catherine-zeta-jones-great

I’m hearing a lot of complaining on the internets. The Black List is fixed. The Black List is a jack-off session with agents nominating each other’s clients (I don’t even think the agencies vote, do they?). I would like to remain above the cynicism if possible. It’s still a celebration of screenwriting and for that we should be excited, even though they did leave off the best script of the year in Hot Air. I mean I know for a fact that the first sentence of that screenplay is better than the entirety of the atrocity known as Moonfall. But no one’s bitter here. No one’s bitter.

I do have a bone to pick with you though – YES YOU! – Scriptshadow readers. You had the opportunity to discover one of the Black List scripts during Amateur Offerings but you passed it over! More on that later. But yeah, I may have to ground you at the end of this post. I’m adding something new to this year’s thoughts as well. The “Want-to-readabilty Factor.” I’ll grade, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest) how interesting the script sounds to me based on the given information. It’s going to be all sorts of fun. Like a party in your margins. Are we ready? On to the list!

51 VOTES
CATHERINE THE GREAT 
Writer: Kristina Lauren Anderson
Genre: Period
Premise: Sophia Augusta takes control of her life, her marriage, and her kingdom becoming Russia’s most celebrated and beloved monarch: Catherine the Great.
Thoughts: A worthy number 1. The writing is not sludgy like most period pieces and the characters are fascinating. Anderson does an amazing job taking us through 10 years of Catherine’s life without it ever feeling laborious or too long. This thing read as fast as the screenplay for Buried. All this from a script that I expected to bore me to tears.
Want-to-readability Factor: Already read.

38 VOTES
ROCKINGHAM
Writer: Adam Morrison
Genre: ???
Premise: A look into the mania of the OJ Simpson trial, through the eyes of Simpson’s sports agent Mike Gilbert and Los Angeles Police Department Detective Mark Fuhrman.
Thoughts: I don’t know anything about Morrison and I haven’t heard about this script until today. He appears to have written something called “The Chateau Meroux” about a struggling winery. It did have the benefit of starring the super-hot Marla Sokoloff, but one look at the poster tells us it’s not exactly Netflix-queue worthy. The only way something like this works is it shows us a really unique angle of the OJ Simpson event that nobody’s ever covered before. Otherwise, this is going to feel very dated.
Want-to-readabilty Factor: 3

35 VOTES
THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE
Writer: Randall Green
Genre: Comedy
Premise: A nerdy high schooler, who fancies himself an amateur photographer, attempts to create a “Swimsuit Issue” featuring his high school classmates in hopes of raising enough money to go to summer camp.
Thoughts: From The Hit List – “Randall is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Screenwriting program, he’s currently writing the live-action reboot of “Scooby Doo” for Warner Brothers.” The Swimsuit Issue sounds okay but I expect something with higher stakes than “to go to Summer Camp.” But it’s the highest comedy on the list and therefore probably pretty good.  Or at least I’m hoping it is.  It’s been awhile since I’ve read a good comedy.
Want-to-readability Factor: 5

34 VOTES
THE BABYSITTER
Writer: Brian Duffield
Genre: Comedy-Thriller-Horror
Premise: A lonely twelve year old boy in love with his babysitter discovers some hard truths about life, love, and murder.
Thoughts: I like Gersh (Duffield’s agency). They always seem to snag the writers with the most unique voices. As you all know, I’m a huge Brian Duffield fan. He’s written two scripts on my Top 25, Your Bridesmaids is a Bitch and Monster Problems. He’s also got a movie coming out with Natalie Portman. But I’m a little surprised this landed so high on the list. It felt a little rushed. I think his scripts are so readable though that people in the industry just love them.
Want-to-readability Factor: Already read.

32 VOTES
ROTHCHILD
Writer: John Patton Ford
Genre: Black Comedy?
Premise: A young, well-educated loner kills the members of his mother’s estranged family one-by-one in hopes that he will inherit the family’s vast fortune.
Thoughts: Ford graduated from both USC AND AFI. So he’s got the best Hollywood education money can buy. This sounds like it could be good. The structure is right there in the premise. You can see the movie clearly. While dark comedies that finish on the Black List tend not to do well at the box office, they’re a great choice for writers looking to get noticed, since the Black List loves them.
Want-to-readability Factor: 6

30 VOTES
THE WALL
Writer: Dwain Worrell
Genre: Thriller
Premise: A sniper and his spotter must kill and avoid being killed, separated from an enemy sniper by only a 16x6ft prayer wall.
Thoughts: This is that script that Amazon Studios bought – their first full-out purchase of a spec. The writer was working in China barely getting by when the script sold. He also benefitted from selling this right before the Black List came out. These late-in-the-year specs tend to have an advantage on the Black List in a town of short memories.
Want-to-readability Factor: 7

25 VOTES
THE CASCADE
Writer: Kieran Fitzgerald
Genre: Real-life Thriller?
Premise: Based on the documentary style film “The Day Britain Stopped” directed by Gabriel Range, an oil tanker collides with an Iranian patrol boat in the Strait of Hormuz, triggering a chain of tragic disastrous events.
Thoughts: Fitzgerald is a writer to watch. He’s got a movie out right now, The Homesman, about a man tasked with bringing a group of women across the dangerous plains of the old west. And he’s working with Oliver Stone on the Edward Snowden movie. I’m not a really a fan of these politically charged films though, so I’m unfortunately not aching to read this one.
Want-to-readability Factor: 3

24 VOTES
AETHER
Writer: Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Genre: Thriller
Premise: In near future London, a revolutionary technology has been invented that can record sounds hours after they were made. Detective Harry Orwell, inventor of this technology, is part of a pilot program where investigators record and analyze past sound waves and finds himself the prime suspect while investigating a string of brutal murders.
Thoughts: lol. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the writer herself didn’t write this logline. This appears to be written by someone who doesn’t even know what a logline is. I mean, there are like 17 things going on here, most of which make no sense. At the same time, this whole “delayed sound” idea is so bizarre that I’m kinda interested. Wilson-Cairns is from Scotland and this script placed on the Brit List earlier this year. She’s also adapting “The Good Nurse” for Aronofsky.
Want-to-readability Factor: 6.5

24 VOTES
SITUATION COMEDY
Writer: Cat Vasko
Genre: Comedy
Premise: A young woman, feeling directionless, stumbles upon a mysterious courtyard where she is transported into a sitcom-like universe, becoming a major character on this “TV show.”
Thoughts: This sounds a little like that canceled FX Charlie Kaufman pilot, “How and Why.” Vasko is a journalist who sounds a little bit like the lead character from this script. Hard to tell if this will be any good or not based on the logline.
Want-to-readability Factor: 4

23 VOTES
TAU
Writer: Noga Landau
Genre: Horror-Sci-Fi
Premise: A woman held captive in the futuristic smart house of a serial kidnapper realizes that her only hope of escape lies in turning the house’s sentient computer against its creator.
Thoughts: This one might sound familiar as it placed on this year’s Blood List as well. According to The Tracking Board, Landau placed in both the Page and Zoetrope screenwriting contests before landing here on the Black List.
Want-to-readability Factor: 6

18 VOTES
ECHO
Writer: Chris MacBride
Genre: Drama-Thriller
Premise: A CIA drone coordinator battles his own psychological health while trying to decipher whether his wife has been replaced.
Thoughts: I watched MacBride’s previous film, “The Conspiracy,” which starts off as a documentary and turns into a found footage thriller. It was a good idea but it wasn’t quite convincing. This one, however, sounds a little deeper, even if the logline is terribly written (note to newbies: The writers rarely write their loglines for the Black List. Agents and managers are notified at the last second that their clients’ scripts are making the list and are asked for a logline. This is why a lot of these loglines are so badly written. Because they’re written by people who don’t know how to write them).
Want-to-readability Factor: 5

18 VOTES
MENA
Writer: Gary Spinelli
Premise: In the late 1970s to mid 1980s, Barry Seal, a TWA pilot recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States, one that spawned the birth of the Medellin cartel and eventually almost brought down the Reagan White House with the Iran Contra scandal.
Thoughts: This was one of the year’s biggest sales. Ron Howard came aboard and packaged it to Universal, and they paid a hefty 7 figures for it. It sounds like a fascinating character. It’s just really hard for me to get behind anything Ron Howard does these days. Then again, it at least looks like he’s stretching himself here and trying something different.
Want-to-readability Factor: 4

17 VOTES
DODGE
Writer: Scott Wascha
Genre: Action-Comedy
Premise: A genre bending action comedy about a pill popping thug who begins to develop superpowers.
Thoughts: I was saying this the other day in my Amateur Friday review. We definitely need new angles on superheroes, and one of the only fertile areas left in that space is comedy. So I’m all for ideas like this. This one, however, seems to be moving away from the big screen and over to television, where it’s being re-packaged as a pilot. Interesting.
Want-to-readability Factor: 6

17 VOTES
NORTH OF RENO
Writers: Banipal Ablakhad, Benhur Ablakhad
Genre: Crime-Thriller
Premise: A down and out prison guard attempts to murder a recently released inmate and steal a half million dollars in hidden heist money.
Thoughts: This one sold not too long ago to New Line. The writers, and brothers, sold one other spec a couple of years ago called “Blacklisted.” “North of Reno” looks to have a better shot at getting made though. As you future successful screenwriters will learn, the first thing you sell rarely gets made. Everyone’s secretly afraid to produce a first-timer. Once you sell your second or third script, though, they start trusting you and give you a shot.
Want-to-readability Factor: 5

17 VOTES
ON THE BASIS OF SEX
Writers: Daniel Stiepleman
Genre: Biopic
Premise: The story of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, as she faced numerous obstacles to her fight for equal rights throughout her career.
Thoughts: The subject in the script is the writer’s aunt. He’s also a former screenwriting teacher. Hey! Those who can’t do, teach… and then it turns out do as well. As you all know I’m not the biggest biopic lover, so this isn’t high on my list. But I did unexpectedly like Catherine The Great, so who knows?
Want-to-readability Factor: 3

16 VOTES
MOONFALL
Writer: David Weil
Genre: Sci-fi
Premise: The investigation of a murder on a moon colony.
Thoughts: Oh no.  Just, oh no. I’m sorry but this script was awful. After being virtually ignored when agents first sent it out, they re-branded the script “Fargo on the moon” and somehow got Darren Aronofsky to quasi-commit to it (I’m pretty sure he’s no longer involved). The script sold and now 16 people have to explain why in the world they voted for this. It was so sloppy, so badly researched, so badly written, I have no idea how this script is getting any attention.
Want-to-readability Factor: Already read.

16 VOTES
THE MUNCHKIN
Writer: Will Widger
Logline: A little person private eye investigates the disappearance of a young actress in 1930s Hollywood, leading him to uncover conspiracies involving THE WIZARD OF OZ and Metro Goldwyn Mayer brass.
Thoughts: This is the most interesting sounding script on the list thus far – the first script to have some actual irony in the logline. True, it’s very reminiscent of the Michael Mann Leonardo DiCapro project that covered a similar premise, but making the private eye a little person is the ingredient that gives this the edge.
Want-to-readability Factor: 8

15 VOTES
MATRIARCH
Writer: Eric Koenig
Premise: A prison psychologist has 48 hours to convince a serial killer to tell her the location of her final victim before she is executed.
Thoughts: As I brought up in my newsletter, I’ve been reading Eric’s scripts for a couple of years now. I watched him get better and better. I even sent out one of his scripts to a couple of my contacts who said “no go.” They’re probably kicking themselves right now. I’ll republish Eric’s advice to other screenwriters I put in the newsletter: “My advice to writers trying to sell a spec, which we’ve all heard a thousand times but it’s the absolute truth, is just don’t give up. It takes an unwavering belief and optimistic attitude that it WILL happen one day. ‘When’ it happens varies from writer to writer. For some, the lucky ones, it’s the first draft of their first script only six months into the game. For others, the majority of us, it takes years. For me, my personal process of improving my craft to the point of selling Matriarch, was writing. And writing. Then a little more writing. And then, when I wanted to take some time off, I did some more writing. I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read a lot of scripts, but I have gotten more than my money’s worth from my copy of Final Draft (I’m actually trying to break it). This entire time, with every polite rejection notice I received (yes, there were MANY), I just kept telling myself, “It will happen. It will happen. It will happen.” Don’t. Give. Up.”
Want-to-readability Factor: 9!

15 VOTES
THE DEFECTION
Writer: Ken Nolan
Premise: After the Edward Snowden affair, an intelligence contractor defects to North Korea, taking a mysterious bag with him, and the CIA hires an expert trained during the Cold War to help with the case.
Thoughts: This one sold to Fox after a bidding war. But Nolan’s not new to success. He wrote 2001’s Black Hawk Down. The question is, where has he been in the meantime? He wrote a TV mini-series called “The Company” in 2007. But between Black Hawk and now, he doesn’t have any other credits. Maybe, just maybe, he’s been spending all these years working on this spec!  Which…would…mean he’d have to had predicted the Edward Snowden thing but hey, I’m trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt here.  Work with me.
Want-to-readability Factor: 5

15 VOTES
THE LONG HAUL
Writer: Dan Stoller
Genre: Drama
Premise: A self-destructive trucker estranged from his son travels cross country with a problematic nephew whom he barely knows.
Thoughts: Despite knowing these types of scripts are almost impossible to turn into movies in this box office climate, a part of me still loves a good 1 on 1 character piece. You have to get the right characters though. There has to be that perfect mix of conflict and tension between them. I thought Hot Air, which got left off this  list, was a great example of that. Hopefully, The Long Haul is too.
Want-to-readability Factor: 7

14 VOTES
BERLINER
Writer: F. Scott Frazier
Genre: Thriller
Premise: As the Berlin Wall is being constructed at the height of the Cold War, a veteran CIA agent searches for a Soviet mole who has already killed several fellow agents, including a young agent he’s mentored.
Thoughts: It’s great to see F. Scott Frazier still pumping out specs. He’s one of the fastest writers I’ve ever seen. And it’s gotten him ongoing projects at like 3 or 4 studios. It’s ridiculous. Despite the subject matter not being my thing, I’m always interested to see what he comes up with.
Want-to-readability Factor: 7

14 VOTES
ONE FELL SWOOP
Writer: Greg Scharpf
Premise: A self-centered divorce attorney’s life takes an unexpected turn when he is guilted into spending time with the family of a one night stand who dies in a freak accident.
Thoughts: I’m not a hundred percent sure what’s going on in this logline (how is the character being a divorce attorney relevant to the unique situation of someone dying in a freak accident? I feel like there’s a missing component here that the writer could help clear up). With that said, I enjoy scripts that take on the challenge of a unlikable protagonist so I’m intrigued by this one.
Want-to-readability Factor: 7

13 VOTES
BIRD BOX
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Genre: Horror
Premise: A woman tries to lead her children to safety after the world is invaded by monsters who turn you insane upon sight.
Thoughts: This is the script that finished number 1 on this year’s Blood List. Heisserer has been having a Heissonasance lately, moving up the Hollywood screenwriting ladder with solid drafts of just about everything he writes. And he’s been writing a ton. My favorite script of his is still “Story of Your Life.” I’m not thrilled about this concept (monsters that turn people insane upon sight?) but I’m thrilled about anything Heisserer writes.
Want-to-readability Factor: 7

13 VOTES
HUNTSVILLE
Writer: Anthony Ragnone II
Genre: Drama-Thriller
Premise: A girl tracks down the man responsible for her father’s death and avenges him.
Thoughts: Whoa whoa whoa whoa. Is this a cover logline? The Tracking Board has this written as: “In a sleepy southern town a man with a haunted past encounters an attractive young woman who moves in next door.” Neither incarnation makes this sound unique. But the guy did work for Alan Ball. That alone gets him a notch up on the “readability” factor.
Want-to-readability Factor: 4

13 VOTES
IN THE DEEP
Writer: Anthony Jaswinski
Genre: Thriller
Premise: A lone surfer attacked by a shark and stranded on a reef must find a way back to shore before succumbing to her injuries.
Thoughts: This one sold in that big bidding war recently. As you know, I’m not a big Jaswinski fan. With that said, this is a good premise and probably his best script. Sony better hope so at least. They need some good news these days.
Want-to-readability Factor: Already read.

13 VOTES
THE FOUNDER
Writer: Rob Siegel
Genre: Biopic
Premise: The origin story of McDonald’s and Raymond Albert “Ray” Kroc.
Thoughts: Really?  Now an origin story about the creator of In and Out.  Titled “Double Double?”  THAT I would go see.  This sounds as boring as a Mcdonald’s cheeseburger minus the pickles.
Want-to-readability Factor: 2

13 VOTES
THE SEARCH
Writer: Spencer Mondshein
Genre: Thriller
Premise: An expert tracker battles his demons while on a journey to rescue his estranged older brother who has vanished in the uncharted wilderness of the Northwest.
Thoughts: Mondshein’s success isn’t going to encourage anyone who believes Hollywood runs on nepotism. Both his parents have been nominated for Academy Awards and he was an assistant on Boardwalk Empire.  If the script’s great though, none of that matters.
Want-to-readability Factor: 4

13 VOTES
YELLOWSTONE FALLS
Writer: Daniel Kunka
Genre: Action
Premise: After an apocalyptic event, a mother wolf is separated from her mate and the rest of the pack, and has to protect her cubs from swarms of mutated humans.
Thoughts: I remember the rumors that ran rampant when this script sold for a bajillion bucks. There was no dialogue. It was only 50 pages long! Whatever the case, it’s easily one of the most interesting sounding loglines on the list. In an industry where not many people take chances, this is a chance-taking idea.
Want-to-readability Factor: 8

12 VOTES
SYNDROME (E)
Writer: Mark Heyman
Genre: Thriller
Premise: A detective solving the case of a disturbing film with subliminal images that is killing people who come in contact with it discovers a greater evil.
Thoughts: I remember when this was a big writer assignment. The producers wanted a great writer to take on the material. And they got one in Heyman, who wrote Black Swan and co-wrote one of my favorite movies of the year, “The Skeleton Twins.” I’ll be checking this one out for sure.
Want-to-readability Factor: 8

11 VOTES
BEEF
Writer: Jeff Lock
Genre: Comedy-Thriller
Premise: The manager of a fast food chain in Muncie, Indiana gets in over his head with some bookies.
Thoughts: Strangely enough, this writer ALSO worked as an assistant on Boardwalk Empire. For all we know, this might be a secret back-door way onto The Black List. This one is supposed to be like Fargo. So despite the bare-bones premise, I will check it out.
Want-to-readability Factor: 5

11 VOTES
BLACK WINTER
Writers: Jonathan Stewart, Jake Crane
Genre: Thriller
Premise: On the eve of a US-Soviet disarmament treaty, a British scientist and a NATO medical investigator discover a secret Soviet plot to unleash a terrifying biological weapon.
Thoughts: It’s hard to discern from this logline whether this is taking place during the Cold War or during the present day. Each version would result in a totally different story.
Want-to-readability Factor: 3

11 VOTES
CARTOON GIRL
Writer: Randall Green
Genre: Comedy
Premise: When a young boy finds out that the cartoon character he’s in love with is based on a real girl, he drags his single father on a road trip to track her down.
Thoughts: I like this premise. It’s one of the more clever ones on the list. I think what readers and producers are constantly looking for is that premise that’s a little off in left field, but still marketable, and this is that. I really hope I’m drawn into the story.
Want-to-readability Factor: 8

11 VOTES
ROAD TO OZ
Writer: Josh Golden
Genre: Biopic
Premise: The early days of brilliant, whimsical author L. Frank Baum, who gave the world The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Thoughts: I’m going to wish the writer luck here, but these “early years of famous author” scripts aren’t my thing. They seem almost obligatory at this point. If someone tells me this is awesome, I’ll read it. Otherwise, I’m clicking my red shoes and wishing to go home.
Want-to-readability Factor: 2

10 VOTES
BIG TIME ADOLESCENCE
Writer: Jason Orley
Premise: A sixteen year old virgin with a growth deficiency slowly gets corrupted by his hero, an aimless college dropout.
Thoughts: A growth deficiency WHERE?? That’s an important detail.
Want-to-readability Factor: 3

10 VOTES
LBJ
Writer: Joey Hartstone
Genre: Biopic
Premise: Lyndon Johnson goes from powerful Senate Majority Leader, powerless Vice President to President of the United States following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Thoughts: There’s no doubt LBJ’s story is an interesting one. It’s just not interesting to me.
Want-to-readability Factor: 2

10 VOTES
POSSESSION: A LOVE STORY
Writer: Jack Stanley
Premise: In a seemingly perfect marriage, a man discovers that he is actually wedded to a demon inhabiting another woman’s body.
Thoughts: A man discovers he’s wedded to a demon inhabiting another woman’s body? As in another woman besides his wife? In that case, wouldn’t the demon not be inhabiting his wife’s body? Sounds like another botched logline. Stanley landed on last year’s Black List with his female assassin spec, “Sweetheart.” That script got him the coveted high profile job of writing Chronicle 2. So let’s not rule this script out yet!
Want-to-readability Factor: 5

10 VOTES
THE SECRET INGREDIENTS OF ROCKET COLA
Writer: Mike Vukadinovich
Genre: Drama
Premise: Twin brothers with opposite personalities are separated at a young age and go on to live drastically different lives, eventually being reunited in the effort to save the company ‘Rocket Cola’ despite their love of the same woman.
Thoughts: Vukadinovich is a good writer. You may remember that I recently reviewed his script, The Three Misfortunes of Geppetto. That was a wacky script and this sounds sort of wacky too. I’ll definitely give it a go.
Want-to-readability Factor: 7

10 VOTES
THE SHOWER
Writer: Jac Schaeffer
Genre: Action-Comedy
Premise: At a baby shower for their longtime friend, the attendees suddenly find themselves in the middle of a different type of shower: meteors that release a vapor turning men into blood-hungry aliens.
Thoughts: Is this a true story? Men already are blood-hungry aliens. Schaeffer wrote and directed Timer, which became a sort of underground hit due to it being the only new comedy on Netflix for, like, an entire year. This sounds a little silly to me though.
Want-to-readability Factor: 3

9 VOTES
CELERITAS
Writer: Kimberly Barrante
Genre: Sci-Fi
Premise: When a missing astronaut crash lands forty years after he launched having not aged a day, his elderly twin brother helps him escape the NASA scientists hunting him. As the government closes in, neither brother is who they claim to be.
Thoughts: Okay, I’m always down for a good sci-fi flick. Let me just say though, there are a lot of writers out there who come up with these fun sci-fi premesis, but then they half-ass the execution. They don’t clean up all the holes in them, and they pass off the burden of understanding to the reader. Like, “You’re supposed to figure it out.” Give me a tightly wound sci-fi script and I’m in like an expensive bottle of Gin.
Want-to-readability Factor: 6

9 VOTES
I AM RYAN REYNOLDS
Writer: Billy Goulston
Premise: An inside look at the marriage, career, and mental state of 2010’s Sexiest Man Alive.
Thoughts: I LOVED this premise when it came to Amateur Offerings and left it up to YOU GUYS to make it an official review selection. And what did you do?? You PICKED SOMETHING ELSE! How could you?? Together, we could’ve been the discoverer of I Am Ryan Reynolds. Come on guys. This can never happen again.
Want-to-readability Factor: 8

9 VOTES
JACKPOT
Writer: Dave Callaham
Genre: Comedy
Premise: After a group of bumbling teachers win a large amount of money, their greed and incompetence put them on a hilarious path toward death and destruction.
Thoughts: I don’t know where Callaham found the time to write this as he’s been busy writing huge assignements like Godzilla and Zombieland 2 and all the Expendables movies. This one sounds like it could be good. Hopefully it will be a screenplay “jackpot” if you catch what I’m meaning (note that “Jackpot” is the title of the script if you didn’t get my joke).
Want-to-readability Factor: 8

9 VOTES
PLUS ONE
Writer: April Prosser
Genre: Comedy
Premise: Just out of a long-term relationship and realizing that all her friends have married, Rachel discovers that her only remaining wingwoman is Summer, a loud and oversharing wildcard.
Thoughts: This was one of those big end-of-the-year script sales. Prosser got her start as a TV writer’s assistant and now seems to be moving into the much more glamorous feature world. I’ll give this one a shot. An over-sharing wingwoman sounds hilarious.
Want-to-readability Factor: 7

9 VOTES
WONKA
Writer: Jason Micallef
Genre: ???
Premise: A dark, reimagining of the Willy Wonka story beginning in World War II and culminating with his takeover of the chocolate factory.
Thoughts: Now this one sounds f&^%$ng interesting. Probably the weirdest most intriguing idea on the list. I was not a fan of Micallef’s first Black List script, Butter, and the subsequent movie. But this one sounds totally different. This will be high on my to-read pile.
Want-to-readability Factor: 9

8 VOTES
BEAUTY PAGEANT
Writers: Evan Mirzi, Shea Mirzai
Genre: Comedy
Premise: After they unwittingly get their daughters disqualified from the child beauty circuit, two warring stagemothers are forced to go head to head in an adult beauty pageant.
Thoughts: This premise feels a little forced. Evan and Shea continue to beat out scripts that make the Black List though. For me, the jury’s still out on them. Here’s to hoping that changes with Beauty Pageant.
Want-to-readability Factor: 4

8 VOTES
BISMARCK
Writer: Jared Cowie
Premise: As Britain struggles through the darkest hours of World War II, a naval officer, raw from the loss of his ship during the evacuation of Dunkirk, is thrust into the thick of the hunt for the Nazi superbattleship, Bismarck. Based on a true story.
Thoughts: I’ll be honest. This logline didn’t do anything for me until “superbattleship.” Now I want to read it. I don’t know what the hell a superbattleship is. But I wanna know!
Want-to-readability Factor: 7

8 VOTES
MORGAN
Writer: Seth W. Owen
Genre: Comedy
Premise: A corporate risk management consultant is summoned to a remote research lab to determine whether or not to terminate an at-risk artificial being.
Thoughts: This logline isn’t quite coming together for me. Actually, I don’t understand it at all. Someone explain it to me and I’ll assign a readability rating then.
Want-to-readability Factor: ?

8 VOTES
SHADOW RUN
Writer: Joe Gazzam
Premise: A viral attack puts lives in danger, forcing a CIA agent to initiate a secret prisoner exchange of Russia’s most notorious spy for the American scientist who can create a cure.
Thoughts: Okay, this sounds like it could be pretty good. Gazzam sold this spec and another one, Replay, this year. So he’s doing all right.
Want-to-readability Factor: 5

8 VOTES
THE BRINGING
Writers: Brandon and Philip Murphy
Genre: Horror
Premise: A private investigator investigates a mysterious murder at a downtown Los Angeles hotel and uncovers its dark supernatural history. Based on true events.
Thoughts: The Murphys caught some heat after this sale, as some in the industry said they were exploiting a woman’s death. But the real exploiting here was in the messy script’s second half. Talk about a script falling apart.  It really is a freaky story though and would make a great movie. So I hope they figure it out.
Want-to-readability Factor: Already read.

8 VOTES
THE TAKEAWAY
Writer: Julia Cox
Genre: Romance-Thriller
Premise: A young, play-it-safe, art restorer is swept up in a whirlwind romance with her charming boss, who turns out to be a world class thief.
Thoughts: Another writer’s assistant (Parenthood) making waves. Got to aim for those assistant jobs people. This sounds very… not geared towards me.
Want-to-readability Factor: 3

7 VOTES
BLINK
Writer: Hernany Perla
Premise: Years after being fully paralyzed during an infamous bank robbery, a man is taken hostage for the secrets in his head. His only form of communicating with the outside world – and outsmarting his captors – is his ability to blink.
Thoughts: This just sounds impossible to build an entire script around. For that reason alone, I want to read it.
Want-to-readability Factor: 6

7 VOTES
BOSTON STRANGLER
Writer: Chuck MacLean
Genre: Drama
Premise: In the 1960s, a determined detective puts his life and career on the line to solve the case of the Boston Strangler.
Thoughts: Could work as a companion piece to Zodiac. Looks like MacLean broke out with this script. He’s got no former experience in the industry.
Want-to-readability Factor: 5

7 VOTES
ERIN’S VOICE
Writer: Greg Sullivan
Genre: Drama
Premise: A deaf computer genius’ world is thrown into turmoil when he meets a troubled coffee shop waitress whose voice turns out to be the only thing he can miraculously hear.
Thoughts: Do you hear that? That’s me being not so sure about this script. Sorry, that isn’t true. I just wanted to make that joke. Sullivan studied screenwriting at UCLA. At least that’s what I heard (I’ll be here all night).
Want-to-readability Factor: 4

7 VOTES
EVERYONE WANTS EVERYTHING
Writer: Abraham Higginbotham
Premise: As his life reaches its neurosis-inducing midpoint, a married man asks himself an eternal question with no real answer — “Am I living the life I want to be living, or do I need to start over before its too late?” Torn between two lives, he’s forced to do the one thing he doesn’t want to do — make a choice.
Thoughts: Abraham gets points for best last name on the list. I sense even Benedict Cumberbatch would feel jealous about this name.
Want-to-readability Factor: 4

7 VOTES
GIFTED
Writer: Tom Flynn
Premise: A thirty year old man attempts to continue raising his deceased sister’s seven year old daughter, a kid-genius, while battling his own mother for custody.
Thoughts: FINALLY, a logline that solidly coveys the major source of conflict in the screenplay. Other agencies take note! Maybe that’s why Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer, Amazing Spider-Man) has made this his next film.
Want-to-readability Factor: 8

7 VOTES
MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Genre: Drama
Premise: An uncle is forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.
Thoughts: Not enough info but Longergan is known for, among other things, that 8 year debacle of his movie, Margaret, that became a giant clusterfuck for everyone involved. Will be interesting to see if he’s redeemed himself.
Want-to-readability Factor: 7

7 VOTES
MERC
Writers: Andrew Bozalis, Derek Mether
Genre: Thriller
Premise: When a disgraced former soldier finds success by working for a private security company, the illegal tactics the company employs challenges his worldview.
Thoughts: Some Edward Snowdenism going on here. Again, not a politically-charged type of guy so I’ll have to let it go… let it gooooooo.
Want-to-readability Factor: 3

7 VOTES
PROFESSOR PASGHETTI
Writer: Jeff Feuerstein
Genre: Comedy
Premise: A famous children’s author, with an affinity for drugs and hookers, finds himself on a journey of self-discovery with a dead stripper and her eight year old son.
Thoughts: This is the only logline that made me laugh. Well, I Am Ryan Reynolds made me laugh a long time ago when YOU GUYS SHOULD’VE PICKED IT FOR AMATEUR FRIDAY. But this is the only one that made me laugh today.
Want-to-readability Factor: 8

7 VOTES
THE EDEN PROJECT
Writer: Christina Hodson
Genre: Sci-Fi
Premise: When a race of genetically modified humans living secretly among us declare war on Man, the fate of the world is in the hands of a rogue “Synthetic” named Eve and a young girl who is about to discover she’s not all human.
Thoughts: This was that big sale that was built up as a potential trilogy for a female actress. It was a pretty decent script, although a little on the light side. Then again, the same can be said for Divergent, and that’s doing well.
Want-to-readability Factor: Already read.

7 VOTES
UNCLE SHELBY
Writers: Brian C Brown, Elliott DiGuiseppi
Genre: Biopic
Premise: The little-known personal, heartbreaking, and darker side of cartoonist/author Shel Silverstein.
Thoughts: This logline just sounds sad.
Want-to-readability Factor: 3

6 VOTES
A GARDEN AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Writer: Gary Graham
Premise: In a post-apocalyptic world, a recluse, trying to recreate trees to produce new life, takes in a young girl who is on the run from some bad men, including her father.
Thoughts: I’ll basically read anything post-apocalyptic, and actually, I’ve been meaning to read this one for awhile. A true “unknown writer-to-spec-sale” situation.
Want-to-readability Factor: 7

6 VOTES
COFFEE & KAREEM
Writer: Shane McCarthy
Genre: Comedy
Premise: An overweight, foul-mouthed nine year old reluctantly teams with the straight edge cop sleeping with his mom to take down Detroit’s most ruthless drug lord.
Thoughts: When I read this logline, I imagined them digitally pasting Kevin Hart’s head on a 9 year old’s body. Now THAT I would pay to see.
Want-to-readability Factor: 6

6 VOTES
FORGIVE ME
Writer: Max Hurwitz
Genre: Biopic
Premise: How Mike Wallace helped to create 60 Minutes and how years later, he confronted and dealt with his own depression.
Thoughts: Ugh, I hope I never see this and Uncle Shelby back to back.
Want-to-readability Factor: 1

6 VOTES
IN REAL TIME
Writer: Chai Hecht
Genre: Drama-Sci-Fi
Premise: A young man convinced that his mentally unstable sister needs to relive her high school prom from ten years prior to overcome her depression goes to great lengths to recreate that event.
Thoughts: Last year on the Black List, cancer was hot. Now it’s depression! This feels too much like a Gray’s Anatomy episode for me. But fear not. The Tracking Board has an almost completely different logline: “A man creates the illusion of time travel in an attempt to revisit one pivotal day in his life.” That sounds cooler. The writer graduated from USC’s screenwriting program. I’m seeing a lot of writers coming from these programs on the list.
Want-to-readability Factor: 5

6 VOTES
IN THIS, MY DARKEST HOUR
Writer: Bryan McMullin
Genre: Drama
Premise: A man rises to power during the California gold rush, tearing his family apart.
Thoughts: What’s strange here is that McMullin is an actor who appears in lot of schlocky reality television. Yet this premise sounds like something Paul Thomas Anderson would make. Looks like McMullin is hiding a dark side!
Want-to-readability Factor: 4

6 VOTES
MONEY MONSTER
Writers: Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf, Jamie Linden
Genre: Comedy
Premise: After a man loses all his money in the stock market by following the advice of a Wall Street TV host, he takes the money adviser hostage on live television.
Thoughts: This sounds funny! I’m in!
Want-to-readability Factor: 8

6 VOTES
MY FRIEND DAHMER
Writer: Marc Meyers
Genre: Drama
Premise: Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by John Backderf, Jeffrey Dahmer struggles with a difficult family life as a young boy and during his teenage years he slowly transforms, edging closer to the serial killer he becomes.
Thoughts: They made a graphic novel… about Jeffrey Dahmer???? I don’t even know how to react to that. It’s definitely got the curiosity factor going for it though.
Want-to-readability Factor: 5

6 VOTES
SEDUCING INGRID BERGMAN
Writer: Arash Amel
Genre: Romance
Premise: Based on Chris Greenhalgh’s eponymous novel. Ingrid Bergman and war photographer Robert Capa engage in a passionate, life changing romance in post-World War II Paris.
Thoughts: This sounds like something geared towards my parents.
Want-to-readability Factor: 2

6 VOTES
THE BEAUTIFUL GAME
Writer: Zander Lehmann
Genre: Drama
Premise: A high school soccer star’s personal life becomes complicated leading up to his championship game as he develops a relationship with his soccer coach.
Thoughts: Is the coach a man? A woman? The answer vastly changes the landscape. Either way, I hope he scores.
Want-to-readability Factor: 5

6 VOTES
THE MAN IN THE ROCKEFELLER SUIT
Writer: David Bar Katz
Genre: Drama
Premise: The story of Clark Rockefeller, a con artist thought to be American royalty until he kidnapped his young daughter initiating a manhunt that revealed his true identity.
Thoughts: I’ve heard about this guy before. A crazy story. This might actually make a good movie. I can see a lot of actors wanting to play him.
Want-to-readability Factor: 7

6 VOTES
THE WILDE ONES
Writer: Tyler Shields
Premise: In a corrupt Southern town, a dangerous sociopath runs bareknuckle boxing fights that pit its youths against each other.
Thoughts: See this is what I was hoping for as opposed to a script like Southpaw, which takes too straight-forward of a look at boxing. You gotta approach subject matter in a unique way!
Want-to-readability Factor: 6

  • carsonreeves1

    Oh, if anyone’s read any of these, please let us know what you thought. I trust you guys better than I trust random voting.

    • drifting in space

      I read 20 of Beef and felt like the story was meandering already. People try so hard to emulate that Fargo style without realizing how forced it feels.

    • klmn

      I read MENA last night. I don’t think the character of Barry Seals is engaging enough to hang a successful movie on.

      Furthermore, I’ve read a lot about the subject matter, and there is a lot of stuff the screenplay doesn’t touch on. If that goes into production it would open up a big can of worms.

    • Citizen M

      I’ve read North of Reno. A script of two halves, the first not so good, the second pretty good, reminiscent of Fargo. Has a Tarantino-like structure (split into named chapters.).

  • Armond White is my master now

    Agree with you, C. Moonfall is the absolutely WORST thing printed with Final Draft. It’s like Tommy Wiseau’s The Room… But in the moon! And sadly, this is not an exception. I believe that many writers out there aren’t writing scripts destined to become movies, but to get the higher ranks in The Black List. Common wisdom says you never must write a biopic or a period piece, because they’re box office poison. And here you have, what? The life and times of the most boring President of The United States (LBJ)? The story of the McDonald’s founder (The Founder)? Mike Wallace? Seriously, who the fuck is Shel Silverstein? And the cherry of the cake… JEFFREY DAHMER: HIS HIGH SCHOOL YEARS. A LIFETIME MOVIE! Are we crazy or what?

    I’ll repeat it: there is no way in the green land of the Lord that any of these scripts could have landed on the desk of an agent, manager or studio chief in this town, based exclusively in these loglines. Never, never, never and ever. Good luck if you think you’re going to get the green light! Unless you already had the green light (Money Monster, The Wall), and your manager are just doing the carrousel (sending your script to his contacts to get more votes) to get you a good place in the list…

    • carsonreeves1

      Tommy Wiseau directing Moonfall, ironically, just might be the movie of the year to see.

      • brenkilco

        Oh, Hi HAL.

      • Acarl

        I read ‘Matriarch’ recently. The writing and concept were quite good and the clarity was exceptional but the story overall left me fairly underwhelmed. It felt very derivative.

    • Magga

      LBJ’s early years as an aspiring senator are AMAZING. My favorite part is when he gets an airplane to land in a field of people who have never seen a real plane before, waves, throws his hat into the crowd and takes off, only to have his assistants in the crowd find the hat and get it back for budget reasons. Also, he got his dream job through the most shocking event in post-war, pre-9-11 U.S.A., which is a pretty high concept version of guilt, even as he carried out the most significant domestic agenda in the entire United States post-war era, at least until Obama. Very, very interesting man, great American story, but it seems a bit much to take on his entire life. And that was without mentioning Vietnam

      • brenkilco

        Doesn’t the major bio of Johnson run to like three hefty volumes? Fascinating character but this sounds skin deep.

      • Andrew Parker

        I didn’t see it, but Bryan Cranston’s portrayal of LBJ in the three hour play “All the Way” got rave reviews this year. HBO announced plans to adapt it. I’d definitely watch something like this on HBO, not so sure in the movie theater.

        • brenkilco

          And the whole three hours deals just with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. His whole life would require a mini series. Actually, wasn’t it already a mini series?

    • Randy Williams

      “Jeffrey Dahmer, his” high school years”? Finally, a movie scene with a teenage boy staring into a refrigerator with some subtext.

    • drifting in space

      You’re crazy if you don’t know who Shel Silverstein is!

    • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

      I have to see this for myself. It’s so polarizing that I have to, please send.
      adam @ alumni . vcu . edu

    • Brainiac138

      Since most of the Black List audience is executives, many of the scripts sent out are not necessarily done so with the intent of seeing the script go into production, but for the studios to give work to the writer. It is often why “common wisdom” does not always apply to these offerings.

    • Citizen M

      Seriously…

  • brenkilco

    That The Babysitter, a painfully wiseass, underplotted, contemptuously illogical, hackneyed, sub Diablo Codyish mishmash of Home Alone, Jennifer’s Body and a half dozen other worn to the rims horror pieces could make anyone’s list of great, unproduced scripts doesn’t just make me despair for the movie industry but fear for the future of western civilization. Who exactly are the voters again?

    • b

      I actually quite enjoyed The Babysitter (to each his own). Very quick read and Duffield is a very clever writer. I could see it being a hit with the right director. Oh, and J. Law would be perfect for Bee

      • brenkilco

        Would appreciate it if you could cite me a couple of examples of Duffield’s cleverness. Perhaps I missed something.

        • b

          Well, it’s all subjective, isn’t it?

          • Bifferspice

            how about a couple of the things you subjectively found clever?

      • Andrew Parker

        This is NOT about B Duffield specifically, but…

        Too often people on here conflate “very quick read” with “would make a good movie”.

        Sometimes people write a one sentence action line.

        Then hit Enter on their keyboard.

        Then write another one sentence action line.

        Then hit Enter on their keyboard.

        This makes for a quicker read.

        But it doesn’t make the script any better, necessarily.

        My favorite movie this year, for instance, was Boyhood. It has a 182 page script! But I could have sat through five hours of Boyhood cause it was that good.

        • mulesandmud

          Roger Ebert said it best: “No good movie is ever too long, and no bad movie is ever short enough.”

          • Mhocommenter

            True but we’re talkin’ ligtning in a bottle.

        • b

          I understand that. I personally am not conflating “very quick read read” with “would make a good movie.” I sincerely think it would make a fun movie, nothing Oscar worthy, but a fun movie. Regardless of its readability.

          • Andrew Parker

            Sorry, didn’t mean to single you out. The words “quick read” just reminded me how often we (Carson included) give such importance to quick read, with white space seemingly valued more than storytelling these days.

            I personally enjoyed the uniqueness of The Babysitter, but think a 12 year-old protag in a horror is a very tough sell without many supporting characters.

  • http://simplyscripts.com/ Steex

    Abraham Higginbotham.
    Now there is a name I will never forget.
    I didn’t realize he was a writer. I know his name from the Modern Family credits, where he’s a producer.
    He probably started off as a writer’s assistant.
    Or graduated from USC.

    • pmlove

      Didn’t he write a lot of Arrested Development?

    • Andrew Parker

      In television, about 90% of the time you see the word producer, it means writer. The other 10% are savvy business people who rope others into writing for them.

      http://johnaugust.com/2004/producer-credits-and-what-they-mean

      P.S. Abraham Higginbotham does sound like a great Game of Thrones character.

  • pmlove

    I AM RYAN REYNOLDS – I don’t think this makes the most of it’s premise. His main goal is to stop people looking like him but the fact people look like him cause him no problems. I feel like this script is crying out for ‘Ryan Reynolds to need to prove that he is who he is’ scene or for the interlopers to muscle in on his territory and claim to be him – it touches on this but (SPOILERS) then the lead ‘Phil’ gives up that he isn’t RR very quickly. Might have worked better if Ryan was lazy and started using the lookalikes as stand-ins from the get-go but then they start to muscle in on/take over his life, he gets a belly and no-body believes he is RR. IE – there are no stakes to his quest to find the other RRs and no real goal once he finds them, except convince them to change their face (he kinda gives up eventually, as if to prove it).

    Instead Phil becomes a star in his own right, which is fine but doesn’t feel much different to a rival taking his place – it doesn’t really matter that they both look alike. Plus, it has a ‘One Year Later’ Act Three.

    It’s well written and very quick, just ultimately doesn’t fully utilise the premise, or quite land an emotional payoff.

    YELLOWSTONE FALLS – Very simple story, reasonably told. Good, simple character arcs, great idea. The ‘zombie/predators’ feel like odd to start with but is soon forgotten. Not sure it is quite as revolutionary as it sounded like it would be, essentially just an ‘animals on a journey face danger’ story. But it still hits the right beats, rounds characters off and manages to tug gently at the heartstrings.

    For a 50-odd page script it takes too long to establish its protagonist for my money. (SPOILERS) – all the set up goes to PAPA, who is killed off, then it seems the BETA male will take over, then lands on MAMA who has limited set-up in the beginning.

    VERY quick, obviously.

  • Magga

    Can anyone get me Money Monster, In Real Time, the LBJ one and The Man in the Rockefeller Suit? velkjent@hotmail.com, big thanks!

    • cjob3

      I’d like to get my grubby hands on any of the following: Swimsuit Issue, Rothchild, Situation Comedy, Dodge, The Shower, Jackpot, Cartoon Girl ,Plus One, Wonka, Coffee and Kareem, Money monster, My Friend Dahmer, Morgan, Beauty Pageant.
      cjob3(AT)hotmail

      • Altius

        Sent you Rothchild, Dodge, Morgan, and Wonka.

        • Aaron Courville

          Could you send me Wonka?? fightdub@gmail.com MUCH appreciated!

          • Altius

            Sent.

    • Altius

      Sent you The Man in the Rockefeller Suit.

  • Bifferspice

    rothchild and professor pasghetti are the two that i will make time to read out of that lot, based purely on loglines. interested to hear any other recommendations though.

    intrigued by carson’s reactions, as always. i groaned when i read the logline for wonka. i’ve really had enough with hollywood raking over any, ANY IP just to try and cheat their way to character depth without making the effort.

    • Mhocommenter

      Micallef probably pulled a Snow White & the Huntsman spin on an old classic on WONKA.

      It just might translate to $$$dollars. And Jason’s tweets at times reveal his twisted sense of humor/sensibility if you follow him on Twitter.

  • I WRITE FILMS

    Anyone have a copy of The Wall

    • Altius

      Yep. Where would you like it sent?

  • brenkilco

    ROTHCHILD
    Writer: John Patton Ford
    Genre: Black Comedy?
    Premise: A young, well-educated loner kills the members of his mother’s estranged family one-by-one in hopes that he will inherit the family’s vast fortune.
    Thoughts: Ford graduated from both USC AND AFI. So he’s got the best Hollywood education money can buy. This sounds like it could be good.

    Apparently the first lesson the well educated Mr. Ford learned was that Hollywood has no memory of any movie made before 1980 so steal with impunity.

    • drifting in space

      Same but different, baby.

      • brenkilco

        Except this sounds like same but same.

        • drifting in space

          Same but same, baby.***

    • filmklassik

      This logline pissed me off when I first read it. It still does. It’d be one thing if it was an official remake because remakes get produced all the time (although it would likely be a pale shadow of the near-perfect original) but to just say, “Wow, this movie’s great and nobody under 40 knows about it — I think I’ll write it myself!” is to coldly and deliberately sell off a big chunk of your soul.

  • walker

    The voters are agents and managers. They don’t hire anyone.

    • Andrew Parker

      It actually is voted on by executives and prodco people, according to the BL website. Not sure how that equates to brenkilco being screwed though.

      I find B Duffield incredibly smart, engaging and likable online. It’s not hard to see why film people would be enamored with him. Tossing a vote for his script is a no-brainer if you like the guy.

      • drifting in space

        I’m with you on this one. He’s a likable guy with a knack of banging out scripts that don’t take the whole day to read. He’s pretty funny (subjective) and he stories have a sort of warm charm to them.

        When it comes down to it, though, we still don’t know how his scripts translate to screen yet.

        For all we know, the movie may bomb and it’ll be good he sold a bunch of scripts before anyone realized they make thin movies.

        • Andrew Parker

          Agreed. That’s why it literally pays to be prolific.

          Until you have a movie come out, no one can tell how successful your scripts might translate to screen. All you have is potential, and there’s lots of value in potential. Butt in seat is very important.

          The two working screenwriters I’m most impressed with are Allan Loeb and Dan Fogelman. Sure, some of their movies get bad reviews. But those are a lot easier to read in your $3.9 MM Manhattan penthouse (Loeb).

          • drifting in space

            I’ll take a 45% rotten tomatoes rating with millions of dollars over a 9-5 day job any day of the week.

          • Andrew Parker

            I’ll take a 10% rotten tomatoes if my work turns a major profit for a studio and keeps 100’s of people employed. It’s not like a bad movie kills people the way soda and fast food does.

            That’s why I don’t get the hate for Adam Sandler movies. We’re less likely to have Whiplash, Foxcatcher, etc without the profits from Sandler & Co. Keep churning them out til they stop making money.

          • Magga

            That isn’t really the case, though. The more blockbusters that are produced, the fewer medium-scale movies are made. You can grade it on a curve. Studios care more and more about making fewer, bigger movies and maximizing their incomes on those than spending money promoting smaller films, which makes them less likely to spend sufficient money making those films, and we get microscopic budgets and gigabudgets. Not saying I wouldn’t take the money, but I have no rooting interest in people succeeding in turning cinema in a direction I don’t like. I suspect there aren’t many who would argue against this being the lowest point in the history of popular American cinema, and yet more gigantic movies are produced. They take up screens, personnel and marketing funds, and you get nothing back for it. Here’s a recent article about part of the subject:

            http://flavorwire.com/492985/how-the-death-of-mid-budget-cinema-left-a-generation-of-iconic-filmmakers-mia

          • brenkilco

            Let’s be honest. Most of us would take Uwe Boll’s lifetime RT average and millions of dollars over a 9-5 day job.

          • drifting in space

            Amen, brother.

  • Nicholas J

    Well, it finally happened. Reading through the list yesterday, I came across a script with the exact same concept as one I’ve been working on for the past couple months with another writer. We read it last night and, yup, the similarities are eerie. Many things are different, but there’s enough similarities that it all but kills our project.

    It feels kinda like you’ve been dating a girl for a couple months, and it’s that new part of your relationship, where you can’t keep your hands off each other. But then one day you need to use her laptop, and on it you come across a sex tape that she made with another guy before you two even started dating. You of course have to watch it, or else it’s all you’ll ever be able to think about. So you sit there, watching this other dude bang your new girlfriend, and he doesn’t quite give her the TLC that you do, he just goes at it, thrusting away selfishly, without telling her how beautiful she looks or how much she inspires him to be the best person he can be, nope, he just goes through the motions, copying clichéd moves that he’s seen in every other film, I mean porn, but it doesn’t matter, because he’s the one banging your girlfriend while you just have to sit there and deal with it. “He’s not doing it right!” you think to yourself. “He’s doing it all wrong, can’t he see that?!” But before you know it the tape is over, and you try not to let it get to you. But then you go to bed with your girlfriend, and she starts kissing you, and all you can do is think about her with that other guy, and part of you wants to just take her right then and there to prove how much better you are than that other guy, to do all the things right that he did wrong, but the other part of you wonders, even though she didn’t seem that into him on the tape, maybe he was better than you, maybe he is better than you, and maybe, no matter how hard you try, how much you give her the TLC you think she needs, he will always be better than you. And all that passion you had for the first couple months fizzles away, because you can’t look at her quite the same, since all you can think about is that sex tape, and your own insecurities as a writer, I mean boyfriend, and you two break up, because you’re just not the same person around her anymore, but then you still want her back, because she was a great girlfriend, and just because she slept with someone else before you doesn’t mean she’s a bad person, in fact that’s a completely normal thing that happens all the time and you can’t expect people to be exclusive to you, you don’t “own” her, but by now it doesn’t matter because she’s long gone, and though you could try to get her back, the relationship just wouldn’t be the same, so you decide to move on, and go find a new, better, funnier, more interesting script idea, I mean girlfriend.

    Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

    • Logline_Villain

      Great minds (sometimes) think alike…

      • Nicholas J

        The concept was my cowriter’s idea so I don’t even have that silver lining, haha. But yes, knowing we were on to something might be of some consolation as my girlfriend is out making the rounds around town while I sit at home and try to get over her.

    • susanrichards

      this is one of the best things ive read in quite some time.

      • Nicholas J

        I’m glad my misery can bring you joy, Susan!

        • susanrichards

          ha, no, i felt bad..its just good writing :)

    • Magga

      My friend actually had a script at a production house with a director attached when a the series Lilyhammer was announced. The similarities weren’t even that strong, just that a typical American genre character was dropped into Norway, and when you think about how similar so many genre pieces are to each other it’s hard to see how it should matter. I being similar to one script is derivative while being similar to many scripts is genre. Any chance you’d tell us which one it is, if you’re not going to pursue it?

      • Nicholas J

        I won’t say which it was, but it was more than just genre similarities. We even had some of the exact same scenes. The overall execution was quite a bit different, but it’s more that I don’t want to spend a bunch of time and effort on something that people will just look at and say, “Oh, this is just like that one script.”

        It helps a little knowing stuff happens like last year’s list, which had two similar Jaws scripts – Mayor of Shark City and The Shark is Not Working – so there is room in the market for two scripts of the same concept. But I feel like they need to be out at the same time for that to work. I mean, do you think The Shark is Not Working would’ve gotten any attention if it came out this year instead of last? Wouldn’t people just look at it and say, “Isn’t there already a making-of-Jaws spec out there?”

        • susanrichards

          if its any consolation, you’re right on the money because someone else had the idea, and it made it to the blacklist.

          it was just a matter of timing.

    • Andrew Parker

      Might as well keep writing it.

      December 2014 Black List:

      POSSESSION: A LOVE STORY
      Writer: Jack Stanley
      Premise: In a seemingly perfect marriage, a man discovers that he is actually wedded to a demon inhabiting another woman’s body.

      December 2013 Announced Brian Duffield Project:

      VIVIEN HASN’T BEEN HERSELF LATELY
      Writer: Brian Duffield
      Premise: Tom wakes up one night to find that the bedroom is freezing cold, and in bed beside him, his wife Vivien has been possessed by demons. (https://www.yahoo.com/movies/film/vivien-hasnt-been-herself-lately)

      Until the movie is released, similar ideas are fine. Where would the world be if the writers of Armageddon just gave up when they heard Deep Impact was being made? (he said, as he sensually massaged animal crackers along his chest)

      • Nicholas J

        Ha, I also wrote a script with a similar concept as those ones, five years ago. Not joking. Maybe I should’ve pursued it more.

        • susanrichards

          well, i think many men feel like they wake up next to a demon.

          • klmn

            You mean there are women who are not possessed by demons?

          • susanrichards

            no such thing exists. however, some of us are better at hiding it.

        • Acarl

          You should contact Dionne Warwick at the Psychic Friends Network

    • Mhocommenter

      Nicholas J. ” Shift Enter ” . break the long texts into 4-5 blocks. :)

    • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

      You can make a script about this very emotion.

      • Nicholas J

        A guy finds an old sex tape of his girlfriend and it slowly drives him insane? Dibs. Needs a second concept though.

        • Montana Gillis

          His right hand becomes jealous and tries to strangle his left.

    • JA

      Nick, do you know how many times I’ve been working on a script and it turns out THE MOVIE is about to come out? The first time was with THE FOREST BROTHERS, which I wrote about a year prior to DEFIANCE coming out. The next time was THE BETRAYED, which placed in the semis of a competition and then about 2 weeks later THE WHISTLEBLOWER (with Rachel Weisz) came out (almost exact same story). So, I decide to go in a different direction and write something different, I get about 30 pages in and realize Redford has ALL IS LOST (again, same exact story). It’s just going to happen. I’ve been told it’s a good thing though because it means you know how to spot decent ideas. Keep plugging away, but don’t allow that to happen to your girl! ahaha!

    • Midnight Luck

      I TOTALLY understand what you are saying. And it bugs me so much when it happens. But what do you do?

      I have a script I am working on with some interesting, unique, inventive ideas, a great hook, and a truly different storyline. And all I can think is: “I wonder how long it will be before someone else breaks out with this idea?”. “Can I get this out there before another writer appears with a TOO SIMILAR premise?”.

      I wrote FIGHT CLUB, long before Fight Club was Fight Club.
      The book didn’t exist, the movie was years off, and I had this incredible idea for an Underground Fight Club ring in New Mexico.
      It had so many interesting and great things to it. I mean it wasn’t the Fight Club that we all know, but there were so many similarities to it, that once I had finished it and it made rounds with people, all anyone could say was: “Have you read Fight Club?” (because by then Fight Club HAD come out and was huge, and YES, by then I had read it…..damn it!)

      • drifting in space

        I was in the middle of writing HANNA before I came across it on Netflix and nearly broke my Xbox because of it. If I was writing Fight Club before it existed and I saw it coming out, I would have flipped my shit.

        I have one idea I don’t feel I’m ready to write and I just know if I keep waiting, I’m going to get an email saying it’s going to go into production. It is pure genius, but I need a few more screenplays under my belt to really do it justice.

        Thankfully, it was kind of already a movie in the 50s, but Hollywood doesn’t seem to care about repeating itself. Plus, the themes back then were totally different.

        • Midnight Luck

          The thing is, I absolutely Loved the book, and well, to be honest the Movie FIGHT CLUB is an absolute favorite.

          So, yes I am irked about it, but at the same time, the author did an amazing job, and the artists who crafted the movie gave us something incredible.

          So in the end, what is there really to be upset about?

          You were working diligently a while back, and it sounded like you were kicking out quite a bit of work.
          I hope you tackle this project and I hope it is what you want it to be.

          Sadly I find Sooner, is ALWAYS better than later. (for me)

          All I am saying is, based on my own life, I hope you can give it a go, and you might find you are more than ready and capable, right now.

          • drifting in space

            One of my largest flaws is the inability to finish anything, due to ADD or whatever they call it nowadays.

            I have about 10 stories in different stages, with notebooks full of ideas. The stories range from character lists with descriptions, to nearly completed scripts. My follow-through is atrocious.

            The thing I’m working on for 2015 is to see a few projects from start to finish without being distracted or moving on to a new idea, with this idea being the one I hope to finish.

            You know… I’ve never read anything from you. I don’t even think we’ve spoken outside of this forum, if rarely. Drop me a line if you ever want to chat or get some eyes on a project. I find ourselves having conversations on this board more often than not.

          • Midnight Luck

            I am right there with you.
            I have a few hundred stories / scripts / ideas / outlines of ideas / partial descriptions of ideas / breakdowns of scripts and story ideas.

            Here is something that really spoke to me about just that:
            I read the book “How to Write a Screenplay in 10 Days”.
            –I know, sounds like a stupid idea, and a dumb notion. But actually, in reality, it was one of the best books I have read about screenwriting.
            One of the main points they make, is that taking TOO LONG is one of the central reasons people fail at writing a script.
            They get Bored with what they are writing, they get bogged down in too many rewrites, they KILL their enthusiasm, and then move on to the NEXT BIG idea they have. It seems flashier, more exciting, more interesting, has more weight now than that old idea.
            Basically, they make an incredible case for working really Fast and really Hard at the idea and script you are doing RIGHT NOW.

            I completely agree. I have more ideas and stories than I know what to do with. I come up with great concepts I want to do and work on all the time. And I struggle with keeping at the one concept I am working on. And they are right, that NEW idea is so much more exciting and sexy than the idea I have been tossing around for a few years, or even weeks.

            So, while writing an entire Feature length script in 10 Days sounds kinds of idiotic, I actually agree with it 100% now. I agree the writer has to do everything in their power to keep as excited and motivated as they possibly can.
            I am amazed people that can work on a script, and rewrite, or just a first writing, and it takes them a year, or many years. I am blown away. If I can’t write an entire script within a month, i don’t think it is worth giving it a shot. Now that doesn’t include all the mulling around in my head, all the ping ponging that goes on in my grey matter BEFORE I am ready to sit down and (possibly outline) write it.

            I would love to chat more with you offline (off-Shadow). I think you have a good head for creativity, and I appreciate your dedication. I think we could have some great dialogue.

            my email: m \at// blackluck {dot}} com

            feel free to send me a message, would love to chat.

    • drifting in space

      Wasn’t THE WALL already ENEMY AT THE GATES?

    • Casper Chris

      Damn, my condolences. That’s the worst.

    • S_P_1

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Pooh Bear

      I feel your pain. It happens to me a lot. I wrote a zombie script right before Walking Dead became a thing. Two racist brothers in a group of survivors. Popcorn was thrown at the television.

      It sucks BUT I look at it this way, your ideas are on the right track.

      I also think we become hyperaware when anything even remotely similar comes out… movies, tv shows, scripts or books.

      Keep plugging away.

  • Brainiac138

    So many CIA scripts. So many Cold War scripts. At least post-Apocalyptic scripts seem like they are down in number, however, I am in the middle of reading Yellowstone Falls and I have to say that this would be pretty great without the mutant human angle. It is completely different in story, but reminiscent in reading experience to Motor City from four or so years ago. No dialogue, but completely cinematic.

    • UrbaneGhoul

      And sad biopics.

    • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

      please send Yellowstone Falls, I’d appreciate it. thanks!
      adam @ alumni . vcu . edu

  • UrbaneGhoul

    The Munchkin stood out as interesting. The Swimsuit made me think of the Saved by the Bell episode.

  • walker

    I am Ryan Reynolds sounds like a fun concept, but I can’t help wondering if it would be better with a different actor at the center of the story. Like maybe John Malkovich.

    • crazedwritr

      who would want to look like John? LOL

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats to all the writers who made the list! You all are an inspiration.
    Especially those co-writing siblings or married couples which looks like there are many.
    I can’t even be in a room for five minutes with my sister without pulling her hair.

  • jeaux

    I’ve read the Dahmer graphic novel. So good. And disturbing of course.

    • Deaf Ears

      Yep. I’m a little younger than the author (and Dahmer) but grew up in basically the same period, and the graphic novel really captured the loneliness of being a latchkey kid in the 70s. None of my school pals turned out to be serial killers, though (that I know of).

    • Sullivan

      I started reading the SP, but it really pushed the “Jeff is a weirdo” angle again and again. No surprise there. And where do you go from there story-wise? He just gets weirder?

  • Randy Williams

    This received Carson’s highest score for “want to readibility” factor. The only “9”

    So, AOW hopefuls. You might want to send in a Wonka script or maybe anything to do with chocolate.

    • drifting in space

      A story about the In and Out founder, who originally wanted his burgers to be dipped in chocolate, but was forced out by the FDA due to the nation’s new stance on healthy diets.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brett-martin/52/702/72 ElectricDreamer

    “ROTHCHILD
    Premise: A young, well-educated loner kills the members of his mother’s
    estranged family one-by-one in hopes that he will inherit the family’s
    vast fortune.”

    Ealing Studios called. They want the EXACT plot back for their classic black comedy…

    • Brainiac138

      This sort of thing has been rampant for awhile. There have been so many “edgy” family thriller scripts that are some variation of Shadow of a Doubt, a girl with a crush on her murderous uncle.

      • brenkilco

        I sat through the one with Nicole Kidman as the drunk mother and that guy from Watchmen as the creepy uncle and that odd girl with the saddle shoes acting really odd. And how the hell did that thing get made?

    • brenkilco

      Look, our movie will be way different because first off our characters are American and second Alec Guiness is dead.

    • filmklassik

      Can’t believe the screenwriter isn’t being called out on this.

  • Brainiac138

    The Wilde Ones sounds a lot like the novel Donnybrook by the ever gritty Frank Bill… http://www.amazon.com/Donnybrook-A-Novel-Frank-Bill/dp/0374532893#

  • drifting in space

    I felt pretty underwhelmed this year. There’s a couple I’d read, but overall, most don’t speak to me. Could be the fact that the loglines feel clumsy and disjointed.

    It also feels like the Blacklist is not really hitting the goal it set out to do in the first place: discover unknown writers.

    More than half these people have credits already. Why do we need a list of known writers and the screenplays they wrote but haven’t made into movies?

    Oh well. Ho-hum.

    • Nicholas J

      I think a lot of the loglines are written to tell you just enough about the script without giving away too many details of the story. I mean, these scripts are out there and making the rounds already, do they really need great loglines? I doubt most of them are the loglines the writers came up with while writing the script, but I could be wrong.

      • drifting in space

        It seems odd they wouldn’t just use the logline that the writer wrote to sell their project. It is an easy copy+paste, I’d assume…

        These are all hot messes. Just doesn’t make sense to me. To be on a professional industry list… why not make the entire production professional? Their writing got them there, why not package it with the logline they wrote?

        Bah!

        • Brainiac138

          One thing I remember from my days at a lit management company is that there are usually several different loglines used in the life of a script. Since the Blacklist is usually considered a more public outing with the writing, a lot of loglines are used that are either way too descriptive, or more or less just a tagline, or written to not give too much info away.

    • ChadStuart

      I thought the Black List was started by an exec who wanted to read great scripts over the holidays tht he could potentially produce. It was only ever about great unproduced scripts, but not necessarily unknown writers. It’s silly when a script that’s guaranteed to be produced to show up on there (like “Django Unchained”), but the writers can certainly be established.

      • drifting in space

        Yeah, true. I just remember his interviews when he said the site is designed to help unknown writers. I took it too literally. It CAN help unknowns… but isn’t exactly the purpose.

        It does seem silly that a few of these are “in production,” but not necessarily “produced.”

        • ChadStuart

          It’s really just a good guage into current trends, nothing more. You’re not going to get on it until you’re being passed around town (it’s the only way to get on it since you need multiple votes) and if you’re being passed around town you’re not goind to worry about being on a list because you’re pretty much already on your way. The Nicholls is still the best way for unknowns to quickly become known outside of pitching, pitching and more pitching.

    • Midnight Luck

      I believe the HIT LIST is the one that only has unknown writers on it. The Blacklist is just a list of all the unproduced scripts that all the Managers and Producers like, but haven’t yet been made, so they come up with a best of list. Could be written by most anyone, but leans toward Amateur’s or unproduced writers just naturally.

      So check out Hit List if you want to find more new, unproduced writers work.

      http://www.tracking-board.com/the-hit-list-2014-full-list/

      • drifting in space

        I guess I should re-word what I meant.

        If the purpose of The Blacklist (as a site) is used by unknown writers to upload their scripts into the hands of people who normally wouldn’t read them (also, paying a fee), but the end of the year list is flooded by mostly known writers with production credits, what is the point?

        Or are we just that bad?

        But I see your point. The Hit List is more what I’m thinking.

        • guest

          Black List Site and Black List List are two totally different animals.

          • sotiris5000

            Thank you. I find it so strange that people can’t seem to get a handle on this. Or maybe they do and I am missing something.

        • Midnight Luck

          I had the same reaction when it comes to the BlckLst: the website.
          In all honesty, when it really comes down to it, I feel like it’s just an obvious Cash Grab.
          Feed into all us poor unknown screenwriter’s fears of not getting our work read. Feed into our dreams that some (unknown, faceless) Big time producer will be trolling the site and come across our masterpiece and we will be Discovered!
          I don’t think it is much different than just the regular Hollywood setup.
          The BlackList just managed to build up a big name over the years by releasing this list each December, got a name, notoriety, and then built a site to feed off all our hopes and dreams (Ka-ching!).

          I look at the prices, I read what you need to get from the site to even have some success or interest from others, I read what other people feel about it on here, or what kind of success they have had with it, and honestly, in the end, I am a much bigger fan of ScriptShadow than I am of the BlckLst site.

          ScriptShadow is an honest, straight forward, and helpful site. It isn’t out there spinning your dreams into some false hope and reward.

          They seem to just be feeding into all the unknown people’s hopes and fears, and making some serious cash off of it.
          Same old, Different day.

          Not that there aren’t certain people who have benefited, but does anyone know anyone, or have you heard of anyone who got a buy, or representation because of their script on BlckLst? I haven’t.

          • drifting in space

            Maybe that’s the feeling I’m getting. Ca$h grab.

            I agree on the SS part, though. I feel that with a well executed script, you could have some moderate success on this site.

            Best of all, it’s free!

          • Ari

            IT’S a cash grab. Without discussion.

          • S_P_1

            Overall I agree. But I’ve read multiple AF’s and the writer will have the comment section filled with the most irrelevant comments that have nothing to do with the script being reviewed.

        • S_P_1

          If the purpose of The Blacklist (as a site) is used by unknown writers to upload their scripts into the hands of people who normally wouldn’t read them (also, paying a fee), but the end of the year list is flooded by mostly known writers with production credits, what is the point?

          Literally those 4 lines of common sense could diminish the popularity of the Blacklist. I’m an ex-subscriber I pretty much have those same sentiments.

          • sotiris5000

            But the two things (the website and the actual blacklist) are completely different things. There’s no reason for any of the scripts from the website to be on the list.

  • drifting in space

    Oh, it will. We amateurs love to ramble one how our half finished script could beat any of these between handfuls of chips and Mountain Dew.

  • Altius

    First off, sincere congratulations to anyone who made the Black List. They’ve put in the work, they’ve been recognized, and this is fantastic news for their careers.

    CATHERINE THE GREAT: I was sort of surprised this came in at #1. It was really good, but not spectacular. Well done period piece, though I did think Catherine a bit passive until the final act. Her husband Peter was a fascinating and repugnant character, though.

    THE BABYSITTER: Felt really short, but I loved it. It’s not deep, but sure as hell is entertaining. Felt tonally very similar to the remake of Fright Night, which was a pleasantly surprising flick. Snappy dialogue, the Duffield way.

    BERLINER: This one is dense. Feels very authentic (would love to know the background of the writer with this subject matter and context) and a terrifically teased-out thriller. Le Carre-like politics.

    BIRD BOX: This one was excellent. The premise of not being able to ever see the monsters injected such terrific suspense into it. It’s an adaptation of a book, actually, and a good one at that. Kept me highly engaged.

    Will be digging into a bunch of the rest this week. Inspiration in high gear…ambition jolted afresh…

    • brenkilco

      If you have Berliner would really appreciate a copy. Brenkilco@gmail.com Thanks

      • Altius

        Sent.

        • brenkilco

          Thanks again.

          • filmklassik

            And please post your thoughts on Berliner after you’re done. Haven’t read it yet but I do dig stories in that genre (when they’re done well) so I am curious to hear your reaction. Thanks!

          • brenkilco

            Will do

          • brenkilco

            Berliner seems to have been reasonably well researched. The writer piles on lots of twists without much rhyme or reason. And the whole thing collapses so horribly by the end that one character actually acknowledges all the the actions that haven’t been explained and all the questions that haven’t been answered. Love this kind of stuff done well. Extremely disappointing. Will vent in detail if it earns a post. If you get through it let me know your take.

          • filmklassik

            Hmm. Sounds unnecessarily and inexplicably convoluted, and therefore unsatisfying. Dammit. If I read it I’ll let you know, but now I’m leaning toward not reading it.

            Here’s my deal: My wife is basically a speed reader who can burn through a whole script in 45 minutes and retain ALL of it. But I am not that way — alas. So I’ve gotta budget my time. And you may’ve just saved me a couple of hours. But again, if I read it I’ll let you know. And I hope it does earn a post so I can read your thoughts in more detail (your insights are always welcome, bren, and fun as hell to read). Thanks!

          • brenkilco

            After plowing through The Babysitter this Blacklist is 0 for 2 with me. Really 0. Think I will give it one more try with Catherine the Great. Then I may be out.

        • Bacon Statham

          I’d really appreciate it if I could get Berliner too please. rooster82@hotmail.co.uk. Thanks in advance.

          • Altius

            Sent.

          • Bacon Statham

            Cheers mate.

          • Olly Anson

            Hi Altius, Merry Christmas. Could you please send me , Catherine The Great & Berliner to qualitywordstar(at)yahoo.co.uk . Gracias In advance.

          • Altius

            Sent. Happy New Year :)

    • tipofthenose

      Hey, do you have Situation Comedy??? Would be amazing!!
      buchzumfilm@zoho.com
      THANKS

      • Altius

        I don’t…sorry!

    • Gman

      Heck, I’d be overjoyed and grateful to read “Catherine the Great,” “Bird Box,” and “Berliner.” Awesome of you to share. guyfpolin@gmail.com

      • Altius

        Sent.

    • http://simplyscripts.com/ Steex

      If you wouldn’t mind sending The Babysitter my way, I’d greatly appreciate it!
      steexsteexsteex@gmail.com

    • JNave

      Hey Altius, your generosity apparently knows no bounds! If you don’t mind, I would love a copy of The Babysitter and Bird Box. jason.c.nave@gmail.com. Thanks!!!

      • Altius

        Sent. Totally welcome.

        • JNave

          Thanks a bunch!

  • klmn

    In the comments section of yesterday’s review, jaehkim posted a link to a folder of all the scripts.

  • jaehkim

    PROFESSOR PASGHETTI

    i read this when it came out on spec and thought it was good. did not know it was up for AF here, dont know how I missed that one, but congrats to the writer. a great use of dramatic irony with good execution and character work.

  • Sullivan

    The Beautiful Game reads like a letter to Penthouse. The main character is not likeable unless you’re a pre-pubescent boy and think this is something to aspire to. And the voice-overs from multiple characters…well…one is bad enough in a script, but everyone?

  • Andrea Moss

    The “famous fairy tale character dark and gritty origin story”? WONKA! DOUBLE CHECK!

  • NajlaAnn

    There are several I’d like to read or watch on the silver screen, especially the thrillers and sci-fi. :)

  • Fistacuffs

    I think Rockingham will be based on the book O.J’s agent wrote, that revealed the truth about the whole murder.

  • crazedwritr

    For what it is worth — The Road to Oz was also a 2014 Nicholl Finalist.

  • Fistacuffs

    Carson! You didn’t like Ron Howard’s Rush?

    • carsonreeves1

      I didn’t like it. Then again, that subject matter isn’t my thing. But I also thought the look was really strange – like trying to be 70s but instead just a bad filter.

      • Fistacuffs

        Fair enough. Personally, I loved the look and the subject matter. So maybe that sways my mind a bit more than it would for you.

  • Altius

    Sent. With some extra Barcelona love, because I am just mad, mad jealous ;)

  • Tyler Givens

    Can anybody, please, send me Hot Air? I’m also searching for Passengers and Death Wish (by Joe Carnahan). Thank you! tlrgivens@gmail.com

    • Altius

      Sent Death Wish and Passengers.

      • Tyler Givens

        Got it! Thanks!

    • jgrey

      Sent Hot Air.

      • Dan B

        Hey, can you send Hot Air this way as well? Dblixbreen(at)gmail.com

        • jgrey

          You got it!.

  • Guest

    Anybody going to see The Interview?
    I heard it’s going to be… da bomb
    I sure aren’t. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the news these days.

  • listingthis

    I’m curious why you cover the Black List, but not the Hit List? It seems the hit list is more focused on specs, and up and coming writers, and this year predicted like half the black list.

    • carsonreeves1

      Only because the Black List is more well-known. I don’t think The Hit List has that notoriety yet. But I like what they do.

  • manjowithane

    Anyway we can get hold of these scripts like last year? :D

  • drifting in space

    I didn’t put those words together exactly, but you’re real cute.

  • S_P_1

    I can’t say any of the scripts particularly motivated me to read them or see as a film. Cartoon Girl will probably be the only script I’ll read on the list.

    The Wilde Ones sounds like every illegal tournament-styled street fighting movie ever made. I recently watched the Klitschko documentary. Although I didn’t read the recent Southpaw, I prefer a more traditional boxing film.

    Ultimately I’ve become less of a script reader and more of a script writer / indie filmmaker. I think I may have read maybe 25 scripts this year amatuer and pro combined. I’ve seen around 8 feature films. I plan to watch at least 5 films I missed either through redbox or netflix. Ultimately I plan on being part of the Hollywood motion picture industry versus constantly reading about it.

  • Mhocommenter

    What are your thoughts on MATRIACH for those who’d read it. Thanks.

  • peisley

    Oh, sure, Carson. Like you can’t post a script you like on your own site, even if we’re too dim to see it’s greatness. We’re only your minions, after all.

  • scriptfeels

    I remember reading part of I am Ryan Reynolds, I forget what happened during the script and I lost interest in it part way through I think. Still a funny premise though!

  • maxi1981

    Its funny how Carson says that In My Darkest Hour is something that PT Anderson would make because he already did make it, its called There Will Be Blood. One of the best movies ever. The movie logline for it is exactly the same premise as TWBB!!!

  • Eddie Panta

    THE WILD ONES

    A dense script that’s still a page turner if for no other reason than you just can’t imagine where this is going.

    But it would be too easy dismiss this as overwritten. The opening scenes take us to a time, a place, and intro us to a character that is NOT doing things they way you would normally see on screen.

    CGI camera descriptions with stop-n-go, Spartan 300 type fight scenes.
    Rednecks and hillbillies bet on young boys and girls who fight bare knuckled in some outdoors fight club scenario.

    By page three, you quickly realize that this is a down-n-dirty, no holds barred, stereotype smashing script,.

    THE WILD ONES is set during the 80’s, in a backwoods Florida town. We meet Elizabeth. a busty, trash-mouth mom in her kitchen where the CAMERA, is in firm control of the writer. So much so, that I thought it was going to have a character that is making a documentary.

    It’s been suggested here on the board, and elsewhere, that when it comes
    to screenwriting no one wants to see a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
    get made. It’s almost a mandate that contemporary scripts avoid the process and jump to the result. THE WILD ONES would be the exception to this rule.

    This isn’t the script where you read: Sam pours a drink. or Sam fixes
    dinner, sits and eats. Now, this wouldn’t work if Elizabeth was simply
    eating cereal.

    Action lines describing the PROCESS of her making something to eat are lengthy and detailed. She dumps a hamburger into a Dixie bowl, with flowers on it, then smashes it to pieces with a plastic fork. Then she pours sauce of over it. This is not only her diet, it’s her lifestyle, a ritual.

    No one wants to read a scene about someone actually fixing a car. Just show us the character bent over the hood. Then later, turning the key, and we hear the engine roar.

    Unless your describing a fight scene or a stripper, or the car wash scene in Wild Things, the typical advice is to just jump to the results.

    In the opening scene, we meet Elizabeth, a sassy, busty red-neck who teaches her teenage son FLYNN how to box in the hopes of making cash at backwoods fight club.

    Elizabeth’s son Flynn is put right to the test. In a fight scene where his mother, Elizabeth wagers $200.00 on him. Then, in a page right out of, SS’s book, a man in overalls, saunters up and raises the stakes, putting down a thousand dollar bet against her son.
    Elizabeth takes the bet, the fight is on.

    There’s a lot more script advice rule breaking going on here. After the fight scene, we meet five characters, all at once, each with their own unfilmable narrative style descriptions.
    We are introduced to Five characters, one of which is a young girl named Scarlet, who is described as cute blonde and petite. Turns out she’s a ballerina with a mean left-hook. She wants to have two babies and move to New York.

    I’ve only got to page twenty, but felt I should recommend for anyone wanting to read a script with a story and style that challenges the norms.

  • Pooh Bear

    I read three of these…

    In the Deep – it was okay, it’s a good one for some up and coming actress to stretch her range. I found it to be a little unrealistic… injuries sustained by the main character.

    Possession: A Love Story – I liked it, was very curious how this would end. The thing that kept me reading was it posed an underlying question about love. I like how it ended.

    Bird Box – I really, really enjoyed it. It’s very familiar but has a separate take on other thriller/horror movies. There are a few set pieces that rock and there is the burning desire to see the characters open their eyes.

  • Craig Mack

    Here’s the things… 1/4 of these scripts wouldn’t cut the mustard on AOW. That’s the God honest truth. Now that’s not a slam on these screenplays… it’s a nod to how important it is to network/have a network.

    I started Manchester-by-the-Sea (mainly because it’s the beach I frequent, and I live in Roxbury)… but it OPENS with 10 pages of the protag doing plumbing… getting drunk in a bar… and more DUAL DIALOGUE blocks then I have ever seen in ANY screenplay. Christ.

  • lonestarr357

    I AM RYAN REYNOLDS – I thought I recognized this. Read about 20 pages in the AOW era. Amusing, but not laugh-out-loud. Still, good for the writer.

    POSSESSION: A LOVE STORY – This sounds a lot like another script that’s been making the rounds, about a demon who possesses the girl of his dreams. Really ought to read them both to compare.

    PLUS ONE – How much you wanna bet that this script is already in Melissa McCarthy’s mailbox (or that of her Mini-Me, Rebel Wilson)?

    CARTOON GIRL – Neat premise. Between this and SWIMSUIT ISSUE, I have a good feeling about this Randall Green.

    SITUATION COMEDY – Another neat premise. Here’s hoping it lives up to it.

    ROTHCHILD – Kind Hearts and Coronets. I should try to see that.

    THE SHOWER, YELLOWSTONE FALLS and THE BABYSITTER – Not even with a 39 1/2-foot pole.

  • Mhocommenter

    Um… little help. I thought the intent of the blacklist was listing of unproduced scripts YET, a good portion of these have been sold and in production. Please enlighten. Thanks.

  • carsonreeves1

    Finally, a nitpicky Grendl comment I can get behind!

  • hackofalltrade

    North of Reno is very good- top 3 or 4 I read this year. I’d be curious about a Carson review.

    With Carson on Moonfall. To me, It wasn’t as good as any of the 6 scripts last weekend. And I forced myself to read it all.

    I just started reading duffield and my favorite is jane got a gun, followed by bridesmaid, then babysitter. I was definitely entertained while reading, but the story, eh. I felt like it just… ended.

    Bird Box!!! You should read this shiznit! I am not a horror guy. Holy Balls. I couldn’t put it down. And for whatever reason(maybe it’s cause I have a small child) it had a emotional resonance with me. My favorite screenplay in 2014.

    The Defection-thought I’d like it, I got bored after 25 pages.

    Berliner- I stopped reading after about 40 pages for the opposite reason. I am not capable of writing a screenplay like this, so I wasn’t learning anything, but it was so good I didn’t want to ruin my movie watching experience.

    LBJ is more than “just” a biopic. I was surprised how into I was.

    In the deep? I usually have the same taste as Carson but I didn’t care for it. Read if all the way through, and kind of wish I had my 2 hours back.

    Beef-as someone from there(Indiana), I was excited about this one. It was a wanna-be Coen brothers script, and I know everybody loves everything they do, but I liked Fargo the miniseries better than than Fargo.

    Plus one. A suggestion of an actress in the script? I thought that was like a total no-no? But funny regardless, it totally felt like a Duffield mixed with bridesmaids. I felt like the premise needed a better ending. Third act was too cliche all around.

    The Wall-intense. Worth the read. I couldn’t put it down either. This is my personal favorite genre, but I am putting this in my top 5.

    Coffee and Kareem-this sounded dumb to me, but I laughed and laughed. The kid(while totally unbelievable) was hilarious. I read it based off of a friends suggestion and I wasn’t disappointed. I think this’ll get made and make some money just based off a target market.

    Situation Comedy- opposite-thought I’d like it, and found it hard to get into. I didn’t finish it.

    Aether-took me a few days to get through it, but solid. Premise drove me to finish it, and that’s rare. To me, it was the sci-if equivalent of SS’s benefactor. It was a cool premise, but enough confusing elements that I would expect a massive re-write before it’s made.

    I’m reading Matriarch now and enjoying it, and want to read Tau and Munchkin. Any favorites anyone else has?

    Catharine-Yes, it’s good. But I personally liked Bird Box, North of Reno, and even SS scripts Barrabas, Breaking the Chain, and extradition more.

    My top 5 of this year: 1-Birdbox-2 The Wall- 3 North of Reno 4-Barrabas- Coffee and Kareem.

    North of Reno is very good- top 3 or 4 I read this year. I’d be curious about a Carson review.

    With Carson on Moonfall. To me, It wasn’t as good as any of the 6 scripts last weekend. And I forced myself to read it all.

    I just started reading duffield and my favorite is jane got a gun, followed by bridesmaid, then babysitter. I was definitely entertained while reading, but the story, eh. I felt like it just… ended.

    Bird Box!!! You should read this shiznit! I am not a horror guy. Holy Balls. I couldn’t put it down. And for whatever reason(maybe it’s cause I have a small child) it had a emotional resonance with me. My favorite screenplay in 2014.

    The Defection-thought I’d like it, I got bored after 25 pages.

    Berliner- I stopped reading after about 40 pages for the opposite reason. I am not capable of writing a screenplay like this, so I wasn’t learning anything, but it was so good I didn’t want to ruin my movie watching experience.

    LBJ is more than “just” a biopic. I was surprised how into I was.

    In the deep? I usually have the same taste as Carson but I didn’t care for it. Read if all the way through, and kind of wish I had my 2 hours back.

    Beef-as someone from there(Indiana), I was excited about this one. It was a wanna-be Coen brothers script, and I know everybody loves everything they do, but I liked Fargo the miniseries better than than Fargo.

    Plus one. A suggestion of an actress in the script? I thought that was like a total no-no? But funny regardless, it totally felt like a Duffield mixed with bridesmaids. I felt like the premise needed a better ending. Third act was too cliche all around.

    The Wall-intense. Worth the read. I couldn’t put it down either. This is my personal favorite genre, but I am putting this in my top 5.

    Coffee and Kareem-this sounded dumb to me, but I laughed and laughed. The kid(while totally unbelievable) was hilarious. I read it based off of a friends suggestion and I wasn’t disappointed. I think this’ll get made and make some money just based off a target market.

    Situation Comedy- opposite-thought I’d like it, and found it hard to get into. I didn’t finish it.

    Aether-took me a few days to get through it, but solid. Premise drove me to finish it, and that’s rare. To me, it was the sci-if equivalent of SS’s benefactor. It was a cool premise, but enough confusing elements that I would expect a massive re-write before it’s made.

    I’m reading Matriarch now and enjoying it, and want to read Tau and Munchkin. Any favorites anyone else has?

    Catharine-Yes, it’s good. But I personally liked Bird Box, North of Reno, and even SS scripts Barrabas, Breaking the Chain, and extradition more.

    My top 5 of this year: 1-Birdbox-2 The Wall- 3 North of Reno 4-Barrabas- Coffee and Kareem.

    • hackofalltrade

      I don’t know why it double posted, and apparently I can’t edit on my iPad.

    • klmn

      If you’re into LBJ, you should check out the off Broadway play, MacBird. It was published as a paperback and you can pick up a used copy on Amazon from .$01

      If the movie is produced, someone should produce that play again.

    • Altius

      Well dang, as one of the writers of Barabbas, this made my night! And at the same time, thinking “Shoot, our current draft is much better than what you read!”

      Btw, I absolutely agree with you about Bird Box. Thought it was terrific.

      • hackofalltrade

        I’d enjoy taking a look at your latest draft if you are circulating it. jdhelm{at}me{dot}com. I agreed with some commenters about “challenges” with the dialogue in the draft that I read. But IMO, that was fixable, and the dialogue wasn’t distractingly bad.
        I don’t think people realize how big of a challenge it had to have been to take on that concept and make it as good as you did, and I can see where certain parts of the dialogue would take a back seat to the material. Conceptually, I just loved it. And while I understand that not everyone loved it, I think this is the type of story you DON’T need EVERYONE to love. I’d absolutely pay to see it.

        • Altius

          Thank you! I sent a copy via email. Hope you find it even better than the last :)

    • august4

      Hey!

      I was wondering where you get all these scripts? !ould love to read a few…

      Thanks!

  • Aaron Courville

    Could anyone send me The Munchkin, Syndrome E, Wonka and Cartoon Girl? fightdub@gmail.com THANKS

  • Trent11

    What are your thoughts on the fact that some theaters are (reportedly) pulling The Interview? It may not be shown at all if things keep moving in this direction.

    I’m telling you, the day we let hackers determine which movies can/can’t be shown is a dark day for every one of us on here…

  • CJ

    Very weak year.

    I don’t think there’s one there that I would really like to read.

  • Altius

    Sent.

  • Sullivan

    They meant “called FOR.” Even hackers make typos.

  • Gman

    Just finished “Catherine the Great.”

    Wow, that was something. Beautifully written and a fascinating character study. At first I
    wondered what was at stake, and I initially found Catherine too passive. Then I realized that
    Catherine’s very ascendency to greatness was what was at stake, with Peter the primary
    foil.

    Vivid characterizations all around. Peter the mentally ill man-child really pops. Catherine is real and multi-dimensional.

    I think this works in large part because, at root, it’s about an abused
    woman who reasserts her feminine power and identity and overcomes the
    societal forces who oppress her. A theme that will forever resonate.

  • kenglo

    Just finished DODGE – Carson needs to review this one!! Readability – 9!!! Heck, why they want to take it to TV I have no idea. THIS IS DOPE!! I wish I had money to make movies!! This was the fastest 127 pages I have ever read!!!

    • drifting in space

      10 pages in and I’m kind of diggin’ it.

      [X] Above average

      It does almost read like Hancock though…

      • kenglo

        Dude, keep reading…it’s like an addiction FIONNA is BAD ASS

        • drifting in space

          I got to page 28 before my boss came in for a meeting. I chewed through those pages real quick.

          Fionna is pretty awesome. Her character definitely pops for the genre.

          With some cool stylizing, this would be one helluva movie (at least so far).

          I’ll finish it on my bus home from work and report back.

    • Gman

      Hi kenglo, could you be kind enough to email me a copy of DODGE? Thanks.
      guyfpolin@gmail.com

  • Matthew Garry

    Regarding “MORGAN”,

    It’s definitely not a comedy, probably sci-fi.

    As for a log line that will at least give some indication of what’s going on:

    After an experimental AI commits a sudden act of violence, a risk manager is sent to assess the situation and shut the project down if needed, but finds its caretakers and researchers–the primary people at risk, reluctant to assist.

    That’s not much, but it’s more than the script actually gives you.

    There were some good scenes, some good characters, etc., but there simply wasn’t a story there. That combined with unclear rules and logical inconsistencies meant it wasn’t for me.

  • Altius

    Sent.

  • crazedwritr

    although they could be faking the bad english thing to throw investigators off their track

  • sotiris5000

    This list isn’t related to the blacklist script-appraisal website.

  • Gman

    Just finished Bird Box. What can I say? Brilliant. Just fucking brilliant. Made me cry at the end.

  • Altius

    Sent! Very welcome.

  • Owsler

    Interesting list. Anyone got a copy of ‘A Garden at the End Of the World’ they can send me (kingmob31@hotmail.co.uk)? Was a bit disappointed to hear it was going to be rewritten as another take on I Am Legend.

  • august4

    My best guess is that they’re “fast” reads. That seems to be take priority amongst readers in Hollywood. I’ve broken down 2 of his scripts and they’re just not movies, but it’s not my wasted money, so…

  • Dan B

    I just read “I am Ryan Reynolds.” This one was up for AOW, but I don’t think there was a selection from that week. I checked the other offerings, and don’t believe one was selected. But based on the comments it seemed that IARR was split as “loved it” or “hated it.” However, I think it may have been the winner looking at the comments board.

  • Dan B

    Do you get Carson’s Newsletter? There was a link for a site that had all of them.