Critics Resources

Tips for Freelancers from African American Film Critics Association President Gil Robertson

Gil Robertson says planning, pacing, and packing for the weather are keys to success at Sundance.

by | January 22, 2019 | Comments

Rotten Tomatoes recently held its first Rotten Tomatoes Critics Workshop, designed to help freelance critics and journalists navigate festivals, develop industry contacts, and get their stories placed. We asked the industry professionals who spoke at our workshops to provide their top tips for freelancers; the below come from President of the African American Film Critics Association, Gil Robertson.

Covering Sundance is an entertainment writer’s dream. As one of the industry’s most important festivals, it attracts the world’s biggest entertainers and decision makers. I’ve had the privilege of attending the festival for over a decade now as both a film critic and film advocate. Over the years, I have developed a few strategies that help me get the most out of each visit that I am now sharing with you. Check out some of my best practices below to help you get the most out of this incredible opportunity!

1. Purpose

Sundance fosters a very “open” and inclusionary environment with films, installations and panel discussions that reflect the industry’s global diversity. New faces are plentiful and welcomed even, so make sure you have your game plan intact to meet your goals and get the most out of your experience. The festival is a tremendous opportunity to connect and network with those who can truly help grow your career and help you make a mark in this industry.

2. Plan

Plan: The best way to get what you need attending Sundance is to come pre-prepared. Study the program and be sure to sign up for all alerts. Send intro letters to PR professionals or points of contact for screenings and events that outline the coverage that you plan to provide. Also give yourself options with multiple events on your itinerary. Remember to be persistent, but not overbearing.

3. Wardrobe

It gets very cold in Park City, so dress warmly and layer well because you absolutely will spend a lot of time in long lines.

4. Pacing

It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the glamour and fan fair at Sundance. There will be a lot of receptions, parties, premieres and even impromptu gatherings that will leave you exhausted and can throw you off track. Don’t lose your head! Enjoy everything, but remember to stay focused on your goals to manage your time wisely.

5. Responsibility

Getting Sundance media credentials is a huge opportunity and privilege and you should treat it as such. Make sure to show up to screenings and press opportunities on time. It’s also very important to file your reviews and articles covering the festival promptly so that they have the greatest impact. Doing this will ensure that you get invited back and will also provide you with entry to be invited to other film festivals.

Gil Robertson is a journalist, author, and producer. He’s the president and co-founder of the African American Film Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter @gilrobertson

Tag Cloud

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