“Black List” used to be a phrase that struck fear into screenwriters. Mostly remembered for the Red Scare of 1947-1954, screenwriters who were accused of sympathizing with commies were put on the blacklist. Once McCarthy had you blacklisted, there was a very good chance you would never work again. Many on the list had to use fake names to get their scripts optioned. However, a company has changed the term into one of hope.
The Black List is a site that attracts hundred of producers to read potential scripts from around the world. Any writer can upload their own original script, for a small fee, be criticized by industry professionals and be read by potential buyers. Several big name scripts have been picked up through the site so far, including Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech.
According to Variety, TNT and TBS have teamed up with the Black List in hopes of finding potential TV pilots and web series. The site will provide the two channels with a list of the top five scripts in each genre. The writers of those scripts will be weighed for staffing consideration and blind script deals. Blind script deals are when producers hire a writer for an undecided project. They usually don’t have a project in mind yet, but are keeping the writer on the bench for one they know won’t be cancelled.
Readers may remember Amazon Studios getting attention for a similar process earlier 2013. Amazon, however, was looking for web series with a possibility of feature length scripts being submitted to producers. The Black List is dedicated to features, TV, and web series, garnering a reputation for finding struggling writers representation and work.