Now presenting its 7th edition, BloodList has become an industry go-to for producers and managers looking for new dark genre material. Founded by literary manager and producer Kailey Marsh of Kailey Marsh Media in 2009, many scripts featured on the BloodList have gone on to be produced including, Black Swan, Buried, House At The End Of The Street, and the 2011 Young and Hungry List script, Chronicle. We here at The Tracking Board had an exclusive opportunity to talk with Marsh to discuss why she founded BloodList, where it is today, and where it’s headed.
Bloodlist turns 7 this year. How has the list grown over the years, and where would you like to see it go?
MARSH: I can’t believe it’s the 7th edition. Well, last year I included pilots, and I am doing that again. The list has become something that people look forward and lots of writers get work off of it, so that makes me happy. It has grown into a brand that ideally I will start growing, hiring staff and producing great genre content through. I want it to be like A 24 meets New Line: making cool, left of center films and TV.
You make it a point to clarify that Bloodlist is not restricted to horror scripts, but encompasses all ‘dark genres’. What are the common elements that make up ‘dark genres’, and what about ‘dark genres’ appeal to you?
I expanded BloodList into other genres besides horror because there are so few scripts that are straight horror, and horror itself has so many sub-genres. I tell people to use their discretion when thinking if it’s dark-genre. If something is scary, horrific, involves ghosts, monsters, or the unknown that pretty much sums it up.
You’re also a literary manager and producer. What are you looking for in a potential client? Do they need to share your love of ‘dark genres’?
Only about half of my clients work in the dark-genre space, and I like it that way. For me, I have always loved horror, but I also just love all film and television and always have.
The most important thing to find in a client is their ability to take notes, and be personal and easy to work with. It’s really tough to break in these days, and a script is the first thing you see from a potential client. Making sure it’s unique, and the writing ability is there is ultra important, but there’s so much more to breaking in these days. I find that my clients who do write or direct in the dark-genre space share my love of horror, but also have other interests. If you just like horror, that’s really limiting and I think that you shouldn’t only look to other horror films to make your own. You should drawn inspiration from all genres.
What are some of the trends your seeing in scripts submitted this year? Are there story trends that the industry is especially responding to?
I think this year’s crop of scripts is actually far more diverse than usual. There are some crime thrillers, and poppy scripts. I haven’t seen many trends to be honest.
In recent years, companies like Blumhouse have created a virtual industry out of the horror genre–keeping budgets low, targeting specific audiences, and raking in profits. Do you see other production companies following suit? If so, is this a positive sign for the future of dark genre features?
I do love what Blumhouse has done for horror in terms of getting much more of it seen and made, but I also feel like just because something is dark, or scary doesn’t mean it needs to be shot on a low budget. The good thing about horror is that unlike most other genres, it’s actually better in most cases if you don’t use stars so that the film is more believable and scarier.
I think the budget should fit the script, not the other way around. You don’t want quality to suffer to make a quick buck because a great film in the long run is better than a ‘fine’ film in the short term. When developing with my clients I just want them to write the BEST script, not under certain budget perimeters. You should do what’s best for the story you’re trying to tell, and the right buyer/financier will take notice.
The dark genres have started to bleed their way into TV: Sleepy Hollow, AHS, and now Scream Queens, but also thrillers like Bloodline and Fargo. What are some of your favorite ‘dark’ TV shows, where do you see horror on TV headed, and does The Bloodlist have a bigger role in television in the future?
Dark genre content is ALL OVER TV, which was the main reason for me to start adding pilots to BloodList. Lots of feature writers have been writing in the space and vice versa.
I have been talking to a couple networks and studios about getting some kind of deal in place. I get a ton of material thrown my way, and aside from how I would treat the client’s material, for new TV specs it would be nice to have a direct place to feed it to.
Emily J | Staff Writer