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 November issue will be an exploration of all things neo-noir, that school of film and TV devoted to celebrating, revising, inverting, and in all other ways using and abusing the tropes of the classic film noir, taking aim at the dark corners of our world, and the even darker corners of our souls.
Neo-noir is a loose category of tough and cynical crime dramas that emerged in the 1960s and continue to this day, encompassing everything from the whodunnit to the heist thriller, the repulsive to the erotic. "Neo-noir," as our friend Angelica Jade Bastien has written, "places the genre in new contexts and settings, and even cross-pollinates with other genres."
More than what it is, though, neo-noir might best be defined by what it isn’t—these stories of sin and vice aren’t easy to categorize, they don’t conform to comfortable definitions of good and evil, and they don’t have much interest in traditional happy endings.
If we had to stake a claim on what neo-noir is all about, though, we'd tell you it’s about all the same things Roger Ebert once said Mike Figgis’ Stormy Monday is about:
[It is about] the attitudes that men strike when they feel in control of a situation, and the way their shoulders slump when someone else takes power. It is about smoking. It is about cleavage. It is about the look on a man’s face when someone is about to deliberately break his arm, and he knows it...[It is] about lonely furnished rooms, and rain, and standing in the window at night looking out into the street, and signaling for someone across a crowded nightclub floor…It is about the flat, masked expressions on the faces of bodyguards, and about the face of a man who is consumed by anger…It is about the sound of ice cubes in a glass, and smoke being exhaled, and bones being broken…And about how a woman tells a man, ‘I get off work at midnight.’ And how she looks when she says that. And how he looks.
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 1800-3000 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 first draft of your essay via Submittable by September 30, 2019.
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 cannot promise to respond to every submission.
Please be advised that we are no longer accepting pitches via this form; only full-length essay drafts will be considered.