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

Our May issue will be devoted to the incomparable Katharine Hepburn, and we're looking for thoughtful, engaging pieces that offer fresh or unique perspectives on Hepburn and the artistry she brought to the screen.

Some possible topics or angles for exploration:

  • Hepburn's childhood, early years in theater, and rise to stardom
  • Her collaborations with various directors (Cukor, Hawks,  Lean) or co-stars (Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy)
  • The role of gender and sexuality in Hepburn's films and public persona
  • The ongoing influence of Hepburn's style and image in fashion and popular culture
  • That time in 1973 when she gave her first interview in decades, spontaneously, with no audience, to Dick Cavett (no, seriously, this moment in time absolutely deserves an entire essay all its own)
"Hepburn found early tragedy in life, but seemed to defend herself with ambition and talent. She has a distinctly Northern edge (biographers say she picked up her accent as a student at Bryn Mawr which is cheek by jowl with the Lord’s Main Line home). Hepburn was utterly convinced of her own opinions, stubborn, famously a wearer of trousers to the dismay of studio chiefs, and relentlessly independent." (Karina Wolf)

Films we're particularly interested in for this issue:

Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, Holiday, Adam's Rib, The African Queen, Summertime, Suddenly Last Summer, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, The Lion in Winter, On Golden Pond

Currently, we are able to pay $100 per accepted essay, 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 April 7, 2023.

Please be advised that given the high volume of interest for what’s typically 8 - 10 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 typically publish work between 2,000 and 4,000 words, though are always willing to consider essays of any length), 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 previously published at outlets with editorial oversight. On pitches, we will offer a solid yes or no within two weeks, though please note that a rejection may represent a wide 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).

And finally, for additional information on our submission process and preferences, please see The Bright Wall/Dark Room Guide to Pitching & Submitting.

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

Unfortunately, due to the current high volume of submissions—and very few available slots for off-theme essays each month—we are not able to respond to every submission individually. If you have not heard back within 3 weeks of submitting your piece, please accept our appreciation for sharing your work but our regrets that we will be unable to publish it.

Bright Wall/Dark Room