Deadpool deserved an Oscar- McCarthy
Noticeably recognized around campus in his signature converses and fitted navy suit, Kevin McCarthy spoke with George Mason University students on the transition from student to professional.
How did you get started as an entertainment reporter?
There is no clear path in this industry. McCarthy claims he was at the right place and the right time. He knew he wanted to be involved in the film industry somehow. As a GMU student, he completed unpaid internships at a talk station while taking classes within the film program. The film program offered editing, videography and directing where he gained a variety of skills to prepare him.
“We may not realize it, but the classes you think will not benefit you, will in some way.”
At GMU, McCarthy saw Just Friends in the Johnson Center. During the Q & A session, he gave his opinion and someone appreciated his comments. This sparked a new interest in critiquing films. He started to gain a portfolio writing reviews for different films every week while working towards his next goal to be on press lists.
Once hired on Fox 5, he established himself as the “goofy sidekick” where his on-air co-workers would make fun of him on live tv. One taping, he dressed as a Wizards cheerleader and was choked out by a UFC fighter. While being made fun of, he would sneak in movie reviews during the last few minutes of the segment. Fox National started to notice him and promoted him to reporting film reviews.
What are your daily tasks when you arrive at the studio? What challenges do you face in this job?
“It has a balance between having fun AND being a journalist. You must be honest. Things can be twisted and spun.”
Sometimes it calls into question of ethics. He reviews the footage and interview portion keeping ethics in regards to who you are interviewing. Even if this is your favorite actor, you must be honest when reviewing the film and not let the bias get in the way.
Another challenge is entertainment stories are the first to get killed acting as a “filler” at times. He works at a politically charged station and acts as the 3-4 minute break away from the hard news. This prompts him to be persistent and prove himself.
Any tips on interviewing celebrities?
“When you want to know something you have to ask something in a certain way. When you’re passionate about something, people pick up on that and it makes them happy.”
He has worked in this industry for 12 years in the press junket world. He at first was interested in the behind-the-scenes people such as the cinematographers, editors and animators not conforming to what is expected as a critic. Despite wanting to engage more with the post-production ensemble of films, people were mostly interested in the celebrities.
“Filmmaking is ultimately magic. People go to the movies to escape and the nerdy guys love the behind the scenes components.”
McCarthy makes judgment calls on what to ask. The producers give him ideas on what to ask yet, he has the freedom to talk it out if something doesn’t seem right.
If someone wants to be a film critic, what steps should they take?
Start a website —> Intern, Intern, Intern —> Watch a new movie a week and review it on your website
“No matter the level of success you achieve, you have to work just as hard as when you started. Be a factor and stand out. It was my professor, Roger Smith, who advised that you must do what you love and the money will follow.”
He believes, “I would do this job for free if I can survive …that is how much I love it.”