The Black List: Where Unpublished Movie Scripts Go To Win Academy Awards
If “The Descendants” wins an Academy Award on Sunday, there will be a Tufts and Harvard grad to thank. The screen play was discovered on The Black List, where unproduced scripts go to be read. If it wins, it will also join the ranks of 20 other Academy Award-winning, Black Listed flicks that have grossed billions of dollars in sales.
The Black List was first created as an annual newsletter by Harvard alum Franklin Leonard, according to the Boston Globe. Years later, Tufts grad Dino Sijamic turned it into a website, which has now been scoured by agents and given several screenwriters their big break.
For $20 a month, industry leaders can subscribe to, read and rate unproduced scripts. Slumdog Millionaire, The Social Network, The King’s Speech and Juno are just a few among the many scripts that have been found on The Black List. Talk about lucky.
Leonard told the Globe he started The Black List out of “frustration with how little time he had to discover unconventional and well-written scripts among the endless pitches for big-budget star vehicles.” He asked 75 friends and colleagues in Hollywood to send him the names of their favorite unproduced scripts, and from there he had the first year’s bunch of Black Listers.
Sijamic met Leonard through his cousin, and decided to change things up. He’s now programming the site at night, when he’s not working as a systems engineer for Akamai Technologies or going through a Master’s program at Tufts.
Not only does The Black List help screenwriters get their names out there, but it can also give more assurance to studios. The Black List has now become a trustworthy source, and given credibility to several up-and-coming writers. For the first time, people actually want to become Black Listed.