On Dec. 7, Hofstra Critics presented The Art of Film Criticism with Erik Davis. Davis has mentored over 100 writers and appeared multiple times on the Today Show and CBS as a film correspondent. Being a Hofstra alumnus, he talked to students about his personal journey from Hofstra to his current position as managing editor at Fandango, as well as the progression of film criticism since his time at university.
President of Hofstra Critics, Joseph Burch, who was in charge of planning the event, said, “Dean Marlow actually knows Erik personally so she ended up reaching out to Erik and just asked him if he was willing to speak to us and he’s been really, really great to work with.”
Initially interested in writing and production, Davis majored in TV production with a minor in English during his time at Hofstra. Also involved in drama as a high school student, Davis continued taking drama classes at the university before dropping them for speech instead.
As a Hofstra student, Davis continued developing his writing skills but faced rejection in college after a teacher failed him. He said, “I remember she told me, ‘You’re not going to be a good writer’ ... rejection fueled me and it pissed me off.” Davis channeled his energy into improving the skills that would later earn him his first film review job at Cinematical.com
From there, Davis’ professional career as a film critic began, eventually advancing to managing editor of Cinematical.com, allowing him to cover film festivals and expand his skills.
Following Huffington Post’s acquisition of AOL and Cinematical.com, Davis started working at Fandango, conducting interviews and appearing on the Today Show and CBS as their representative. Currently Davis has a bucket list of film stars and legends he hopes to interview.
Davis then turned the talk to the audience, offering advice about classes, professional writing and deconstruction.
“Even if you have no idea what you want to do, do what you like to do. Find those classes. I liked getting up in front of people and talking so I took speech classes. I liked television so I took television production. I liked writing so I took writing classes, having no idea where that would lead. But when I left college I used little pieces of that knowledge in different jobs that I had, eventually getting to a job where I could apply all of it – and I excelled at it.”
Davis emphasized the need for versatility among aspiring writers. “If you’re hired by an outlet that wants you to review, they’re probably also going to want you to do other things,” Davis explained.
With the amount of content and content creators out there now, the ability to capture and hold readers’ attentions has become a highly valued and rare skill.
“I’m a big fan of the word deconstructing – when I try to figure something out and something new – recently I’ve been doing that to the film review,” he explained.
Davis finds new ways to engage his audience while being open to readers of all tastes. Through his career, Davis has become a tastemaker and critic for the masses.
“I always try to be as accessible as I can be,” Davis said.
Robert Weidemann, a freshman TV and film major, commented, “I thought it really touched on carving your own path and taking different classes. He really created his own way really with what he took in through his life experiences. That’s something everyone can relate to not just writers.”