The Black List, an annual survey of Hollywood insiders on the best un-produced scripts they’ve read that year, has an uncanny track record of getting those scripts the attention they deserve to actually get produced. Take The Post, which went from placing second on the survey in 2016, and then actually became a Steven Spielberg-produced awards season contender in 2017. Indeed, four the past 10 winners of the Best Picture Oscar winners all started off as scripts on the Black List. As such, it also serves as something of a valuable thermometer taking the temperature of the stories we went to tell know, and those that will very likely make their way to the theaters at some point.
There’s a lot to say about the latest edition of the list, released this afternoon (the amount of scripts by women on this year’s list is notable), but there’s one trend that really jumps out: increasingly, writers are interested in telling stories about how evil and alienating the internet—you know, where you’re reading this story right now—is. Scripts on the list concern themselves with everything from online trolls to catfishing to idiotic influencers to Silicon Valley execs, and frankly it’s astounding just how many unique takes there are on the evils or otherwise wild ways of the world wide web there are on this list without totally overlapping each other.
Of course, in the past few days alone a popular comedian deleted his Instagram after posting a worrying notes app screenshot, a Riverdale actress deleted Twitter, calling it a “cesspool for evil 15 years olds,”, and the world continued to wrestle with how to deal with the possibly manic tweets of a rapper. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that the drama of the internet holds such allure for the dramatists of Hollywood.
Indeed, the troubles of Facebook over the last two years have basically had people begging for a sequel to Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher’s The Social Network (who’d play Sheryl Sandberg? Rachel Weisz?), and while that doesn’t seem to be happening officially, this list offers numerous potential sequels in spirit, including a Social Network-esque dramatization of the rise of SnapChat, and Analytica, a movie about the notorious data firm that misused so many people’s stolen data during the 2016 election.
Meanwhile, other scripts are just straight up horror stories about Gamergate trolls and catfishes. Really, the only shock, though, may be that no one found time to write a decent spec script about Elon Musk, Grimes, and Azalea Banks this year. Oh well.
Here, a breakdown of the Black List’s many internet-concerned scripts and the various evils of the internet they concentrate on, accompanied by the total number of votes they received.
Frat Boy Genius by Elissa Karasik (36 Votes)
Internet Evil: Silicon Valley Execs
Description: “A disgruntled employee of Snapchat tells the rise of her former Stanford classmate, preeminent douchebag and current boss Evan Spiegel.”
Get Home Safe by Christy Hall (34 Votes)
Intervet Evil: Misogynistic Trolls
Description: “A young woman must get home by herself on Halloween with no cell phone battery and a group of gamergate trolls out to get her.”
Drudge by Cody Brotter (30 Votes)
Internet Evil: The Freewheeling Tabloid Style of So Much Internet Journalism
Description: “The story of how oddball internet reporter Matt Drudge broke the Lewinsky Scandal and nearly took down a presidency, all from a desktop computer in his one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood.”
The Worst Guy of All Time (And the Girl Who Came to Kill Him) by Michael Waldron (26 Votes)
Internet Evil: Social Media Influencers
Description: “Barret is a social media influencer, the worst guy ever, and the eventual President of the United States. Dixie is a badass freedom fighter, sent back from 2076 to kill him before he takes over the world and ruins the future. They fucking hate each other. Then they accidentally fall in love.”
Analytica by Scott F. Conroy (21 Votes)
Internet Evil: Data Collection
Description: “The true story of Chris Wylie and Cambridge Analytica.”
Just the Facts by Kenny Kyle (19 Votes)
Internet Evil: See Drudge Entry
Description: “The riveting true story of AJ Daulerio’s meteoric rise from obscure sports blogger to Editor-in-Chief of Gawker Media during the wild, heady early days of the digital journalism boom, culminating in the Hulk Hogan sex tape trial, which brought about Gawker’s downfall and set a precedent for billionaires to attack the media and free speech.”
The United States of America v. Bill Gates by Justin Kremer (11 Votes)
Internet Evil: Tech Monopolies
Description: “An inexperienced and idealistic twentysomething finds himself at the center of the largest anti-trust suit in modern American history when his idol, billionaire behemoth Bill Gates, wages war against his young internet company.”
Blur by Jacob Colman (9 Votes)
Internet Evil: Catfishing
Description: “When a guy in a committed relationship starts to suspect that the avatar he’s been digitally hooking up with might belong to his best friend’s girlfriend, he becomes entangled in something he can’t quite understand.”
AMA (Ask Me Anything) by John Wikstrom (7 Votes)
Internet Evil: Reddit?
Description: “A highly publicized AMA (Q&A) session between a fast-rising publicist and an aging music icon quickly turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse when the event is seized by a hacker who systematically beings revealing dark secrets from both of their pasts, forcing them to publicly confront the horrific events they’ve committed on the largest social media platform in the world.”
Spark by Meredith Dawson (7 Votes)
Internet Evil: Silicon Valley Bros
Description: “When a young African-American woman takes a job at a well-known venture capitalist firm in Silicon Valley, she must figure out a way to succeed in an elitist society where she feels inherently excluded.”