Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Back in 'Black'

The Black List is out, and you all should read it.

Compiled annually by Overbrook Entertainment exec Franklin Leonard, the Black List is a compendium of industry favorite scripts, voted on by over 290 industry reps and executives. Each nominator selects ten scripts; a script must be listed a minimum of five times to make the list. Scripts are then rated not by #1, 2, 3, etc., but rather, by the number of votes it received. For example, this year's top script "College Republicans," about young Karl Rove's first forays into election fixing and manipulation, scored 49. The list has become a selling tool for representatives as it can be instrumental in building heat around a writer as well as a representative.

In other words, making the list is kind of a big deal.

Used to be that the scripts on the Black List were overlooked or undiscovered gems, but as of late, many of them have actually been set up. Some are even already in production (a Black List rule is that a film cannot be released in thetears in the same year its nominated.) Included on this year's list are big 2010 spec sales like Jeff Bushell's comedy "Ricky Stanicky" and Dante Harper's manga-based sci-fi actioner "All You Need is Kill." But for writers whose script may have been well-liked but perhaps not gotten the traction it deserved, making the list represents a second chance.

So why should you guys be bothered? Well, of course, you should all be students of the biz. If you're trying to storm Hollywood, one needs to have battlefield intel. But most importantly, one can get a real feel for the types of material that excites the industry by reading the list. Sure, there are a couple of clunky premises on here that make you groan, which were no doubt saved by great execution. But there are also loglines on here which just 'zing.' For example:

DARK MOON, by Olatunde Osunsanmi --"Using found footage, the story speculates that manned moon missions did not stop with Apollo 17."

HYDE by Cole Haddon -- "An allegedly rehabilitated Dr. Jekyll is pulled out of prison to help hunt a new monster who seems to be using an improved version of the Hyde serum." And my personal favorite...

KITCHEN SINK --"A human teenager, a vampire and a zombie band together to save their town from an alien invasion."

So study the list well and make sure your story concepts have the same sparkle and Hollywood appeal (assuming that's what you're shooting for, of course.) Check out the Black List right here.

--Jim C.

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