There are not a lot of specialized programs available if you want to know how to become a horror film professor. The process is fairly cut-and-dried, especially considering that you will need to study and train to become a film professor first and worry about focusing on the horror genre later.
- Watch horror movies. To become a horror film professor, you need to watch as many horror films as you can. This goes without saying, of course, as it’s assumed you are a big fan of horror films and have seen a lot. Too often, however, people call themselves fans and want to become a horror film professor based off an average sampling of horror movies. Truth is, you need to know the genre inside and out. This will pay off in your studies later on as well as your teaching days when you have curious students who have lots of questions.
- Watch scary non-horror movies. One man’s thriller is another man’s scary movie. To become a horror film professor, you need to know it all. Horror, thriller, psychological suspense, horror comedy—all of it. By having watched all of these different types of films, you will be able to explain to your students why one movie can be considered horror and why another is not. This is crucial since people define horror and scary so differently from one another. Plus, it shows once again that you truly love movies and have the credibility to teach about them.
- Write horror film reviews. One way to ramp up your credentials to help you become a horror film professor is by writing reviews of movies. Either start your own website or contribute to an existing movie review site by giving your opinions on any scary, suspenseful, or thrilling movie. There are several movie review sites available on the Internet looking for volunteers to post reviews. While you might not get paid for them, they can be great experience for you and can be used later as material in your portfolio to show an employer.
- College. Assuming you don’t already have a film, film history, or film appreciation degree, you will need to earn one. This means going to a four-year school and majoring in film. Classes such as film history and film theory will help pave the way for you to become a horror film professor later. Most colleges do not offer a genre specialization, however, so you will have to be content to study all types of films during your four years.
- Filmmaking experience. The only exception to the college rule is extensive filmmaking experience. If you have sold screenplays, teleplays, or worked as a script consultant for movie studios, you have a leg up on a lot of your competition to become a horror film professor. If you haven’t even written a script, let alone sold one, consider trying it. If you sell a screenplay, it will give you a huge boost of credibility when trying to become a professor.
- Create a department. If you are already a film professor, or once you obtain a professorship, think about how you can create a horror film department. While you will probably be expected to continue your participation in mainstream movie classes, the formation of a horror film department will be the foot in the door to teaching about the genre you love. If all goes well and you acquire tenure, you might be able to teach about horror films fulltime.