My take on the Black List

The Black List was released today.  That’s a list of the hottest unproduced screenplays floating around Hollywood; ironically, a lot of them are in the process of being produced.

The more a script is mentioned, the higher it’s ranked.  This year’s leader, COLLEGE REPUBLICANS, got 49 mentions.  I think JUNO was a high-ranking script a few years ago. (The script may have been popular, but I still say the movie sucked)

A friend downloaded EVERY SCRIPT from this year’s list and asked if I wanted the whole thing.  I had to look at the list first.  It’s 42MB, so not all of it.  I decided to cherry-pick which ones looked interesting to me.  Basically, all you’re working with is the title, the logline and the writer’s name.

I narrowed it down to 11, including GANGSTER SQUAD, about the LAPD vs the Mafia in the 40s, THE 13th man, where a WWII-era codebreaker discovers a secret code being sent through comic books, and ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, which is based on the book.

What was very interesting while reading the descriptions of each script was the range of subjects.  Honestly, some of them sound just flat-out boring.  Haven’t we seen enough stories about aging hitmen, criminals out for one last score, women who will do anything to get their Mr Right, zombies, and other tired cliches?  However, a refreshing counter-argument to that last one is BOY SCOUTS VS ZOMBIES.

What a shame Hollywood is so afraid of originality (and writers who are good at it).

Writers are constantly being told to be original and come up with something new.  Then when they do and achieve success with it, it’s changed so drastically that everything that was cool and unique about it has been removed.  And then the moviegoing public complains about the same old dreck.

One of my guidelines for my scripts is “write something I would want to see.”  If the concept works, then the next step is making sure the story works.  That’s key.  If it doesn’t, then it’s a lost cause. It’s easy to make a bad movie from a good script (happens all the time), but you can’t make a good movie from the bad script.

While it would be nice to make it to the list, it’s more important to me the story works.

THEN they can heap praise and shitloads of money upon me.

2 thoughts on “My take on the Black List

  1. That happened with the Robin Hood movie: Originally it was called Nottingham, and it was told from the Sheriff’s POV. Hey, there’s a unique angle, right? Well, not after Ridley Scott was through with it. I like Ridley Scott, but I didn’t really think we needed yet another Robin Hood film.

  2. Exactly. Why produce the script if it’s nothing new or original? Just because Russell Crowe is in it doesn’t mean it’s going to be a hit. CINDERELLA MAN, anyone?

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