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Old 01-09-2013, 07:08 PM   #301
CameronAlexander
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

Thanks for posting your story Hamboogul. Interesting stuff!
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:36 PM   #302
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

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Originally Posted by Richmond Weems View Post
I think that sounds like a reasonable explanation.

I also think GhosWrite forfeited any intelligent discussion on what might have been valid points when his post devolved into a personal rant.

HH
2010 Nicholl Quarter Finalist "Inhuman Resources" Richmond Weems???
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:40 PM   #303
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

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2010 Nicholl Quarter Finalist "Inhuman Resources" Richmond Weems???
Yep...the man, the myth, the legend.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:40 PM   #304
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

Understood Franklin. Only reason I bring this up again is because I saw what I feel is yet another good reason for at least a little more transparency on the writer's side.

I respect your stance on the issue, but possibly down the line you might be persuaded to tweak the totally blind reading policy, even if just a little bit. And if not, it never hurts to keep trying.

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Originally Posted by FranklinLeonard View Post
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, 09:45 PM   #305
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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

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.
Yes we do, actually.

Original Artists, Paradigm, and UTA, along with several US and UK management companies, have clients' scripts on the top 15 (and, I assume, throughout the site).
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:51 PM   #306
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

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Yes we do, actually.

Original Artists, Paradigm, and UTA, along with several US and UK management companies, have clients' scripts on the top 15 (and, I assume, throughout the site).
Oh, okay.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:17 PM   #307
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

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Yes we do, actually.

Original Artists, Paradigm, and UTA, along with several US and UK management companies, have clients' scripts on the top 15 (and, I assume, throughout the site).
You have to keep in mind that over 3,000 scripts were added to The Black List before they launched the new site, allowing us to upload our scripts. They loaded them in from scripts that had been available in the screenwriting world.

Just becuase it's there doesn't mean that the manager, agent, prodco, or writer put it there-- got personal experience here.

You can list a title of a screenplay without being the writer or manager.

Keep in mind that I haven't read the entire thread, so my comments may not be reflective of the context of the above statement.

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Old 01-09-2013, 10:21 PM   #308
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

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I can't and won't speak for John or Craig, but anyone who knows them knows that the idea of their not speaking their mind borders on laughable.

If it's not already clear enough from the ~1400 post thread on DDP, the regular Twitter Q&As we do, the 3000 word essay on the What, How, and Why of the Black List, or the hundreds of emails we've responded to with questions and concerns, we welcome the hard questions. We do so because they should be asked, and if we deserve to exist, we should be able to answer them. And we can. I don't believe there's been any service affecting the screenwriting world that has been more responsive to its critics and those who wanted to know more than we have, and certainly not over the last three months.

If there are more criticisms, more questions, more feelings of discomfort that we can allay, we want to hear them. In fact, please share them with us so we can address them.
Anyone who listens to that podcast can clearly discern the fact that they not only hesitated during the discussion about BL, but neglected to finish their thoughts. That isn't the least bit laughable, but it is entirely obvious upon listening that it's the truth, which is why I posted my disappointment with the result. I wanted to hear the extent of what they had to say and, despite any assertion from you that they wouldn't hold back, they clearly did. Perhaps it was only on the podcast, or even a matter of time constraints, but anyone with even a mild understanding of human nature realized the tone in which the co-hosts spoke on the topic was a careful one. They had more to say. Isn't this already evidenced by the reality that Mazin posted further comments on here so soon after the fact?

As for your attention to questions and concerns, you're more accessible than anybody I've ever dealt with in any facet of the industry. No argument there. You're willing to stand in the fire, and you deserve the credit for doing so; however, I'm going to make some suggestions and comments below that equate to the fact that sometimes you're traveling too far in your effort, spreading yourself too thin, and fielding concerns while providing only the company lines that send the writer packing with no satisfying resolution. It's why I left as a customer, and why I no longer make the recommendations that garnered you multiple new customers and approximately a dozen more reads.

After posting positive comments about the new BL service on DD, you asked me to e-mail you directly, at which point we had somewhat of an ongoing exchange for a short time that included your offer to read my script on a flight to NYC and also learn about my background, all things I was more than happy to provide. You even asked me to speak with a journalist regarding the service, and I happily agreed. In fact, it seemed like too much for such a busy guy, and it was. Several weeks later I complained about my second score, as it had dropped from an 8 to a 4, and the comment section contained an entirely unnecessary insult. Upon learning of this, you made it abundantly clear that you had no idea who I was, asserted that YOU didn't find the comment insulting, and also made it quite clear in the process that you never even cracked page one on my script. Meanwhile, I'd been out tooting your horn to other people, writer friends who immediately signed up and started buying reads. I'd be more than happy to provide those names to verify that fact.

Now, think about the end result for me: I left a disappointed customer who felt like he got cheated, as I know my writing isn't a 4 even on my worst day. I don't care if your standards are at eye level with Mount Everest; if my score goes from an 8 to a 3 for plot, something is not right and should be addressed. Instead, that 4 dropped like an anchor underneath my 8 and destroyed any chances I had of salvaging the overall score. In addition, my comments section was entirely useless, with the reader stooping to the most cliche line in the history of script analysis, "Its whole is less than its parts, the sum of which is not very high to begin with." While I could easily relate the same notion to the reader's IQ, I'll go a more positive route and say that this is self-indulgent nonsense that lends no credibility to his/her skills or your service. Why? Because even though your intention is to identify great scripts, not improve those that need work, it is neglectful to use that space for things that lead to nothingness, such as the aforementioned statement. As any industry person looking at the review can already see the scores and easily relate them to the quality of the screenplay, it only makes sense that the comments section provides value for the writer, as it pertains to understanding why things were scored the way they were. Had the reader done that, it wouldn't have changed my score, but it would have given me a good sense of what I could do to make my writing more universally appealing, so that next time maybe that 4 becomes a 6 or 7.

Instead, the writers receive an invitation to sit outside a non-existent intercom in front of a metaphorical brick wall, where you thank them for sharing their concerns, then send them packing with the notion that you don't bend on established principles, even when it's clearly the right thing to do. This experience was a huge turn-off for me, and ample reason to not come back or make any further recommendations. A lack of compromise with customers is not indicative of high standards, and it paints a perfect portrait of the facade that you're actually fielding these concerns with the intention of doing something about them other than listening. You disagree with your customers far too often for anybody's comfort, as evidenced by the plethora of, "Franklin responded to my concerns, but still disagreed.." posts scattered throughout that huge thread.

Now ... let's take a look at how that could have panned out. Two of my writer friends, upon getting their first reviews, were upset about the scores. They wouldn't even tell me what they were. Having read their work, I knew they were quality writers, but subjectivity is what it is. The difference in this situation is that these guys got bad scores, but they also received accompanying comments that apparently justified the scores with specifics, which resulted in these two disappointed writers being able to do something about it. Both guys made changes and submitted for new reads, AND THEY EACH SCORED AN 8 ON THOSE RESPECTIVE SCRIPTS. Do you think they're happy now? You're damn right. They feel empowered by the opportunity, which lies in stark contrast to how I left the situation. They're fired up and purchasing reads, while I'm left scratching my head as to why I got thrown under the bus with no explanation and an insulting send-off.

My point is to let the studios and prodcos employ low analytical standards that are evidenced by lines such as, "Its whole is less than its parts, the sum of which is not very high to begin with." No one is paying these companies to read the scripts, so it makes perfect sense to write idiotic things like that, as the notes are for internal use. In the case of the Black List, however, I think it's fairly clear from the examples above that you can easily make a big impact on your bottom line with the smallest of changes that will truthfully only serve to enhance your reputation, rather than hurt it.

With the case being that most people will never be able to fully reap the rewards of finding homes for their scripts through your service, isn't it the most responsible thing to do to make sure every writer leaves with something, even if it's just a small slice of insight that pays dividends in a future draft of the script? Most of us will never see our work on the screen, so the pursuit of this goal is all we'll ever have. And in an industry where it's well-known that even the most talented people have been told they're not good enough along the way to success, doesn't it make sense to further the cause of every writer who's willing to take the leap and shell out the money?

Defensive positions breed defensive reactions, and I believe you could alleviate a good portion of the negativity by switching the focus of the service to the paying writer, rather than the industry professionals who pay you a grand total of nothing to view the scripts. The best scenario for you is for the bad writers to return, not go away. If they return and get better scores based on changes they made from your notes, that's nearly an ideal situation for everyone. And along the way, a few 8s might become 9s and so on.

Proactive positions breed proactive responses. If you want more business and less negativity, I would simply say take faith in the fact that 'Franklin Leonard' is pretty much synonymous with 'produced movies.' Writers want to work with you because of this, and for the very same reasons, so do industry pros. We're also inclined to hold you to the highest of standards as it pertains to your dealings with us. My 8/4 script was good enough to get me a referral from one manager, and a phone call from another, yet it's useless to me now on your site because I rolled the dice and got an angry reader whose snide tone was readily apparent in his work. I write at a level where I could potentially become one of your success stories, but I was pushed away for the sake of staunchly defending the integrity of a reader you've employed for three months and have probably never even met in person.

And I won't even comment fully on the wait times for reads. I think that speaks for itself, and not very well. There is no perceptible reason for not imposing parameters for timely reads, with the exception of maximizing profits by way of employing an insufficient number of readers who can't handle the workload quickly enough. That's probably way off-base, but I can't make sense of that tactic otherwise. It seems like utilizing more readers would be highly effective.

So here's what I got for a grand total of about $150: an angry read, confirmation that you didn't remember me or read my script, confirmation from you that I wasn't actually insulted, a wonderful 3-week wait time, and comments on my script that bear no relevance to specifics of the actual content. The script is essentially worthless for the purposes of your site, and I can't even improve it based upon the notes. While I understand how these things took place, I ask you to give this paragraph sincere consideration, as I'm not the only person who's had this type of experience.

I was under no obligation to recommend the Black List to anyone, but I went out of my way to endorse its services to other writers, who are currently paying customers. I paid you fully for your services, yet I received almost nothing in return, other than a review that was crafted for the pleasure of the paid reader, not the utility of the paying customer. And you defended that result.

I stepped back from this for a full month to reconsider my points, and I think it suffices to say that I still feel so strongly about the BS I encountered with the Black List that I composed two phone-book-length posts today when I had far more important things to do.

Finally, I find this really bothersome and senseless. You wrote that a 6 score for dialogue being referred to by the reader as "professionally maintained throughout" is "entirely reasonable" because it's above the community average. With all due respect, that's perhaps the most baseless, ridiculous assertion I've come across in some time, as reps have already come on DD and explicitly said they're not even downloading scripts with scores this low. The 1 - 10 scoring scale is an extremely simple tool that creates its own standards by default, yet you've employed some bastardized new version of it that adheres to a particular set of standards not rooted in reality. A 6 out of 10 is 60% of the highest possible score, which equates to something I would absolutely not refer to as professional quality, and more likely refer to as mediocre. Most of us attended schools for years where 60% was the lowest possible passing grade, so I find it difficult to extract your logic from that information. What you should have done was admit the reader's comment was inconsistent with the score, which is a complaint being rendered far too often, but you chose instead to address these situations with data that absolutely does not jive with your explanation. Readers are also making some very poor budget assessments, another common complaint, but you've defended them just for the sake of doing so. I submitted a script that crosses multiple continents and generations, with a plethora of characters and set pieces, and your reader marked it as "low-budget." Are you now reinventing the wheel on budgetary concerns as well? In my opinion, these are just a few topics that really deserve another look. I'm at a total loss in trying to understand this method, except to think you feel entitled to rewrite industry standards now, rather than simply uphold them. I find it irresponsible, unnecessary, and confusing, serving your needs in favor of the paying writer's.

My sincerest apologies if anything here is construed as offensive. I simply wanted to accurately convey the extent to which certain aspects of my experience frustrated me, and only in an effort to potentially offer insight that might improve the experience for future patrons of the site. Nothing I've described occurred under any type of malicious intent or similar, and I definitely don't want this to be viewed as an attack of any kind.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:27 PM   #309
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

Dude. Edit, rewrite, revise... You're in a forum filled with screenwriters. More white space. No one is gonna read that much sh|t.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:56 PM   #310
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Default Re: I got a 9 on the Black List -- now what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostWhite View Post
...
In addition, my comments section was entirely useless, with the reader stooping to the most cliche line in the history of script analysis, "Its whole is less than its parts, the sum of which is not very high to begin with." While I could easily relate the same notion to the reader's IQ, I'll go a more positive route and say that this is self-indulgent nonsense that lends no credibility to his/her skills or your service.

... This experience was a huge turn-off for me, and ample reason to not come back or make any further recommendations.
...
So here's what I got for a grand total of about $150: an angry read, confirmation that you didn't remember me or read my script, confirmation from you that I wasn't actually insulted, a wonderful 3-week wait time, and comments on my script that bear no relevance to specifics of the actual content. ...
Based on the stuff in your post,

In the future will you be sure to have at least some idea WHO is reading your script?

And make sure you know EXACTLY what you are getting BEFORE handing over one single dime for a screenwriting "pay service"?
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