Since 2005 Little White Lies has been covering both mainstream and independent cinema from all around the world with top quality journalism and illustration. We aren’t afraid to speak our minds on the films we love (and sometimes hate), and want to offer our readers the chance to hear from a multitude of voices from all walks of life, regardless of writing experience. We’re invested in beautiful films and the people that make them, and want to create and curate writing and illustration that reflects this.
If that sounds good to you, please find a list of the types of pieces we’re looking for below, with some examples to get you thinking.
This new column focuses on an actor’s first on-screen performance (or leading role). These are tied to anniversaries, new releases and birthdays. We would also consider filmmakers’ first features too if they’ve made a decent number of films. The aim of the column is to explore the connection between an actor’s first role and their subsequent career, so the film doesn’t necessarily have to be “good” – this is a chance to write about the connections we draw between past and future performances, and the journey of filmmaking more generally. Is talent always a given? Have some performers stopped taking dramatic risks? (Word Range 1000-1500)
These dispatches (around 1000 words) from a festival somewhere in the world will offer a flavour of the programme but also ideally of the festival and the location itself giving a sense for film culture in other parts of the world. They are part travel piece, part film criticism, and have the aim of telling us about the festival as a space, as well as cinema culture and movie-watching around the world. Tell us about what you ate, where you went, the venues, the Q&As – these should feel like postcards from a dear friend. We may also consider festival dispatches which are focused more on the film programme IF they have a very strong thematic throughline or narrative. These pieces could also include similar cinematic pilgrimages, to filming locations or places of significance to the world of film.
Excludes: Cannes, Venice, London, Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, SXSW, Lorcarno (we cover these differently – see below.)
This Just In
Op-eds about something in the headlines or a new film release that offer a strong, well-argued take. These offer an interesting opinion or insight on something that people are currently talking about, be it the Oscars, some casting news, or a new trend in horror films, to give you a few examples. They could pose a question or give a point of view. These should be timely, and have a short shelf life, so should be pitched and turned around quickly by the writer. (Word Range 800-1500)
Pieces on a new/returning television show, or piece of theatre or video game with a connection to cinema. There should be a timely hook to this – is the show broadcasting now? Is the play just opening? Has the game just come out? We wouldn’t run these pieces much after the fact so consider this when pitching. We might consider an anniversary pitch if it’s particularly original or strong. Please note we don’t do TV recaps either. (Word Range 1000-1500)
The Long Read
A once-a-month longer piece (2000-4000 words) about something interesting – could be a ‘How we made’ style interview, could be a deep dive on some element or issue impacting the movie landscape, could be a list feature, could be an oral history. Well-researched, well-written and valuable are the key terms here and these pieces will possibly include interviews, as well as a more extensive writing and editing process.
Why I Love / What X Taught Me…
Our ‘Why I Love/What X Taught Me’ essays are opinion/personal essay based, and usually linked to an anniversary/birthday/rerelease/new release/screening event, but if your idea is interesting enough, we will consider it without a timely element. They usually focus on one film, one performance, one actor, one theme, or one filmmaker, and always have a strong throughline. We are looking for unique stories and strong connections with passionate writers behind them. (Word Range 800-1500)
In Praise Of
These are anniversary-based (the year has to end in a zero!) features on a well-known or cult film, and you need to have a very strong or unique hook, as anniversary essays are very commonplace within the film journalism space. We are likely to be very selective about these, so please don’t feel too disheartened if it’s a no – anniversary pieces are just really saturated, so we want the LWLies ones to stand out in a crowded space. Please include the date of the anniversary in your email and do not pitch them more than two months in advance unless there is a heavy research aspect involved. (Word Range 1000-1500)
These are still largely conducted in-house or by freelancers we’ve worked with before, as it makes our lives much easier as editors to work with writers we know and trust to deliver, as well as because of the logistics of getting critics to screenings. We may consider reviews of smaller/independent films and reviews of interesting/great titles that have gone under the radar, perhaps releasing on streaming only. We work to the UK cinema/streaming calendar so please keep this in mind when pitching reviews, though we may take a review earlier if it’s a big title coming out a few weeks earlier in the USA. If you’re looking for information on the LWLies scoring system, check here. (Word Range 500-1000 as agreed with editor)
Major interviews with filmmakers and actors are conducted by our staff and regular contributors, usually for the magazine. However we love hearing about people making interesting films or doing cool things in cinema, and are open to pitches, particularly with a strong angle/approach or unique access. We’re also open to pitches for interviews for retrospective features but please do take into consideration these can be quite hard to secure access for.
Festival First-Look Reviews
Major film festivals (Cannes, Venice, London, Berlin, Sundance, Toronto, SXSW, Lorcarno, NYFF) are covered with first-look reviews and LWLies usually has a critic on the ground. You are welcome to pitch us reviews from these festivals but please note we give priority to our own editorial staff and to the writers we have an existing working relationship with, as these commissions are so sought-after and involve turning around great copy on a tight deadline!
General Pitching Information
Please put ‘PITCH’ at the start of your email subject line so we can tell what the email is about easily. You can put your actual pitch in the email body – no need to attach it as a separate document. Please try to avoid sending more than 1-2 pitches in a single email, as this makes it quite long for editors to read. Your pitch should be around 100-200 words, outlining your idea, your sources (if necessary) and when the piece can be filed. A single sentence isn’t likely to give us enough to go on!
If you are pitching a piece linked to an upcoming release, birthday, event or anniversary please include the date of this too. If you do not receive a reply from an editor within four days, feel free to follow-up (or sooner, if it’s a particularly time-sensitive pitch.) Please note we don’t work weekends or bank holidays. We work on a print issue 2-3 months in advance. Online we work about a month or two in advance.
All commissions are paid, so please do not offer your services for free. Please do not submit finished drafts for consideration unless requested – we don’t have time to read them. We also do not accept previously published work unless by prior agreement, and we don’t really ‘assign’ pieces, so there’s no need to email us with a general offer of your writing services.
Finally, please remember that LWLies is run by a dedicated but very small team, and while we do try to reply to every single pitch we get, we do sometimes miss things, and we are not able to offer detailed feedback on all the pitches we receive. If you are not successful the first time please don’t let this deter you!
Who should I email?
Send your pitch to the relevant person below – no need to CC multiple editors unless you are unsure if your pitch is for online or print:
(Long Lead & Print: Reviews, Interviews, Print Features, Profiles)
(Short Lead & Online: Reviews, Online Features, Interviews, Festivals)
How do I pitch illustration?
Through our online and print version, LWLies is powered by original illustration, and we’re always looking for new collaborators. We are not able to offer feedback to all submissions, but if you’d like to be considered, send your portfolio and a short note to our artistic director, Laurène Boglio: email@example.com.
What are your terms and how do I invoice?
Please refer to our contributor’s terms before undertaking a commission for LWLies. Please also refer to our Style Guide for formatting advice. Contact your editor if you have any questions. All contributions to LWL are paid so please don’t offer your services for free. We pay 30 days from invoice date, and you can invoice as soon as your piece is live unless otherwise agreed. All invoices need to go to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the title and date of your piece, plus your editor, URL to the piece and the fee agreed, plus your personal and payment details. If there is any problem with your invoice or payment, please contact your commissioning editor.
Can you review or feature my film?
We’re only a very small team, and we have a lot of films to review each week, so we cannot commit to reviewing every film that is sent for review consideration.
I have a question not listed here…
Email us and we’ll do our best to answer!