to their development.

With all that said, class is in session. We hope you get something out of it.