We’re opening back up for writing pitches across our magazines – and if you’re interested, here’s some information to help you put together your pitch.
At the end of September, with thanks to an amazing bunch of readers, we were able to secure funding – via Kickstarter – to keep our magazines going until the back end of 2021 at least. As such, it means we can start commissioning writing again.
A few bits and bobs if you’re new to Film Stories. One of the key foundations of our work is to ensure, wherever we can, we lower the drawbridge of opportunity. That we want to provide a point of entry to the industry for those who are otherwise struggling to find one.
As such, we look to give at least two writers their first paid print writing work in every issue of our magazine. Thus far, the youngest has been in their teens, the oldest in their 70s.
Then we have Film Stories Junior, which I’ll come to at the bottom of this post.
I’m asked an awful lot how to pitch, and what kind of things I look for when it comes to Film Stories magazine. I’m very fortunate that so many are interested in what we do, and grateful for that. Hopefully this post, though, will help those wondering how to pitch, and what to pitch. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think.
How do I pitch?
Easy. You send an email to pitches at filmstories co uk. If you’ve come just for that bit, there you are!
Please note: if you’ve tried pitching to us to a different email address and not had a reply, please resend to the one above. I was finding too many were getting lost in the midst of a non-dedicated mailbox, and I apologise for that.
What should I put in a pitch?
Again, easy. Your name, contact details, and your idea(s).
Just the headline, and a few words on the article. I don’t need paragraphs on it, and I’m okay with bullet points too. It’s the idea that’s important. If I want to know more, I’ll ask for more. But genuinely: never worry if your pitch email looks very short!
Don’t include a ready-written article. I can’t risk us being exposed to a copyright case or anything like that, so I genuinely can’t read them.
Add a link to writing samples if you want.
Don’t include a CV. I don’t need to see that, but thank you.
And one top tip: if you’ve copying and pasting pitches to lots of places, check it’s all come through in the same font size. I’m not being piddly saying that, just that a surprising number of people do it. No problem with lots of pitches going to lots of places of course.
What happens then?
Waiting, I’m afraid. It’s just me behind the assorted Film Stories mailboxes, and at certain times of the month I’m so knee deep in the magazine I just have to concentrate on getting it out the door. It may take a few weeks, but I do try to reply to everybody. Don’t be shy about reforwarding a pitch if you think you’ve been overlooked.
How far ahead do I need to pitch?
Print magazines tend to work at least two months ahead. As such, there’s little point pitching something reactive to something happening right now, as likely the moment will have passed by the time the next available issue is out. Likewise with film releases too. Thinkpieces around new releases rarely work in print for us either, sadly.
Do you take pitches from non-UK writers?
Yes, but it’s a lot trickier for us when it comes to payments. We have to bear that in mind when it comes to commissions sometimes.
Do you pay?
Yes. Not much, but we do. As we’ve said from day one, our rates are low, but we’re taking nothing ourselves. If we grow and succeed, the plan is to grow rates and be transparent about that. We currently work on £25-£30 a page in the magazine, and £20 for website pieces. Again: we take no income, and haven’t in the two years Film Stories has been running.
What are you looking for?
A few tips here.
If you head to our online store – store.filmstories.co.uk – and click on any of the issues, you’ll find a full list of what’s in each issue. Seek out the digital copy of issue 7 and we give that away for free, to give people a flavour of the magazine.
Film Stories is a mainstream magazine, and not an academic journal. We’re obviously interested in stories around movies, and anything nerdy about cinema. We tend to shy away from comic book movies and Star Wars, given the brilliant coverage they get elsewhere. We like hoisting independent and British films on our shoulders. We’ve written about pick n mix in our latest issue. Light-hearted (but not punch down) pieces are welcome too.
There’s little point us doing huge Kubrick/Hitchcock etc lookbacks, as everyone’s done that at some point. Likewise, anniversaries of notable films you can generally bet someone else is already doing.
Instead: what’s in your brain? That’s the bit that makes you different. If you’re worried your pitch sounds silly, daft or a bit rubbish – as I always do when I pitch – then send it anyway. I can only say no! If you’re utterly stuck, get in touch anyway and show me some of your writing. Very occasionally something comes up I can assign.
Basically: don’t be shy And just because I’ve come up with what might look like a set of rules here, rules are made to be broken, right?
Film Stories Junior
This is a magazine exclusively for under 15s to write for, and every contributor – whether 6 or 14 – will get a £20 book token for their work We pay for that ourselves, to be clear. Just send ideas to junior at filmstories co uk.
Other bits and bobs
One thing, though: everybody who works for Film Stories (apart from us) gets paid. Nobody works for exposure. Writing has value.
Furthermore, I do need to clarify: we do not send out a free copy if your work is published. That’d be very costly for us to do, and the only way for us to sustainably do that would be to reduce payment rates, that we don’t want to do. The half-way house is a PDF copy is available if you can’t afford/don’t want a copy. It is not expected, although obviously appreciated if you can, that you support the magazine should you get work published in either Film Stories of Film Stories Junior.
Do you take pitches from unpublished writers?
Yes. What’s more, at least two writers in every issue of Film Stories are getting their first paid writing work.
Feel free to add any further questions in the comments, and we’ll add them to this post. And do spread the word. We spend our budget on paying writers, and that leaves nothing for marketing. Without word of mouth, we can’t keep going! Thank you for all your help and support…
Thank you for visiting! If you’d like to support our attempts to make a non-clickbaity movie website:
Buy our Film Stories and Film Stories Junior print magazines here.
Become a Patron here.
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