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Old 01-09-2013, 01:20 PM   #281
LauriD
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by keithcalder View Post
Wow, I kind of feel bad now. I had no clue that the writer(s) see every time a "pro" downloads a script from the new Black List. I've downloaded a bunch and put them in my "maybe at some point in the future I will read this when I have no other submissions and a bunch of free time."

Now I'm aware there's someone else on the other side of that transaction, reading meaning into the tealeaves of my download. It kind of freaks me out, to be honest. From now on I'll only download scripts that I'm serious about reading, to not artificially raise hopes.
No, go ahead. Artificial hope is almost as good as the kind with all natural ingredients. And much less fattening.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:23 PM   #282
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by keithcalder View Post
Wow, I kind of feel bad now. I had no clue that the writer(s) see every time a "pro" downloads a script from the new Black List. I've downloaded a bunch and put them in my "maybe at some point in the future I will read this when I have no other submissions and a bunch of free time."

Now I'm aware there's someone else on the other side of that transaction, reading meaning into the tealeaves of my download. It kind of freaks me out, to be honest. From now on I'll only download scripts that I'm serious about reading, to not artificially raise hopes.
Feel free to download my script, whether you read it or not.

https://www.blcklst.com/members/script/4237
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:06 PM   #283
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

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Originally Posted by ATB View Post
I would imagine that if I had never submitted my 3 pages to the Advanced Script Pages forum on DDP, I would have submitted them to Craig and John's podcast reviews, or whatever it's called.

And I'd imagine that if those 3 pages wound up on a Scriptnotes Podcast and not on DDP, that Craig's response would have been the same. But I can't speak for him, obviously.

So I'd say he is still accessible. Just through a different platform.
Ahh, it was you. Cool beans and congratulations.

For the record, I think if you have the chops you will bubble up. I'm not one who thinks Hollywood is closed off, or that I need to file a lawsuit for representation.

A great script will always find it's way, imo.

I'm fortunate in the sense that I have some amazing contacts in Hollywood and I have an open read from a story editor at WME.

I'm just missing the great script,

Ahh, but perhaps someday the muse shall show me the way. Until then...if I may quote the great Tom Scholz:

"I've got to keep on chasin' that dream, though I may never find it
I'm always just behind it."

Good luck with your career.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:06 PM   #284
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

Thank you Craig Mazin for such a spot on, insightful post.

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Originally Posted by Craig Mazin View Post
There's another point I want to make about all of this Black List stuff that I didn't on the podcast, so consider this a special addendum for all you.

There are two kinds of useful buzz for a screenplay.

There's the VOLUME buzz... lots and lots and lots of people start talking about a script, or showing a script some sort of measurable approval (e.g. a high rating on BL). That's nice. It indicates that the patient has a pulse, but as we've all repeated, it doesn't mean the patient is going to wake up or start walking around.

Then there's INDIVIDUAL buzz. Certain people in this town have opinions that matter more than those of a thousand aggregated reviewers. If one of those people really likes your script, you're going to get championed, bought and promoted.

It's hard to prove this, but my experience tells me it's the latter approval that's responsible for the vast majority of success stories.

We live in a time where the crowd is more present and accessible than ever, and yet it's still just the crowd. Screenwriters and screenplays need champions. They need powerful, respected people.

I'm far from powerful, but I do think my opinion is well-regarded by enough people in town to say this: if I read your screenplay and I love it, you're getting representation, and you will be considered for gigs... with the rest, of course, up to you.

So use these tools if you choose, but do not forget... generally speaking, it's not the crowd that makes careers. It's not the aggregation, or the score.

Almost always, it's that one person.

You can have an aggregate score of 2. If the one person who gave it a 10 "matters," then you really have a 10.

You can have an aggregate score of 10. If all of the people who gave it a 10 "don't matter," then you really have a 0.

As much as we wish to democratize opinion, we cannot. Ever.

Some pigs are more equal than others.

So enjoy the great ratings on these sites for what they are worth, but just as importantly, don't freak out over the less-than-great ratings on these sites.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:19 PM   #285
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Mazin View Post
There are two kinds of useful buzz for a screenplay.

There's the VOLUME buzz... lots and lots and lots of people start talking about a script, or showing a script some sort of measurable approval (e.g. a high rating on BL). That's nice. It indicates that the patient has a pulse, but as we've all repeated, it doesn't mean the patient is going to wake up or start walking around.

Then there's INDIVIDUAL buzz. Certain people in this town have opinions that matter more than those of a thousand aggregated reviewers. If one of those people really likes your script, you're going to get championed, bought and promoted.

It's hard to prove this, but my experience tells me it's the latter approval that's responsible for the vast majority of success stories.

Almost always, it's that one person.
Quoted for truth.

Thank you, Craig.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:41 PM   #286
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

Franklin,

Wouldn't it be in a writer's best interest to know who is reading their scripts?

How else will they know if "sweaty hucksters" or high level executives are the ones giving ratings? As Craig Mazin pointed out, all ratings are not equal.

At the very least, I feel writers should know what companies have signed on to BL3 service.

I don't mean to be a stick in the mud, I'm just one of those rare people who when they PAY for a service, want to know EXACTLY what they are getting.

The term "Industry Pros" is simply not specific enough. People who have worked in the industry know full well how many low-level, possibly "sweaty huckster"-types who fall under the "Industry Pros" umbrella.

No need to publish personal emails & phone #, but we should at least have knowledge of what companies have access to the scripts. More transparency from the writers side of things won't hurt your service imo.

Do we really want over 1400 professionals(and we have zero idea who they are) having access to our scripts?

Think about it. We don't see high level agents and managers posting their clients scripts on BL3 hoping some faceless production company will pick it up.

Perhaps I'm off base, but it seems BL3 is primarily geared to writers who have absolutely no idea how to query/send out scripts nor have any idea who they should be trying to contact about their specific script.

If all reads/ratings are not equal, writers should have at least some minimal information about who is reading/rating their work, and maybe it's just me, but I think a serious writer should WANT to know who's reading their stuff.

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Originally Posted by FranklinLeonard View Post
I'm writing this quickly because I'm currently visiting my parents and promised my mother that we'd go see GUILT TRIP, but quickly and probably less well than I'd normally write this...

As is often the case with Craig, I could not agree more with the sentiments expressed here, especially the idea that it's not the crowd that makes careers.

The one thing that I'd add though is that the Black List exists primarily to alert that one person, whoever it is, that there's a script out there that they may want to champion (if they read it and love it). The new site has been structured to further that mission.

Knowing that other people like a script isn't what typically moves the needle on a sale, a decision to represent a writer, etc. It can, however, move the needle on getting a person to read a script, which is the first step in that individual becoming a champion for that script.

This is especially true at the higher levels of the industry corporate hierarchy where individuals have greater demands on their time and more authority if they do love something to move things forward.

And it's here where the Black List has the most value, I think. It leverages the crowd to motivate individuals to explore material that they may champion if they find that they, individually, have the same positive response.

The new site is even more effective in this regard. Instead of needing several dozen people to raise the alarm bells about a script being worth someone's time, it only really takes one. News of that one person's enthusiasm about a script can be shared immediately with over 1400 industry professionals who may choose to read it based on that enthusiasm. The hope is, obviously, that at least one of those industry professionals becomes a champion for that script and the writer who wrote it.

As Craig, and others, have rightly said, it only takes one. The challenge though is to find that one person, getting the script to them, and convincing them to read it. Up to now, there's been a ridiculous amount of market friction that makes that difficult and typically quite slow.

The new Black List exists to reduce that market friction, and thus far, it seems that it's going quite well. Over 2000 downloads of scripts by industry professionals and the few signings that we know of is a good start, but there's a lot more coming, and it won't be limited to being the proverbial hype man for great writing (though we think we do a good job of it.)

One small example that I'm just now able to speak about: we just finalized a partnership with the Sundance Institute that has already resulted in a writer discovered through the site (and a DDP regular no less) getting a spot in their inaugural Diverse Writers Workshop.

And that's the tip of the iceberg.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:55 PM   #287
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

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Right. And it felt like that's where their thoughts ended. Don't wanna go any deeper than that.
I doubt this is where you were going, but I'm more than happy to go beyond insinuating that the gentlemen on the podcast clearly presented a subtext painted with hesitant, careful remarks that were politically motivated to an extent they were intended to not say anything bad about Franklin or his new service. In fact, the nature of the comments became so transparent at one point that the hosts' discomfort with their unwillingness to elaborate quickly digressed into comments trashing the BlueCat competition. They jumped on that thing like a saddled horse and whipped it to the extent they even generally insulted a former winner. It was entirely unnecessary, but they were willing to engage in it fully, while holding back their true feelings about the Black List. This was hugely disappointing for me, as these are two outstanding writers whose work I really respect. It's just another example of politics taking precedence in this business, which is perfectly fine, but it creates a great argument for not even having podcasts like these. If established pros can't even speak their minds, then why the hell would I bother to take an hour to listen? Seriously. Consider that.

That's strictly my impression from interpreting what I've heard on their podcasts, but it was enough for me to not listen any longer. It's so difficult to get objective, honest opinions from anybody in this industry that I feel like it's a waste of time to sit down to this nonsense that skirts around real issues.

Here's the bottom line: If you have a large audience of listeners, yet you have friendships/allegiances/relationships that don't allow you to express the truth as you see it, then don't bother talking. You're obviously not in a position to do so. Better yet, if someone sends in a question about the Black List, yet you maintain relationships that prevent you from commenting honestly or fully, then just don't address that particular question on your podcast. Choose a BlueCat question from another reader, one where you'll be comfortable pounding the subject matter into the dirt. With all due respect to John and Craig, who otherwise put together a really cool show, the aforementioned behavior is indicative of very low standards. I couldn't give a sh!t about BlueCat, but that contest just took a swift punch in the mouth from two men who were unwilling to do the same to another because of politics. These are low standards, indulged in because the fallout was perceived as negligent. Compare that to the ums, aws, and hesitant remarks regarding the Black List, and it stands to reason the professionalism could have been dialed up a notch.

I'm sure I'll take heat for this, as most people like to bury these things for fear of possibly losing future opportunities, but as a devoted listener of the podcast, I feel like I've invested more than enough time to have an opinion.

Most times I post, it seems to be of a somewhat controversial nature, and the end result is that I get a couple of lurkers sending me fear-based PMs that essentially ask me to not upset the herd, and to think about my writing future. If you find yourself inclined to do so here, please just reply in the forum. We're here for debate, and I'll continue to ask questions and make comments that require an ounce of integrity and a set of balls, as I'd rather be disliked for being overly analytical than be silenced in ignorance (... unless there's pay involved, of course

I've dealt with Franklin over e-mail, and I met Gordy Hoffman when he was in town last summer. I found both of them to be professional, articulate, and helpful people who care about great writing. From the standpoint that they both run a paid service for writers, these two men should have these specific businesses evaluated in that manner; however, because Franklin also runs the prestigious Black List, and the hosts of the podcast just see Gordy as some dude from up north with no ties to their careers, one gets senselessly stomped and the other gets a free pass on criticism. There was no comparison, no data, and not even an attempt to explain why one gets a public flogging while the other watches safely from afar.

In fact, there's this overwhelming sense, evidenced by numerous posts here on DD and accompanying comments made on the podcasts, that anything regarding the Black List that could even remotely be construed as criticism is required to have a few preceding comments reinforcing Franklin's integrity, high standards, or similar. If these comments are indicative of the truth, then why are people doing everything they can to protect him from criticism? Why is everyone so gun-shy on the negative aspects of the service? Why am I being sent PMs instructing me to stay quiet? Why are people afraid? He doesn't need the help. Confronting criticism and fielding complaints lends itself to a great reputation in paid situations, not to mention a better business, which is what Franklin endeavors to accomplish, as evidenced by his regular appearances here on DD, so why are we sheltering him from that which everyone else in his position must endure to an even greater extent because they don't already have the solid reputation heading into a new paid service? It's ridiculous.

John and Craig should speak freely of their opinions about the Black List, even if they're not fully formed after only several months of the service being available. At the conclusion of this, or even during, Franklin should be given the opportunity to appear on the show and defend himself or elaborate upon any other lingering concerns. This is the best course of action, one that provides the most enlightenment for listeners, yet renders politics impotent, just as they should be in paid situations where writers will be dishing out their hard-earned money in a bad economy. Asking tough questions always goes over a lot better than refusing to honestly address issues, as the person on the other end is afforded a measure of respect by being able to respond accordingly.

If you really don't want to upset people in your industry, then you have no business engaging in the production of a podcast with a format that will inevitably result in such. I absolutely don't mean that to sound harsh; I'm just stating that, from the standpoint of practicality, the outrageously silly politics that govern the ludicrous behavior in this industry don't lend themselves to much honest introspection or investigation of others during discussions, resulting in the requirement that the end-users, aspiring writers looking for valuable advice, are left wading through a pool of BS that ultimately serves no purpose other than to reinforce the bloated ego of types who go to lunch while you're still waiting in the lobby for the meeting you scheduled.

I mean, seriously, this is an industry that firmly believes it needs a month-long break at the end of the year to recharge, and they justify it like those on the outside just don't understand because they couldn't possibly be putting in the same type of effort while maintaining a career and sacrificing every night and weekend to write screenplays that will never see production. We hear things like, "They're busy professionals. Don't bother them. Don't nudge. Don't send an e-mail." Seriously? What do you think I am, an unemployed trash collector with a brain injury? Do they really work SO hard that they deserve considerations above and beyond the rest of us? No. Absolutely not. They are using power to attain privilege, ignoring you simply because they can. My God. I only wish I could ever have a job where I could ignore people's inquiries, where I could shun them for eternity for asking me to simply compose a single-sentence e-mail that could help them greatly. I hear about managers saying they get 15 or 20 queries in a week, or even in a day, but they delete them because it's a low-percentage annoyance that isn't worth it? But then they focus on their referrals and, guess what, the truth is it's also low-percentage and rarely worth it. And then they'll say things like, "I can't sell that," to which I'd like to reply, "No sh!t. You haven't sold anything. And why? Hardly anything sells. It's ALL low-percentage, and even more so political. So what sense do all these negative opinions about queries make? None. Just like most things in this business." These activities are born of laziness, ease, and privilege, of the same inclination that causes the studio exec to walk right past you on his way out the door without even caring that you have an appointment to see him. Hard-working people can still indulge in laziness; the two are not mutually exclusive, but in Hollywood we pretend they are so that laziness, in such cases, can be assessed as merely a result of such hard work that there is no time available to handle the unimportant matters (aka people.)

I recently got a read that resulted in a referral, at which point the manager called with great excitement and pitched his company, then took another script. Even though I have a director attached to the second script and another waiting to get on-board if that falls through, he didn't like it. So what did he do? Nothing. After giving him more than an hour of my time on the phone and listening to his pitch, he couldn't even lift a couple of fingers to his iPhone to say he passed. You'd think that if he was in love with one script and the other I sent him didn't click, even though the only two directors to read it wanted to be attached, he might follow up thinking there could be some merit to the work here, especially considering I have more screenplays. But nope. Nothing. No reply. What sense does that make? None. And this is one of the more reasonable experiences I've had.

I can't make any sense of anything except persistence and pursuit of craft. There is so much trivial BS that takes place in this business, a system of values and rules that is entirely foreign to reason, but native to a complete lack of sensibility for everyone except the privileged who can wield its power. Most of my days are spent hearing, "We're just looking for great writing," which is almost always a lie from the mouth of somebody who either does not or cannot write, who has not been produced or published on-screen, on-stage, or even in a magazine with a small article. These are people who took the liberty to redefine the word "great" to mean "marketable material that I personally like," making the rest of us cringe for eternity when we show up at the theater to pay to see these "great" movies that turn out to be awful.

Another manager recently told me, "You'll have to do a lot better than this if you ever want to be a writer." Hmm ... I won an award for the first play I wrote, which had a full run and pulled in over 5k in cash at the box office on its closing night. Not bad for a small theater. I also won an award for the next one I wrote, also produced. The day after those terrible comments from that manager, a director contacted me after reaching page 27 of a screenplay and said she was so excited she wanted to contact me before even finishing reading. Days later she was attached and pushing the project around town with a great deal of enthusiasm.

Undoubtedly, this will sound like a rant, but it's nothing more than a recap of the garbage aspiring writers deal with on a daily basis, a rare view from the amateur side of the wall where we might not be able to see much of what's going on inside, but the smell of the reality is wafting its way across and revealing itself for what it really is: BS. It's so bad that I can't even listen to a simple podcast without being affected by the politics. That's really sad.

Industry insiders have absolutely no problem with verbally abusing amateur writers or unnecessarily saying things that will dash their hopes, etc., but among themselves, they tread far more carefully, so as to not offend anyone who might even remotely be connected to future earnings or opportunities. While there is a very realistic aspect to this approach that puts food on the table, I also detect a certain degree of cowardice, as it's easy to pick on the weak when you're in control and the victims of your apathy have no say in the bottom line of your paycheck.

New writers are always warned to show the utmost respect to assistants in their dealings because the assistants are the next generation of reps, execs, and so on. Yet even though the same holds true for aspiring writers being the next generation in their profession, they're treated like garbage, even by assistants, who happily learn to do so by specifically practicing the methods of their predecessors, in effect perpetuating the injustice through the very person the writer is told he absolutely has to respect. Hmm... I should respect someone who jumps at the chance to employ rock-bottom professional standards and treats people like they're insignificant nuisances? That's not respect; that's getting down on your knees.

Persistence, craft, and networking. Everything else is a joke.

Thanks for reading. Swing away.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:05 PM   #288
Craig Mazin
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

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Originally Posted by ChristopherCurtis View Post
wait....?? is this Scary movie and Gameboys Craig Mazin??
I prefer Identity Thief Craig Mazin (for now... unless everyone hates it). But yes.

Ah, Gameboys. What could have been. I regret that one being put to pasture.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:34 PM   #289
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

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Originally Posted by mgwriter View Post
Franklin,

Wouldn't it be in a writer's best interest to know who is reading their scripts?

How else will they know if "sweaty hucksters" or high level executives are the ones giving ratings? As Craig Mazin pointed out, all ratings are not equal.

At the very least, I feel writers should know what companies have signed on to BL3 service.

I don't mean to be a stick in the mud, I'm just one of those rare people who when they PAY for a service, want to know EXACTLY what they are getting.

The term "Industry Pros" is simply not specific enough. People who have worked in the industry know full well how many low-level, possibly "sweaty huckster"-types who fall under the "Industry Pros" umbrella.

No need to publish personal emails & phone #, but we should at least have knowledge of what companies have access to the scripts. More transparency from the writers side of things won't hurt your service imo.

Do we really want over 1400 professionals(and we have zero idea who they are) having access to our scripts?

Think about it. We don't see high level agents and managers posting their clients scripts on BL3 hoping some faceless production company will pick it up.

Perhaps I'm off base, but it seems BL3 is primarily geared to writers who have absolutely no idea how to query/send out scripts nor have any idea who they should be trying to contact about their specific script.

If all reads/ratings are not equal, writers should have at least some minimal information about who is reading/rating their work, and maybe it's just me, but I think a serious writer should WANT to know who's reading their stuff.
I mean no disrespect by this but you're way off base. I can say comfortably that every major agency, management company, studio, and major financier are well represented in our membership. I can't say the same for every production company because there are simply more of them, but I do feel safe in saying that well more than half of the production companies with deals at the major studios are represented as well.

It's worth noting also that Warner Brothers President of Production Greg Silverman is quoted about using the site in the 12/14 Wall Street Journal article profiling the site. These are the sorts of people who are amongst our membership.

As for knowing who downloads your script, I addressed this in another thread. I'm sympathetic to that concern, but ultimately there's a trade off between writers having that information and incentivizing industry pros to download the script. We made the decision to prioritize the latter since thats the main reason writers are joining our site in the first place.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:54 PM   #290
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

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Originally Posted by Craig Mazin View Post
I prefer Identity Thief Craig Mazin (for now... unless everyone hates it). But yes.

Ah, Gameboys. What could have been. I regret that one being put to pasture.
Gameboys isn't even on IMDB.
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