Writers’ Guidelines

Phindie covers theater and other arts, generally in Philadelphia (the name is taken from Philadelphia and indie, referring to independent journalism, independent theater, individual art-makers, and an individual spirit). We accept articles and reviews on theater, dance, music, film, visual arts, museums, and anything else of Philadelphia cultural interest.

Phindie reviewers soberly deliberate a performance.

Phindie reviewers soberly deliberate a performance.

Most theater reviews on Phindie are assigned, but we encourage writers to get in touch if interested in reviewing a show. We accept unsolicited features and interviews, but it is always good to email first with an idea. If you’re interested in Phindie republishing your blog post or other article, feel free to email. We accept simultaneous submissions and previously published work, but might want to adapt it.

All articles are subject to editing for length and clarity at the editors discretion.

Articles are written for the intelligent general web-reading audience. Demographically, Phindie readers lean female (55%) and young (18-35 yo). Style should reflect this, but doesn’t have to. You’re allowed to eff and jeff and talk about naughty bits and make reference to the Walking Dead and stuff like that, but you’re also allowed to write as if you haven’t been out of a academic seminar in seven years.

Let your personal ethics guide your writing and researching process. Don’t plagiarize or slander and identify possible biases to the editor. Respect fellow writers and the creators of art.

Writers retain copyright to their articles, but we ask that Phindie be credited on republication.

Articles should be submitted in Word or ods format or uploaded to WordPress to await approval.

Contact Christopher Munden at chris@phindie.com for more information.

REVIEWS (theater)

Suggested length for full-length reviews is 500 words. Use as many words as you need to, but don’t use too many. Suggested length for 60-second reviews or Fringe Festival reviews is 150-250 (and two paragraphs).

Include a title, tags, image captions, and a summary.

Layout:
TITLE OF SHOW [all caps] (Company): Subtitle using sentence-style capitalization
Five hundred word review which gives a brief precis and some critique. See examples at http://phindie.com/category/reviews/. TITLE OF THE SHOW should always be all caps, titles of other works should be italics (or in quotes, per Chicago Manual of Style, which is generally Phindie style). Put actor names (spell check!) after character names.
Use this layout for show details: [Location, street address, city and state if not Philadelphia]. Month x-x, 2015; theatercompanywebsite.com.
Provide Tags [separated by commas]: Play Name [lower case, headline style], Production Company, Location, Actors if named or important, Director or production staff if named or important, anything else you want
Provide Images and captions, including photographer credit.
Provide 140-character (max) description which will appear as the meta description (on google search results), on the homepage, in the weekly Phindie newsletter, on Facebook, and such.

There is no Phindie house style for reviews, but in general stay away from “recommendation” reviews (five stars! must see!) or criticism which makes the author feel good about how smart he/she is. Use present tense when describing a play. Here are some great guidelines for reviewing, based on John Updike’s prescriptions. Here is the Code of Practice for the International Association of Theatre Critics. And here’s a guide from a college textbook.

Phindie's Official Fringe Bike Tour led by Julius Ferraro

Phindie writers are super cool.

More guidelines which should be considered but can be ignored:  Give some indication of your opinion of the piece in the first paragraph. Avoid the first person, especially the phrase “I think”. Describe the play not the specific performance, the weather outside, the seats or audience, or peculiarities of a single night. Identify bias, if only by making it clear through your criticism. Show don’t tell (don’t say it was excellent, describe how it was excellent). Don’t use too many adjectives. Don’t be a dick. Don’t be a shill. Don’t pretend you know more than you do. Don’t review a preview performance.

Steer away from making comments about an actor’s physical appearance unless crucial for consideration of a play. Be especially mindful of this when talking about an actor of the opposite gender to the reviewer.

Ignore any guidelines you wish. Trust your opinion and find your own voice as a critic.  For more on theater criticism read these pieces.

When possible, reviews should be submitted within 48 hours of opening.

INTERVIEWS

Give a brief introduction to the interview with some biographical info and the subject and a bit about the show or the reason why he/she is being interviewed.

Indeally, interviews should be related to an event or artwork and be submitted before the opening.

You can list the questioner as “Phindie” or as the author (e.g.,”John Doe”). In the first instance, use the subject’s full name, afterwards use initials. Question length should be kept to a minimum.

  • Capitalize the title of the show under discussion.
  • Bold the name of both the interviewer (before the question) and subject (before the answer). Bold and italicize the question.
  • Provide a title for the interview with the subject’s name early in the title
  • End the article with: XXXX runs  Month x-x, 2015 [Location, street address, city and state if not Philadelphia]; theatercompanywebsite.com.
  • Provide Tags [separated by commas]: Subject name, Artwork Name [lower case, headline style], Production Company, Other Creators if named or important, anything else you want
  • Provide Images and captions, including photographer credit.
  • Provide a 140-character (max) description which will appear as the meta description (on google search results), on the homepage, in the weekly Phindie newsletter, on Facebook, and such.

FEATURES

No word count or subject guidelines.

If applicable:

  • Capitalize the title of the show under discussion.
  • Provide a title for the feature
  • End the article with: XXXX runs  Month x-x, 2015 [Location, street address, city and state if not Philadelphia]; theatercompanywebsite.com.
  • Provide Tags [separated by commas]: Subject name, Play Name [lower case, headline style], Production Company, Location, Actors, Director or production staff if named or important, anything else you want
  • Provide Images and captions, including photographer credit.
  • Provide a 140-character (max) description which will appear as the meta description (on google search results), on the homepage, in the weekly Phindie newsletter, on Facebook, and such.

STYLE NOTES

Phindie uses Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam Webster with a few exceptions.

The title of the play under consideration is CAPITALIZED. Other play titles are italicized. This production of MACBETH was stronger than last season’s Hamlet because there were more fight scenes.

Theater is spelled theater except when a dumb theater company chooses to spell it theatre in their name like they’re in London or Paris or something: The Phindie Theatre Company is a really cool theater company.

Use logical punctuation in quotation style. Allow the meaning and structure of a sentence to determine the placement of a comma or period, rather than always putting punctuation inside quotation marks. That was true when he said “What a piece of work is man!” It was true from the first appearance of the ghost to “the rest is silence“, except for the bit when they found the skull. 

Use actor for male or female actors, avoid actress.

Refrain from making comments about an actor’s physical appearance unless crucial. Be especially mindful of this when talking about an actor of the opposite gender.

PAYMENT

Most reviews are unpaid or paid a small amount ($5-10) if agreed in advance or when funding permits. Interviews are unpaid. Features are paid up to $50 if approved by the editor. Paypal preferred.