How To Sign Up to The Black List?

learn about the black list for screenwriters

Writing a screenplay is hard work. The hope is that someone will turn your script into a movie. But what if you are sick of screenwriting competitions or don't live in Hollywood? 

Luckily, there is an alternative outlet for your feature length screenplay or TV pilot it's called The Black List.  

In this guide you will learn everything you need to know about The Black List membership, including:

  • What are the Pros & Cons of The Black List?
  • Why Should a Screenwriter Sign up for The Black List?
  • How to Sign up to The Black List? 

Keep reading on so can confidently decide if The Black List is the right place for your script.  If you are short on time, feel free to skip ahead to the 10 actions steps for signing up.

What is The Black List? 

The Black List is an online platform that allows screenwriters to upload their screenplays to their website for feedback and the chance to have their work seen by members of the TV and Film industry. They also offer labs and residencies to non-professional writers.

Many of The Black List scripts have been discovered on the site and turned into movies, including Oscar winning films Juno, The King’s Speech and Argo. The ultimate goal of the site is to encourage inclusion within the industry and to provide opportunities to writers.  

DID YOU KNOW... 

Franklin Leonard the Founder named the site “The Black List” as a tribute to writers who lost their careers during the McCarthy era & also as also an inversion of the word Black. 

According to their website: The Black List has been in business since 2005 and started out by releasing an annual list of the most liked unproduced screenplays to industry executives. 

You can learn more from the Founder himself in this 3 minute video.  

Why Should a Screenwriter Sign up for The Black List?

Two reasons: Feedback & Exposure. 

Once you upload your feature-film script, one-hour or half-hour television pilot to the site and pay the fees, a paid reader downloads your story and provides an evaluation. You receive feedback within 2-3 weeks along with an evaluation score - which becomes visible on the site. 

Your evaluated screenplay is hosted on their site and becomes accessible to over 4,000 industry professionals including assistants, producers, production companies, agents, A-list actors to Studio Presidents.

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leONARD FRANKLIN

-FOUNDER-

WHAT IF THERE WAS A BLACK LIST PEOPLE WANTED TO BE ON?

Why are Evaluation Scores Important on The Black List?

Evaluation scores help draw attention to your script. The more positive feedback, the more likely you story will get attention and inquires. 

If you get a high score, The Black List sends out emails to industry members, spotlights the screenplay on their site and social media outlets. Thus improving your chances of connecting with an industry professional. 

If your screenplay gets five 8s it is given the designation - Black List Recommended on the website and your screenplay is hosted free of charge. 

If you get a low score, The Black List gives screenwriters the chance to hide undesirable evaluations.  They also claim that the website and it’s algorithm was specifically created  “to do no harm” 

If you receive multiple low scores, The Black List encourages you to remove your screenplay from their site as it is unlikely to be successful.

What are the Pros & Cons of Signing up for The Black List?

Pros

  • An alternative outlet for your screenplay other than competitions, Hollywood, cold emails or pounding on closed doors. They come to you!
  • Best case scenario: your screenplay gets high scores which garners attention from an industry professionals
  • Exposure: Your script gets the chance to be seen by lots of eyeballs 

Cons

  • Cost Prohibitive:  The monthly hosting fee + evaluations add up! 
  • Feedback is subjective: Getting an evaluation is a risk you must be willing to take if you want to host your screenplay on The Black List. Good, bad, & ugly
  • Exposure: It's a double edge sword, if you are afraid of someone stealing your idea make sure your script is registered with the WGA or has a copyright before uploading or sharing

How Much Does The Black List Cost? 

As of 2021, the required fee for Non-Guild Members to host their script on the site is $30 a month. This monthly fee keeps your membership active on The Black List which means your screenplay or pilot is accessible to readers and industry professionals.

Once you pay the monthly fee, you also need to pay $75 per evaluation for a feature length screenplay or one hour pilot. Or $50 per evaluation for a half-hour pilot. 

Making the initial cost between $80 to $105 excluding tax, etc.


IMPORTANT CAVEAT: There is no point in paying the monthly fee for hosting your script on the website, if you aren’t going to get an evaluation. The evaluation score is what gets your script ranked and visible.


If you are a Guild Member you are not required to host your screenplay to have an active membership on The Black List. But if you do host your script or get an evaluation the price is $20 off.

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So for example, if a Guild Member hosts their script on The Black List and pays for one evaluation, their initial costs would be between $64-$83 excluding tax, etc.

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How To Sign Up for The Black List? (10 Step Guide)

Step 1 

Go to https://blcklst.com/ and click Sign Up as a Screenwriter. 

Step 2

Register an account. Put in your personal information, check the necessary boxes and submit.  

Step 3

Go to your email inbox and confirm your new Black List account. 

Step 4

Fill out your Account Information and your guild membership status.

Step 5

Add in your Billing information.

*A credit or debit card is required in order to upload your script.

Step 6

Upload your Script or Pilot. Enter in all the related information including:

  • Script title
  • Author & Additional roles
  • Logline
  • Project status
  • Genre
  • Comparable films
  • Tags

Step 7

Choose your monthly billing plan along with the number of evaluations you would like to receive.

Step 8

Authorize the submission form & Submit

Step 9

Your credit or debit card will be charged.

Step 10

Wait 2-3 weeks for your evaluation ! 

BONUS

To control who downloads and reads your script, go to:  

  • Account settings
  • Privacy Settings
  • Select which option best suits your comfort level under Reading Availability 

Additional steps: If you want, you can update your script’s information, add actor roles and buy more evaluations. You can also add details to your Profile including a profile photo and links to your IMDB page & website.

I hope this guide helped you decide if The Black List is a right match for you and your story. Good luck! 

Please feel free to share your experience with hosting your script on the site in the comments below. 

Stories with Whitney

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