Submissions

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 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 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.

Our November issue will be our 101st, and we want to mark the occasion with essays on cinematic generations in all their forms. There are many ways you could take this theme, but a few to get you started:

  • There are classic generation-spanning epics like Giant and Once Upon a Time in America, and there are newer spins on those classic tropes, like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
  • There are more intimate stories of the fireworks that can go off when generations clash within a family (Knives Out; Fences; The Ice Storm)
  • There are sequels and series that depict tensions of the shifting of generations, from the serious (The Godfather) to the comical (Father of the Bride) to the fantastical (Back to the Future), and there are the long-belated sequels (The Color of Money, 25 years after The Hustler) and torch-passing reboots (Creed, 39 years after Rocky).
  • There are movies and series that treat eras in one lifetime like micro-generations (the Up series, Moonlight, Boyhood), and there are Hollywood careers long enough to span generations both professionally and historically (Dean Stockwell’s evolution from child star to David Lynch repertory player; Orson Welles’…let’s say “development” from Citizen Kane to Transformers: The Movie.
  • The are plenty of opportunities to take a more abstracted approach to interlocking stories across time (Cloud Atlas; Wonderstruck)
  • And, of course, what is TV if not an exercise in longitudinal storytelling, from long-running phenomena like ER and Happy Days to recent reboots and sequels like Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life and Twin Peaks: The Return.

We've recently updated our guide to pitching and submitting, so please take a few minutes to consult that. In the meantime, 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.

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 $100 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 October 8, 2021.

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: http://brightwalldarkroom.com/submissions/.