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Old 12-31-2017, 02:00 AM   #11
ComicBent
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Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

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There were also the occasional negative reviews that called my script 'old fashioned' because it had a straight white male protagonist. You can not fight that kind of mindset, nor should you try.
You are so right.
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Old 12-31-2017, 05:58 AM   #12
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Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

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Originally Posted by catcon View Post
I hope you keep up this script, while working on new stuff. I just had a read request for a six-year old script. This happens all the time as a result of my aggressive querying.
Oh, for sure I'm not worried at all about this script. It might take a year or 3 or 10, but this script will see production.

At least 20% of the people who read it either wrote a great BL review or left a nice numerical score, or coverage, or just dropped an email to say how much they responded to it, etc. -- I think my previous batting average was .005%, so this was quite remarkable.

So I know that there is an audience for this. I just meant that I was done with the Blacklist on this particular script.

I had mentioned in a previous post that a studio had liked this script but passed anyway, but I was told by someone there (off the record) that if I brought it back with attachments it would have a much easier time getting it into development.

That same person also slipped this script to all the major agencies (with a copy of the coverage) but so far no one has contacted me.

None of this bothers me. I understand that agents are not really interested in selling a (non-LA) first time writers one-off script for 100k.
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:47 PM   #13
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Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

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Originally Posted by kintnerboy View Post

I have come to the conclusion that readers make up their minds very quickly (10-15 pages) whether they like a script or not, and spend the rest of the read building a case to support it.

If they don't like it, they will make a point of calling you out for a 3rd act plot coincidence. If they love it, they could never be bothered to notice such trivialities.
As someone who has done heavy contest reading, I agree with this. In ten or fifteen pages, I can tell if there is a shot I'm going to like something. If I'm not in the car in those first 10-15 pages, you won't get me in the car and I'll just being looking for a reason to reject the rest of the script. And only one or two scripts out of 10 that I get in the car early on keep me in the car. It's so subjective.
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:28 PM   #14
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Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

I've never used Blacklist before, but just curious, if you need at least an 8 to get any traction? What happens to all those scores...say, a writer gets 7, 6, 8, 7, 6.... are people just looking at the total, or do they count the scores less than 8 against you? I would think that different readers have different views on what they like so there will be a variance.
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:07 PM   #15
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Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

From what I understand, an 8 overall will get you into a weekly e-mail aimed at all their subscribers. Lower overall scores with high ratings in specific categories may result in your script being sent out in targeted e-mails that are tailored to specific subscriber preferences (so if someone is looking for an "8" in premise or maybe 6-7 overall ratings in specific genres, they may still be alerted about your script even if your overall is <8).

I have limited experience with the BL, but have uploaded/hosted the same script twice that has incidentally gotten the same overall scores twice (6 and 7). That means it had a 6.5 average with higher scores in specific categories. That got me a few downloads, but no e-mails or reviews beyond what I paid for.

That script is currently live and since the average score is higher than the overall BL average, it will show up on the "top scripts" list for its genres. I've gotten a few page views so far, but no downloads.

Obviously your mileage may vary. Certain loglines and genres may be more likely to get attention. Also, there's just the dumb luck factor. Maybe your script just happens to be in the right place at the right time when someone is browsing with some time to kill. That could be the difference between getting a chance or not.

I kind of have mixed feelings about the BL. It feels a bit exploitative and I'm skeptical that industry folks view it as a great way to find new writers/material. As I've said elsewhere, the fact that 9-10 overall ratings are unicorns and that a 7 won't necessarily do much for you means you're basically in an "8-or-bust" situation.

It still beats doing nothing and if you have the money to spend then it probably can't hurt, but for me the primary value is to get feedback on my work from semi-professional people for a not too crazy price. If I were really looking to get some heat, I'd either try to contact people directly or spam every contest and try to use a high placement as a springboard.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:47 AM   #16
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Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

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Originally Posted by DaltWisney View Post
I'm skeptical that industry folks view it as a great way to find new writers/material. As I've said elsewhere, the fact that 9-10 overall ratings are unicorns and that a 7 won't necessarily do much for you means you're basically in an "8-or-bust" situation.
Which is exactly how the 'real world' works. As has been discussed ad nauseum, an 8 is the equivalent of a reader saying to their boss 'this is a contender, read it'. That doesn't happen with 7s - those are 'pass' or, at best, 'pass with reservations'.

If anything, the BL works in your favour because of the overall rating (which is what gets everyone's attention) and feedback - including individual category rating. Give me that, something I can work with (even market with) over 'thanks for submitting your script but it's not what we're looking for' at best and at, worst, dead silence.


Quote:
It still beats doing nothing and if you have the money to spend then it probably can't hurt, but for me the primary value is to get feedback on my work from semi-professional people for a not too crazy price.
Which is a step lower than the BL.


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If I were really looking to get some heat, I'd either try to contact people directly or spam every contest and try to use a high placement as a springboard.
Which leads you back to how it was pre-BL: polite rejection letters or dead air.

Ultimately, it's each to their own but what I got from the BL was worth every penny.
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Old 01-03-2018, 02:54 PM   #17
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Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

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Originally Posted by Friday View Post
I've never used Blacklist before, but just curious, if you need at least an 8 to get any traction? What happens to all those scores...say, a writer gets 7, 6, 8, 7, 6.... are people just looking at the total, or do they count the scores less than 8 against you?
When a writer has a script hosted (with reviews) they can choose to display a graph on their script page representing the range of scores that they got.

It doesn't really matter how many scores you have. You are not going to connect with every reader. As long as you have a healthy percentage (maybe 40%?) of scores of 7 or above, no one will care about the 4's and 5's. Everyone knows you can't please everyone.
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:09 PM   #18
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Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

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If I were really looking to get some heat, I'd either try to contact people directly or spam every contest and try to use a high placement as a springboard.
I've been doing this a long, long time, and I have never entered a contest before. I always felt like the entrance fees were way too high for the value / potential payoff.

It just seems super likely that a good script could easily slip right through the front line readers, who probably have dozens of scripts to read and couldn't possibly give every script 100% of their attention in order to vet it properly.

But this year I entered my script into both the Tracking Board and the TB Launchpad contests (I took advantage of the reduced rate entrance fee promotions they usually have around summer holidays), because I wanted to get as many eyeballs on this one as possible.

I don't care about 'winning' anything, I just wanted to see if I could advance past the front line readers (with a script that's already been vetted by many other people) to kind of confirm or disprove my suspicions about them. I hope I'm wrong. I think the results come out later this month, so we'll see.
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Old 01-03-2018, 04:24 PM   #19
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Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

I didn't mean to say that the BL is a bad tool, but even a great script might not get an 8 after the first 3-4 readers. If that seems controversial, just consider that even on the actual Black List itself there are scripts in the top 10 that got less than 25% of all possible votes. So like kinterboy said, you're never going to please everyone. You may need to run through 7-8 readers to find someone who really connects with your material and that's a fairly big outlay of cash on the BL, albeit well worth the price if launches your career.

I feel like the Nicholl Fellowship is where an aspiring writer should put most of his or her contest eggs. If you get into the quarters, you can almost certainly leverage that into some reads. I've never managed to crack the quarters of the Nicholl and that's been disappointing, but I've had four completely different scripts make the top 10-15%, which is at least a small sign to say, 'Well, maybe I'm not completely shite at this.'

You get three bullets in the Nicholl every year and all it probably takes is one reader loving your script and maybe 2 decent reviews to prop you up into the top 5%. I feel like it's doable if you're a good writer. More often than not I've only entered one script, but this year I'm going to enter my best three (one of which is a new idea I'm working on) and pray for the breakthrough.

The other thing that I think is immensely valuable is to have relationships with people in and around the business. If you are an older person and you're rooted in a place far from LA, that may be difficult. If you are young, you can afford to move, and you have a strong desire to work in the business then get on the first plane to LA and do everything in your power to land an internship somewhere in the business.

That's what I did when I graduated from college. I went down there and off the UTA job list managed to get an internship at a small talent management house. I did coverage for them and did all the typical gopher stuff. From there I got an unpaid internship at a prodco on a major studio lot, which led to more good learning experiences and meeting more people. Then I started doing temp work at the studio and literally within the first week or two I was working a two week assignment on the joint desk of the Director of Production and Director of Development. I had to pinch myself. I worked short assignments for some of the biggest film people at the studio and ended up having the opportunity to interview for permanent jobs (at the time I was about ready to flee LA though, which I did a short while later).

If that sounds like I'm trying to big up myself or come across as a hot shot, I'm not. I'm a nobody. Even at the time I was only the smallest plankton in the ocean of Hollywood. This was all years and years ago, and very few of those people would remember my name, much less give me the time of day. Still, what I'm trying to demonstrate is that if you are a reasonably competent person and you can wedge your foot into the door anywhere in the business (agency, manager, prodco, studio, casting, really anywhere) then all of a sudden you are a face and a name to some people who surely know other people, and from there you can potentially get eyeballs on your stuff down the road. I've never tried to phone in favors with anyone from back then because I always knew my stuff wasn't good enough, but the day is probably approaching when I'm going to make that Hail Mary play and paint the town.

So I think if you're formulating a plan then you probably want to try to do everything. Give the BL a spin. Enter the good contests. If at all possible, try to get down to LA and hustle a bit. Not in the predatory "what can you do for me" sort of way where you're just looking for handouts, but moreso in just getting to know people, learn from them, and show them you're serious about the business. The latter is much more viable if you're young, as the doors are a lot more open to young people for internships. I remember the #2 exec at my prodco going through intern applications with her assistant and saying, "Looks great, but he's 25." Yikes.

And then I think it really all comes down to having something viable, because while I haven't loved every script that I've read that's gotten traction, I feel like a writer ultimately has to be able to deliver something that inspires some people. If you can't do that then entering contests, paying for reads on the BL, and hustling in LA aren't going to do a damn thing for you.
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:12 PM   #20
Friday
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Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

Quote:
Originally Posted by kintnerboy View Post
When a writer has a script hosted (with reviews) they can choose to display a graph on their script page representing the range of scores that they got.

It doesn't really matter how many scores you have. You are not going to connect with every reader. As long as you have a healthy percentage (maybe 40%?) of scores of 7 or above, no one will care about the 4's and 5's. Everyone knows you can't please everyone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaltWisney View Post
From what I understand, an 8 overall will get you into a weekly e-mail aimed at all their subscribers. Lower overall scores with high ratings in specific categories may result in your script being sent out in targeted e-mails that are tailored to specific subscriber preferences (so if someone is looking for an "8" in premise or maybe 6-7 overall ratings in specific genres, they may still be alerted about your script even if your overall is <8).

I have limited experience with the BL, but have uploaded/hosted the same script twice that has incidentally gotten the same overall scores twice (6 and 7). That means it had a 6.5 average with higher scores in specific categories. That got me a few downloads, but no e-mails or reviews beyond what I paid for.

That script is currently live and since the average score is higher than the overall BL average, it will show up on the "top scripts" list for its genres. I've gotten a few page views so far, but no downloads.

Obviously your mileage may vary. Certain loglines and genres may be more likely to get attention. Also, there's just the dumb luck factor. Maybe your script just happens to be in the right place at the right time when someone is browsing with some time to kill. That could be the difference between getting a chance or not.

I kind of have mixed feelings about the BL. It feels a bit exploitative and I'm skeptical that industry folks view it as a great way to find new writers/material. As I've said elsewhere, the fact that 9-10 overall ratings are unicorns and that a 7 won't necessarily do much for you means you're basically in an "8-or-bust" situation.

It still beats doing nothing and if you have the money to spend then it probably can't hurt, but for me the primary value is to get feedback on my work from semi-professional people for a not too crazy price. If I were really looking to get some heat, I'd either try to contact people directly or spam every contest and try to use a high placement as a springboard.

Thanks guys. I was just curious, since there's a wide variance with readers....I noticed that even with contests, you can have a script barely get to the quarters in one and then go really far in others....or sometimes none at all. Getting an 8 seems kind of lofty even for contest winners...it's basically either get an 8 or it's not as effective for you. Since that's the case, I'd prefer that Blacklist just be a notes business....if you happen to hit the magical number of an 8 on one of the rewrites than they pass it along... otherwise, you don't get dinged for getting anything less than. Dalt, with your 7 score, maybe, you might just be luckier in one of these big contests and win or finalist in one of them.
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