Picture This Post Writers’ TRIAL BALLOON

All applicants to write reviews for Picture This Post first complete a TRIAL BALLOON review-- or several (see below). The goal is to orient you to our unique PICTURE THIS writing style, our editing process, and what to expect in more detail when you become an official Picture This Post review writer.

Your trial balloon  review IS a real story and WILL be published after the editing process.

Picture This Post uses a very description-rich writing style that aims to give readers a vivid mental picture of the film, play, festival, performance, etc. being reviewed. It is unlike traditional arts criticism.  Once mastered, Picture This Post Review Writers’ Guidelines allow you to convey Point-of-View without making a story about you, but instead keeping the focus on the work you are reviewing.

Please read this introductory chapter to the Picture This Post writers' guidelines--- “About Picture This Post For Writers”.

Your trial balloon story will either be a film, album (recorded music), or podcast review.  You will choose which film, album or podcast from our repository of review opportunities.  You do NOT need to subscribe to a film or music etc source-- links to the work you are reviewing will be provided to you.

For example—click a picture in one of these roundup stories to read a review –



The trial balloon is designed to relieve new writers (and their editors) of the acute deadline pressure of 24 hour turnaround required for many Picture This Post stories. There is a trial balloon deadline of within one week from receipt of your film/album/podcast link to complete your review. Please do not initiate your trial balloon review unless you can see your way clear to meeting this deadline.

Writers who have finished and passed the trial balloon phase are expected to be able to complete reviews (that will require minimal edits) within 24 hours of an event. YOU are the MAIN judge of whether you can do that yet. You may opt to continue doing trial balloon reviews to avoid any deadline pressures -- FOREVER!

Most writers do not “pass” the trial balloon on their first try. Again, YOU are the main judge.  Do you feel comfortable committing to being able to write a review within 24 hours-- or do you want to keep practicing with no deadline pressure??

Writers who have “passed” the trial balloon are able to choose any type review opportunity from our review opportunity pool – music, dance, theater, art, museums, films, books, and eventually (select) travel.

This is how it unfolds—

  1. You find a film, album or podcast that is best match to your interests.  Usually, for your first review you do this in a zoom with the Editor In Chief.   Later, you learn to use our automated assignment system to find the universe of review potentials.
  2. You will be cc'd on a letter to a PR person representing that film/album saying you are assigned to review this film, album or podcast.  This is your first "assignment letter". You will get a link from the PR person and then your week  deadline clock starts ticking.
  3. You will receive MANY more specific guidelines and write-ups on rules that need to be followed in every review.   You are asked to read ALL of these guidelines upon receipt and that you send any question on terms to the editor in chief,.

TIP: Read the guidelines repeatedly.  EG If you are reviewing a film read them again before you watch the film and then again before you start writing your review. Read them again after you have completed your review when you act as your first editor.

(If you have not received additional guidelines on style guide RULES, communications protocols, and Film review specific guidelines, please write to editor@picturethispost.com

4. At the same time, you are asked to begin reading all the new stories in the magazine every day—a practice you are asked to continue once you are an official writer.  You will be asked to comment on each story using automation we've created for this purpose--- just for writers and other staff members.  Your trainer/s will ask you to comment on one or another aspect of each story-- with an eye towards making the guidelines clearer for you.

5. Send your completed review to picturethispostreviews@gmail.com (CC: editor@picturethispost.com) with the subject line “Name OF STORY by (Your Name) for edits/approval”. Make the file name Trial Balloon NAME OF STORY Your Name v1.

Note: When you send in your trial balloon to picturethispostreviews@gmail.com (CC: editor@picturethispost.com please also send a headshot and bio to editor@picturethispost.com; reference the byline instructions included in your WELCOME PACKET email.

6.  Write to editor@picturethispost.com to request a review layout training session/s as soon as you have received an approved “… FINAL WITH MARKUP” edit of your story. Please advise your trainer that you will be bringing your story to the training session.

Note:  All writers do their own story layouts or arrange to not do so ahead of time with the Editor in Chief (editor@picturethispost.com).  We suggest you do not assume that doing layouts isn’t in your writer wheelhouse, as the lion’s share of writers and editors keenly enjoy this aspect of contributing to Picture This Post.


7.  You will also be responsible for writing the social media post language and forwarding to the social media team member who will use our social media automation to create your posts on the Picture This Post social media pages.  If you do not have those guidelines on how to draft post language write to editor@picturethispost.com.

After the trial balloon–

To repeat– you pass the trial balloon phase when you announce that you feel comfortable with the PICTURE THIS writing style, and concomitantly, when your editor determines that your first draft of a review can be edited into final form without any back/forth.  Many writers have done multiple trial balloons, with very few writers dropping out as they find these training exercises to be worthwhile.

Note: the completion of the trial balloon qualifies you to write for any/all sections of the magazine: art; dance; music; theater; books; museums; film.

You NEVER just post a story on Picture This Post magazine. Rather you always submit your stories to picturethispostreviews@gmail.com.

You will also receive email forwards of press releases asking you to upload the event to the Picture This Post Readers’ Calendar. This is a shared responsibility of all Picture This Post writers/editors and is also a way that the editorial team can give you “first dibs” on review opportunities that they think are best match for your interests.

(For video instructions on how to upload events and review opportunities to the Picture This Post Readers’ Calendar see the Picture This Post YouTube Channel Playlist- Readers’ Calendar.)

If an editor recommends a specific review to you, the automation will allow you to click yes or no.  You never are asked to do a review on any topic that you are not interested in. You will always receive an assignment letter confirming that you have the gig; you never submit an unsolicited review.

Once you are an official Picture This Post writer you are not expected to write reviews on any schedule.  You only sign on to review events etc. that you are interested in. Some writers pen reviews as often as five+ times a week; some writers might only do five reviews a year.

Please contact editor@picturethispost.com with any questions about the Picture This Post Trial Balloons.






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