Picture This Post Writers’ TRIAL BALLOON

All applicants to write reviews for Picture This Post first complete a TRIAL BALLOON review project. 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 a Picture This Post review writer.

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 be a film review –from a trusted source of high-quality films called OVID.tv. You do not have to subscribe to Ovid.tv, you will receive a screener link to watch the movie of your choice.

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



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

(Note: Since OVID.tv movies have no end date, there is ample time for the editing process, which sometimes involves going back and forth a few times between the writer and editor/s to align an initial draft with the Picture This Post guidelines.)

Most writers do not “pass” the trial balloon on their first try. Many writers also choose to complete multiple trial balloons to get a better sense of completing reviews in the Picture This Writing style within a shorter time period. Writers who have finished the trial balloon phase are expected to be able to complete reviews (that will require minimal edits) within 24 hours of an event.

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 (select) travel.  Both you and your editor/s will decide when you have “passed”.  After either passing orcompleting two- three trial balloons, you can also confer with the Editor in Chief to find assignments beyond OVID.tv that match your review turnaround time capabilities.

This is how it unfolds—

  1. You select the film for your trial balloon story.  Currently, we ask you to choose a film from OVID.tv (https://www.ovid.tv/ ).  Check that it hasn't already been reviewed by searching Picture This Post.  Send your request to editor@picturethispost.com.  (Please request ONE film only.)
  2. You will be cc'd on a letter saying you are assigned to review this film.  This is your first "assignment letter". You will get a private screener link for your trial balloon film selection.
  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, then you read all guidelines again before you watch your film, before you start writing your review, and then again before you send it in/ as you edit yourself.

(If you have not received additional guidelines on style guide RULES, communications protocols, and Film review specific guidelines, please write to picturethispostreviews@gmail.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. You will also gather screen captures of the film you are writing about to be used with your review. No worries if you don’t know how to do this—just tell the editor.

NB: Please do NOT embed these images in your story submission.  Rather, keep them as separate image files on your computer to bring to your first layout training session (see below.)

(Note: Gathering your own screen grabs for review images is specific to OVID.tv and is not typical or allowed for nearly all other review opportunities in Picture This Post.)

  1. Send your completed review to picturethispostreviews@gmail.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, please also send a headshot and bio to editor@picturethispost.com; reference the byline instructions included in your WELCOME PACKET email.

  1. Schedule yourself for 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.  (Write to editor@picturethispost.com to request a layout trainer and training videos.)

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.


  1. 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.

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 and OVID.tv films almost always worth a watch.

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.  OVID.tv films will continue to be available to you to review upon request.

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

You will begin to receive emails about potential review opportunities. Write to editor@picturethispost.com to convey which types of reviews you are most interested in pursuing.

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.






Share this:

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *