Producer Cassian Elwes and Black List founder Franklin Leonard have created the Cassian Elwes Independent Screenwriting Fellowship. They will send one writer who doesn’t have an agent and hasn’t made more than $,5000 from scribbling to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. They’ll cover the trip’s cost, and Elwes will mentor the scribe. The portal of entry is Leonard’s Black List. Writers with scripts on the service since October 15, 2012, can opt into consideration. They’ll tally a shortlist after December 1 and pick a winner. The plan is to make this an annual deal.
EXCLUSIVE: After using The Black List as a way to scout screenplays worth buying, Warner Bros has made the first alliance between a major studio and Franklin Leonard‘s screenplay evaluation service. The goal is to give opportunities to scribes who might not otherwise get a chance. Using the diversity guidelines from the WGA‘s Executive Summary that shows how far out of the mainstream minorities, women and some other groups are in the makeup of working screenwriters, The Black List will recommend a short list of five writers every six months who come from what the WGA identified as an under-served scribe demographic.
One of those writers will be offered by Warner Bros a two-step blind script deal worth around $93,000. The initial plan is for this program to run for two years, which will mean deals for four writers will get a foot in the door. The first short list of writers will be turned over to Warner Bros around Thanksgiving.
“For a black kid from Georgia, I’m acutely aware of the access issues the industry struggles with, and I’m excited to be part of a first step toward addressing this,” Leonard told me. “I’m optimstic that other organizations in the industry will access this also, both for the purposes of diversity, but also for the benefit of their bottom lines.” Leonard said the program will …