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Old 05-27-2016, 01:40 PM   #41
Bainbridge
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Default Re: My first Blacklist review - 8

Quote:
Originally Posted by jroger View Post
Yeah, but for a more general service like BL, shouldn't the YOU in "how likely that YOU would recommend" be more like the *royal* you? If not, then they should probably be more specific in how they assign readers (e.g. providing an "indie" vs "studio" option when submitting)
I waited 51 days for my review, because they wanted to give me a reader who was "interested" in my genre (dark drama thriller). Then the "appropriate" reader told me that my lead character was too dark and hard to root for. The first reader loved him and compared him to Frank Underwood.

First reviewer was assigned in 29 days and gave my review three days later. Second reviewer was assigned at day 51, and submitted my review an hour and a half later, at midnight. Just food for thought...
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:41 PM   #42
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Default Re: My first Blacklist review - 8

Also, the very first word in his review was a grammatical error. I'll post both reviews side by side, if you guys are interested.
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:47 PM   #43
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Default Re: My first Blacklist review - 8

I'll do it anyways. First eval was an overall 8 (9 on setting). Second eval was a 5 (5 on setting).

#1
Logline:
A self-taught chef struggling to stay atop the culinary world hires an apprentice to help develop new recipes, but the young trainee soon discovers the chef's secret ingredient... human.

Strengths:
CARNE is shockingly delightful; a series that will have you coming back for seconds and thirds. The dark tone and unexpected plot twists are expertly crafted, complementing the well-developed characters and strong dialogue. This pilot incorporates the culinary world and the setting of New Orleans in a way that also pairs nicely with the plot. LEVI is such a peculiar character, but it's hard not to root for him. If Frank Underwood was a chef, his name would be LEVI CHEVAL. The subplot of him having conversations with dead bodies is an interesting example of how this script turns the perverse into the provocative. DEV is the perfect foil for LEVI because of his open naivety, which contrasts well with LEVI's personality. The pilot thoroughly sets up the dynamic between LEVI, TERRY, and KAREN to be a future source of conflict that narrative can be driven from. The use of diagrams and animations to explain the anatomy of various animals is visually engaging and adds to the humor. Regardless of the viability of this concept in the marketplace, industry readers should recommend this writer because of the realness brought to the table with disturbingly entertaining ideas executed to perfection.

Weaknesses:
The unconventional premise may be unpalatable to most networks, so any ways to brighten the possibilities of the script with innocence, romance, and playfulness would help its marketability. In terms of plot, LEVI's motivations for hiring DEV feel understated. Is he doing it because he doesn't trust anyone else who works for him? What about his waning success has made him hire an inexperienced apprentice? All of the characters are connected with clear purpose, which mostly holds up (feels slightly convenient) until the reveal that LEVI is sleeping with LACEY. Then it starts to get a little soap opera. Going forward, expanding outside of LEVI's inner circle to see other characters' story lines will go a long way in maintaining audience appetite. The script was devoid of flaws, except for a misspelling of LACEY as "Lacy" on p.27.

TV series potential:
CARNE offers a very original story set in an attractive world, but the dark elements make it a tough sell to most broadcast networks. Basic or premium cable might be the preferred outlet to best preserve the dark tone and possibilities. If you baked DEXTER and HANNIBAL into BURNT, you'd be served with a delicious concoction called, CARNE.

#2
Logline:
An young cook in New Orleans earns an apprenticeship with the city's hottest up-and-coming chef: a sociopath who uses very unconventional meats in his cooking... including human.

Strengths:
This pilot does well to establish Levi's peculiar, ominous personality on the page. It's clear right away that he struggles to act warm during social interactions, as evidenced by his insensitive comments about Dev not having a family. Levi eventually becomes overly personal about Dev's family history too; it's obvious that social norms are not something Levi bothers with. The fact that Levi subjects Dev to salmonella as part of the interview process for the apprenticeship is also demonstrative of Levi's bizarre behavior. Levi's conversation with Lacey is intriguing as well; he does a terrible job making her feel appreciated, is condescending throughout, and perhaps intimates that he's using her to get to Terry. Then, Levi's mental health troubles are on full display as speaks to the corpses at the funeral home - a nice touch. (The fact that Levi gets his "meat" from the funeral home in the opening scene, and the fact that he's serving Nutria at Carne, both are eye-opening developments that help hook the audience early on.) Levi's recurring note about his unconventional meats - they're "good for braising" - is a funny line.

Weaknesses:
Letting Dev come to the forefront would be beneficial for a couple reasons. First, he's the only character here an audience can root for; viewers will be against Levi immediately. Second, focusing on his story would allow the plot to become more overarching. Good storytelling usually revolves around the protagonist overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal; right now, that takes the form of Dev landing the apprenticeship, but he does so early on, and the episode becomes a bit aimless after then. (Levi has goals - impressing Miller and getting nominated for the George Sharp award - but again, audiences will have a hard time investing in that character.) Let's see Dev finally earn the apprenticeship by the end of the episode, rather than just 16 pages in; we could see more stages to his interview, including Dev making a climactic meal in the test kitchen that impresses Levi, for instance. Also, the episode could better establish how life-changing this apprenticeship is for Dev; it's a bit hard to believe that he'd want the job after the Nutria hunting and salmonella, let alone what he eventually finds out about Levi and Carne. (And, for a criminal sociopath, Levi is oddly trusting of Dev right away.) Lastly, the flashbacks are overused; we can glean their meaning from just one scene with Levi's father and the letter Levi reads on 22.

TV series potential:
There's an interesting idea at the center of this story, but ultimately CARNE could prove to be a very difficult sell in Hollywood at the moment. As noted above, the piece can do a better job telling a compelling, overarching story that viewers can invest in, as it's hard to care whether the villainous Levi reaches his goals. Buyers might worry the episode doesn't create a ton of momentum going forward either; aside from Dev joining Levi at Carne, the pilot doesn't plant the seeds of many specific plot lines going forward. Addressing those kinds of issues usually has to happen before a script garners real attention; the premise alone isn't likely to earn this pilot money for script work. Another obstacle: this show can only air on premium cable thanks to language. Of course, limiting buyers lessens the odds of a sale, and premium homes have some of the highest standards - and attract the biggest names - in television to begin with. The hunting scenes make this a slightly more complicated and expensive production too, which can be a negative for buyers. (Also, there's room to expand here; this is a relatively short script for an hour-long.) All in all, CARNE has a conflict-rich premise, but needs improving before it'll really turn heads.
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:47 PM   #44
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Default Re: My first Blacklist review - 8

Two weeks now after being assigned to a reader, no download.

How are readers notified?

Is there a time limit or can they basically procrastinate it up until the day before my hosting runs out?
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:51 PM   #45
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Default Re: My first Blacklist review - 8

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bainbridge View Post
#2
Logline:
An young cook

Oh my god this would drive me insane.
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Old 05-27-2016, 04:59 PM   #46
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Default Re: My first Blacklist review - 8

Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxHound View Post
I wonder whether the readers are being given too much freedom. Yes, two people can read a script, and one person can "feel it" and the other "doesn't feel it." But one thing that should not be in dispute is whether it's professionally written or not. That's objective. For eg. I HATE the script for Joy. I hate everything about it. I want David O Russell hanged. But I'd give it an 8 on the BL because it was professionally written, with clearly-defined character arcs, etc. It's not like it was an amateur's first draft.

And maybe this is why score guidelines, like contests have, should be incorporated. It's not how the industry reader system works, but this isn't the industry reader system -- we're paying $75.
I fully agree with this. A script is written well or it isn't. Sure there can be subjectivity but there's a lot of "this is great!" followed by "this is crap!". I've read scripts that I've not been in to but I've rated them because they formatted very well, made sense, had good characters and a clear plot etc. I personally don't see why the BL doesn't have small comments for each of the categories to explain their ratings especially since the price has risen.
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Old 05-27-2016, 05:14 PM   #47
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Default Re: My first Blacklist review - 8

Here's a copy of my evaluations.

So this one was an overall of 7.

Era:

Near Future

Locations:

Philadelphia; London; Chicago; International

Genre:

Drama, Faith-Based Drama, Family Drama

Logline:

In the near future, a new religious leader, The Unseen One, leads through fear and strict enforcers and people all over the world struggle to adapt and uphold this new way of life.

Strengths:

Similar to THE LEFTOVERS, this script is driven by a dark and chilling religion-based premise, but unlike it’s predecessor, the writer has developed a wholly unique concept with little to no basis in today’s religions. The Unseen One seemingly took power by ending religious conflict around the world by eliminating the conflicting parties. Now, the dominant world religion, the Unseen One controls most aspects of daily life including education, marriage rights, and even media through fear-mongering. The writer has developed a strong mythology that’s both intriguing and terrifying with a strong sense of Orwellian roots. Rather than bog down the script in heavy backstory and exposition, the unique and complicated mythology slowly unravels through dialogue and action which help move the characters forward. The choice to focus on multiple characters in multiple cities helps to give the story a global aspect, making it all the more haunting.

Weaknesses:

Where the premise is strong and compelling, the ensemble-nature of the characters isn’t quite as successful. While the characters show promise as a “slice-of-life” look inside this unique world, the reader lacks a strong sense of each unique character and the nuances of his or her motivations, conflict, and overall arc. Most of the action drives the larger story forward and doesn’t set up whole premises for each individual. It’s somewhat unclear where each character is headed and why these stories are the ones we want to follow in this specific world. Coming in at 49 pages, the writer has some wiggle room to add a few scenes that could lead to further character development which instills stronger motivation and conflict for each. Currently, the characters come off as quiet compared to the premise, but it’s important that this be a character-driven series at it’s core.

TV series potential:

The unique premise gives this series a lot of promise on the marketplace, particularly given the large scale cult-like aspects. With stronger character work, this could appeal to basic cable and networks with particularly high miniseries potential that could draw a broad audience.

Pages:

49

So after reading this I thought, fair enough. I added about 3 more pages and changed some character actions and reactions to create more conflict. I probably edited maybe 10% of the script.

I got the following evaluation on the revision. This is an overall 4 and eventually was wiped.

Era:

current

Locations:

globetrotting, Atlanta, Philadelphia, London

Genre:

Supernatural Thriller, Mystery & Suspense, Mythological

Logline:

An ensemble supernatural series that explores the effects a mysterious, all-powerful being has on the lives of people who can perceive and are affected by his powers.

Strengths:

The narrative explores the influence of the divine on human, mortal life in a grounded setting. The interaction and experience of the divine is a theme humanity has universally and timeless wrestled with to no satisfying end. Exploring this subject material in the format of television is an intriguing, albeit extremely ambitious proposition. Alister is a compelling character with a well-defined voice that can be strong actor bait.

Weaknesses:

The pilot suffers from a very scattered narrative perspective where a large ensemble is juggled and multiple points of view of characters are introduced all with the one common, unifying experience of being affected by the Unseen One. This may work in the feature space in the hands of a skilled director, but in the open-ended long form narrative of television, this leads to a fragmented story that lacks focus. The globetrotting locations further compound the impression that this show lacks a center. The threat and omniscient power of the Unseen One is not enough of a connective tissue to hold the 10+ characters together in the first episode. Furthermore, so much of the episode consists of otherwise normal human characters talking about a god like entity, which causes the audience to grow restless and crave for unifying action that is teased but never consummated. A more gradual approach that centers around one or two cast members per episode may be better. Perhaps Mike is a suitable anchor, but in current form, he is not developed as a true protagonist.

TV series potential:

THE GREATER GOOD aims for a lofty target that explores questions every human being has at one point pondered in life. Unfortunately, the unwieldy ensemble cast and globetrotting locations leads to a fragmented narrative lacking a center, one that is in current form, unsustainable as a television series.

Pages:

53

So the first reader liked the multiple characters in multiple cities and the second reader basically said they hated it and it was too hard to follow. I laughed when I read "This may work in the feature space in the hands of a skilled director, but in the open-ended long form narrative of television, this leads to a fragmented story that lacks focus." I wondered how you'd handle more story more effectively in an hour and a half than over 12 x 1 hour episodes.

One thing that bugged me a bit, that both readers missed, is that in the log line and in the script itself it is clearly stated that the Unseen One is a God, not a religious leader or supernatural being, a frickin' God. That's the whole main point of the premise.

Last edited by Phoenixman78 : 05-27-2016 at 06:26 PM. Reason: Added an additional commment
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Old 05-27-2016, 05:55 PM   #48
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Default Re: My first Blacklist review - 8

Audiences certainly have never liked, I dunno, Hannibal Lecter. That's kind of a weird blanket criticism without substantiation. I certainly don't mean to pile on the reader and I understand the space limitations but tell me why. If the eccentricity (and psychosis) is borne of genius and competence and he is colorful, it would seem to be an easy sell to viewers.

Make that thing available to download, I'd love to give it a read.
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Old 05-28-2016, 08:12 PM   #49
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Default Re: My first Blacklist review - 8

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenixman78 View Post
I fully agree with this. A script is written well or it isn't. Sure there can be subjectivity but there's a lot of "this is great!" followed by "this is crap!". I've read scripts that I've not been in to but I've rated them because they formatted very well, made sense, had good characters and a clear plot etc. I personally don't see why the BL doesn't have small comments for each of the categories to explain their ratings especially since the price has risen.
Not to nitpick here, but the point of the Black List evaluation is not to determine whether or not it is professionally written. It's to determine whether or not the reader would pass it up the line as something they believe could be produced. I think that's where a lot of misunderstanding comes in-- they aren't saying a 7 isn't professionally written, I think the assumption is that they are all professionally written unless they state otherwise.

Which brings me to a question I'd like some help on. Below is the review that help me land my manger. It's really good, and I'd love to thank the person who wrote it personally. My question comes after the posted review:

Quote:


Rated 8s: Setting, character, and premise
Rated 9s: Dialogue and plot

PUBLIC SCRIPT REVIEWS

Era:
Present Day & Near Future

Locations:
East Coast / USA

Budgets:
High

Genre:
Action & Adventure,Action Thriller,Mystery & Suspense,Crime Thriller,Detective Film,Psychological Thriller,Sci-Fi Thriller,Sci-Fi & Fantasy,Psychological Sci-Fi

Logline:
A determined FBI agent with a dark past must use new technology go inside the mind of a sociopath in order to solve a mystery he's working on and catch a serial killer, but the sociopath's mind he is using belongs to the man that murdered his first wife and son.

Strengths:
This is an extremely well written script with a fantastic concept and a suspenseful plot. The world created here is perfect for the near future setting and isn't ever too over the top in the technology that we have to deal with as an audience. Val is a strong protagonist through and through and there are a ton of layers to his character. Everything from the obvious history he has with Griftka to his new family is well established and developed and that's before we even get a chance to get to know him as a hell bent and determined FBI agent who will stop at nothing to finish the job and catch his perp. The dialogue is natural and nail biting, creating a never cliche tone that never falls back on detective/FBI jargon to push the plot forward. There's a lot of emotion that comes from each of the character's interactions with Val and they stand out in individual ways. The dark nature to the script is executed powerfully and the writer doesn't hold back from creating some pretty gruesome images and sequences for the audience. It's juxtaposed nicely though through all of the human emotion that we get to see developed over the course of the script. WHOA, the twist at the end is so cool and intense and opens itself up for sequels. The empty feeling that the audience must go through when we think Val is lost is really intense.

Weaknesses:
Right now it feels like Brady's character is coming up a bit short in comparison to the other really well developed characters. We don't get a lot in line of his personal motives for why he's a part of all this or is passionate about it working out. We know he works well for the plot, and it is strong that he kind of hides from Val who's brain he's going to dive into, but there isn't a lot of personal growth for Brady. The same kind of goes for Dr. Peyton in that all of their scenes end up feeling sometimes repetitive in the ways that they interact with Val and commentate on the technology. The rest of the script never falls into this place, and for the most part these two characters work well to facilitate the plot and the story as well as Val's journey, but getting an extra sense of personality from both would make it easier to connect as an audience to their voices. Establishing a bit more about if other technologies have changed in the world would be cool to give the audience a better sense of how this near future has changed from the present day. This is a big development for only a few years into the future from the present day and it opens up some questions about this. It's not something that the audience has to dwell on, but might be a missed opportunity to expand on and make the world bigger for the sequels.

Prospects:
This is a very well written script that is sure to attract the attention of industry readers. It's SILENCE OF THE LAMBS meets MINORITY REPORT and creates a very powerful concept for the audience to get sucked into. The dialogue is sharp and Val, the protagonist, is sure to catch the attention of big time a list actors should this script make it into development. At the very least, the script moves at a polished and quick pace that is going to make for a very strong writing sample.

Pages:
114


Now here's the question I'd like some advice on. After signing with my manger, I rewrote this spec (Tracker)-- I mean, it's really 100 times better. So, I have a new spec, Wasteland: The Sixth State, making the rounds now (to a select few). It's a high budget, futuristic, post-apocalyptic franchise piece...

So, would it be worth listing Tracker on the Black List and paying for two evals? Could it help garner more attention to me as a writer? Should the reviews come out strong?

Due to the nature of the specs I've written they don't get sent out wide-- but could it help? Unless someone like Fincher becomes interested in Tracker it probably won't get made, unless the climate changes internationally-- it's dark, and apparently this type of violence doesn't travel well.

I'm also adapting Wasteland to a pilot, which should be ready in several weeks.

Anyone have an opinion about it either way? I'm willing to fork out the dough. If it might help. I'm not sure how many agents are looking at the Black List for potential clients.
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Old 05-28-2016, 10:07 PM   #50
Phoenixman78
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Default Re: My first Blacklist review - 8

Quote:
Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
Not to nitpick here, but the point of the Black List evaluation is not to determine whether or not it is professionally written. It's to determine whether or not the reader would pass it up the line as something they believe could be produced. I think that's where a lot of misunderstanding comes in-- they aren't saying a 7 isn't professionally written, I think the assumption is that they are all professionally written unless they state otherwise.
Can you imagine how many poorly written screenplays by deluded amateurs (possibly such as myself, I don't know....) are clogging up the Black List? There would be a huge amount. If they're looking for something that could get produced then wouldn't "premise" be the main thing they're looking for?

I think when you assume bud, it's that old saying, you make an ass out of u and me. I guarantee the BL readers and all paid readers for any company would have to suffer through piles of absolute garbage before they find a script they enjoy reading or doesn't make them want to gouge their eyes out. The issue isn't if an overall 7 isn't professionally written or not the issue is when 2 consecutive readers have greatly opposing views on one script and that it seems to be a common occurrence on the BL.

The BL worked for you and that's fantastic but the inconsistency of the BL readers, coupled with a 50% price rise is what makes me as well as plenty of others question it's use when trying to break into the industry. I'm in the top quarterly list for my pilot but I ain't got one extra view since I hit it 2 weeks ago, not even from a peer. For now I'm going to rely on comps and good ol' queries to see if I can get somewhere with my writing.
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