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.
Our April issue will mark a milestone: the first Redux issue of Bright Wall/Dark Room. After almost seven years, we figure some themes are just too good to honor only once, and we’ll begin periodically revisiting classic themes with our 82nd issue, a sequel to our 38th.
Look, we all know the cliché: the book was better. But the relationship between a book and its cinematic adaptation tends to be far more complex than such a reductive line would suggest. For our second issue on literary adaptations, we’re less interested in whether the book or the movie is “better” than we are in how the book and the movie interact. What changes have to occur in bringing a literary work to the screen, and what do those changes say about the ultimate impacts of either work? When is fidelity to the book a virtue, and when is it a limitation? How can a movie honor the spirit of a book even while changing its shape? And how might a movie even defy the cliché and end up improving on the book?
These are just a few of the fascinating questions inherent to this most venerable type of filmmaking, and there are so many directions to take it that (clearly) one issue couldn’t possibly encompass it. We hope you’ll dream big with this theme, tackle it in exciting and unexpected ways, and celebrate all the myriad types of magic that can happen when a story makes the jump from the page to the screen.
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 March 2, 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.