True-life stories seems to be the predominate theme among many of the 73 screenplays named to the 14th annual Black List.
The Black List is an annual polling of Hollywood production company and studio executives of the best currently unproduced screenplays they have read in the last twelve months. To be named onto the list, a script has to receive at least seven votes from the executives surveyed.
Heading The List is Frat Boy Genius, about Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel. The second highest vote-getter on the list, King Richard, examines the hard-nosed father of tennis phenoms Venus and Serena WIlliams, while number four on the list, Drudge, looks at the rise of internet muckraker Matt Drudge. Others who come under a microscope in various Black List scripts this year include Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife Wendi Deng, former Gawker editor A. J. Daulerio, Sally Ride, Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, Kobe Bryant and Vanilla Ice. There’s even one screenplay that features the high school years of actor Samuel L. Jackson.
Nearly a thousand screenplays have made it onto the Black List over the years, and of those, nearly 300 have actually been produced. That is a rather high percentage when compared to all the spec scripts currently being circulated by agents and sent to development executives’ offices in hopes of making a sale.
Some of the more notable films that started off on the Black List include Juno, Argo, Hell Or High Water, The Imitation Game, Michael Clayton, Spotlight, Whiplash, I, Tonya and The Revenant.The just opening Ruth Bader Ginsberg bio-pic On The Basis Of Sex was a member of the Black List’s class of 2014.
But what about those scripts that don’t make it into production? Some will fall victim to the development process, the way that so many screenplays do. And, well, some were probably never meant to get into production. Many of these stories are based on life rights that quite probably haven’t been purchased or would face some severe legal hurdles to get in front of cameras. But they do make for a great calling card, showing studio readers and development executives the writer has a command of structure, dialogue and style. They may not be able to make your script, but you can certainly write the project that they have been developing.
The Black List revealed this year’s selections via the short film below. The complete rundown can be found here.
— The Black List (@theblcklst) December 17, 2018