The Black List 2017


I’m helping to announce the Black List 2017 along with this group of crazy talented people:

Aline Brosh-McKenna
Allison Schroeder
Allison Williams
Andrea Berloff
Angela Robinson
Anya Taylor-Joy
Billy Eichner
Bradley Whitford
Brooklynn Prince
Carrie Coon
Chike Okonkwo
Christine Vachon
Craig Mazin
Danny Strong
Dee Rees
Denis Villenueve
Diablo Cody
Don Cheadle
Edgar Wright
Ellen Page
Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
Gabby Sidibe
Gina Prince-Bythewood
Graham Moore
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Helen Estabrook
Howard Rodman
Ido Ostrowsky, Nora Grossman
Jake Gyllenhaal
James Schamus
Jessica Bendinger
JJ Abrams
Jordan Horowitz & Julia Hart
Justin Simien
Kal Penn
Kate Mara
Katie Dippold
Kelly Marie Tran
Lakeith Stanfield
Lee Daniels
Lena Waithe
Leslie Odom Jr.
Lil Rel Howery
Liz Hannah
Margot Robbie
Milo Ventimiglia
Natalie Morales
Patricia Arquette
Patton Oswalt
Paul Feig
Phil Lord & Chris Miller
Phyllis Nagy
Rian Johnson
Ruth Negga
Scott Myers
Scott Neustadter
Sean Baker
Seth MacFarlane
Shannon Woodward
Simon Kinberg

Sophie Turner
Sterling K. Brown
Steven Rogers
Susannah Grant
Taika Waititi
Tessa Thompson
The Duffer Brothers
Tracy Oliver
Will Packer
Yvonne Orji
Zoey Deutch

Every two minutes from 9 AM to 11:32 AM PST, under the hashtag #BlackList2017, the Black List’s Twitter account (@theblcklst) will tweet a video of one of the presenters above announcing the title, author, and logline of one script featured on the thirteenth annual Black List.

The ordered list in its entirety will be available at 12 pm PT on Monday, December 11 at




Go Into The Story Screenwriters Roundtable

I loved doing this roundtable back in December 2015 with these amazing women: Jessica Bendinger, Lindsay Devlin, Liz W. Garcia, Julia Hart, and Lisa Joy. Check out the serious writing knowledge these fantastic women drop on Scott Myer’s blog. Glad to have been part of this group.


Interviewed by IndieWire

I recently had a fun chat with Shirpa Gupta at IndieWire. She did a fantastic article on the live script reads in Los Angeles. I feel so honored she chose to interview me along with Jason Reitman and Elvis Mitchell. Check out Shirpa’s full IndieWire article Why the Live Read is Here to Stay.


On a Panel with Some Talented Folks…

If you’re around Hollywood on Saturday, November 22nd, check out the No Budget Film Festival. I’ll be speaking on a panel with Black List CEO and Founder Franklin Leonard and 2013 Black List writers Meaghan Oppenheimer and Geoff Tock.  Come on down and chat with us!

Here are the details:

Tales from the Black List

Saturday November 22nd 2:15pm-3:00pm – Mack Sennett Small Studio

Every year a list of the best unproduced scripts, voted on by an industry’s worth of tastemakers, is released to the public. Since its inception 10 years ago The Black List is easily the most surefire and reputable way for writers to be discovered. Join writers whose success on the Black List has translated into real life progress in their career as they talk about the process, inspirations and what pushed them from writing in a vacuum to pursuing the next phase of their careers. Black List CEO and Founder Franklin Leonard will be on hand with 2013 Black List writers Meaghan Oppenheimer, Geoff Tock, and Stephany Folsom to discuss the list’s role in their journeys. From first getting representation, to being staffed on TV shows, to being hired by studios, to having their scripts read aloud in Black List Live by the likes of Nathan Fillion, Alison Brie, Clark Gregg and more, to the holy grail of Black List-dom: getting your unproduced script produced, get the low down from the people who know it best.


Surviving a Live Reading of Your Screenplay or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Deliver a Good Show

Photo by Kurt Kuenne.

Photo by Kurt Kuenne

On June 14th, 2014 the Black List and the Los Angeles Film Festival hosted a live reading of my script 1969 A SPACE ODYSSEY OR: HOW KUBRICK LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LAND ON THE MOON. Kathryn Hahn, Jared Harris, Thomas Sadoski, Lance Reddick, Clark GreggAaron StatonRich Sommer, Shannon Woodward, Tessa Ferrer, Troy Ruptash and Cooper Thornoton performed to a packed audience of over 700 people.

Photo courtesy of The Black List

Photo courtesy of The Black List

It was amazing, it was thrilling and it gave me a whole new appreciation for live theater, which is f-ing hard. There are no second takes on the stage.

So how the hell did I end up with a fancy live reading of my Black List script at the Los Angeles Theatre in downtown LA?

Fancy theater in downtown LA.

Photo by Kurt Kuenne

Franklin Leonard, the mastermind behind the Black List, contacted me back in May. He read and was a fan of 1969, which had landed on the 2013 Black List, and he wanted it to be the first in a series of Black List Live! events. Powerhouse casting director Deb Aquila and her associate Lisa Zagoria would wrangle the talent. And I would be granted an opportunity to direct the show. Of course, I said “yes!”

Deb and Lisa worked hard to bring together the perfect A-list cast for the read, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

1969 Live Read Cast

The night before the official event, we brought the cast together for the first time to rehearse. I couldn’t believe I was hearing actors I’d admired for years bring my words to life. It was intoxicating… and then I sobered:  the dialogue was playing well, but  a film script does not easily translate to the live stage.

All the tricks of the screen trade: montages, cross cutting, action sequences, visual transitions, match cuts… none of them work in a live venue. In a movie, all the fancy scene descriptions are transformed into engaging visuals. If the scene descriptions are only read out loud, they slow down the dialogue and ruin the pacing. I suddenly understood why Jason Reitman only used produced screenplays in his live reads — you already had a visual reference for the scenes. Unproduced screenplays don’t have that luxury, which is why Quentin Tarantino blocked out the live reading of his new script THE HATEFUL EIGHT.

Given the cast’s hectic shooting schedules, we had no time to stage the scenes in 1969. So how was I going to turn my film into a live theater experience? By not sleeping.

I spent the entire night rewriting the script, removing and changing scene descriptions so that it would work in a live venue. Megan Halpern, event director extraordinaire for the Black List, helped me collect archive footage, photos and music to give the reading more of a cinematic feel.

Photo courtesy of The Black List

Photo courtesy of The Black List

On the day of the live read, I was stressed and sleep deprived, hoping the added visuals and editing the script would bring the show together.

By the time Franklin introduced me to the audience,  I could barely see straight. Seriously, I have no clue what I’m saying here:

Photo courtesy of The Black List

Photo courtesy of The Black List

When the show started, I sat in the back of the theater and held my breath. Then, the cast started to read my script…and it worked. The audience was laughing and clapping in all the right spots. Somehow the whole thing came together. We put on a really good show.

Photo by Kurt Kuenne

Photo by Kurt Kuenne

Would I do a staged reading of one of my screenplays again?

Probably. It’s a good way to find out if your dialogue works.

Would I do it in a high-pressure event where my unproduced work is compared to Jason Reitman’s and Quentin Tarantino’s (WTF)?

I would do it all again without hesitation.

Sending out a huge thank you to Franklin Leonard, The Black List and the stellar cast for making the fantastic reading of 1969 possible. I’m thrilled to see what BlackList Live! does next.


1969 A Space Odyssey’s Live Read Cast

If you’re in Los Angeles on June 14th, then you’ll want to see the Black List Live Read of 1969 A SPACE ODYSSEY. I’m over the moon (pun intended) that we have such an amazingly talented cast on board.

Kathryn Hahn of Parks And Recreation will play the lead, Jared Harris of Mad Men will play Stanley Kubrick, Thomas Sadoski of The Newsroom will play NASA Public Affairs administrator Julian Scheer, and Shannon Woodward of Raising Hope will play Kubrick’s assistant, Kara Downs.

Clark Gregg (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Avengers, Trust Me) will be in the role of Richard Helms, Director of the CIA. Aaron Staton (Mad Men) and Rich Sommer (Mad Men) will play the roles of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, respectively.


1969 Live Read Cast

1969 A Space Odyssey




Black List Live Staged Reading on June 14th in Los Angeles

On June 14th the Black List will host its first live staged reading at the LA Film Festival…and they are reading my script. Extremely honored to be part of this. Exciting cast announcements and ticket info coming soon!

Here is the press release:

A first time event taking place at the Festival this year is The Black List Live! A Staged Reading. The Festival is teaming up with The Black List to program a staged reading of an unproduced Black List script. Join us for this one night only reading of Stephany Folsom’s 1969: A Space Odyssey, or How Kubrick Learned to Stop Worrying and Land on the Moon about a White House public affairs assistant who convinces Stanley Kubrick to fake the moon landing, just in case something goes wrong during that one small step. The event will take place on June 14 at 7:00 pm at the Los Angeles Theater.




Adapting Harlan Coben’s MISSING YOU for Warner Bros.

I’m very excited to adapt Harlan Coben’s Missing You for Warner Brothers and Brett Ratner’s RatPac. I’ll share more when I can come up for some air. Until then, back to writing!




Go Into The Story Interview


I was recently interviewed by screenwriter Scott Myers for Go Into The Story (the official blog of the Black List). I had a blast discussing movies, screenwriting and working in Hollywood with Scott.

You can read the full interview on Go Into The Story. While you’re there, be sure to check out the rest of the site. It’s one of the best screenwriting resources out there.