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

Ends on

There’s something about Chicago. The Windy City, the Second City, Chi-Town. Deep-dish pizza and Wrigley Field, Italian beefs and the air cutting you across the face like ice as you cross the river at night, jazz and the Art Institute and the L and the buildings reflecting the cold sky like brisk mirrors. 

Sure, L.A. and New York might be the first cities that come to mind when you think of American cityscapes on film, but the legacy of Chicago in the movies is as vibrant and sharp and perfect as a single bite into a Chicago-style hot dog on a warm summer’s day. So for our November 2023 issue, we're looking for essays that explore the way various filmmakers and writers and actors have helped capture Chicago on the big screen.

Here's a great list from Chicago-based film critic Brian Tallerico to help get your brainstorming started: The 25 Most Essential Chicago Movies

But as always, please feel free to think outside of the box as well! 

The Fine Print: 

We are currently able to pay $50 for accepted essays, upon publication.  Please be aware that all 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good-faith engagement with our collaborative editorial process; a refusal to participate in this process may result in rescinded acceptance.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 will need to receive a complete first draft of your essay via Submittable by October 7, 2023.   

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 editors@brightwalldarkroom. 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 make sure to familiarize yourself with the types of essays we tend to publish, and make sure to 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). 

And last but definitely not least: for additional, detailed information on our general submission process and preferences, please see The Bright Wall/Dark Room Guide to Pitching & Submitting.

We welcome unsolicited essays on any film or television-related topic. However, before submitting a piece for consideration, we highly recommend reading The Bright Wall/Dark Room Guide to Pitching & Submitting, as well as browsing through our archives and reading a few pieces to get a better sense of the type of essays we tend to publish.

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of submissions and very few available slots for off-theme essays each month, we aren't currently able to respond to each and every pitch and/or submission individually. So, if you haven't heard back from us within three (3) weeks of submitting your piece, please accept our regrets that we won't be able to accept it at this time.

Bright Wall/Dark Room