Ends on

Our December issue will be one of our most unusual and exciting in a long while: we’re looking for essays on one frame of a movie or TV show.

“But,” you might ask, “what do you mean?” To be honest, we don’t have a perfectly formed answer, and that’s part of what makes the idea so exciting. This is an endlessly interpretable lens through which to look at a work of narrative art, and we’re excited to see what people do with it.

This idea was Inspired by a tweet from writer T. Kira Madden (and an accompanying nudge from BWDR contributor Amber Sparks), and we loved the idea of a micro view of film imagery, focusing on composition and framing, lighting and gesture, and all the emotions that a barely-perceptible fraction of a second can elicit in the viewer.

For many of us, 2020 has felt like being caught in a single endless moment, as typical changes of scene are suspended indefinitely and we wait for resolutions that seems like they might never come. For this issue, we want to look for the beauty and grace within the frozen moment—the possibilities of the pause button.

This is an unusual prompt, and we won’t be surprised if writers need a moment to get their heads around it, but we’re excited by the possibilities of creative thought and creative writing that might come with chasing the associations of one still image. Bright Wall/Dark Room was founded with the goal of providing a different lens on film, and film writing, and those are the roots we’re looking to return to this December

A couple of notes: 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. Also, if at all possible, please include a screenshot of your chosen frame within the body of the submission as considering the imagery and commentary together will be an essential element of the issue.

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good-faith engagement with our collaborative editorial process; a refusal to participate in this process may result in rescinded acceptance.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 November 6, 2020.

Please be advised that we love publishing new and undiscovered voices, but that given the high volume of interest and few available publishing slots, we ask that writers without significant portfolios submit a full first draft rather than sending pitches for consideration. Writers with professional experience in longform writing are more likely to have a piece approved based on a pitch, and can feel free to contact editors@brightwalldarkroom.com. 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).

For additional information, visit our Submissions page: http://brightwalldarkroom.com/submissions/.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.