The Black List is Rating Spec TV Pilot Scripts Now

PIC_1_150dpi.fullsizeby Team TVWriter™ Press Service

The Black List is this in, hip, and trendy web site that’s become kind of a big deal by choosing the best spec screenplays every year, after which movie companies that wouldn’t have read them before not only read the choices but actually make deals for them. Some of the deals even involve $$$.

And $$$, as we all know, are very nice, erm, things.

Not satisfied with aiding and abetting the careers of countless new screenwriters, the site has turned its attention to television and recently announced that “writers from around the world will be able to uphold their original pilot scripts (and, optionally, their series bibles) to the script database, request evaluations by professional script readers, and make their scripts available to the Black List’s growing membership….”

Oh, hell, waitaminnit. If we’re going to quote this whole paragraph, we may as well just post the press release. Here yez go:

 This morning, the Black List’s online script database ( launched its long awaited expansion into television and episodic scripted content.

Beginning today, writers from around the world will be able to upload their original pilot scripts (and, optionally, their series bibles) to the script database, request evaluations by professional script readers, and make their scripts available to the Black List’s growing membership of industry professionals, currently over 2,000 members. Writers will be able to categorize their scripts in a near infinite number of ways, including but not limited to multi-cam/single-cam, procedural/serialized, length of season, prospective number of seasons, and more than 60 genres and over 800 tags.

“Writers and industry professionals have been asking us about a television version of the site since we launched our feature script service last year. We’re excited to roll it out now in a way that can accommodate conventional television, miniseries and web series scripts,” said Black List founder Franklin Leonard. “The goal of this new venture parallels the mandate of the feature film script hosting service: make it easy for those making episodic content to find great scripts and writers, and help those with great scripts get them to people who can do something with them. I’m very optimistic that we can repeat the success we’ve had since our film launch: more than 13,000 downloads of uploaded scripts, more than four major agency and management company signings, one two-script blind deal at a major studio, one produced film, and more than twenty sales for writers living as far away from Hollywood as Ireland and Sweden.”

As with feature film scripts, writers will pay $25 per month to host and index each of their pilots (and if they so choose, the series bible at no additional charge) on the Black List’s website, accessible only by a closed community of industry professionals (and by their fellow writers if they choose to make them available.) They can further pay for evaluations by professional script readers hired by the Black List. Evaluations for pilots meant to be longer than 30 minutes will cost $50, just like feature scripts, and those meant to be 30 minutes or less will cost $30.

WGA East and West members will be able to list their material free of charge (without hosting it), just as they can with their film scripts.

Also, just like with film scripts hosted on the site, reminded Leonard, “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.”

We know this is a Good Thing, but just between us, we can’t help but wonder:

“Mother of mercy! Will this be the end of TVWriter™?”

So, what the hell, if you have a terrific idea for how TVWriter™ can continue to be relevant in the light of this new situation, give us a holler, wouldja? Cuz – and we really mean this – if we use your suggestion we absolutely for sure guaranteed will send its genius submitter a prize. (To be determined later, by us, at our convenience on account of that’s how we roll.)

4 thoughts on “The Black List is Rating Spec TV Pilot Scripts Now”

  1. I’ve only spent a few minutes on Black List and its blog but I immediately saw the differentiation between there and here. Here you cover and promote New Media (that’s the future, right, LB?). Expand this part of TVWriter. From what I have seen most of the writers in NM (no, not New Mexico, no matter what LB says) wear multiple hats, most often the producer/writer combo. What are the opportunities for those who just want to write and have no interest in the production side of things, at least the juts and bolts of it? How do they come together with producers who don’t want to write or don’t want to write so much, the producers who want to concentrate on producing. Writing an entire series by yourself is a helluva job, I don’t care how short it is. Explore the side roads of NM. Who writes the website content? How can that enhance the main product? What’s the right webisode length now that YouTube no longer limits uploads to less than 15 minutes? Is there a right length? Are attention spans short, or are they only short for material that doesn’t engage the attention sufficiently? TVWriter has only made a tiny scratch on the surface of this subject, but you know what? It’s the only site I know of doing this sort of thing. If you want to remain relevant, expand your exploration of NM. It’s the future (I could SWEAR I’ve heard LB himself say this).

  2. I’d go back to having the contests once a month–both spec & pilot. And at the end of the year, the people who scored the highest out of the once a month winners wins for the year. I’d widen the field of judges to agents from top places (CAA, WME, UTA), top production houses etc. Once a month winners get a meeting with two or three of the judges. And the person who wins at the end of the year, gets a development deal. And charge less. $25 a month with no guarantees is pretty pricey, especially for a struggling writer. If you charge $25 to submit, but people have the option of submitting a new script each month, there’s more of an incentive. Also, if you feel you have the greatest script of all time and only submit once, it only costs $25.

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