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Happy List-Mass Everybody!

(Haha! GET IT? Because it`s holiday time and there are lots of lists… No? Why am I wasting my delectable puns on you then?)

Well, it is that time of year. Again. Both The Black List and The Hit List are out. And lots of other lists, I am sure… But lists make me tired and, after too many of them, I get rage-y. So, let`s just stick with these for the moment, shall we?

(For a detailed breakdown of The Black List stats, THR has a good-un.)

I haven`t really officially counted, and I certainly don`t have an infographic (I`m much more of a Venn Diagram girl, for anyone still looking to get me a gift!) but there are trends. There are always trends. For example: 

-Lots of overlap on both lists (but lots of change in rankings from list to list)

-Lots of women on the lists are already employed on TV and a couple have been Nicholl Fellows (high fives all around)

-Lots of the writers have some kind of representation (I would say all of them do but, again, no hard numbers)

-Lots of the scripts are by established (and well-represented) writers, and a few have appeared on said lists in previous years 

-Lots of horror, sci-fi, thrillers and dying children (not necessarily all together… or separate)

-Lots of bios (two on Mister Rogers alone?!) and based on true stories (so, so many)

-Lots of the loglines for these are terrible (so, so terrible)

But have you noticed that some of these points seem to go against advice that`s perpetuated quite often to young writers? Including:

-If you write a great script, Hollywood will find it (apparently, representation needs to find you first)

-Don`t chase trends (Based-on-true stories seem to always be ranked so high on these lists, so wouldn`t writing a biopic generally give you a better chance at getting industry attention?)

-You need a great logline to pitch your script (Apparently that`s not true. At all.)

And so on.

Also, and I do hate to have to say this, but not a ton of ladies on the list…

Which brings up the age-old question- It is because of fewer scripts written or a lesser-quality of scripts submitted? Either way, it sucks. And it needs to change.

So, let`s all work on it. Let`s all try and Be The Change in 2014. Always quality over quantity but, yeah, let`s work on quantity too.



About Erin

I type. You read. Keepin it simple since 1979.

2 responses to “Happy List-Mass Everybody!

  1. Yep, it’s that time of year again…

    Just a couple things worth noting:

    A great script will *usually* be found, but it still takes a bit of legwork to get it there. Once it’s found, it takes representation to get the rest of Hollywood to read it. Since these lists operate on votes from execs (and other players) in Hollywood, it needs to be read all over town to have a chance of getting recognized. If scripts could do that on their own, no writer would need a rep!

    I’ve had a handful of friends make those lists over the last few years (including a woman this year!), and the loglines are RARELY written by the writers. Usually an exec or rep wrote it and it got thrown up on the site or PDF. The thing is, great loglines are more about gaining representation than anything. Once you’re repped, your manager’s or agent’s reputation has as much or more to do with your script getting read than anything, so the logline doesn’t matter that much at this point. Which is why the reps don’t usually even consult the writers about them.

    Of course, that tends to result in groaning on the part of the writers when the lists come out…

    • Erin

      It never occurred to me that the writers wouldn`t write their own loglines… I would have thought, even to pitch a script to your rep, you`d write up a logline to help them sell it… But it makes sense that a logline might not be as important at that point.

      I know what it`s like to have someone put a very visible tag on a project after you`ve fussed and fretted over every word. So embarrassing! But the buzz more than makes up for it in the case of these lists, I guess.

      And congrats to your friend who made the list!

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