Screenwriting : Black List and Warner Bros. in Australia by Matthew Corry

Matthew Corry

Black List and Warner Bros. in Australia

Hi all,

A bit of a rant here. So the Black List, y'know the one, has teamed up with Warner Bros in Australia to sign up a writer to a blind deal. Of course the catch is that you have to have your script uploaded to the BL and also, while it's not a must (suuuuuuuuuuure), it's recommended that you have at least one evaluation done on your script. Now there's also no guarantee any writer will get a blind deal, so this whole thing could lead to nowhere for everybody.

As a writer in Australia I can tell you it is a ridiculously closed of industry for people trying to break in. Agencies willing to accept fresh writers? Virtually nil. Companies that accept submissions here? Can't find them. Local, state or federal government funded opportunities to unproduced writers? HA! Sure opportunities arise from such government funded places that offer funding but every single time it's "must be produced, have a writing credit, have a director or producer attached with credits etc". Now we finally have a major player in the country willing to look at fresh writers and it even does state a similar blurb about produced writers with credits etc so I think that fresh writers are wasting their time and money.

I am so sick of this pay to play rubbish. A. The BL has about a .0005% success rate for a start and B. Having to fork out $165AUD to simply have a script hosted and then evaluated by a nobody with who knows what qualifications to have any opportunity is rubbish. I understand these companies would no doubt be inundated with a flood of poorly written rubbish if they opened the doors (Cough Amazon Studios Cough) but this is not the way to do it either. I don't know if there's any other Aussie screenwriters on here but this country has a joke of an entertainment industry that just loves it's closed doors and not allowing people to be a member of the club unless they're already a member of the club.

Rant over.

Pete Whiting

agree re pay to play. It is like you need to budget $3000k AUD for every script you write if you want to enter all the comps etc in the hope of a getting discovered or optioned. And yes, you have no idea who is doing the coverage. (However, I do pay for genuine bona fide coverage from a reputable and credited source that I can verify. )

people have an irrational fear of flying for the 1 in 8000,000 of a crash yet people also have an irrational belief they can win or be optioned through some of these comps. Someone makes money though when 5000 up and coming writers pay $200 AUD each. The reality is, a lot of first time writers or early career writers are writing sub standard or non -original material so they have no hope if they are up against anything half well written. My first writing attempts were terrible. Absolute train wrecks. Took a while before I really go hang of it.

I have had more opportunities, more talks, more skype calls and more in roads through query letters/emails and though no option, my network has grown and people have said I can call of them again direct with more material as I write it.

But agree it is hard when every time a good genuine opportunity comes up, you often are required to be credited or had work produced.

I used inktip for a while, kind of got frustrated with producers seeking scripts - "looking for super natural historical comedy set in Mexico with Asian lead and bilingual gay characters" "or wanting high end high concept space action movie based around time travel and an underwater world with monsters. Budget under $200k"

Dan MaxXx

Why can’t you fund your own movies? Go make shorts, music videos, commercials, YouTube shows.

There are many ways to break into American Entertainment Industry. Not just the Black List site. Or winning a Contest. Everybody works hard, puts in the work and makes sacrifices, face rejections.

There is a game changer called the “Internet”. It is 24 hours/never closes. We didn’t have this invention 20 years ago when you physically had to move to a large film & tv community.

Dan Guardino

It is the same in the US. The problem right now is you don’t have a track record or any connections that can help you launch your career. You would have a much better chance if you attach a director with credits to your screenplay or screenplays and use their credits and contacts to market your screenplay. If you get a good enough director who is willing to produce the movie with you then you can use their credits to help raise some development money to get the projects started so you can produce it yourself.

Doug Nelson

Dan M - Oh what blasphemy you speak! We all know that the shortcut to untold wealth and intergalactic fame for screenwriters is to post their magnificent script on the Black List so that an instantaneous bidding war amongst the majors will ensue. The result of course will be a seven figure deal and a lime green Lamborghini and all that wealth allows the writer to hire a bevy of bikini clad grape peelers while the next great inspiration strikes. Yeah, fund your own movies, make shorts, music (wedding?) videos... that's just for amateurs!

Dan MaxXx

Doug Nelson the two top dogs in Hollywood Horror are Aussies, James Wan & Leigh Whannel. They found a way to make their first feature movie ( I actually met James on the set of “Saw”, they shot the movie at a crappy LA sound stage).

The 3rd Hollywood Horror king, David Sandberg (From Sweden) shot a 2min short and James Wan/Eric Hessierer bankrolled his feature debut. David publicly said he’s never worked with a crew or on a feature set before.

Doug Nelson

Oh Dan M, that MUST be fake news. We all know that time, commitment and dedication are nothing more than career traps fostered by evil old timers. Instant gratification, wealth, fame & glory are the new norm. (It was different in the old days.)

Dawson Howard

As fellow Aussie screenwriter couldn't agree more. It's all about knowing somebody and then you still need to have cash behind you but we keep trying because we love what we do. I wish you good luck and hopefully one day we will all be on this site talking about how we want to help our fellow writers break in.

Phil Parker

Start with a large blender. Add at least 1 great script, a healthy slice of self-promotion, heaping dollops of never-ending networking and persistence and... viola! SOMETHING will happen. Then you build on that :) Oh, and fark the BL, btw! Aussie Aussie Aussie!

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