UPDATE: Not so fast… This latest revelation will surely re-ignite the long-running debate over whether Hollywood’s wannabe screenwriters can get ahead on their talent or just their connections. Deadline’s sharp-eyed commenters discovered from Justin Kremer’s Linked-In profile that he had been an intern at The Black List. “That’s not exactly the same thing as an over-the-transom success story,” one commenter rued. We’ve confirmed that Black List founder Franklin Leonard failed to disclose this very pertinent fact in his announcement today. Leonard just gave us this statement:
In a press release this morning announcing Justin Kremer’s recently signing with Creative Artists Agency after submitting his script to the new Black List website, I failed to mention that he had previously volunteered work to the Black List as an “intern.”
To clarify, from time to time, we put out calls for individuals to assist us with various tasks like transcribing interviews and alerting us to information about Black List scripts that comes up via the news. In exchange for such occasional assistance, we allow those individuals to call themselves interns though it is an “internship” in the loosest possible sense of the term.
Justin submitted his script without our knowledge. He paid to have his script hosted. He paid to have it read. It was read with no further information beyond its genre, as is the case with all of our screenplays. It was evaluated and included in our emails based on that evaluation and was downloaded and subsequently rated highly based on the evaluations of individuals who had no knowledge of Justin beyond his screenplay and the fact of its high scores.
I personally only became aware of the screenplay when its evaluation was published to our site.
I cannot emphasize enough that the process his script experienced was in no way different than any other submitted script. I have no tolerance for anything but a pure mathematical experience when it comes to the Black List, and we will continue to function in exactly that way.
If there was an error here, it was in my failure to include the information about our previous, tenuous relationship in the press release that announced his great success.
It is my sincere hope that this failure does not affect the view of Justin’s script. It shouldn’t. The path his script took did not and could not have been affected by his previous work. The failure here is mine in failing to mention it when celebrating his good fortune.
PREVIOUS: Well maybe these things really do work. The Black List announced today the first success story from its month-old new online pay service for unrepresented screenwriters to have their work analyzed by industry professionals. Last week, Justin Kremer, formerly an assistant at Black Bear Pictures, signed with CAA based on his screenplay McCarthy chronicling the rise of Sen. Joe McCarthy’s anti-Communist fervor. Kremer uploaded his script to the site on October 19, four days after launch, and paid for a single read from a Black List reader. When the screenplay got a high score, it was included in the site’s weekly member email spotlighting its highest rated scripts. After dozens of downloads from Black List industry members and more ratings from those who read it, McCarthy became the site’s highest-rated uploaded script.
Kremer, who attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and graduated from the Dramatic Writing Conservatory at the State University of New York/Purchase, said in a statement that “the script had been completed for some time and was collecting dust in a drawer. I submitted McCarthy to the Black List site out of sheer curiosity, and entered the process with absolutely no expectations.” He describes the response as “incredible” and says that “none of this would have been possible without the Black List site”. Explained Black List founder Franklin Leonard, ”He’s a hell of a writer whose great work simply hadn’t been exposed prior to his uploading it to our site. This is, simply put, why we created it.” Since the Black List launched its pay service on October 15th, over 1,100 screenplays have been uploaded.
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.