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.
For our March issue, we’re looking for essays on single moments in movies and TV series. We'd like writers to identify the narrative building blocks that make up the scenes that make up the stories we love, and devote time and care to exploring how they function, and what impacts they might have—on the stories around them, and those watching them.
Your first question might be how we intend to define a moment, and the answer is: we’re happy to define it however you define it. It's not a simple matter of "how many seconds" or "how many edits." A moment is whichever glance, exchange, tactical maneuver, dance step, invisible shifting of the stakes has hung with you and seems to epitomize everything worth loving and investigating in a film or show. The point is: we’re willing to be loose and say this is an endlessly interpretable lens through which to look at narrative art. We’re excited to see what you do with it.
“Creating moments,” Jimmy Stewart once said, “is the important thing. Nobody knows exactly how it happens but what you should do is to prepare yourself as best you can to make these moments happen.” These are the lightning-in-a-bottle flashes that bring the potential in this art form to life, and we’re excited by the possibilities of creative thought and creative writing that might be elicited in the search for exactly those flashes of inspiration. While we typically look for essays in the range of 2,500 to 4,000 words, we understand that this prompt may call for submissions on the shorter side. We’d prefer that writers send in as many words as their chosen topic calls for rather than dragging the ideas out for the sake of reaching a prescribed word count.
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 February 9, 2022.
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 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/.