Writers Guidelines

Crooked Marquee is the movie-centric offshoot of sports website Crooked Scoreboard. Our material is fresh-squeezed daily from only the finest artisanal freelancers.

Basic info:

  • We’re not a blog. Nothing against ‘em, we just aren’t one. We only run 5-6 pieces a week, so we have to be choosy; sometimes we can’t take a pitch simply because there’s just not enough space.
  • Pay starts at $50 per piece. There are no permanent, full-time, or staff positions available. Everything we publish is written by freelancers who sell us articles on a case-by-case, pitch-by-pitch basis.

What we want:

  • Opinion and analysis of movie trends, specific current films, or current news in the film world.
  • Actor or director retrospectives/appreciations/deconstructions.
  • Re-examinations of older films that are newly relevant for some reason. The reason can be as simple as the director or star having a new movie coming out, or the film’s subject matter being in the news. There usually needs to be a “news peg” — a reason we’re talking about this old movie today — but the more interesting and creative your angle is, the less that matters. 
  • Personal essays related to movies (but see the caveat in the next section). 
  • Pieces that are creative, satirical, or in some other way outside the box. If there’s an idea that made other editors say, “That’s too weird” or “Are you high?” — pitch it! I might also say that, but I might not!

What we don’t want:

  • Movie reviews. Those are taken care of.
  • Weekly columns. Those are taken care of.
  • Lists or rankings with basic premises like “10 Great Horror Comedies” or “10 Reasons We Love Movie X” or “All the House Party Movies, Ranked.” If we run a list, it needs a more original angle than that.
  • Clickbait, self-consciously contrarian hot takes, things that make smart people roll their eyes.
  • Celebrity gossip.
  • Speculation, predictions, guesses. Nothing about why we think Sequel X will be better than Sequel Z. No suggestions or demands for what should happen next in Franchise X. No guessing what the box office will be, or who will win the Oscars. We want commentary and analysis of things that have happened, not daydreams or wish lists or predictions about things that haven’t.
  • Things that aren’t about movies. We might branch out into TV or video games later, but not yet.
  • Personal essays that boil down to “Hey, I watched this famous movie that I’d never seen before, or that I saw as a child but re-watched with adult eyes.” Those are a dime a dozen. (Literally: if you write twelve of them, we will pay you 10 cents.) Pitch one of these only if your connection to or experience with the movie would be considered unusual, unique, or noteworthy by people who don’t know you.
  • A pitch that essentially says, “I don’t know yet what I want to say about this movie; I’ll watch it and see what comes to me” will almost always be rejected. Watch first, then pitch. 
  • Think extra hard before pitching something on one of these oft-pitched, over-discussed subjects: Star Wars, Contagion,  Joker, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Zack Snyder, Kevin Smith, critics vs audiences, Marvel vs DC, superhero movies generally. Not that we never write about those things, but man, you gotta have a fresh take on it.

Exceptions to the above:

  • If you have a brilliant new angle on it that hasn’t been done.
  • If it’s really funny.

So pitch us! Be prepared with:

  • A description of the article you want to write, with examples of how you’d execute it or a summary of your basic point. Don’t just tell us what questions you’re going to address — briefly tell us what your answers are. 
  • Links to a few specific things you’ve written that will show us you’re a good writer. (If you’ve never been published, you can send unpublished samples.)
  • A sentence or two about yourself. No cover letters or résumés. Can you write? And do you have a good idea for something to write about? That’s all we need to know.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Jason Bailey
Editor, Crooked Marquee

P.S. You should browse our archives to get a feel for what we like (that’s solid advice for any freelancer pitching to any outlet), but here are some pieces that exemplify the above criteria:

“Don’t” Hesitate to Stream This Triple-Feature

Catch a Tiger by its Tale: Netflix’s Tiger King and the End of Truth

The Twisted Tale of Golan and Globus’s Lambada Movie War

I Can Smell Your T.B. Sheets: Looking Back at Scorsese’s Bringing Out The Dead

The Burnt Celluloid Heresies of Charles Willeford

Gene Hackman’s Farewell Tour

Crooked Marquee’s 2020 Oscar Predictions (Sort Of)

What We Can Learn from The Golden Age of the Exploitation Picture

Back to top