Franklin Leonard, creator of The Black List, has announced a new incarnation of his site that allows screenwriters to upload their scripts for review and rating — for a fee:
Aspiring screenwriters will pay $25 a month to have their scripts hosted on The Black List’s website, accessible only by a closed community of Hollywood professionals. They can further pay $50 for evaluations by anonymous script readers hired by The Black List. Every read by industry professionals generated by those evaluations is entirely free.
Moreover, The Black List will not claim a commission, finder’s fee, or producer credit on business generated by their service. “Writers retain all rights to sell and produce their work and are free to negotiate the best deal they can get. All we ask is an email letting us know of their success,” added Leonard.
Many readers (and podcast listeners) have asked for my take on it.
At first glance, it feels like an attempt to leverage the prestige of The Black List to create yet another service making money off aspiring screenwriters.
Yet Franklin Leonard knows what the hell he’s doing. This isn’t another Amazon Studios situation, where an outside entity boldly declares it can fix what’s wrong with the film industry. Leonard has already posted a long list of answers to some of the immediate questions and feedback, showing he’s thought it through.
I can’t predict if this new Black List will succeed — or even if it’s a good thing for screenwriters and filmmakers — but I know it’s not done with naiveté or hubris. That makes it worth watching.
Craig Mazin and I will be discussing the new Black List in depth at Scriptnotes Live this Saturday in Austin, with the podcast episode scheduled to go up next Tuesday.