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 1-2 months in advance of the submission deadline. We are also now accepting general pitches and submissions (off-theme) for consideration.
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 humor 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 1500-3000 words, though we’ve certainly been known to publish pieces in other, longer formats. Creative approaches are always encouraged.
Stories of sacrifice are among the oldest ever told, and there’s no question they touch something deep and universal. Whether a sacrifice is tragic, moving, or horrific, they all come down to the same thing: something meaningful is given up—either by choice or by force—with the promise that in exchange something even more meaningful will be gained.
For our March issue, we’re interested in movies and TV that explore the circumstances and significance of sacrifice. What’s the difference between sacrifices made willingly and those forced by circumstances—or even those made against one’s will? What are the consequences of making a sacrifice, or refusing to do so? What do we experience as viewers when we see stories of sacrifice, and how can they impact our own choices?
Noble sacrifices can be used as lessons for children (from the metaphoric loss of Bing Bong in Inside Out to the monumental choice of The Iron Giant) and adults (from the spiritual revisionism of The Last Temptation of Christ to the 20th-century spin on the same in The Green Mile). They can be acts of love, either heartbreaking (think Jack refusing to climb onto the raft in Titanic) or…less so (think Ron Burgundy heroically(?) jumping into the bear pen in Anchorman). And who could forget the countless horror films, from The Wicker Man to Midsommar and beyond, that draw spiritual terror from human sacrifice?
Of course, not every sacrifice is a matter of life and death. Characters can sacrifice their comforts or their resources. Films can represent a director's sacrifice, or a performer's, or even the audience's. There's a broad spectrum of what can be lost in exchange for some promise of gain, and we want to explore the full breadth.
As always, we’re looking for thoughtful analysis and wholehearted engagement, as opposed to standard reviews, clickbait, or hot takes. We’re a home for film writing that you won’t find anywhere else on the web—we’re not afraid to go long, to dive deep, to look close, to dig into filmmaking and film theory, but also to get messy and vulnerable and human, to explore nuance and mystery. 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.
A friendly reminder: while we love to publish work on serialized television, we prefer that our issues retain a majority focus on feature films. Thus if you're choosing between a movie and a show that are both of equal interest to you, it's likely in your best interest to choose the movie.
We tend to publish critical essays between 2000-4000 words, though we’ve certainly been known to publish pieces in other, longer formats. Creative approaches are always encouraged.
We pay $50 per essay upon publication.
In order to be considered for the issue we’ll need to receive a complete first draft of your essay via Submittable by February 4, 2020.
If you have any questions or concerns prior to submitting, please feel free to email ([email protected]). Please be aware that due to the high volume of submissions and few available publishing slots, we are very rarely able to accept an essay based on idea alone, and so as long as you have no particular concerns, there is no need to submit a traditional pitch. Also, 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).
We welcome unsolicited essay submissions of any length on any film or television related topic. However, before you submit your piece, we recommend that you visit our "About" page and browse our archives to get a sense of the sort of pieces we publish—longform works of thoughtful analysis on the relationship between movies and the business of being alive.
Unfortunately, due to the high volume of submissions and few available slots for off-theme essays, we can only respond to submissions that we are interested in publishing. If you have not heard back within 2 weeks, please accept our appreciation for sharing your work but our regrets that we will be unable to publish it.
Please be advised that we are no longer accepting pitches via this form; only full-length essay drafts will be considered.