We are currently looking for new contributors to The Seventh Row with a passion for media and other subjects, to further the conversation. This could be anything from a deep knowledge of film and theatre to film and queer studies to music and computer science. We’re looking for writers interested in taking a multi-disciplinary approach to cultural criticism and pop culture journalism.
Seventh Row has a vigorous editorial policy. We want to help you express your ideas as clearly as possible, and no article is perfect from day one. Your piece will go through multiple drafts, and frequently the published version will bear very little resemblance to your first draft. Don’t be put off by the volume of comments you receive. Push back if you think we’re wrong. It’s not because we think you’re a bad writer — it’s because we know everyone can always be better.
Every piece we publish gets reviewed by both members of our editorial staff: Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, and Editor-at-Large Mary Angela Rowe. This includes our own work. Each of us has felt frustrated that our editor apparently just cannot understand what we are trying to say, and that sentence is fine, and we don’t want to cut 500 words – but looking back, our finished work is better for that careful scrutiny. We treat your work with the same respect and attention that we turn on our own.
We invest a lot of time and energy in our writers, and we expect you to make the same commitment. It’s how we’re able to produce consistently high quality work in a timely fashion, meaning we can publish your great work alongside work that’s worthy of it and vice versa.
If this sounds like a fun adventure to you, pitch us!
If you’re not quite sure, get in touch, and we can discuss it further or put you in touch with our writers to find out more about what it’s like working with us.
If this sounds like a pain in the ass, well, we’re probably not the right fit.
Make sure you read through all of our FAQs below when preparing your pitch.
What kind of feedback do 7R editors give during editing and what are some general guidelines for writing?
Every suggestion below flows from one goal: efficiency. Writing should be vivid and information-dense. Do not make your reader slog to understand your ideas.
Your topic sentence should reflect the content of your paragraph. You don’t have to explicitly state your point up front, but readers are better able to absorb information if you tell them in advance why they should care about it.
Your first draft can generally be cut down by one-third. As a general rule, reviews should be no longer than 800 words, and preferably shorter (with a hard maximum of 900); think pieces may stray into the 1,200 range (with a hard maximum of 1,500), but will likely end up below 1,000 words. If you do not do this, Mary Angela will do it for you.
Each paragraph should contain only one key point. If your paragraph is more than five lines long, you’ve probably got more than one point, or you’re repeating yourself, or you’re expressing your point with far too many words.
Vary your sentence structure. Your piece shouldn’t be a series of long sentences, which are difficult for readers to parse. Use shorter sentences to emphasize points. Your sentences should not exceed two lines; if they do, break them up.
We wrote these guidelines because we often need reminding of them, too.
What do we look for in writing on a sentence level?
Think about the rhythm of your sentence. It should be easy to read. Don’t use three words when one will do. Avoid adjectives and instead choose active verbs (e.g. “raced” instead of “ran quickly”). Think about how many syllables you’ve got in your sentence: the fewer the syllables, the more concise the sentence will seem.
Avoid superlatives. “Great,” “terrific,” “outstanding,” and the like do not convey anything beyond a sense of vague positivity. If something is “great,” tell your reader why.
Be precise with your language and avoid ambiguities. Make sure you know what the words you use mean.
“I think,” “I believe,” and “it seems to me” are unnecessary hesitations. Obviously you think this, otherwise you wouldn’t be writing it. Your writing stands on its own without the need for such qualifiers.
Everyone has words they overuse. Alex loves the word “cerebral” and Mary Angela thinks everything is “meticulous.” Seek out and destroy these words in every piece you write.
What should you do to prepare your pitch and piece?
Unless you are doing festival coverage, which is always a total gong show, or reviewing based on a press screening, you should watch the film more than once.
Look for similar pieces on our site to get the feel for our style and what might be expected of you.
How do you pitch to us?
Before sending us a pitch, make sure you have read through the publication thoroughly. In particular, we recommend taking a look at each of our “Series” to see what kind of pieces fit into each.
Figure out where your piece belongs. Why is the piece you’re offering perfect for The Seventh Row? How does it fit in with the other work that we publish? How will it help us expand our areas of interest?
Keep your pitch short. It should be no more than 300 words. Be sure to include a concise thesis statement and an explanation of how you plan to support it with examples.
If you have examples of your past writing, please include three clippings of your best pieces.
Send your pitches here.
What kinds of stories should you pitch?
We are always looking for new additions to each of these series, which take a closer look at certain aspects of filmmaking. Our series include: adaptations, all about craft, Canadian cinema, creative nonfiction, from the vault, science on film, and stage vs. screen. We also seek essays comparing films or looking at the body of work of an actor, director, or craftsperson. You can find examples of these pieces in our essays section.
Due to the short timelines for festival coverage, regular reviews and interviews, we only work with our staff writers to produce these. If you’re pitching us for the first time, we recommend pitching something less time sensitive, which will fit into one of our series.
Send your pitches to contact <at> seventh-row <dot> com
What style guide do we follow?
Following our style guide when you pitch to us is a good way of showing us that you’ve read our site and can meet style guidelines. We follow a modified Chicago style guide. Here are some of the highlights of what this means.
Titles of books, movies, albums, television shows, plays, songs, etc. should be in italics, like Spectre.
Write out any numbers less than 10, such as nine, and use arabic numerals for all other numbers.
We use Oxford commas (even though Chicago frowns on them). If you have a list, make sure that there is a comma between the penultimate and final items in the list.