Monday, December 13, 2010

Hollywood Blacklist 2010

The 2010 Hollywood Black List - a compilation of 290 executives' favorite scripts of the year, which will not be in theaters in 2011 - has just been released. You can peruse the entire list here, at Deadline Hollywood.

If you've been following sales at all, a lot of these titles will probably look pretty familiar to you. Most of these have sold a while ago and, consequently, already have production companies attached to them. Like most independent film festivals, which were once intended to showcase work by new and emerging talent (but have since grown to be the release venues for A-list talent's next films), the Black List is no longer home to predominantly un-sold material by new writers. (Not to assume that it was, but in earlier years, many of the titles featured on the prestigious list had yet to attract buyers.) Now, the list is predominantly scripts that simply haven't been put into production yet, or are, but will not premiere on screens in 2011. In fact, excluding the scripts that only received five votes apiece - and there are a lot of those - you can count on one hand the projects which do not currently have a production company attached to them.

For those of us trying to break in, the list can be a mixed blessing. For one, I strongly suggest taking a look at it and reading all the loglines closely, so as to familiarize yourself with what's selling these days. These were the hot scripts of 2010. This is what the market wants. You'll start to see some patterns or similarities emerge pretty quickly in this list. No surprise there. On the other hand, since many of the ideas are reimaginings of tried and true formats, and fairly vague in logline format, you might find that your idea is up on that list. It's unfortunate, but that can happen a lot. The key to winding up on the list next year is to do your own take on something, not to mimic it entirely. While what's selling today might not be selling tomorrow, chances are rival companies are going to want to jump on the bandwagon - at least for a little bit - so you might see a market opening. Take it, if you can.

Also of note, and probably pretty obvious once you think about it, is the fact that all of these scripts have representation. This makes sense, since this list is compiled from votes by executives. For the most part, the only way to reach those people is through agents and managers. Don't be discouraged if you don't have representation yet. Just keep querying and trying to get someone to read your script. Hopefully, you'll name will be on the list next year!

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