Friday, February 1, 2013

More writers signed and optioned thanks to The Black List 3.0

UPDATE 2/2/12 6pm PST: 

And I have one more success story to announce:  

John Geraci informs me via email that he's signed with Sean Mikael of The Mikael Group. John's script SIG is currently the #3 uploaded script on the site. The logline for the action/thriller reads: "A federal agent serves her own brand of justice on the six men who attacked her as a teenager."

PREVIOUS: Today the Black List made several more announcements regarding writers who have been signed by managers or had their work optioned as a direct result of placing it on The Black List 3.0:

Caliber Media Company has signed Callie and Ruckus Lane on the strength of their spec RATTLE THE CAGE.  The script is a thriller with the logline "Locked behind bars in a small southern town, a mysterious drifter must outwit the charismatic psychopath masquerading as deputy, before the sun sets and a deadly plan is unleashed."

Manager Sammy Montana at Anarchy Management has signed Andrew Sessions after being impressed with his spec BREATHEFilm Bridge International has optioned the screenplay, which was brought to their attention via The Black List site as well. The logline for BREATHE is: A woman on vacation must battle a gang of criminals and the harsh elements of the Costa Rican rain forest as she races the clock to save her trapped fiance from drowning in the incoming tide.

And finally, Gary Holler's horror/comedy I AIN'T GETTING KILLED has been optioned by Mark Adkins, after Mark found the script on the site.  Per Franklin Leonard, "Mark has attached a star of two films with worldwide grosses of more than $175MM to star. They are currently shopping the script."

Since the Black List website launched last October, they have facilitated representation for at least eight writers and helped two scripts get optioned.  In addition to the above annoucements, I've previously reported:

- Justin Kremer was signed by Creative Artists Agency on the strength of his spec MCCARTHY.

- Bob Ingraham has signed with Benderspink on the strength of his submission POSSUM, which his reps expect to take out wide soon.

- Richard Cordiner has signed with Verve and Kaplan/Perrone after they responded positively to his script THE SHARK IS STILL WORKING.

That leaves three as-yet unannounced signings.  Industry Entertainment manager Michael Botti has indicated that one of those three is a client he took on, and he is currently developing the material with the writer. Hopefully the managers will see fit to release more details soon, but it's understandable they'd want to make the announcement on their own terms, however they decide it benefits the material.

Still, eight signings in less than four months is pretty solid, especially from companies as well-regarded as these.  Let's hope that the success stories keep on coming!


  1. Cool post.
    Thanks for keeping us updated.

  2. This relates a bit to the blog post by Geoff LaTulippe where he sort of offered aspiring writers some encouragement through discouragement. He was then accused of attempting to discourage writers so that he'd have less competition. Many came to his defense on twitter, and I recall F. Scott Frazier saying something like "a rising tide lifts us all".

    I'm just a naive outsider, but I'm inclined to believe working screenwriters over aspiring ones. I do have trouble fully understanding how it can be true that more writers "breaking in" more often helps those writers that are already working. Could you shed some light on this for me so I can get it through my thick skull?

    1. Hey Brainman,

      First off, let me say while I wish I could take credit for "a rising tide lifts all ships" unfortunately while my sentiment was the same, I said it in a much more awkward way. Someone else said the tide thing, and then I slapped myself in the forehead for not thinking of it first...

      The answer to your question / query about why working writers would ever want to help aspiring writers, and how any advice we give can be taken at face value is somewhat long, but I wanted to break it down piece by piece. In doing so, it's going to be a little over-generalized, but this is the basic idea behind why I believe what I believe.

      First off, let's say there are two ways writers build a career in the feature business: by selling specs and booking jobs. (Again, overly general, but let's start from there...)

      1) Selling specs is not a zero sum game, that is to say if I sell my spec today, you can still sell your spec tomorrow. In fact, if you look at the trends, you can see that spec sales usually come in waves. Studio A buys a hot spec, so Studio B doesn't want to be shown up and they buy one too. The more specs sell, the more other specs sell. Yes, of course, studios and buyers have budgets for each year as to what they can spend on buying scripts, but the chances of Studio C buying your script and running out money to buy my script are so infinitesimally small there's no reason in even worrying about it.

      2) On the other side of the equation, there are jobs, which unfortunately are zero sum games: if I get the job, you can't also get the job (but that doesn't account for rewrites and polishes which are a whole other can of worms). However, when jobs become available not every writer in town goes out for them. Lists are made, lists are cultivated -- winnowing down writers over everything from quote, genre, availability, desire, etc. So the idea that any professional writer would attempt to sabotage aspiring writers' careers because of the worry they might one day end up on the exact same on the exact same job is again, so infinitesimal as to worry about it...

      Anecdotally, I've never known any writer who got pissed or upset with another writer for getting a job.

      In all honesty, I personally think worrying about the veracity of advice from professional writers is akin to worrying about someone stealing your script. All it does it take time away from writing for something that, once again, is so unlikely to happen.

  3. I think you're referring to my response to Geoff's tweet in which he said, "its not a zero sum game. The more writers getting jobs, the better it is for me."

    I was quoting JFK, "A rising tide lifts all boats."

    There's not a finite number of sales that can be made. The more great material that's getting out there and getting read the better it is for everyone. If an unknown writer sells a romcom maybe Geoff gets the gig to punch it up. Or, maybe he finds a great spec and helps bring it to the town as a producer.

    I believe in doing what you can to help others. Often times you also help yourself.

  4. Thank you both for your replies. As I said, I was inclined to believe you working writers over conspiracy theorists. Just wanted to more fully understand it for myself.