Have you ever heard of The Black List?
This particular Black List is a website, one where you can upload a screenplay (for a small monthly fee, of course) so that industry professionals can read it and hopefully make all your dreams come true by turning it into a movie.
Don’t laugh. That’s how the Daily Wire’s “Shut In” matriculated from spec script to silver screen.
So even though the Black List might seem like a gigantic slush pile, there can indeed be gold in them thar pages—provided your story is good, your writing is crisp, and you defy odds somewhere in the neighborhood of winning Powerball on the same day Gal Gadot rings you up for a date.
Since hope springs eternal in the writer’s breast with the same ferocity that gas erupts from Eric Swalwell’s trousers, however, I decided a while back to give it a try for myself and dashed off a screenplay called “Slasher Camp” —a sly horror-comedy that follows a group of college-aged video game enthusiasts to an island where they get to play a real-life version of their favorite survival horror game.
Mayhem ensues, laughs are had, gore flies, and popcorn is munched. I even had a couple of good reviews—although, sadly, no offers came in.
Still, writing the script was a fun experience and a chance to play around in a genre I loved. It also got me on the Black List’s mailing list, which can be a valuable resource if you’re looking for screenwriting fellowships and whatnot.
That’s how I ended up with the following in my mailbox:
The Black List is thrilled to announce that it has once again partnered with NRDC’s (Natural Resources Defense Council) Rewrite the Future program, The Redford Center, and The CAA Foundation to launch a second iteration of the NRDC Climate Storytelling Fellowship.
The Fellowship will grant $20,000 each to three writers to support revision of a feature screenplay or pilot that engages with climate change in a meaningful way through events, actions, character, emotions, plot, and/or setting.
Now before you go rolling your eyes, think about it for a moment: Someone out there is willing to pony up twenty grand for a screenplay…about Climate Change!
It’s probably the most boring, pedantic, polemic subject in the history of humankind--one already beaten to death through the laughably ham-fisted efforts of guys like Roland Emmerich and Adam McKay—and yet the activists at the NRDC are ready and willing to part with some serious coin because they just can’t get enough of that global warming stuff.
It boggles the mind! But you know what’s even more mind-boggling?
That conservative groups aren’t doing the same thing.
To be sure, there’s a nascent effort to create content that is both entertaining and not hostile to conservative values—witness the forementioned Daily Wire, and also Breitbart’s push into feature films and television—which certainly amounts to a good start.
But where are groups like The Heritage Foundation or The Claremont Institute when it comes to funding fellowships that might have a real cultural impact, instead of just producing academic papers that most of the public will never see?
How might organizations such as the Petroleum Institute counter the climate change propaganda machine if they funded efforts to produce entertainment that showcases how fossil fuels have lifted millions of people out of abject poverty?
Part of the reason the Left has mounted a hostile takeover of popular culture is that they are organized, motivated, have a clear objective—and are well-funded. Another part is that the Right has not responded in kind, and that’s when we’ve responded at all.
If we want to build a conservative nation, we can’t afford to ignore the culture. Perhaps it’s time we took a page from the opposition’s playbook and started building that ourselves.
Marc D. Giller is the author of the novels HAMMERJACK and PRODIGAL (Bantam Spectra) and a contributor to the STAR TREK anthology SEVEN DEADLY SINS (Simon & Schuster). His current thriller CANDIDATE Z is available from Amazon.