I remember walking in the agency one morning last December with my friend Nate, a fellow feature lit assistant. "I'm so excited," he said, bounding up the concrete steps, messenger bag full of scripts slung across his crisp shirt and tie. "It's Black List Day!"
From the official site: The Black List is a snapshot of the collective taste of the people who develop, produce, and release theatrical feature films in the Hollywood studio system and the mainstream independent system.
An annual list of Hollywood's most liked unproduced screenplays published on the second Friday of December each year, The Black List began in 2004 as a survey with contributions from 75 film studio and production company executives. In 2008, over 250 executives contributed their opinions.
Since its inception, dozens of screenplays that appeared on the list have been optioned, produced, and released, many to great commercial success. Two of the top three screenplays on the inaugural 2005 list - JUNO by Diablo Cody and LARS AND THE REAL GIRL by Nancy Oliver - went on to be nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2008 Academy Awards, with JUNO winning the Oscar.
It's no wonder that The Black List has spurred plenty of other lists, like The Brit List (writers from the UK), The Brown List (scary executives) and The Blood List (horror writers). I'm still waiting for an enterprising TV assistant to create a version to recognize beloved unproduced pilots.
But the Black List is the original and most widely known. Even though it's industry-specific, the legend of the List reached the mainstream last year with Entertainment Weekly's feature about creator Franklin Leonard. He's excited to announce that his famous Black List has some new features this time around:
1. The Mailing List - There will be some BIG announcements about The Black List's evolution coming in 2010, stuff that non-industry execs are going to be interested in. By signing up for the mailing list, you'll get all of that information - and other general Black List info - first.
2. The Black List Blog - A one stop shop for new Black List info and past Black List scripts. (Get reading!)
3. Cover Art Submissions - The Black List is exploring not designing their own cover this year, and have opened up submissions for cover design to anyone who'd like to submit. So if you've got an inner graphic designer, have at it! There's no prize money or anything, but your work would get seen by most of Hollywood.