One aim of the service is to give would-be writers, for a fee, a chance to get critical feedback on their scripts—a coveted asset in a town where honest and thoughtful critiques are hard to come by. Once a script is uploaded to the site, a Black List reviewer reads it. These anonymous men and women have worked for at least a year as an assistant in the industry. If a script performs well in its initial evaluation, the writer is given the option of a second, free evaluation. As long as the feedback remains good, the script is entitled to further free reviews.
In this way, Leonard attempts to ensure that the best scripts stay in circulation, and that good work is rewarded.
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The site also gives moviemaking professionals a portal through which they can search out new—and well-reviewed—scripts, based on any number of criteria, including budget, genre, and a variety of tags exploding buildings , sharks , yakuza. Ruckus and Lane Skye, a husband-and-wife filmmaking duo based in Atlanta, first heard of the Black List through its year-end survey. They were interested in directing and writing, but had never seriously considered moving to Los Angeles. Lane described the futility of doing this without an agent or a manager. The reviewers on the site offered encouraging feedback.
Soon they were having meetings on studio lots. A year later, a director named Majid Al Ansari, who is based in Abu Dhabi, read the script on the Black List website—he had joined the site to look for new material.
Rattle the Cage takes place in Georgia. The Skyes wanted to direct the film themselves, and figured it was a story that would shoot well—which is to say, for little money—in their backwoods. The script was filled with southern colloquialisms, but this was apparently of no concern to Al Ansari. He liked the script and wanted to make the film. And he wanted to set it in the Middle East.
The Skyes refused—they were determined to direct the film themselves. Al Ansari was undeterred. His employer, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, offered to buy only the Arabic-language rights; the Skyes could keep the English rights for themselves and direct the American version when the time read: money was right.
The couple agreed. Last March, Netflix acquired the rights to stream the film globally. How did a movie set in a southern jail cell become an Arabic thriller? Instead of the backwoods of Georgia, the jailhouse was set in the desert, sometime in the s. The southern version of the film is now fully funded, with the Skyes attached to direct it. Instead, the overwhelming majority of submissions have come from white men, a pattern that mirrors the industry as a whole. The all-white nominees for the top four acting categories, plus the overwhelmingly white casts of all the Best Picture contenders, sparked a national outcry.
A recent study by the Motion Picture Association of America found that people of color purchased 45 percent of movie tickets in But a report from the Annenberg Foundation and the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California revealed that in the highest-grossing films of , only 26 percent of the characters with speaking parts were nonwhite. Statistics like these have stoked a debate over whether the market for films starring white actors is simply larger, or whether the industry is guilty of bias in producing an overwhelming number of films with white stars.
Strong wrote the script for the HBO film Recount , about the election, which nabbed the top spot on the Black List in The film came out in and won three Emmys and a Golden Globe. He was then hired to write a script about Eugene Allen, a butler in the White House who had served eight presidents.
The script, called The Butler , appeared on the Black List in I asked Strong why, and he laid out the challenges.
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He began by detailing the financial realities of Hollywood. And DVD sales used to bring that in, if not more. It was not this indie, art-house film. It was a sweeping, mainstream, emotional epic. Spielberg ultimately passed on directing it, but Lee Daniels, fresh off an Oscar nomination for the film Precious , signed on. Daniels put together a cast that included prominent black stars such as Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker, as well as major white stars such as Robin Williams and Jane Fonda to play the presidents and first ladies. In the end, The Butler found a champion in a producer named Laura Ziskin, who had considerable clout in Hollywood: She had produced Pretty Woman and the Spiderman trilogy.
She died in of breast cancer. She targeted wealthy African Americans, urging them to fund the project because it was a chronicle of the civil-rights movement. Dozens of others followed. That was the journey. The journey was indeed an extraordinary one. If that was the case, had they been right? The international-distribution rights sold for double the expected amount. The Weinstein Company ultimately picked up the movie for distribution—and gave it the wide release that Strong had always believed it deserved. The Butler was the No. Strong then recounted the story behind Slumdog Millionaire , whose script—an Indian love story set against the backdrop of a high-stakes game show—appeared on the Black List.
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Warner Independent Pictures, a division of Warner Brothers, picked up the film but was soon shuttered. That was the plan, until Fox Searchlight picked up the marketing and distribution rights for a limited release and the film became a word-of-mouth and critical sensation.
How could so many people in Hollywood have been so embarrassingly, overwhelmingly wrong? Strong was sanguine. Leonard has a more pointed explanation. The script, which was based on a young-adult book, featured a strong, independent teenage girl as its heroine, an unusual protagonist for an action film.
Most of the major studios passed on it, leaving it to Lionsgate, a studio that had little experience making this type of movie—up until that point, the studio was mostly known for the Saw horror-movie franchise. Lionsgate bought the script in , just before the book was published. The next year, the script appeared on the Black List and the book sold 4.
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In , it was the third-highest-grossing film in the U. When the Academy holds its 89th Oscars on February 26, it will likely recognize a considerably more diverse pool of talent than it did in Films like Moonlight , Fences , Lion , and Loving , all of which star lead actors of color, demonstrate that while Hollywood is of course the home of the Fast and the Furious franchise, it is also a place of true artistry from diverse voices. Yet such films are by no means the future of the industry. They are rare and extraordinary exceptions—the backstories of which almost inevitably include a great deal of perseverance and serendipity.
The very thing that Hollywood prides itself on—making films with compelling plots and rich, interesting characters—is the thing that it is doing less and less of. Storytelling lies at the root of filmmaking—a truth that can get lost in the analysis of foreign-box-office sales and profit margins. Without stories that reflect both the great and the tragic, the mainstream and the marginalized, the country risks losing a vital artery for empathy, concern, and curiosity. Movies, after all, are one of the ways America tells itself who it is. Giving out your number may seem fairly innocuous, but it can have big consequences.
On a third-down play last season, the Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith stood in shotgun formation, five yards behind the line of scrimmage. As he called his signals, a Houston Texans cornerback, Kareem Jackson, suddenly sprinted forward from a position four yards behind the defensive line. To hear more feature stories, see our full list or get the Audm iPhone app. The ball was snapped.
He quickly sacked Smith, for a loss of 13 yards. She doesn't want her estranged family to attend. I want to respect her wishes, but am not sure the excluded family members will.
source site My wife and I have been together for 30 years. Like many divorces, it pretty much split up the family. We have been discussing her death, and my wife has expressed that she does not want her ex-stepfather or two of her siblings to attend her funeral. Schools have been on a mission to reinvent campus libraries—even though students just want the basics. Back in the s, college libraries had something of an existential crisis. Charles Gosnell, a prominent library-sciences scholar and college librarian in New York, suggested that shifting academic priorities and space constraints threatened to deplete certain book collections, particularly those in highly technical fields such as chemistry, economics, and education.
Stop me if this sounds familiar: For most American workers, real wages have barely budged in decades. Inequality has skyrocketed. Everyone assumes the foundling is hers, including Polly's playboy ex-boss David Niven , who offers her a job if she'll live up to her maternal duties. A paycheck would be handy, so Polly complies. Then the boss's tycoon dad Charles Coburn assumes the infant is his secret grandson Buoyed by Rogers' irresistibly endearing performance, Bachelor Mother is one of those rarities, a brilliantly cast comedy where everything - plot, pacing and dialogue thanks to Garson Kanin's savvy direction and Norman Krasna's witty script - is exactly, hilariously right.
Set during the Christmas - New Year season. Charles Coburn is J. Merlin and David Niven is his footloose son David. Ginger is given her pink slip along with the other Christmas help and upon leaving the store comes across an old woman leaving a small baby on the steps of an orphanage. Ginger of course picks the baby up as the door opens and from here on in everyone assumes it's hers! One of the season's gayest shows Miss Rogers is demonstrating again that she is one of the screen's most knowing comediennes.