In a recent article about "Jonny Quest," I wrote about The Black List, and since then, I've gotten quite a bit of e-mail from people who have heard of the list but who don't really get the whole idea, as well as readers who had no idea what I was talking about.  And since I never seem to have enough work to keep me busy, I decided that it would be an interesting feature here at Motion/Captured for the next couple of months to take a look at this past year's Black List and then go through to discuss the scripts that were voted onto the list, and to see where the various projects are now in development.

Here's the description of the project that's on the second page of the PDF that was mailed all over Hollywood last December:

"THE BLACK LIST was compiled from the suggestions of over 250 film executives, each of whom contributed the names of up to ten of their favorite scripts that were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2008 and will not be released in theaters during this calendar year.

This year, scripts had to receive at least four mentions to be included on THE BLACK LIST.

[more after the jump]

All reasonable effort has been made to confirm the information contained herein.  THE BLACK LIST apologizes for all misspellings, misattributions, incorrect representation identification, and questionable 2008 affiliations.

It has been said many times, but it's worth repeating: THE BLACK LIST is not a 'best of' list. It is, at best, a 'most liked' list."

Pretty much sums it up, eh?

I like to call it Hollywood's annual thermometer, designed for the development community to take their temperature.  Eventually, much of what's on the Black List will get made, but for now, these things are bouncing around in Development Hell...

... which is not to say these scripts are bad.  In fact, there's some great stuff on here.  And that's what should make this series fun over the next however weeks it takes to write about the scripts I've got stacked here on my desktop.

The first batch of titles we'll discuss will be the top five vote-getters, a pretty diverse group.  They are, in order:

67 VOTES/THE BEAVER by Kyle Killen
"A depressed man finds hope in a beaver puppet that he wears on his hand."

61 VOTES/THE ORANGES by Jay Reiss & Ian Helfer
"A man has a romantic relationship with the daughter of a family friend, which turns their lives upside down."

44 VOTES/BUTTER by Jason Micallef
"A small town becomes a center for controversy and jealousy as its annual butter carving contest begins."

42 VOTES/BIG HOLE by Michael Gilio
"An old cowboy goes on a mission to recover his money after a million dollar sweepstakes scam cleans out his entire bank account."

40 VOTES/THE LOW DWELLER by Brad Ingelsby
"A man trying to assimilate into society after being released from jail discovers that someone from his past is out to settle a score."

We'll be talking about where these films are getting made, who's attached to them, and the actual technical craftsmanship of the scripts themselves.  I think the eventual films are worth a conversation, but these were voted on as scripts, and I think sometimes, we forget that the script is a separate art form from the film, and the reason I can't get too upset about whatever politics do or don't influence the choices on THE BLACK LIST is because at least once a year, everyone in town is talking about the writers, and that's a good thing.

A very good thing.

Look for this ongoing series to get underway next week.

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