Black List Scripts: Our Favorite Loglines From the 2023 Black List.

See which concepts made it onto the 2023 Black List and which ones we liked the most.

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by Script Reader Pro in Best Screenplays to Read
December 11, 2023 30 comments
Black List Scripts 2023

2023 Black List scripts: here are our 5 favorite loglines from the list. 

The Black List is a yearly roundup of the best unproduced screenplays doing the rounds in Hollywood, as voted for by producers.

It was started by an executive named Franklin Leonard back in 2005. He came up with the idea of forwarding a spreadsheet of the best unproduced scripts to fellow producers in the business.

The concept took off immediately, and many Black List screenplays went on to become well-known movies such asThe King’s Speech and Juno.

What’s coming up. 

A breakdown of our top 5 loglines from the scripts that made it onto the Black List in 2023.

You’ll also find the link below to all the loglines for the latest Black List movie scripts below.

The benefit of reading these loglines is that it helps you assess the competition. These concepts and ideas represent the standard that’s to be achieved if you want to get your own script on the Black List.

And as you know, the basis of any great script is a great idea.

How does your logline stand up? Is your concept good enough to make your screenplay one of the Black List scripts in 2023?

Find out below!

Our top 5 loglines from the latest Black List scripts 2023. 

The Black List is not a “best of” list. It is, at best, a “most liked” list.
— Franklin Leonard

And the same applies to our top 5 list of the latest Black List loglines. We’re not saying they’re “the best,” they’re just our “most liked.”

Feel free to disagree in the comments below!

1. Better Half by Gaelyn Golde.

A codependent woman unravels when her best friend gets a boyfriend.

Why it made our list:

Sometimes one sentence is all you need. This logline is so simple, so concise and so good all at once that it had to make the list. What’s great about it also is that we can see the movie so clearly, just from one line.

We’re thinking it’s a dramedy, but it could also be a thriller. Or even a comedy horror. It’s not clear just from the set-up alone, but who cares when the logline’s this good?

2. Die Fast by Julian Meiojas.

Following a severe, soon to be fatal, brain injury during a violent attack, an NYPD sergeant embarks on a harrowing journey of vengeance, which leaves her only a few hours of adrenaline-bursting consciousness to hunt down those who took her daughter and killed her husband before she dies.

Why it made our list:

We have so much conflict here in just one sentence: the attack, the brain injury, the vengeful hunt, her daughter’s life and, finally, the ticking clock. If you’re writing an action thriller, look at a logline like this as inspiration on how to really pack as much conflict as possible into the concept.

But note how everything here is also connected. We’re taken on a journey in the logline itself, from the attack, to the hunt, to the victims, to the deadline—literally before she dies.

3. Lure by Nick Tassoni.

When a park ranger ventures into the wilderness to find a missing hiker before a storm, she finds herself lured into the woods by a dangerous, unearthly predator mimicking her daughter.

Why it made our list:

This concept has wonderful undertones of classic horror movies like The Blair Witch Project and Don’t Look Now. (Particularly the latter’s final sequence involving the couple’s daughter flitting about Venice in a red cloak.)

Again, it has all the requirements of a good logline in place: a protagonist (the park ranger) with a goal (find a missing hiker) with high stakes attached (before the hiker dies), up against a strong antagonist (an unearthly predator). And the fact it’s mimicking her daughter, ups the stakes even more. Great stuff.

4. Return to Sender by Russell Goldman.

When a woman experiences delivery scams that grow increasingly personal and strange, she becomes hellbent on discovering her anonymous sender.

Why it made our list:

A little like the first logline on our list, Better Half, this script could go in either a comedy or thriller direction. The comedy version could be a kind of twisted version of You’ve Got Mail. While the thriller version could quite easily end in a blood bath.

Either version would work, but we’re guessing it’s a thriller as in a comedy you’d probably want to throw a couple of comedic flourishes into the logline to clue people in to the script’s genre.

5. Spoiler by Jordan Rosenbloom.

After passing on a hot new screenplay, a studio executive finds himself trapped as the protagonist inside the film and must regain control before the credits roll.

Why it made our list:

This is one of those great, great loglines that make the reader think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” It’s similar in vibe to Stranger Than Fiction in which the protagonist realizes he’s the protagonist in a novel. (Which also riffed on Woody Allen’s short story, The Kugelmass Episode, in which a professor is projected into Madame Bovary.)

These kind of super inventive high-concept loglines are guaranteed to at least get your script read because they stand out from the swathes of so-so, generic loglines execs, managers, producers, etc. are used to reading. It’s then up to the script itself to deliver.

BONUS #1: Our top 5 loglines from last year’s Black List scripts 2022. 

1. Below by Geoff Tock and Greg Weidman.

“Fresh out of a spell in prison a man attempts to set his life right by working a mysterious job that requires him to seek out life forms hidden amongst us.”

Why it made our list:

This logline is a classic example of one that lets us visualize the whole of Act One and thus sets up the whole movie. Just from reading it we can see the (possible) Inciting Incident of him being let out of prison, to being offered the job at the Call to Action, to accepting it at the end of Act One.

Not only that, but the idea itself is wonderfully original, with a real sense of mystery and intrigue that echoes TV shows like V and, of course, the movie Bladerunner.

2. Mega Action Hit by Sean Tidwell.

“After Hollywood’s leading action star hits his head on set and wakes up thinking he’s a real-life action hero, he embarks on an international mission to track down a real stolen nuke before it’s too late.”

Why it made our list

This concept does a great job of taking the cliched idea of an action hero having to track down a stolen nuclear weapon, and flipping it to make a funny and inventive logline. He’s not an action hero, he’s just an actor who mistakenly thinks he is after hitting his head on set.

As with the previous logline, Below, Act One is clearly mapped out in our minds and we know we’re going to be for a fun, rollicking ride—maybe with the real story being about how he finds out who he really is along the way with the help of a love interest.

3. Pop by James Morosini.

“A kid blackmails his favorite pop star into being his best friend.”

Why it made our list

The shortest logline on this year’s Black List and definitely one of the best. When a logline can be condensed to just one short sentence like this and still do everything it’s supposed to—intrigue, clearly define the conflict, be original, make you want to watch the movie, etc.—it’s really quite an achievement.

We can see the opening with the kid idolizing his favorite pop star, dancing along to his videos, singing into a broom handle, stalking him/her on social media, etc. We can see the pop star’s shock when they realize they’re being blackmailed. We can see the pair playing at being best friends, and so on. We hope we actually get to see this up on the big screen too.

4. Pure by Catherine Schetina.

“Obsessed with food purity, Hannah’s trip to her sister’s destination wedding descends into madness when she contracts a mysterious foodborne illness that threatens to destroy her from within.”

Why it made our list

This logline expertly sets up a classic fish-out-of-water scenario that’s full of that much-needed ingredient—irony. Hannah, who’s the pickiest eater on earth contracts a mysterious illness after eating something she doesn’t normally eat.

This was a very strong year for thrillers, and although it’s unclear from the logline whether this is a thriller or a horror, it’s good enough to work as either. Does she fall victim to an illness that starts to literally eat her alive? Or does the illness begin to eat away at her mind and threaten to destroy her psychologically?

5. There You Are by Brooke Baker.

“When a non-confrontational playwright loses her engagement ring, she must travel through Italy to get it back with a man who supposed to just be a one-night stand, discussing love and lying along the way.”

Why it made our list

Sometimes all you need for an effective movie is a man and a woman walking around a city, talking. We love the echoes this logline has of past romantic drama and dramedy movies like Before Sunrise and In Search of a Midnight Kiss, and also its high-concept element of struggling to recover an engagement ring.

It’s not clear why the protagonist has to travel with this guy, or why he would want to, but the concept of a woman trying to recover her engagement ring with the person she cheated on her fiancé with, is so rich in conflict and irony we’re not sure it really matters.

Click to tweet this post. 

BONUS #2: Our top 5 loglines from 2021’s Black List scripts. 

1. Cauliflower by Daniel Jackson.

“Under the cruel guidance of a mysterious coach, an ambitious high school wrestler struggles to become a state champion while battling a bizarre infection in his ear that both makes him dominant in his sport and threatens his sanity.”

Why it made our list:

What a great way to express this character’s outer and inner goals. On the one hand this wrestler guy wants to become state champion. On the other, he’s being driven crazy by the very thing that can help him achieve it.

On a smaller note: the logline could probably lose the beginning—“Under the cruel guidance of a mysterious coach”—as it’s kind of superfluous and sounds a little too much like Whiplash, but overall this is a superb concept.

2. Loud by Whit Brayton.

“A famed experimental musician finds himself embroiled in the race to solve Earth’s primary existential threat: A deafening sound that never stops, forcing all of humanity to survive in silence.”

Why it made our list

We love how this logline puts an experimental musician (it’s not often you’ll see one of those as a movie protagonist) at the center of a race against time to save the Earth.

Perhaps the musician could be “struggling” rather than “famed,” but that’s a minor quibble in an otherwise fantastic idea.

3. Max and Tony’s Epic One-Night Stand
by Tony Kivney.

“A disastrous Grindr hookup goes from bad to worse when a meteor unleashes a horde of aliens on New York and the two ill-matched men must depend on each other to make it through the night alive.”

Why it made our list

Not sure we need a meteor and an alien invasion to get this story moving, but when a logline makes it this easy to visualize the entire movie, you know you’re onto a winner.

We can see the disastrous first date. We can see the alien invasion. We can see these two guys being forced to stick together to survive. It’s all there, from the Inciting Incident to the Act 3 Climax and no doubt this is a laugh-out-loud script.

4. See How They Run by Lily Hollander.

“A blind mother moves into a remote farmhouse with her young daughter, but the mystery of the home’s previous inhabitants intrudes upon her attempts to repair their relationship.”

Why it made our list

This is a great set-up that promises conflict from two angles: the blind mother and her daughter, and the blind mother and the home’s former inhabitants.

Tonally, this could be a very effective single-location horror, or thriller. But the line “attempts to repair their relationship” hints that this probably a drama. Either way, it’s easy to see how it made it onto the Black List 2021.

5. The Villain by Andrew Ferguson.

“The completely outrageous and completely true story of “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli — from his meteoric rise as wunderkind hedge fund manager and pharmaceutical executive to his devastating fall involving crime, corruption and the Wu-Tang Clan — which exposed the rotten core of the American healthcare system.”

Why it made our list

Biopics can be hard to logline, but this one manages to take us through  Martin Shkreli’s whole life in just a few lines. It brings to mind images of a wild, Adam McKay-style movie involving the rotten core of the American healthcare system and the Wu-Tang Clan? It all sounds brilliantly irreverent, and the script probably is.

What do all these loglines and Black List Scripts have in common?

Like all great loglines, these are original, interesting and make you say things like “I wish I’d thought of that,” and “I would watch that movie.”

Each of these concepts helps you see the movie. The genre is clear. The protagonist is clear. And the conflict is clear.

If you take a look at the logline to your own script, does it do the same? It can be hard to step back and look at your own work objectively but it’s a vital skill to learn if you want to make your screenplay one of the next Black List scripts.

Our post How to Write a Logline: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide has a ton of info in it that you’ll find useful in tightening up your concept.

Also, note how great the titles are in the rest of the Black List scripts: Baby Boom, Oh the Humanity, Jingle Bell Heist, etc.

We have a post called Movie Title Ideas: 3 Ways to Come Up With Cooler Titles that can help brush yours up if needs be.

hollywood Black List scripts 2021

Download and read Black List scripts. 

As you probably know there’s no magic bullet when it comes to screenwriting. When it comes to getting your screenplays on the Black List, though, there’s one key piece of advice we recommend you take…

It sounds obvious, but far too few aspiring screenwriters actually put it into practice. If you want to get your screenplay on the Black List, you need to be reading scripts that are already on it.

Reading scripts that made it on to the Black List will help you keep abreast of what’s hot in Hollywood and the kind of standard you need to reach.

If you want to succeed as a screenwriter, you need to read screenplays all the time. And Black List screenplays are a great way of doing this. It will help keep your finger on the pulse of Hollywood and you’ll pick something up from each script you read.

Where to download Black List scripts.

Type “download blacklist scripts” or “the black list screenplays download” into a search engine, you should be able to locate a few. You can find an overview of all lists here:

•  Black List scripts 2009

And read more Black List loglines…

As well as reading Black List screenplays, you should also read all of the loglines to the scripts that made it onto the list.

This will also teach you how to write a logline and is an invaluable way of getting the creative juices flowing if you’re trying to come up with a concept for your next screenplay.

You will find all the loglines to screenplays that made it onto the Black List over the last few years here:

•  Black List loglines 2022

•  Black List loglines 2021

 Black List loglines 2020

 Black List loglines 2019

 Black List loglines 2018

•  Black List loglines 2017

•  Black List loglines 2016

•  Black List loglines 2015

Click to tweet this post. 

A note: Hollywood Black List scripts vs. the Black List website.

Please bear in mind that the Black List we’ve discussed in this post is a completely different entity from the Black List website which Leonard Franklin set up years later.

The Black List website is a site where aspiring screenwriters can (for a fee) upload their screenplays. Industry people who’ve also opted into the site, can then read and vote on them.

This online voting system means the writer is able to track their script’s progress as it either falls or climbs up the rankings. It’s a good way of tracking the progress of your writing.

Obviously, though, your main aim should be to get your script on the original Black List that circulates Hollywood.

Black List scripts: conclusion.

Getting a script on the Black List takes a dedication to the craft of screenwriting and knowing how to write a screenplay that’s good enough to compete with the best.

Reading scripts on the Black List will help get your writing chops up to speed. You should also be reading as many pro screenplays online as you can. Watch how your screenwriting ability improves exponentially and soon you may find your own screenplay on the Black List.


Have you ever had a script on the Black List? How many Black List scripts have you read? How does your script stand up to them? Let us know in the comments section below!

hollywood Black List scripts 2021

Enjoyed this post? Read more on the best screenplays to read…

50 of the Best Screenplays to Read and Download in Every Genre

50 of the Best TV Scripts to Download and Study to Improve Your Writing

Best Screenwriting Books to Read for Aspiring Screenwriters

[© Photo credits: Unsplash]

  1. Ubaid says:

    I want to give my best experience to this

  2. Robin says:

    Thanks for helping keep the two Blacklist sites separate. While it’s exciting to see opportunities to get our work shopped or noticed, the reality is, reviews, awards, fellowships, recommendations, and relationships are a pretty crucial, don’t you think? Also, I can see why the loglines you chose were highlighted, i.e, great characterization, irony, conflict. But some are so drawn out I don’t believe they’d pass muster as an elevator pitch.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yep, it’s a question of pursuing as many different avenues as possible.

  3. Isabel D. says:

    Amazed how commenters are confusing The Black List with the subscription website. Maybe add a clarification at the top of the article but any aspiring screenwriter should do their homework and know this. Great article. Thank you!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Isabel 🙂 The note on the difference is at the end but people do find it confusing, yes.

  4. Heather Ellis says:

    I’m new to this world of screenwriting (my first spec feature script Island Z Origins). I joined The Black List (the paid one!), just to give it a go. As a published author, I’d say breaking into screenwriting works kinda the same way. You either have an agent to pitch your manuscript to publishers or you do it yourself targeting the smaller publishers who may have a little more time. That’s how I was published by Black Inc.

  5. Sylvia says:

    This year’s scripts are hot property! I feel my script could make it on next year’s black list. Fingers crossed!

  6. Davis B says:

    I called a few of my screenwriting friends and getting a script on the Black List is actually not as impossible as it seems.

  7. D Hall says:

    I pretty much agree with all of these posts. Some readers actually “read” the script and others put in an effort. But I doubt an producers are looking here to find something. I have an outstanding historical mini-series packed with a punch and backed by honest research . . .If a producer liked “Atonement”, “Schindler’s List”, “Darkest Hour”, or “1917” they would scramble to option “Gutenberg”. And sorry guys – it is seriously copyrighted.

  8. Robert W. says:

    Getting on the original Black List is great. Still, I focus on getting my work in front of managers. That won’t change. I also was interested to see that many if the loglines were well over 25 or 30 words. So busting my ass to keep it super brief is good, but say what needs to be said.

  9. Michael Valiah says:

    Can’t wait to watch this movie: “An obsessed fan maneuvers his way into the inner circle of his hip hop idol and will stop at nothing to stay in.” There are some brilliant loglines of this year’s black list.

  10. Jordan M says:

    Flight Risk and Gusher are the best. Clear problems = clear question. If my producing career was an additional 10 years mature, I’d buy the rights to Flight Risk right now.

  11. Martin says:

    Selling a script is a matter of hard work and luck. Everybody knows. The right producer comes from an unexpected place.

  12. Oscar Julian Lopez Rincon says:

    Great-job, guys!!!

  13. Nikki says:

    I’ve been looking into this stuff for a while and still somewhat confused. Would love any clarification! So, you host a screenplay on the blcklst website and have it evaluated a few times… say it’s an amazing script and impresses those professionals who are evaluating. Does that mean you have a chance at making it to the annual Black List? I guess what I’m asking is… are the professionals who evaluate scripts on the site the same professionals who are voting on their faves for the annual list? So if you get great evaluation ratings that could be an indication that you’re being considered for the annual list, right?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Hi Nikki, no the site where you pay to host your script and have it evaluated is completely separate from the Black List that circulates among Hollywood. The latter aren’t on any website, it’s just an informal list.

  14. Randal Harris says:

    You dont say at all how to go about trying to get on the original blacklist.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      If you read these and other Black List scripts and their loglines you’ll have a better idea of what it takes to get on the list. 🙂 At the end of the day, though, it’s all down to the amount of work any writer puts into his or her script.

  15. Script Reader Pro says:

    The original Black List as described in the post is not something you pay for to get on. It’s a list of the year’s most promising spec scripts circulating Hollywood.

  16. M. L. says:

    You’re still promoting lists that are designed to hook writers into paying for false hope.

  17. HarrytheHatKing says:

    “Get on the ORIGINAL Blacklist…”

    Now that is some seriously good advice. Of course, in order to get on that “List”, you actually have to have your script read by producers so they’ll circulate it to other producers. No. Really. That’s how it works.
    Now, comes the $64000 question: How do make that happen?
    One way is to kidnap a producer or his/her family member – check that, who are we kidding, producers don’t care about their families, so forget that one – and force him/her to read your screenplay at gunpoint. If you’re lucky, really lucky, he or she won’t hold the kidnapping thing against you and will think your screenplay is the greatest thing since his or her last success in 1984 and pass the screenplay around to other producers much smarter than he or her and you’ll get a deal…
    Good luck.

  18. gerasimos rozis says:

    Hmm, blacklist… let’s see.
    The site requires two evaluations for the top lists, with a minimum of 6.something. So getting there, you actually need two 7s. At the very least. Every single of my scripts, had an overall rating of 7 or 8. I’m talking about the very first evaluation for each script. What about the second? Every single one of them 3s and 4s. All of them. That means, you have to go for a third evaluation, as I did. All 5s and 6s. This is no joke. This is their system. With an average crap score, that sets us outside the top lists, so we have to buy another, and another. Blacklist says that “Empirically, rating variance of overall scores in two or more reviews has been low”, but at the same time “Subjectivity is nearly impossible to get rid of when evaluating scripts and is ingrained in the process”. No shit. Taking into account that “Blacklist’s readers are the best of the bunch”, I come to believe that they’re the best in forcing you buying more and more evaluations. At least your service, worth the money, because your people actually read the script. Blacklist’s people, do not.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yes, this is a problem with the Blacklist website. It can all get pretty confusing, so just to clarify for readers: In this post, we’re advocating that you should try and get your script on the real Blacklist – the list of the best unproduced circulated around Hollywood to producers, execs, etc. Not pay to have it put on the Blacklist website.

      1. Darwish says:

        Well thanks
        As you have you said to get to the original website how will I know that website where I should upload my scripts. It will be better if you share with us the link to the original website . Thanks

        1. Script Reader Pro says:

          Sorry for the confusion – the “original” Blacklist isn’t a website. As we say in the post: “But, obviously, your main aim should be to get your script on the original Blacklist that circulates Hollywood.”

    2. Jason Holland says:

      I am a member of the blacklist, Yes you pay a monthly fee to have your script put up. My script been there for some time now, no views. I don’t know if people are even on their looking to buy scripts. You have to pay $75 for a person to review your script and give you advice. From my standpoint i am just losing money, but worth a try.

  19. Daley Nixon says:

    Do you have any black list scripts before 2008?

    1. SRP says:

      Hey there, no sorry we don’t. Try contacting them directly.

      1. Walter says:

        So if I’m getting this right the original Blacklist is a list of best new scripts that circulates Hollywood and the new blacklist is a paid for subscription service to get it in hands of managers and agents. Hopefully.

  20. Taylor C says:

    That’s good thinking guys. Nice

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