Re: Black List founder Franklin Leonard answers your questions about the Black List
Hello everyone, obviously a great deal of conversation as reviews start coming back in.
Wanted to weigh in with a few thoughts:
1. I can't emphasize enough the extent to which we are responsive to critique and complaint. I would hope that my responses to questions here makes that clear, ditto our direct customer service via Twitter, Facebook, and email. More than 24 hours represents a VERY rare response time lag for us, and it typically means that we are investigating something further so that we can provide a substantive answer to your question or have been engaged in a bit of a product development marathon.
I very much wish that the folks who have been extraordinarily dissatisfied with their reviews had contacted us directly so that we could address them. As you've all readily identified, the quality of our reviewers is of paramount importance to us. If there are reviewers doing shoddy work, we want to know about it immediately so that their work can be further examined and they can be dealt with accordingly. I have contacted each writer in this forum who has expressed deep displeasure with their reviews directly and given then my personal email address so that I can address their concerns. If there is a rogue writer in the mix, suffice it to say that they will not be reading for the Black List going forward, and anyone who has been evaluated by them will be receiving a gratis read and probably more.
2. I have said many times, and I will say again, that these readers have been selected based on their previous experience working as first filters for studios, major agencies, production companies, and management companies. They've further been vetted by me, personally (and continue to be). Less than 25% of those who applied with the relevant experience were hired. This is not a Craigslist cattle call situation as has been previously alleged. These are the people who would be reading your script if it was submitted at any of the companies you'd likely be submitting your script to.
3. Evaluating scripts is an inherently subjective endeavor. The overall rating reflects the individual reader's assessment of an individual script, not the writer's abilities overall. Moreover, our readers have explicit instructions to rate these scripts as they would if they were evaluating them for a boss at any of their past or current jobs. That is an extraordinarily high standard, as it should be.
We will be breaking out numbers on professional and non-professional scripts in the near future and will provide a considerable amount of helpful data re: the distribution of ratings for uploaded scripts once there is enough data for us to present something that is, in fact, helpful.
In the meantime, note that only 5% of the (over 19000) ratings on the site are 10s, and only 12% are 9s, and this includes the ratings of the over 3500 titles by professional writers with current representation. And even that figure isn't perfectly representative. Industry professionals will seek out the best scripts in town to read at their leisure and subsequently rate them on our site at a rate more frequently than they rate mediocre scripts. I don't have the immediate figures accessible, but I feel very secure in saying that those 9s and 10s likely represent fewer than 5% of the professional scripts on our site, and probably less.
3. On privacy, we take "do no harm" very seriously.
We have designed our site specifically to not stigmatize scripts that receive a low rating from one reader. We've done so in the following ways:
a. The writer has the discretion to hide any of their individual evaluations and their overall average rating at any time.
b. Any script that gets a particularly high rating from any individual reviewer can expect that script to get spotlighted to our industry professional members. Practically, if you write a script that gets a 1 from one reader and a 9 from another reader, that script will still be included as part of our email spotlighting recent scripts that got a strong review. Presumably people who are interested in your genre and logline will download it, read it, and rate it, which will then result in your overall rating changing over time based on those members thoughts on your script.
I'm sure there are specific issues that have been raised in the last few days that I haven't yet addressed. Please raise them again and I will do my best to address them in future responses.