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The Black List Launches Paid Service For All Screenwriters (Amateur Or Professional)

by Tambay A. Obenson
October 15, 2012 2:14 PM
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For the uninitiated... started in 2004, The Black List is an annual list of Hollywood's highest profile unproduced screenplays. Essentially, the most liked scripts each year that, for whatever reason, haven't yet been produced, compiled from the suggestions of over 300 film executives, each of whom contribute the names of up to ten of their favorite unproduced scripts.

Since its inception, dozens of screenplays that appeared on the list have been optioned, produced, and released, many successfully so. Two of the top three screenplays on the inaugural 2005 list - Juno & Lars And The Real Girl - went on to be nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2008 Academy Awards, with Juno, of course, winning the Oscar

And if you're a screenwriter, toda's news just might excite you.

LOS ANGELES (October 15, 2012) – The Black List founder Franklin Leonard and cofounder/CTO Dino Sijamic announced today the launch of a paid service that allows any screenwriter, amateur or professional, to upload their script to The Black List’s database. The script will be evaluated by professional script readers, and, depending on its evaluation(s), read by as many as 1,000 film industry professionals who are currently a part of the membership site.

Aspiring screenwriters will pay $25 a month to have their scripts hosted on The Black List’s website, accessible only by a closed community of Hollywood professionals. They can further pay $50 for evaluations by anonymous script readers hired by The Black List. Every read by industry professionals generated by those evaluations is entirely free. Moreover, The Black List will not claim a commission, finder’s fee, or producer credit on business generated by their service. “Writers retain all rights to sell and produce their work and are free to negotiate the best deal they can get. All we ask is an email letting us know of their success,” added Leonard.

“For years people have been asking me how to get their scripts to Hollywood. Short of endless rounds of unanswered query letters and screenplay competitions that may, in the best case scenario, attract the notice of a few people, I never had a good answer,” said Leonard. “We built this to provide one. It’s essentially a screenplay competition with rolling admission, as many prizes as there are good scripts, and instead of a check, you may be rewarded with a career as a professional screenwriter. But it’s also more than that: we’re delivering the best scripts directly to the hundreds of people who can help get them bought and made.” vLeonard and Sijamic claim to have “an ironclad ‘do no harm’ policy. A script’s evaluation will only be made public if a writer wishes to make it so. Moreover, the only time an industry professional’s attention will be drawn to a script is if it’s been evaluated positively or if our algorithm believes they personally will like it,” added Leonard.

Over 200 scripts that have appeared on the annual Black List of most liked unproduced scripts have been produced and released for the domestic market, making over $16B in worldwide box office and earning 148 Academy Award-nominations and 25 victories. This includes two of the last four best pictures (THE KING’S SPEECH and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) and five of the last 10 screenwriting Oscars (JUNO, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, THE KING’S SPEECH, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and THE DESCENDANTS.

The Black List began as a survey of several dozen executives’ favorite unproduced scripts. The 2011 edition surveyed over 300 executives, which comprise over 60% of Hollywood’s studio system corps.

I posted this about a month ago; but here it is again, if you missed it - Leonard talking about identifying good scripts, and specifically, how the black list came about; and if you'd like to take a look at past lists, click HERE:

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  • JMac | October 19, 2012 10:58 PMReply

    In case no one follows his twitter account, Leonard has been answering questions about the Black List in general and this new screenwriter's venture on the done deal pro forums. The thread is still up and available if anyone wants to read his past answers or ask him new questions / air out your concerns.

  • Akimbo | October 17, 2012 9:23 PMReply

    "Paid service for screenwriters" sounds a lot like "money-maker for creators." Writers are supposed to pay $25 a month for their script to just sit there and hope someone important stumbles upon and loves it? Writers can pay $50 extra for their script to be evaluated, & they later say that only the scripts with good/appropriate evaluations will be directed to certain industry folk...does that mean scripts only get read if you pay extra? Hmm...

  • Charles Judson | October 16, 2012 9:57 AMReply

    Here's a video with Franklin Leonard talking about Black List 3.0:

  • Adam Scott Thompson | October 16, 2012 8:54 AMReply

    Step 1: Offer them a script they can't refuse.

  • Peggy | October 16, 2012 6:07 AMReply

    I was wondering what this was when I got the email from them yesterday. It's like Ink Tip and sort of like Amazon studios. It does have better cred. I will consider it.

  • JMac | October 15, 2012 10:22 PMReply

    Doesn't sound much different than what is already out there - except the Black List has more credibility and a better reputation. It could turn into a solely moneymaking script "evaluation" mill pretty quick, though esp. with the amount of scripts it's bound to get. Good luck to him.

  • urbanauteur | October 15, 2012 4:20 PMReply

    Wow...a [kickstarter] for screenwriters...;-)

  • Reece | October 15, 2012 4:15 PMReply

    If nothing more its an excellent way to get feedback on a script. I would do it.

  • other song | October 15, 2012 3:21 PMReply

    hmmmm... dunno how I feel about this. An interesting business model, though. Has anyone done this kind of thing before? monthly subscription for screenwriting hopefuls to get their scripts in the hands of those who matter?

  • VC | October 15, 2012 2:56 PMReply

    this "should be" a very good thing

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