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Old 06-03-2016, 06:00 PM   #821
finalact4
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by Jimmy View Post
Why would anyone count on the BL for notes? I want a half-way intelligent person to read my script, because I feel like it deserves a high score.
Just because you believe it deserves a high score doesn't mean anyone else agrees with you.

I used the Black List notes and rewrote my spec that scored 8s and 9s, because the notes were good notes. Then it landed my manager and I rewrote it again and then sent it into several studios execs at a few prodcos.

My notes were good-- you have to set aside your pride and ego and accept that it might not be as good as you think.

It's never done, and if you believe that your work can't be improved, then you never will improve as a writer.

You think when you option it or sell it that it doesn't get rewritten again? Scripts have many, many drafts before they're right to be greenlit. And even then, some still get shelved and never get made.

In this industry you have to be able to take criticism and either use it to make your spec better or discard it and move on.
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Last edited by finalact4 : 06-03-2016 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 06-03-2016, 06:15 PM   #822
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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It's never done, and if you believe that your work can't be improved, then you never will improve as a writer.
I agree with this point. I wrote a horror feature that got quarter finals in ScreamCraft and got a consider from a coverage company but I went back to it because my new ideas weren't fleshing out that well and I just wanted to keep writing. It's been 2 years since I touched it and I've improved the dialogue, action paragraphs, character reactions and conflict. It reads soooo much better now.
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Old 06-03-2016, 07:59 PM   #823
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
Just because you believe it deserves a high score doesn't mean anyone else agrees with you.

I used the Black List notes and rewrote my spec that scored 8s and 9s, because the notes were good notes. Then it landed my manager and I rewrote it again and then sent it into several studios execs and a few prodcos.

My notes were good-- you have to set aside your pride and ego and accept that it might not be as good as you think.

It's never done, and if you believe that your work can't be improved, then you never will improve as a writer.

You think when you option it or sell it that it doesn't get rewritten again? Scripts have many, many drafts before they're right to be greenlit. And even then, some still get shelved and never get made.

In this industry you have to be able to take criticism and either use it to make your spec better or discard it and move on.

Yeah I fully agree with you, and the first review did have a few helpful things. But the only comments on my characters and plot, that he scored me a 2 and 3 on, were completely inaccurate based on basic information found in the script that was overlooked or misunderstood.

My point was that I'm not using the BL for notes, if I wanted those I'd go to a note service. I'm using the BL to get an accurate score based on a thorough reading of my story, and I didn't get that from the first review.
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Old 06-03-2016, 08:11 PM   #824
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Yeah I fully agree with you, and the first review did have a few helpful things. But the only comments on my characters and plot, that he scored me a 2 and 3 on, were completely inaccurate based on basic information found in the script that was overlooked or misunderstood.

My point was that I'm not using the BL for notes, if I wanted those I'd go to a note service. I'm using the BL to get an accurate score based on a thorough reading of my story, and I didn't get that from the first review.
By accurate score you mean the score you think you should get?
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:10 AM   #825
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

One would think that the older (and hopefully better) I get as a writer, the more I would resist notes based on confidence in my own skills. I've found the opposite to be true. More and more I discover that when I sit with notes that I initially fought, I invariably realize that they A) highlight a problem I was blind to from being so close to it, or 2) even if the note isn't correct, it causes a discussion that needed to happen. This is not always the case - I've certainly dealt with bad notes in my career, but for the past few years I've been fortunate enough to deal with smart execs and directors. I've learned to remove my armor a bit and really understand where they're coming from, whether they're right or not. Maybe the BL reviewer is right, maybe not. But make sure look at the note behind every note.

Just yesterday, I had a call with a network exec who told me to to cut all moments like Moment X for tone reasons, and I pointed out that Moment X wasn't even in this draft. That could have been a crossroads where I chose to roll my eyes at all her notes because she got that simple thing wrong. But the more I sat with it, I realized that "moments like X" are a tonal problem that still exist in the script to the extent that her brain assumed a nonexistent moment was still in there (because others like it were). And she's right - the pilot needs a tonal shift. And now I'm totally invigorated to go that direction because it's right. My point is, don't necessarily let a botched note color the rest of someone's notes or make you think they don't know what they're talking about. Not sure whether it's the case with your reviewers, just make sure to take the time to sit with notes and also digest the "note behind the note".

Last edited by ProfessorChomp : 06-04-2016 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:47 AM   #826
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by ProfessorChomp View Post
One would think that the older (and better hopefully) I get as a writer, the more I would resist notes based on confidence in my own skills. I've found the opposite to be true. More and more I discover that when I sit with notes that I initially fought, I invariably realize that they A) highlight a problem I was blind to from being so close to it, or 2) even if the note isn't correct, it causes a discussion that needed to happen. This is not always the case - I've certainly dealt with bad notes in my career, but for the past few years I've been fortunate enough to deal with smart execs and directors. I've learned to remove my armor a bit and really understand where they're coming from, whether they're right or not. Maybe the BL reviewer is right, maybe not. But make sure look at the note behind every note.

Just yesterday, I had a call with a network exec who told me to to cut all moments like Moment X for tone reasons, and I pointed out that Moment X wasn't even in this draft. That could have been a crossroads where I chose to roll my eyes at all her notes because she got that simple thing wrong. But the more I sat with it, I realized that "moments like X" are a tonal problem that still exist in the script to the extent that her brain assumed a nonexistent moment was still in there (because others like it were). And she's right - the pilot needs a tonal shift. And now I'm totally invigorated to go that direction because it's right. My point is, don't necessarily let a botched note color the rest of someone's notes or make you think they don't know what they're talking about. Not sure whether it's the case with your reviewers, just make sure to take the time to sit with notes and also digest the "note behind the note".
Noted.

I did make revisions based on the review, some of it was helpful. But literally his only comments about my dreadfully low scoring characters/plot were just outright false and could only have resulted from a misreading of the events on the page.

Legitimate criticism I can handle. But criticism based on misinformation and unfounded insults, I'm not going to tolerate that. Especially when I'm paying for it.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:56 AM   #827
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Interesting. Should I have been querying my Consider from Drew rather than my Blcklst 8s??
Ditto this question - is this something people have done previously, and if so, did it help?

Haven't done much querying, but if Drew's Consider helps then might have to put it in there!
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:14 PM   #828
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Ditto this question - is this something people have done previously, and if so, did it help?

Haven't done much querying, but if Drew's Consider helps then might have to put it in there!
I only suggested it might be more useful given the randomness of some of the BL readers. Yay, I got a 9! They loved my protagonist! ****, I got a 4! They hated my protagonist. The mechanic seems to be well known and if he gave a consider I'd mention it. I've seen him mentioned across forums and Facebook and never heard a bad word. He obviously knows what he's doing and has a reputation.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:26 PM   #829
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Noted.

I did make revisions based on the review, some of it was helpful. But literally his only comments about my dreadfully low scoring characters/plot were just outright false and could only have resulted from a misreading of the events on the page.
Consider, perhaps that what you believe is CLEAR on the page may not be...

Often, as writers we are so close to the material, and having rewritten it more than once know so much more about the story that what is actually on the page. Sometimes we do not realize that our intention can be misinterpreted because the writing lacks the clarity needed to prevent misinterpretation.

Lately, what I've been doing in having FD8 read my spec to me, and I close my eyes and just listen and have definitely found typos that because I KNOW the words so well that I miss on several passes.

Sometimes it takes literally reading the pages out loud. Sometimes it is an unintentional error on the writer's part.

For example, one comment I had in the past was about a scene where a man was straddling a woman and strangling her, the comment was "...highly sexualize murder..." and I was like, what the hell are they talking about, I it wasn't highly sexualize. But then I reread that exact part all by itself and yes, I realized that I had unintentionally created that image with one misplaced word.

To fix it meant literally swapping one word for a different word. Sometimes it's that small.

I seem to recall that the investigator agreed with the reviewer's note, right? If this is the case, anytime two people make the same note on anything I've written, I dig deeper to find the problem.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:35 PM   #830
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by WriterNZ View Post
Ditto this question - is this something people have done previously, and if so, did it help?

Haven't done much querying, but if Drew's Consider helps then might have to put it in there!
Here's the thing with the Black List website...

... almost everyone in the industry is aware of it because of the success of the annual The Black List where industry professionals are asked to vote for their favorite unproduced (at that time) scripts for the year.

Not everyone is going to know script consultants or writers who offer paid for notes. Personally, I wouldn't use anyone else's analysis of my spec in a query except the Black List.

The Black List can provide some "legitimacy" to a review that others simply cannot.
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