We are currently looking for new contributors to Seventh Row with a passion for critical analysis that merges a deep focus on technical aspects of filmmaking (e.g. sound design, editing, structure) with a discussion of themes and broader social issues.
We approach the writing process as a collaboration: each piece is a product of lengthy discussions between the author and our team of editors. This unique editing process means that writing for Seventh Row may be more time consuming than writing for some other publications… but we hope the end product is all the better for it! If you think this process is for you, then read on.
Before sending us a pitch, please make sure that you’ve read our FAQs and that you are familiar with the publication (i.e. have read several articles and are aware of the kinds of approaches we take to criticism) and what we publish.
Where should I start?
There are several avenues into writing for us.
Crucially, take note of instances where we tend not to take on new writers, so you don’t waste precious pitching time: we won’t work with new writers on festival coverage, given that the faced paced nature of this coverage is hard to keep up with for writers who aren’t used to our style of editing.
We don’t tend to pick writers to write for one of our ebooks (published every four months) if they haven’t written for us before, again due to the time constraints placed on these books’ publication. However, we may commission a writer well ahead of time for one of these books, under the agreement that they will, in the interim, write a minimum of two capsule reviews for the site. Getting writers familiar with our editing process in this way ensures that the editing on a bigger essay is a smoother road, and less time consuming for both the writer and our editors.
With this in mind, there are two typical routes into becoming a Seventh Row writer. The first is to send us a pitch for an essay that you’re passionate about writing and that fits the Seventh Row brand. Search through our archives to find out what we’re interested in as a publication and have a long think about whether your idea fits Seventh Row. If it does, then give pitching a go!
Alternatively, you can take a look at our current pitches board (see below), which is continually updates as our ebook plans evolve. Here we advertise topics on which we’re actively searching for essays. If you feel you have something unique to say about one of these topics, send us a pitch and, if accepted, your essay will appear in one of our ebooks. It’s worth noting that there will be a long gestation period for these pieces. We plan our books six months to a year in advance, so you may be waiting that long to see your piece to its end. However, as stated above, if your pitch is accepted for a book, you’ll be published on the site in the meantime.
What kind of stories should you pitch?
We are always looking for new additions to our coverage of Directors We Love and Films We Love. 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. Finally, we are particularly interested in pieces that that a closer look at certain aspects of filmmaking, including editing, sound design, structure, costumes, or a combination of these.
Because it usually takes at least a month to ready an article from a new writer for publication, and we plan our editorial calendar months in advance, please give us plenty of lead time for any time-sensitive pieces.
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 should you do to prepare your pitch?
Figure out where your piece belongs. Why is the piece you’re offering perfect for Seventh Row specifically? How does it fit in with the other work that we publish? How will it help us expand our areas of interest? Why will this article be of interest to our readers now?
Look for similar pieces on our site to get the feel for our style and what might be expected of you.
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 so that you can offer a specific approach and thesis with specific supporting arguments based on evidence from the film.
What should your pitch look like?
We want to work with you to develop and craft a piece specifically and uniquely suited to Seventh Row. Because we value the editing process and our relationship with our writers, we do not accept submissions of pieces already written.
Your pitch should be concise, but clear and detailed. Although we are aware of the way an article often becomes something different during the writing and editing process, and welcome such developments, we want to make sure that we do start from a specific idea. You should strive to outline your piece and its arguments as clearly as possible. Be sure to include a concise thesis statement and an explanation of how you plan to support it with examples.
Before you set your pen to paper, our editors will exchange emails with you to make sure you have actual arguments, as opposed to a vague desire to write about a certain topic or film.
Send your pitch to editors [at] seventh-row [dot] com. Please use the subject line: “Pitch: [Title of your pitch]”
Please include in your pitch email a few clippings of other pieces you have written.
What is it like writing for Seventh Row?
Our editing process is purposefully intensive: every article goes through several drafts (though not necessarily complete rewrites, as it is sometimes understood) which explains the early deadline for pitches. Yet this editing process is not aimed at destroying our writers’ unique style and voice. On the contrary: we push our writers to push themselves, to fully develop their ideas and express them as clearly and concisely as possible, and to develop a writing style that is clear rather than flowery — to write articles which actually have something to say.
With the current precarious state of film writing, many outlets cannot afford to allow for much editing; when they do, the editor rarely consults the writer at all. Editing at 7R is a collaborative process — and we don’t bite! We do not want our writers to accept all our edits without saying a word: we expect them to push back when they disagree and to explain themselves.
Editing should be a conversation, so we need to know what you are thinking; our edits are a way to let you know what we are thinking. It might seem needlessly difficult at first — someone else at another publication wouldn’t edit at all — but this is how breakthroughs are reached, how a writer comes to untangle their thoughts, to develop self-esteem and a unique voice.
This is also a unique chance to develop a true relationship with an outlet and an editorial team. All our regular writers at 7R have their own, unique voice, which we’ve come to understand and see grow over time. Such relationships of understanding and mutual support are increasingly rare in the world of film writing, but precious in the construction of a writer’s specific voice. Writers selected through this pitch will be encouraged to write other articles for us, and hopefully to become regular 7R contributors.
We have put in place several tools to make the editing process as smooth as possible.
Does Seventh Row pay?
While Seventh Row is striving to be able to offer fair pay rates to all our writers, it’s simply not possible at the present moment. None of us are currently paid, not our writers nor our editors. This is likely to change soon, but we can’t be certain when.
In the meantime, we offer the tools and the space for dedicated writers to improve on their writing, and a chance to develop a real relationship with a team of experienced, empathetic editors.
The only paid pieces we commission are for our ebooks, which we publish three times a year. The rates vary between books, but tend to come to a minimum of $100 CAD for an essay.
We aren’t currently seeking pitches for a specific project, but we may be soon. Be sure to check back!
ACTORS AND ACTING
It is essential that our essays on performances are grounded in specific detail about the performance in question: vocal choices, physicality… We aim to treat acting as a craft, as an ephemeral thing but rather a series of choices made by the performer. See our archive of writing on performances here.
We are seeking pitches on the following specific topics BY JUNE 1 at 11:59PM ET:
- An essay on a career defining performance (e.g. David Thewlis in Naked, Lupita Nyong’o in Us) and why it’s a perfect synthesis of actor and part.
- An essay on a coming of age performance (e.g. Thomasin McKenzie in Leave No Trace, Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name) that explores how the actor portrays the arc of growing up.
- An essay on a performance that is in conversation with the actor’s star persona (e.g. take a look at our essay on Dakota Johnson in A Bigger Splash or Armie Hammer in Call Me by Your Name).
- An essay on a performance in a genre movie (comedy, action, horror) that explores the specific performance requirements of the genre.
- An essay on a performance in a period film or a stylized film that explores the different register of performance that these films require.
When we published Beyond Empowertainment, our book on feminist horror, our aim was to publish thoughtful criticism about a genre that’s often not taken seriously by mainstream criticism. Next, we want to do the same for romantic comedies. We’re seeking essays that take the genre seriously as one ripe for analysis.
We are seeking pitches on the following specific topics BY JUNE 28 at 11:59PM ET:
- An essay on a great performance in a romantic comedy and why it’s perfect for the genre.
- An essay on a romantic comedy that subverts the expectations of the genre.
- An essay on an element of costume design or production design in a romantic comedy.
- An essay on why an older romantic comedy has stood the test of time.
These essays should focus on a particular theme or aspect of the film/performance. Please read examples of past essays that illustrate the kinds of approaches to film criticism we’re looking for:
- An essay on how the costumes in Carol chart the characters’ development and relationships. Read here.
- An essay on how in The Souvenir, the protagonist is framed more and more toward the centre as the film progresses. Read here.
- An essay on how the physical boundaries in Fish Tank stand for social boundaries. Read here.
- An essay on how Personal Shopper uses text messages as a source of terror that morphs into eroticism, and thereby both acknowledges and subverts horror traditions. Read here.
When you send us, your pitch, please include answers to the following questions:
- What is the thesis statement of your piece and what argument will you use to support your thesis? Please include specific examples from the text and explain how you will use the film’s technical elements (e.g., costume, framing, performance, editing) to bolster your arguments.
- Why do you want to write about this film or performance? Was it particularly meaningful to you the first time you saw it? Do you feel you responded it differently compared to other critics that you do? Why are you passionate about this article or the topic in general?
- Please include links to 3 pieces you have written. These do not have to be published in another publication; it’s more so we can get to know you and your writing style.
Email your pitches to editors <at> seventh-row <dot> com.
Be sure to read the FAQ above before sending us your pitch.
If your pitch is accepted, we will ask you to first write a capsule review for us to help you get to know our editorial style and smooth the process for producing your essay for our book.