Bright Wall/Dark Room is currently accepting submissions for our monthly online magazine. Each issue is built around a particular theme, and we open up the submission process for each new issue on or around the 15th of the month, with a three-week submission window.

We’re looking for thoughtful analysis and wholehearted engagement, as opposed to standard reviews, clickbait, or hot takes. We publish interviews, profiles, formal analysis, cultural criticism, personal essays, and hum

or pieces. We're looking for writing that is savvy and insightful about filmmaking, but that also grapples in some way with the business of being alive. 

We tend to publish critical essays between 2,500-4,000 words, though we’ve certainly been known to publish pieces in other, longer formats. Creative approaches are always encouraged.

For further advice and answers to FAQs, please check out The Bright Wall/Dark Room Guide to Pitching & Submitting

Please note: as of April 2021, we have decided to close down our Off-Theme Submissions form. For some explanation on that decision, please consult the Pitching & Submitting Guide.

For our July issue, we’re looking for essays on film and TV that engage in some way with the term voyeur. There are a great number of ways you could take this prompt, but a few to get you started:

  • Characters observing things they shouldn’t, whether accidentally or deviously, has long been the stuff of great thrillers. Going back to Peeping Tom, and encompassing Blue Velvet, One Hour Photo, and half the filmographies of Alfred Hitchcock (from Psycho to Rear Window and beyond) and Brian De Palma, the cat-and-mouse dynamic at play between the watcher and the watched is a reliable spine-chiller.
  • There are stories of surveillance, and the toll taken on the ones doing the surveilling as much as the surveilled (The Conversation, Wings of Desire after a fashion)
  • So many documentaries cater to the human urge to be a fly on the wall in situations we feel like we “shouldn’t” be witnessing, from verité to true crime
  • There’s the phenomenon of reality TV, as well as the movies that predicted our desire to spy on others in prime time (The Running Man, The Truman Show, EdTV)
  • In recent years, there's been a spike in projects that look back on and reassess cultural flashpoints of the past (American Crime Story, Pam and Tommy, Framing Britney Spears). But is the reframing of exploitation itself another cycle of exploitation?

We pay $50 per essay upon publication. Please be aware that our acceptances are based on the presumption of the writer's good-faith engagement with our collaborative editorial process; a refusal to participate in this process may result in rescinded acceptance.

In order to be considered for the issue we’ll need to receive a complete first draft of your essay via Submittable by June 8, 2022.

Please be advised that given the high volume of interest for what’s typically 8 - 12 publication slots in a month, and to level the playing field between emerging and established voices, we rely primarily on Submittable in finding essays for each issue, and we do ask for full first drafts for consideration (pitches sent to Submittable are often seen too late to be considered). We completely understand that for many writers, working on spec is too much of an expenditure of time and energy for an uncertain result. For that reason, we’re happy to accept e-mailed pitches via [email protected] Please include a rundown of the idea, a projected word count (we usually publish work between 2,000 and 4,000 words), a sense of what makes it a great fit for BW/DR (usually some distinctive form or offbeat focus that would set it apart from outlets more focused on news and reviews), and a few links to pieces published at outlets with editorial oversight. On pitches, we will offer a solid yes or no, and a rejection may represent a range of reasons unrelated to the quality of your work—given our roster of regular contributors and our desire to save a few slots each month for Submittable discoveries, pitching is, for better or worse, a fairly competitive prospect!

Before submitting, please check our archives to make sure we haven't covered the film you hope to write about within the last calendar year (we even have an alphabetized database of every film we've covered under the "Films" tab for extra convenience).

For additional information, visit our Submissions page:

Bright Wall/Dark Room features original artwork in each and every issue, and we're always on the look out for art that inspires us or catches our eye. If you're interested in being considered for future collaborations, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience, and include any relevant links to previous artwork.

(Please note: We are not able to respond to or offer feedback on every submission, but will follow up within one month if we're interested in hearing more about your work.)