The Week in Rep and Black List Updates

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Cinefamily: Bolstered by Christopher Nolan’s new short documentary, Cinefamily celebrates the cerebral stop-motion animation of The Quay Brothers all week. Nolan appears in person tonight along with three shorts from the Quays: IN ABSENTIA, THE COMB, and STREET OF CROCODILES along with Nolan’s short about the brothers. This program screens throughout the week. Also showing tonight is the homage-parody-satire DUDE BRO PARTY MASSACRE 3, with Patton Oswalt presenting the subversive film along the underseen 1984 gorefest, THE MUTILATOR. DUDE BRO shows throughout the weekend, with special events happening each night. On Tuesday, HAUSU director Nobuhiko Obayashi comes to Cinefamily with his new film SEVEN WEEKS, along with star Takako Toiwa. On Thursday, Spectrefest brings a bad mommy to Cinefamily with GOODNIGHT MOMMY screening FOR FREE! with directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz in person.

The New Beverly: In a dreamy double feature, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS shows with the film that inspired it, YOJIMBO, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday and Monday, noir invades the New Bev with THE MALTESE FALCON and THE MASK OF DIMITRIOS showing. Continuing their month-long Shaw Brothers retrospective, The New Bev shows DUEL OF THE IRON FIST and SUPER MAN CHU on Tuesday, and THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN (sounds familiar, eh?) and THE 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Egyptian: The Cinecon Festival takes up residence at the Egyptian through Monday, with features showcasing Laurel and Hardy, John Wayne, Mary Pickford, and Buster Keaton. On Wednesday, UK horror director Pete Walker appears at the Egyptian for a double feature of his films HOUSE OF LONG SHADOWS (featuring horror icons Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, and John Carradine) and SCHIZO. The Egyptian begins its celebration of the innovative Oscar-winning animator George Pal on Thursday, with WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE and DESTINATION MOON screening and actress Barbara Rush in person.

The Aero: The Aero pays tribute to Ingrid Bergman this weekend (see pick of the week.) CASABLANCA and GASLIGHT screen on Saturday night. On Sunday, the hills are alive for a family matinee of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, celebrating the film’s 50th anniversary.

Cinespia: A pair of sold out screenings mark Labor Day weekend at Cinespia, with Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO showing Saturday and FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF from the late, great John Hughes showing Sunday.

LACMA: Michael Rennie was there THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, showing for $4 on Tuesday.

Pick of the week: Carl Reiner appears in person! tonight for a signing of his book WHAT I FORGOT TO REMEMBER, and a double feature of the parody-homage-noir-celebration DEAD MEN DON’T WEAR PLAID starring Steve Martin and Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS, perhaps most notable for its production-code breaking two-and-a-half minute kiss between ultrababes Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. Carl Reiner is one of our comedic national treasures, and Hitchcock on a big screen is never a bad idea, nor is Steve Martin doing hard-boiled.

It was a very busy week for The Black List, so here are some quick highlights about what’s going on in our world:


Black List Live! is back with Randall Green’s CARTOON GIRL, 9/26 at the Montalban Theater in Hollywood. This 2014 Black List script is about a young boy who falls in love with a cartoon, only to find out she’s real. He then enlists his single father on a road trip to find her. We’ll be announcing cast in two weeks, but grab your tickets now!

On the heels of its rapturous premiere at the Venice Film Festival, BEASTS OF NO NATION novelist Uzo Iweala chats with Franklin on a bonus episode of The Black List Table Reads. 

This fall, we’re co-hosting outdoor movie nights at Barnsdall Art Park in LA! SHAUN OF THE DEAD, COMING TO AMERICA, GROUNDHOG DAY, BRING IT ON, STAND AND DELIVER, DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, and MONTY PYTHON & THE HOLY GRAIL lead the series, grab tickets and find out dates on Barnsdall’s site. 

We’ve just opened up a new submission period for the Warner Brothers fellowship. Our FAQ will answer all of your questions about it.

Our latest interview with Milan Tomasevic is now up.

Over on Go Into the Story, the always amazing Scott Myers has compiled interviews with over 40 Black List writers on the art and craft and screenwriting. It’s essential reading!


Ratings by Demographic

We ran a quick analysis based on our new demographic reporting fields. We recently started allowing writers to specify a few characteristics including the following:

  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Gender

Note: Writers are not required to provide this information and they are able to specify whether they want the information to be searchable. This demographic information is not available to our readers when they read the script, and further writers have the option of disguising their actual background with a pen name if they choose to do so (though we don’t have any statistics on that).

What we found interesting was that writers in every demographic had a very similar spread of ratings. The medians were nearly identical across the board with some variation in the spreads.

I mapped out spreads of 5th, 25th, median, 75th, and 95th percentiles. The middle 50% is in blue and the gray bars reach to the top and both 5th percentiles.

Starting with race, we can see that 50% of writers get a score of somewhere between 4-6 regardless:


By nationality (only including those with at least 10 writers) there is slightly more variability, but basically you see the middle 50% fall between 4 and 6 still:


By birth year (5-year increments) there was probably the most variability, but a lot of that was likely due to the sample size in each set:


And finally by gender:


The median rating for female is slightly higher and the middle 50% have a smaller range.

Black List Interview: Milan Tomasevic


Today, we chat with Milan Tomasevic about how The Black List has affected his life as a screenwriter, and how the past, present, and future shape his writing process.

The Past:

What was the first film that had a major impact on your life?

I was thirteen, searching through my cousin’s VHS tapes when I popped one in that was unlabeled. It was blurry and I was about to eject it when De Niro, Pesci and Liotta showed up on screen right when they hear a strange sound in their car trunk.  I still believe GOODFELLAS is a perfect movie.

Was there a single film that made you want to be a screenwriter? How else did the decision to pursue that career evolve?

I don’t think there was one exact film, but I remember seeing GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS and RUSHMORE around the same time which made me rethink what a “great movie” was. I thought a story had to unravel a crazy twist ending or be a sprawling epic, but it was the distinctly contained worlds that excited me.  From that, I felt I had my own specific stories that I wanted to tell while still remaining inspired by high concept movies. My learning curve revolved around the basics and still very much ongoing; I read more, watch more and write more. I stuck to that until someone said “Not bad. You should keep doing this.”

Most writers have to have “day jobs” in order to stay afloat. What was the strangest job you ever had before becoming a writer?

I worked at a pork processing plant during the summers. By the time my shift ended, I felt like Martin Sheen in APOCALYPSE NOW. I’ll let you use your imagination.

The Present:

How do you find ideas and how do you choose which ones to work on?

Typically, it starts from an emerging trend that’s hard to ignore. The growing foodie culture and the strange obsession over Michelin ratings inspired my dark comedy script CONSUME. If you can see various scenes playing out in your mind then that’s usually a good start; If that leads to a brainstorm of ideas to a point that it’s bugging you that you’re not writing it then that’s probably the one. Other inspiration stems anywhere from an obscure personal interaction to classic genres reinvented in different contexts.

Walk us through a normal day of writing for you. Any special habits to keep the muse happy?

I’m pretty consistent. I down a coffee before writing four to five hours. Afterwards, I run and have an inner monologue on everything I did wrong then tackle it again at night. It sounds boring, but so far the routine works.

Which films are keeping you inspired at the moment?

Dan Gilroy’s NIGHTCRAWLER is a staple millennial film and Louis Bloom will be dissected in film theory classes for many years to come. The script itself is just as much of an eye opener, both narratively and esthetically, which serves as a refresher course on what modern screenwriting should be. Also, Nic Pizzolatto’s TRUE DETECTIVE made me love TV again. Regardless of the negativity surrounding Season 2,  I have faith that Season 3 will win everyone back.

The Future:

If you could make one film, with no restrictions in place, what would that film be?

I’ve always been interested in a retelling of Highsmith’s Ripley series. There’s a complexity to that character that would work well in the current state of interconnectivity. The need to seek identity defines us through social media and the ability to shape identities, online and off, is getting startlingly easier. This ties to the heart of Tom Ripley and could be uniquely explored in a contemporary way.  It could also work as a TV series since there are six years worth of story between THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY and RIPLEY UNDER GROUND.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

Most likely re-applying to the pork processing plant.

Dinner with three of your favorite writers and/or filmmakers, dead or alive. Who’s coming to dinner? Who picks up the check?

Tony/Dan Gilroy  (can they count as one?), Brian Koppelman and David Mamet. They each have very clear-cut opinions and voices, so to see that play out in person would be the best writing class I could imagine. I’ll pick up the check because that’s the least I can do for having a story I can share my entire life.  Plus, I wonder if Mamet swears as creatively as he does in his work.

The Black List:

How did you first hear about The Black List?

I was in York University’s film program when I heard about it. It seemed like a chance to get alternate opinions from industry readers and have a wider viewability on scripts outside of the classroom. I’m glad I gave it a shot.

Since using The Black List, how has your career been impacted?

I landed a great LA based manager Bernard Kira of BMK|ENT who found my specs on The Black List site.  Since then, I optioned my first TV project HARBORAGE to Todd Cohen and Laura Terry of Full Fathom Five and my feature CONSUME is with Peter Pastorelli, Marshall Johnson and Eddie Rubin of Long Road Films. Along with other TV and feature specs, I’m involved in a dystopian Western project with Canadian writer-producer Cameron MacLaren and up-and-coming director Rob Grant.

Any tips for writers interested in the site?

Every script is a new life. More so, every draft is a new life. You might have one screenplay that doesn’t quite click and another one that gets a response. If you know this going in then you will be more inclined to share your scripts to find out what works and what needs tweaking. After a few more drafts you can throw it back in the ring and see if it holds up.  Lastly, I encourage writers to put their best stuff out there because you never know who’s reading it.

The Week in Rep: 8/28-9/4


Girls on film take center stage this week, with features from Coppola, Altman, Miyazaki, and Arnold leading the way.

Cinefamily: Throughout the week, Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up to THE ACT OF KILLING, THE LOOK OF SILENCE, screens at Cinefamily. On Sunday, artist Alia Penner brings Robert Altman’s hallucinatory 3 WOMEN (seriously: you’ll never forget the last fifteen minutes) to Cinefamily for their ongoing series, Women of Cinefamily. Doug Benson interrupts ENTOURAGE on Monday evening — this event is very likely to sell out. The Lost & Found Film Club brings Canadian rarities to Cinefamily on Wednesday. SpectreFest kicks off this Thursday at Cinefamily with a FREE SCREENING! of COOTIES. Pre-register for the film’s Los Angeles premiere now! SpectreFest runs throughout September at the Cinefamily and beyond.

The New Beverly: The weekend kicks off with two from Hitchcock, with SUSPICION and NOTORIOUS showing on Friday and Saturday night. Throughout the rest of the week, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS screens on a double-bill with MINNESOTA CLAY on Monday, CRY OF A PROSTITUTE on Tuesday, and LAST MAN STANDING on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Egyptian: The Guadalajara International Film Festival takes over The Egyptian this week, starting on Thursday. Screening information is available on their website.

The Aero: The Studio Ghibli invasion continues this week at the Aero! SPIRITED AWAY, an Oscar winner for Best Animated feature, screens with PONYO tonight, followed by a English-language matinee of KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE, perhaps Ghibli’s most empowering movie for young women, on Saturday. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and CASTLE IN THE SKY show Saturday evening. On Sunday, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO takes the matinee spot, with the decidely more mature PORCO ROSSO and THE WIND RISES showing that evening. The series closes on Wednesday with GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES and FROM UP ON POPPY HILL.

Cinespia: Come sail away with Sofia Coppola’s magnificent debut THE VIRGIN SUICIDES this Saturday. Air’s incredible score and soundtrack (recently reissued on vinyl) is sure to sound incredible on Cinespia’s brand-spankin’ new sound system.

LACMA: This Tuesday’s $4 matinee is the 1953 adaptation of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, kicking off a month long series of retro sci-fi at LACMA.

Pick of the week: WifeyTV takes over Cinefamily for a screening of FISH TANK, an incredibly frank portrait of contemporary class struggles in Essex and teenage female sexuality. An Oscar-winner for her short WASP, filmmaker Andrea Arnold joins TRANSPARENT’s Jill Soloway for a post-film Q&A! This film is a must for fans of THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, with outstanding lead performances from Katie Jarvis (who stuns in her feature debut — she was discovered at a train station in Essex) and Michael Fassbender.