Oh Hollywood. It used to be hard to get ahead here on talent alone. At the very least you needed famous family members, perhaps even a proclivity for allowing yourself to be blackmailed, all for a shot at the dream. But now it can all be yours, provided you have more than twenty dollars and less than $25,000.
The Blacklist Screenwriter's Lab launches this fall in Las Vegas (you know...the other movie capital of the world), and invites young, gullible hopefuls to apply for a shot at six days in Sin City, learning from established screenwriting mentors. The event is sponsored by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh's Vegas revitalization project, but no word on whether attendees get to go home rocking a sweet pair of discount sneaks.
Originally launched in 2004 by Franklin Leonard, a former executive for Will Smith's production company, The Blacklist was initially a way for industry execs to vote on the best unproduced screenplays of the year (read: their friends OR writers they dream of working with one day). Leonard himself puts it best:
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.
But money talks, and in 2012 Leonard launched a paid version of the Blacklist for aspiring hopefuls to pay $20 to $50 to upload their scripts to be read by a "select group of industry professionals". This seasoned group includes junior execs, actors, and of course, talent agency assistants.
So that's it, kiddos. Get your checkbooks ready and get those scripts in before the July 31st deadline. Provided you wheedle your way into enough votes to be in the Blacklist's top 15, you just might be invited to actually apply for the Screenwriter's Lab itself.