The Black List is here! I wish I could write some big fancy opening but I’m busy looking at multi-million dollar houses in the hills I’m going to buy once I win the California Mega-Lottery tonight. So here are the script loglines and my thoughts on each! What do you guys think? Too much cancer?
HOLLAND, MICHIGAN by Andrew Sodroski
Logline: When a traditional Midwestern woman suspects her husband of infidelity, an amateur investigation unravels.
Thoughts: This script is being directed by Errol Morris. This is his first feature. He’s done a bunch of documentaries and is quite simply one of the best documentarians around. If you haven’t seen his old doc, The Thin Blue Line, go rent it. It’s an artistic approach to what’s traditionally a very nuts & bolts style of filmmaking. As for Andrew Sodroski, I can’t say I’ve ever heard of him before. I believe this is his breakthrough screenplay. Good job, Andrew!
SECTION 6 by Aaron Berg
Logline: An exploration of the formation of Great Britain’s secret intelligence agency, Military Intelligence, Section 6, known as MI6.
Thoughts: The big spec sale of the year. I’ve read the first 15 pages of this script and found it to be very thick and hard to get through. Admittedly, it’s not my type of material, so I decided not to read the rest. The producers went on a campaign to get this script out of the public by getting all script links erased across the web. Which I think backfired. The harder something is to find, the more people want it, so the more people were trading it. So it’s definitely out there. Personally, I think this is a concept sell. Someone really really wanted to make a movie about the formation of MI6. Not a bad idea. Spy scripts sell!
FRISCO by Simon Stephenson
Logline: A forty-something pediatric allergist, who specializes in hazelnut and is facing a divorce, learns lessons in living from a wise-beyond-her-years terminally ill 15-year-old patient when she crashes his weekend trip to a conference in San Francisco.
Thoughts: I love the description of the main character (pediatric allergist). Never seen that character before in a script. But the “wise-beyond-her-years” terminally ill 15 year old?? Nooooooo. I see so many of these. That being said, these scripts are so execution-dependent that it could go either way.
A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness
Logline: An adolescent boy with a terminally ill single mother begins having visions of a tree monster, who tells him the truths about life in the form of three stories, helping him to eventually cope with his emotions over his dying mom.
Thoughts: Ahhh, another dying person. Gotta admit, I’m not a huge fan of “dying people” scripts. There’s this overarching tone of depression that makes the read a slog, even if it’s “good.” But this sounds inventive and a little different at least. Ness is a novelist whose book series “Chaos Walking,” is in development to become a film.
THE SPECIAL PROGRAM by Debora Cahn
Logline: The true story of Jack Goldsmith, a young attorney who took charge of the White House’s Office of Legal Counsel, then courageously took on Vice President Cheney and his powerful inner circle when he discovered they were running a number of illegal activities through their so-called “Special Program”.
Thoughts: I’m still convinced that the main execs The Black List sends its voting list to work at a production company that operates out of the White House because there’s always one or two of these political scripts in the top 5, then you never hear from them again (seriously, who goes to watch political movies?). Let’s hope Debora’s script breaks that yucky streak.
HOT SUMMER NIGHTS by Elijah Bynum
Logline: A teenager’s life spirals out of control when he befriends the town’s rebel, falls in love, and gets entangled in selling drugs over one summer in Cape Cod.
Thoughts: These coming-of-age scripts all depend on voice. Because they’re so common, you have to differentiate yourself somehow. And when you think about it, this is the ideal genre to exhibit your voice, since coming-of-age movies are almost always autobiographical. Elijah looks like a first timer so he could very well be the new voice a script like this needs.
by Geoff Tock and Greg Weidman
Logline: A man goes to space to destroy the ship that, upon going sentient, killed his wife.
Thoughts: Well it’s a highly ranked science fiction script on the Black List so, duh, I’m going to read it, but this logline doesn’t tell us much. I don’t know what a ship going sentient means. I think these two wrote an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles together, but it may have only been Weidman. Either way, another set of newcomers, which there seem to be a lot of on this list. Which is great!
SHOVEL BUDDIES by Jason Mark Hellerman
Logline: Over 24 hours, four teenage friends try to complete the “Shovel List” (a will/bucket list) left for them by their best friend before he died of Leukemia.
Thoughts: More cancer! More dying! Actually, at least this cancer dude’s already dead. I like the idea of shifting the “Bucket List” idea to kids. And I like the tight time frame (implies the story’s going to move – very spec-friendly). But it’s hard to sell death to audiences. Nobody likes to be depressed!
POX AMERICANA by Frank John Hughes
Logline: In the Old West, a group of soldiers go on a mission to slaughter a peaceful tribe in retaliation for another tribe’s attack on a white settlement, only to suffer at the hands of a devastating disease.
Thoughts: Mmmm, suffering at the hands of a disease. That sounds uplifting. Takes a good writer to keep that slow build of a Western interesting enough to keep the Twitter-raised reader of today interested. Frank John Hughes is actually an actor who’s been in a TON of stuff (including Catch Me If You Can and Bad Boys).
by Lisa Joy Nolan
Logline: An “archeologist” whose technology allows you to relive your past finds himself abusing his own science to find the missing love of his life.
Thoughts: This was a huge sale that was read by everybody (which is probably why it made the list – pure numbers) but probably the more interesting story is that it was written by Jonathan Nolan’s wife, who will always be dogged by the assumption that it was sold due to nepotism. I haven’t read the script myself yet but the few people I’ve talked to who have didn’t have very nice things to say about it. With that said, kudos to her for sending it out without the “Nolan” name on it.
by Evan Parter
Logline: With America’s first viable independent Presidential Candidate poised for victory, an idealistic young journalist uncovers a conspiracy, which places the fate of the election, and the country, in his hands.
Thoughts: Okay okay. This sounds a little different. I like the idea of an independent president winning the election (something we probably need). That’s all I ask. If you’re going to write about something we’ve seen before, find a new angle. That earlier political logline felt “been there done that.” This feels fresh and new.
BEAST by Zach Dean
Logline: With the hope of starting over, a reformed criminal with an ultra-violent past returns home, but when he finds his own family leading his teenaged son down the same path of destruction, he will stop at nothing to save his child.
Thoughts: Don’t know much about Zach Dean but he seems to like these gritty crime pieces. His lone credit, Deadfall (starring Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde) is a gritty film about a casino heist. Again, the less high concept your idea is, the more execution-dependent it becomes. So we’ll only know if this thing’s any good when we read it.
THE GOLDEN RECORD
by Aaron and Jordan Kandell
Logline: The true story of how Carl Sagan fell in love while leading the wildest mission in NASA history: a golden record to encapsulate the experience of life on earth for advanced extraterrestrial life.
Thoughts: I am an unabashed fan of Contact, and I’ve always been intrigued by this idea of humanity creating a gold record to explain who we are to others. This could be schmaltzy and melodramatic if done wrong, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to read it. Could be awesome if this sibling writing team pulls it off.
FAULTS by Riley Stearns
Logline: An expert on cults is hired by a mother and father to kidnap and deprogram their brainwashed daughter. He soon begins to suspect the parents may be more destructive than the cult he’s been hired to save her from.
Thoughts: I love this idea! I love cults. They’re fucking freaky! And I always love when a script turns and doesn’t do the obvious thing (the parents being worse than the cult). Will be reading this one for sure!
by Jack Stanley
Logline: A young hitwoman tries to escape the business but finds herself in more danger after a high school reunion and a one-night stand.
Thoughts: It drives me nuts they don’t provide genres for these. I’m guessing this is a comedy, which would make it a re-imagining of Grosse Pointe Black, with a female lead? That is an easy way to get noticed. Take a movie that worked before and change the gender of the main character. Go ahead, try it!
SUPERBRAT by Eric Slovin and Leo Allen
Logline: Temperamental tennis champion John McEnroe is sucked into a dangerous and ludicrous law enforcement sting during Wimbledon in 1980.
Thoughts: When I was a kid, tennis was my life. I’ve been dying for someone to write a good tennis script ever since I got to LA. That time may finally have come. And I love how it’s not an obvious premise. It sounds bizarre and very un-tennis-like, which is an advantage because I think tennis is boring to the lay-person. YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! I am all over this.
DOGFIGHT by Nicole Riegel
Logline: A 15-year-old boy discovers that his kidnapped older brother has been living in a hidden, meth-producing compound, and infiltrates the camp in hopes of helping his brother escape.
Thoughts: Yeah baby. Breaking Bad meets high school! And yet another new voice! Haven’t heard of Nicole before.
by Rachel Long and Brian Pittman
Logline: After an American doctor has his identity stolen by a covert operative, he must assume the dangerous mission of the one who stole it in order to clear his name.
Thoughts: Gotta admit, this one sounds a little “been there done that.” Hope it’s got some juicy offbeat choices inside. Probably won’t seek this out unless someone I know tells me it’s good. These two wrote a movie for director Rob Cohen called 1950 about an American in Korea that was supposed to be the biggest movie ever shot in Korea. That was in 2011 though and I don’t know where the project stands.
BURN SITE by Doug Simon
Logline: After a young teenage girl is murdered, her stepfather falls back on his dark and violent past to find her killer.
Thoughts: Okay, a little revenge title here. Sounds a bit generic but maybe they’re holding back the details. Remember that it isn’t the writers writing these loglines for the Black List (how could they? They don’t even know they’re on the list until it comes out). The agents or managers are often asked for loglines ahead of time, and they might not be so great at writing them.
QUEEN OF HEARTS
by Stephanie Shannon
Logline: Inspired by true events, this is the story of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” author Lewis Carroll (aka Charles L. Dodgson) and how his relationship with the real Alice Liddell and her family may have inspired one of the world’s most beloved pieces of children’s literature.
Thoughts: While typically not my thing, these scripts play like gangbusters on the Black List. Write about a famous author growing up and producers gravitate to your script like bees to honey. The Muppet Man, Seuss, A Boy And His Tiger (below). This may be the secret sauce that guarantees a Black List spot! Oh, Stephanie Shannon also won the Nicholl Fellowship with this script.
BROKEN COVE by Declan O’Dwyer
Logline: After his brother is found brutally murdered, a man hellbent on revenge returns to his decrepit Irish fishing village home armed only with a mysterious list of names his brother left behind.
Thoughts: Another revenge movie! Although this one sounds a lot less generic. The setting feels different, and the “list of names” adds a mystery box element to the idea. Great news for those of you living outside the states. Declan doesn’t live in the U.S! (see, it can be done).
GAY KID AND FAT CHICK
by Bo Burnham
Logline: Two high school misfits become costumed vigilantes and take out their frustrations on the students who have bullied them throughout high school.
Thoughts: Uhhhh, this is easily the best title on the list (assuming you have a sense of humor). It’s a great reminder that you have to force someone to want to pick up your script amongst the others in the pile. Coming up with a clever or controversial title is an easy way to do that.
1969: A SPACE ODYSSEY OR HOW KUBRICK LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LAND ON THE MOON by Stephany Folsom
Logline: With NASA’s Apollo program in trouble and the Soviets threatening nuclear war, a female PR operative conspires with NASA’s Public Affairs Office to stage a fake moon landing in case Armstrong and Aldren fail, the goal being to generate public excitement that will aid the U.S. in winning the Cold War. But the op is faced with the biggest challenge of all: Filming the fake lunar landing with temperamental Stanley Kubrick.
Thoughts: This sounds like it could be awesome. At least for nerds. Imagine how much fun you could have with Stanley Kubrick as one of your characters. This is obviously playing off the surprise success of Argo. And this one sounds like it could be more fun. Folsom is another new writer on the scene. She’s got a tiny TV show to her name (Ds2dio 360) but that’s it.
AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE
by Richard Naing and Ian Goldberg
Logline: A father/son mortician team try to uncover the cause of death on a Jane Doe. The more they uncover, the more mysterious and terrifying their world becomes.
Thoughts: Okay, so obviously they don’t want to give too much away here. This could be a thriller or a straight-up horror. Hard to tell. But it sounds good. Making ends meet, co-writer Richard Naing produces the reality show “Behind The Mask” about the people behind sports mascots.
THE MAYOR OF SHARK CITY
by Nick Creature and Michael Sweeney
Logline: When a difficult film shoot spirals hopelessly out of control into a living nightmare, an ambitious young director must face his greatest fears to turn a troubled production into the biggest movie of all time. Set on Martha’s Vineyard during the summer of 1974, this is the untold story of the making of Jaws.
Thoughts: One of two scripts about the making of Jaws. I know Grendl is going to be all over this!
WHERE ANGELS DIE
by Alexander Felix
Logline: A street-tough, white social worker in the slums of Detroit acts on a dangerous and violent personal vendetta when he protects a young girl and her mother from her recently incarcerated, AIDS-infected boyfriend, after he abruptly massacres a seedy strip club in a rage.
Thoughts: For those unaware, we discovered Mr. Felix right here on Scriptshadow on an Amateur Friday review! I LOVED it and put it in my Top 10. Alex went on to be managed by Energy, got agents at CAA. He got over 60 general meetings from the script and is up for some big assignments around town. Alex and I have been meeting every week or so and he’s keeping me up to date on what he can. The script was primed to be made before, but now that it’s on the Black List, I’m predicting really good things. Congrats Alex Felix!
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
by Alexis C. Jolly
Logline: Set in 1950s Manhattan, Fred Rogers journeys from a naive young man working for NBC to the host of the beloved children’s TV show, Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Thoughts: Another biopic. Another no thank you. Another WAIT, I TAKE THAT BACK! Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?? I’m in! However, these scripts only tend to work if the real life persona is the exact opposite of the TV persona. I’m not getting that sense here so I guess it’ll come down to if Fred Rogers led an interesting life. And who better to write Mr. Rogers than someone named “Jolly!”
INK AND BONE
by Zak Olkewicz
Logline: When a female book editor visits the home of a horror writer so he can complete his novel, she finds that all of his creations are holding him hostage.
Thoughts: I reviewed this on my newsletter awhile back. I think it’s a strong marketable idea – very Stephen King’ish – but the execution needs some work. It was too muddied in the middle. But I’ll props to Zak, some of the creatures were terrifying.
THE BOY AND HIS TIGER by Dan Dollar
Logline: The true story of Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes.
Thoughts: “Dan Dollar?” you might be saying. “I recognize that name.” Yeah, Dan’s contributed plenty of times to the Comments Section of Scriptshadow. A big congratulations to him. Another reminder that with hard work and great writing, you can make it. Dan’s proof that it happens.
THE KILLING FLOOR
by Bac Delorme and Stephen Clarke
Logline: A war veteran slaughterhouse worker and his friend discover a small fortune in heroin hidden inside a processed cow and maneuver to hold onto their find and cash out to save his grandfather’s house as the bad guys come looking for their wayward stash.
Thoughts: Whoa! This logline’s a mouthful. Co-writer Bac Delorme is a longtime assistant director. You’re probably seen a ton of his movies. While the logline’s thrown me for a loop, I trust this one because it’s repped by David Karp at WME, who’s got some of the best taste in town.
I’M PROUD OF YOU by Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman Blue
Logline: Based on Tim Madigan’s autobiographical novel of the same name. A journalist looking for a story about television’s role in the Columbine tragedy interviews TV’s Mr Rogers and, as a friendship develops between the two, he finds himself confronting his own issues at home.
Thoughts: This is just too weird. Two Mr. Rogers scripts in the same Black List? This is why I’m never surprised when someone comes to me with the same obscure logline as someone else. There’s something in the air with people. We’re all feeding off the same media cycle. We’re programmed to think alike. Which explains how there’s never been a Mr. Rogers script in history and then this year there’s 2 big ones.
by Christina Hodson
Logline: After suffering a devastating miscarriage, a young woman and her fiance travel to Italy where she meets his family for the first time, but her grief turns to shock when the local doctor declares that she’s still pregnant. And while her fiance and his family seem delighted by the news, she begins to suspect their true motives are quiet sinister.
Thoughts: I really liked Hodson’s entry on last year’s Black List, Shut In, about A woman who takes care of her comatose teenaged son at home then starts getting visits from the ghost of a runaway boy. It totally kept you guessing. So I can only imagine this one’s going to be just as good.
THE COMPANY MAN
by Andrew Cypiot
Logline: Based on true events. CIA agent Edwin Wilson went behind enemy lines to secure weapons contracts and report information back to the CIA shortly after the Cold War. He had a meteoric rise until company policies changed and he was unceremoniously fired, but he continued to operate as a man without a country and became public enemy number one in the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Thoughts: Hmm, isn’t this the same thing as the NBC show “The Black List (ironically enough)?” I guess it’s based on a true story though. And people love spies! Why don’t I like spies? They’re inherently cool but I can’t seem to get into them. What’s crazy about this entry is that Cypiot only has one credit to his name, and it’s from 15 years ago on a TV movie! Way to stick with it, Andrew!
THE SHARK IS NOT WORKING
by Richard Cordiner
Logline: When his big break finally arrives, an idealistic young movie director, Steven Spielberg, risks failing to complete the movie Jaws when his 25-foot mechanical shark stops working.
Thoughts: Richard is a very talented writer who I actually gave notes to on this script a year ago. He’s got another cool script as well that producers should ask him about (which I don’t think I’m allowed to mention). I remember when I read this, Richard told me “This is my passion project.” And you could tell. That passion was on the page. Congrats, Richard!
THE CROWN by Max Hurwitz
Logline: In exchange for a lighter prison sentence, a young hacker goes undercover for the FBI in a sting operation to find and steal a super computer virus with the help of a team of unsuspecting hackers.
Thoughts: Max is another young writer/director who’s worked on some small TV shows. There isn’t too much to go on with this logline (it sounds a mite familiar) but I’ll be the first to congratulate him if it turns out great.
by Shea and Evan Mirzai
Logline: While on a road trip to Mexico, two best friends are forced to enter a thousand-mile death race with no rules.
Thoughts: I love this concept! Death Race meets Cannonball Run. This could be awesome.
RANDLE IS BENIGN
by Damien Ober
Logline: Follows a woman in the ’80s who works at an IBM-like company and is at the forefront of national intelligence research. When her project (named RANDLE) hits a major milestone indicating that she may have actually achieved AI, it is unexpectedly hijacked by the agenda of the company’s mysterious CEO. As she dives deeper into the corporate agenda, she learns that there may be a connection between her project and the 1981 assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.
Thoughts: I thought for a second I’d stumbled on to the script itself! Big logline! This is a tough one. I kind of like it but there’s something “light” about inspecting an almost-assassination. Unless we get the tragedy of the assassination itself (JFK), do we really care?
by Jonathan Stokes
Logline: A conductor investigates the great composer’s seemingly unnatural death and unlocks the mysteries of the man himself while preparing to debut Tchaikovsky’s final symphony.
Thoughts: Stokes has been working hard, writing small feature films here and there. But nothing had that break-out appeal. This is a strong concept though. It’s got weight.
LINE OF DUTY by Cory Miller
Logline: Macbeth meets The Departed in the modern retelling of Shakespeare’s play, focusing on the tragic rise and fall of NYPD officer Sean Stewart, a heroic narcotics detective pushed to the dark side of police corruption by his scheming wife and a well-timed prophecy.
Thoughts: Cory Miller was a former investigator on the NYPD Internal Affairs unit, so you know he’s going to bring some authenticity to this. He graduated from UCLA with a degree in writing and directing.
by Josh Simon
Logline: After the death of Princess Diana, a reluctant investigator is hired to ascertain whether her death was premeditated. And in the process, he begins to uncover a conspiracy that compromises his own safely.
Thoughts: This was a really big sale earlier in the year. I read the script though and was kind of disappointed. It’s really sad. It’s basically about this father (of Princess Diana’s boyfriend, also killed in the crash) who can’t let go of the fact that his son died in an accident, so he has to create a conspiracy in order to cope. Not bad but it’s not what you expect.
by Ian Shorr
Logline: A young man’s life is turned upside down when he mysteriously begins to receive metallic capsules containing messages from his future self.
Thoughts: A bit familiar but this idea can work when done well. Ian Shorr made the Black List last year too!
by Jake Morse and Scott Wolman
Logline: An R-rated talking car from the ’80s is brought back into service and teamed up with the son of his former partner, a befuddled cop looking to earn his stripes. Management: Kaplan/Perrone Manager: Josh Goldenberg Producer: Hurwitz & Schlossberg Productions
Thoughts: This sounds really funny. Knight Rider meets Beverly Hills Cop?
by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy
Logline: The true-life account of the Boston Globe’s breaking of the Catholic priest scandal in 2003.
Thoughts: Gotta say, this sounds a little bit snore-worthy. Isn’t the Catholic priest thing old news by now?
by Spenser Cohen
Logline: A man must do everything he can to save his family from an alien invasion.
Thoughts: This comes from the young writing-producing team of Spenser Cohen (who also directs) and Anna Halberg. These two are a couple of the smartest up-and-comers I’ve met in town. Mark my words. At some point they’ll have the next Bad Robot!
by Hernany Perla
Logline: A prison psychiatrist meets a death row inmate on the verge of his execution who claims to be the only thing stopping the end of the world. As she begins to investigate his predictions, she finds them to be eerily accurate, and that she may be a central figure in the events to come.
Thoughts: Okay, we’re getting into some high concept ideas finally. This sounds good. Love the conflict inherent in the logline (something needs to break). Hernany produced the fun horror comedy, “Ghost Team One,” and was a supervising producer on Ah-nold’s “The Last Stand.” He’s also been on a lot of sets as a crew member. So he’s had some Hollywood experience.
by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis
Logline: After his girlfriend dies in a car accident, a man finds his true soulmate, only to wake from a coma to learn his perfect life was just a dream — one he is determined to make real.
Thoughts: Yet ANOTHER high concept. Nice. We’re on a roll here. These are the kinds of scripts writers need to be writing to get noticed. It seems like these two made it to the second round of the Austin screenplay competition with another script, Between, but didn’t advance.
by Ryan Belenzon and Jeffrey Gelber
Logline: What if a world woke up tomorrow to scientific proof of the afterlife?
Thoughts: Okay readers, don’t get your panties in a bunch. Obviously, this isn’t a logline. It’s more of a “teaser,” and I’m guessing the writer didn’t write it. But either way, it’s another high concept idea that has a lot of potential. I’d give it ten pages!
by Matthew Bass and Theodore Bressman
Logline: A disgraced governor and his underachieving accomplice go on the run from the FBI, U.S. Marshals and a gang of hardened drug dealers.
Thoughts: This is that really big sale from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s assistants that made big waves a month ago. Another idea that sounds pretty bland on paper. But if the writers are funny, that may not matter. I’m curious if these guys have the goods or if they just got Seth Rogen really high and tricked him into writing a check.
by Jason Dean Hall
Logline: Based on Chris Kyle’s autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. Military History.
Thoughts: This is that big sale that had Steven Spielberg and Bradley Cooper attached for 10 seconds. I read the script and found it to be really really bland. A big problem here is that it’s hard to make a character who’s hiding from all the action interesting. No matter how I spin it in my head, I don’t know how you make sniping dramatically compelling. But people back in the Midwest say this guy is a bona fide hero and that the conservatives will come out in droves to see a movie about him. They just need to do something way more interesting with the story. It’s too bland and too straight-forward now.
by Sang Kyu Kim
Logline: A corrupt border crossing agent must decide what is more important — saving his soul or inflating his bank account — when he discovers a young illegal boy who escaped a cartel hit on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Thoughts: Kim is a TV writer who wrote an episode of The Walking Dead and a bunch of episodes of Crash (the TV show). Looks like he’s finally making the jump to features. This one sounds a bit garden variety on first glance.
HALF HEARD IN THE STILLNESS
by David Weil
Logline: A young man who is inadvertently rescued after living 10 years in the basement of the child predator who abducted him, struggles to reunite with his family, while the detective in charge of his case investigates the link between his discovery and the recent disappearance of another local boy.
Thoughts: Hmmmm, Prisoners 2???
TIME & TEMPERATURE
by Nick Santora
Logline: Based on a true story, Dale Julin (a low-level Fresno affiliate morning show host) stumbles upon the biggest story of his life — and though he has reached the midpoint of his career without ever being a “real journalist” — risks his safety and his marriage to uncover the truth that a small atomic bomb exploded in Central Valley, California, during the Korean War — a secret that has been hidden for decades.
Thoughts: Okay, this sounds pretty cool. But I’d ask, what are the stakes? Much like the Reagan assassination script earlier, who cares if he finds out a bomb was dropped 50 years ago? What changes? Santora is a HUGE TV writer and producer, producing such shows as Prison Break and Vegas.
by Patrick Tobin
Logline: A woman who’s been suffering from chronic pain since the car accident that cost the life of her child finds the will to go on from the most unexpected places.
Thoughts: Whoa, not going to lie. This one sounded reaaaaalllly depressing and boring. So I went on a hunt for a better logline than the Black List presented. I found this, which sounds much better. This should be a lesson to everyone writing generic loglines! Be more specific! – A dark comedy about a self-destructive woman whose obsession with the suicide of someone in her chronic pain support group leads to an affair with the dead woman’s husband, a drug run to Mexico, and a stop at one of the last drive-in theaters in the country.
THE END OF THE TOUR
by Donald Margulies
Logline: Upon hearing of David Foster Wallace’s suicide, writer David Lipsky recalls his 1996 interview with him.
Thoughts: Wallace is a writer probably best known for his novel, Infinite Jest, which I keep seeing at bookstores and wanting to buy but it’s so damn big. Sadly, these scripts where it looks like depression on top of depression aren’t for me. I need some hope in my stories. Plus this doesn’t so dramatically compelling at all. Someone’s remember someone’s interview? Eek, how do you make that exciting?
by Leo Sardarian
Logline: With the Roman Empire on the brink of collapse, a fourth century bishop takes up arms to lead the armies of Constantine the Great into battle against the ruthless emperor, changing the face of Rome and begetting one of the greatest legends in history.
Thoughts: This sounds epic. It’ll all depend on what kind of filmmaker they get to film it. But I like this kind of period piece. If you’re going to do one, might as well make it big! — Sardarian is another writer who came to Hollywood and did a whole bunch of film jobs (casting, production, PR) to grow his network and establish himself in the industry. He then used those contacts when he wrote something great. That’s the way you do it, folks!
MAN OF SORROW
by Neville Kiser
Logline: Based on true events, the story centers on Oscar Wilde who goes from renowned playwright to losing everything personally and professionally.
Thoughts: Okay, I can dig a grandiose tragedy about a famous person. And I don’t know as much about Oscar Wilde as I probably should, so I’m in. Kiser has spent most of life battling whether to pursue film or become a man of the cloth. Right now, film is winning.
by Adam Barker
Logline: After his villainous father-in-law kidnaps his daughters, Sol, a tough-as-nails mountain man, travels across the frigid Appalachian mountains seeking vengeance.
Thoughts: Our THIRD revenge script. Hey, revenge provides a clear-cut story with a clean goal for the protagonist (kill the bad dude) so it usually works.
by Bill Kennedy
Logline: A man who works in wealth management, and also has his hands in a number of less than ethical enterprises, begins collaborating with a Los Angeles-based drug dealer. The dealer just so happens to have the man’s son as one of his runners in the drug-fueled LA nightlife.
Thoughts: Honestly, I had to read through this logline 3 times to fully understand it, which is never good. Where are our Scriptshadow logline geniuses to fix this up???
SUGAR IN MY VEINS
by Barbara Stepansky
Logline: A 14-year-old female prodigy finds companionship for the first time when she befriends a handsome older man.
Thoughts: Always seems to be one of these “inappropriate relationship” scripts on the Black List every year. But the prodigy aspect adds just enough of a twist that I’m intrigued. Stepansky has written and directed a lot of shorts and small films, one of which was titled, “I Hate L.A.”
SEA OF TREES
by Chris Sparling
Logline: An American man takes a journey into the infamous “Suicide Forest” at the foothills of Mount Fuji with the intention of taking his own life. When he is interrupted by a Japanese man who has had second thoughts about his own suicide, and is trying to find his way out of the forest, the two begin a journey of reflection and survival.
Thoughts: Our favorite Buried screenwriter and the king of the contained thriller is back! But Chris seems to realize that it’s time to grow a little and this definitely sounds different. I don’t like depressing movies (if you couldn’t tell yet) and don’t like movies/scripts where characters are planning to kill themselves (unless it’s a comedy). But Chris has such a breezy easy way about his writing that I’d still read this.
MAKE A WISH
by Zach Frankel
Logline: A 14-year-old boy with terminal cancer has one last wish — to lose his virginity — and convinces his reluctant football star Make-A-Wish partner to help him score.
Thoughts: If an alien were to come down to earth and learn about the world only through the black list, he would think that every 15 year old boy and girl is dying of cancer. Enough with these ideas! Ahhhhh!!! Although I do like the comedy angle and the idea that he gets a football star to help him get laid. That gives me a sliver of hope. But still.
BURY THE LEAD
by Justin Kremer
Logline: A desperate, attention-hungry journalist concocts a story that ironically proves to be true and finds himself engulfed in a dangerous underworld of murder and mayhem.
Thoughts: This sounds good. Reminds me of that old Mel Gibson movie, Conspiracy Theory, a little bit. Kremer made last year’s Black List as well. Congrats, Justin, on two in a row. ☺
FROM HERE TO ALBION
by Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani
Logline: A tragic accident in a coastal English town sets off a chain of violence when a malevolent assassin attempts to punish all involved, including a dirty cop who is intent on covering up the truth.
Thoughts: Some crucial piece of information is missing in this logline that’s making it sound generic. Co-writer Haines has reached the Nicholl Semi-finals a few times and has directed a couple of award-winning shorts. Take your career into your own hands people. Direct some shorts!
by Jon Boyer
Logline: After being diagnosed with dementia, a retired fifty-something stunt motorcyclist sets out to perform one last jump.
Thoughts: Hey, I know Jon! One of the nicest writers out there. Excited to see him make the list. And this idea sounds really original. Have never heard of anything like it before. I shall be checking it out! Congratulations, Jon!
by Annie Neal
Logline: An unhappily married woman and her best friend go on a road trip to Las Vegas to compete in the Miss Married America competition.
Thoughts: I don’t know what the Miss Married competition is, so I’m not sure I can comment on this. But it does sound like a script written by women for women, so I’m not going to put my judgment stamp on it!
by Meaghan Oppenheimer
Logline: Three former childhood friends with a complicated history get back together to spread the ashes of their friend who recently died.
Thoughts: Death. Spreading ashes. Noooooooooo. Oppenheimer also got on the Black List in 2010 with her script “Hot Mess.”
LAST MINUTE MAIDS
by Leo Nichols
Logline: Two lovable losers run into trouble after they start a service cleaning up the stuff you don’t want your loved ones to find once you die.
Thoughts: Oooh, very clever idea!
by Jason Fuchs
Logline: A prequel to JM Barrie’s Peter Pan. When an orphan is taken to the magical world of Neverland, he becomes a hero to the natives and leads a revolt against the evil pirates.
Thoughts: I’m going to tell you a secret right now. If you’re ever in a pinch for an idea – incorporate Peter Pan somehow. Hollywood LOVES Peter Pan. I see so many Peter Pan specs sell. You gotta find a unique angle. It can’t just be any old Pan script. But if you do, it will sell!
by Olivia Milch
Logline: The story of four best girlfriends who must learn how to move forward without moving on, as they come down off their “high” of high school in this “Fast Times-esque” teenage comedy.
Thoughts: This is so general and so about teenage girls, that I don’t think there’s any chance I would be interested in it. That’s not to say others wouldn’t, but this ain’t my thing.
by Michael Le
Logline: In a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies, a man who speaks their language questions the undead in order to find a cure for his infected wife.
Thoughts: Zombies shalt never die! So stop trying to kill them!
by Elijah Bynum
Logline: In the middle of major financial problems, a down on his luck Southerner’s life begins to unravel when he accidentally runs over and kills a runaway girl.
Thoughts: Well well well, we’ve got the rare DOUBLE OCCUPANT on the Black List. Bynum also wrote the script up above, Hot Summer Nights. Hey, as long as it’s better than Mud (the most overrated movie of the year), I’ll read it!