Originally Posted by FranklinLeonard
Jeff, first, let me start by saying that I really admire your work, both as a screenwriter and as an educator and advocate for and of screenwriters here and elsewhere. I fully understand that there are legitimate questions and concerns about this venture, as I think there should be. It's why I will continue to be as transparent as possible about what we're doing, why we're doing it, how we're doing it, and why we're doing it in the way that we are. It's why I went to each of the Guilds in advance of launch to begin a dialogue and incorporate their concerns into our model and maintain and ongoing conversation with them. Moreover, I suspect we'll have some announcement in the near future that will assuage some of your concerns.
I would, honored, frankly, if you wanted to host a moderated conversation here where I could address your and anyone else's concerns. In the meantime, I will begin answering frequently asked questions on the Black List blog (and people can start asking them via the comments here: http://blog.blcklst.com/2012/10/ques...list-ask-away/
or here: http://gointothestory.blcklst.com/20...enwriters.html
, but that is admittedly a bit ad hoc, and I'd like make myself available to the Done Deal Pro community specifically and who better to moderate than you, someone well respected and with a healthy skepticism of this endeavor.
As for your question, unlike agencies - and many of the different, more disreputable services that try to accomplish on a smaller scale what we will - we do not take a commission on any of the business generated by this platform. We take no finder's fee. And we are not asking for or demanding an option or producer's credit on material discovered via this platform.
Thanks for the kind words.
I'm not going to talk you out of your business plan, but I'll try to make a few points. If DDPro wants to formalize it, that's fine and I'm happy to help, but this seems like a good go-to thread.
The problem with reading fees isn't that agencies that charge them then take a percentage of any resulting sales. The problem is that agencies that charge them usually make all their money from reading fees, and none from selling scripts. All legit agencies, management companies, producers and studios bear their own cost of finding material, as you well know, since you're with one of the best production companies there is.
As I said, for signatory agencies, there's a rule: no paying for access. And yet that's what a lot of coverage services are promising these days - pay us to read your script, and if we like it, we'll make sure it gets read by X. Script Shark, Scriptshadow... it's a growing business. Of course it's not illegal in any way, because the people setting up these systems aren't WGA signatories.
My problem with it is just a general principal I have (and I didn't come up with it): money should flow to the writer.
Obviously it's not a hard and fast rule - I think there are a few worthwhile contests, and let's be honest - those contests are basically doing exactly what I'm complaining about, charging for a chance to get read by legit players (often with the added bonus of winning some cash).
My belief is that if someone writes a great script with a great concept, they'll get reads. They don't have to pay to get noticed. I often use your Black List as an example - there are a lot of new writers who appear on that list. They get in because they wrote something special, and Hollywood is thirsting for new material. Again, I'm telling you something you're already living - how many scripts do you read a week, looking for a writer or a project?
My guess is that you'll find what Amazon Studios found - writing commercial, well executed scripts is tough, and those that stand out find their way into the system through normal channels.
Maybe I'm wrong. And if you manage to start breaking projects left and right, I'll happily eat crow. I've done it before. I may even send a couple of old specs your way.
I'll end with one question: who'd you talk to in the WGAWest?