Jason Gross, the tireless entrepreneur of Perfect Sound Forever, asked dozens of critics, myself included, what kind of advice they’d give to aspiring young critics, and he’s beginning to post the answers here (critics A through D this week; I presume I’ll be in the following alphabetic fistful). [UPDATE: Oops: E through K appeared while I was writing this.] My first thought was, there are still aspiring young critics? My second was, what advice would do them any good at THIS point? But on reflection I managed to come up with some, not nearly as practical as the average represented. Some of the advice is pretty good. I like this from Ted Barron at Boogie Woogie Flu: “Avoid hero worshipping. Musicians, however much you may admire their works, are just people. Know them personally, be one, be something.” Peter Blackstock’s rules are ones I followed instinctively, out of sheer terror of unemployment:
1) Be on time.
2) Turn in clean copy.
3) Be open to assignments.
4) Familiarize yourself as fully as possible with the publication to whom you’re pitching.
5) Don’t sell yourself short.