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Old 05-21-2020, 02:25 PM   #51
PhaseIV
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

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Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
What I've noticed about the Black List in the two years I was out of circulation is that they have become A LOT less transparent to writers. Take one look at the FAQs and there is very little in the way of any real information.

Both of my scripts are reader endorsed (both received 8s &9s). That means the script has received at least two 8s and/or above. If you look at the FAQs for the industry professionals you will see that it states that scripts that have a minimum of two 8s are "reader endorsed." This is how they signal to the industry that these are the highest scoring scripts.

They used to send you an email when you received an 8 and offer free 2 free additional reviews-- I do not know if they still do this. Does anyone else?

Oh, I see you found the confirmation.

Take a bit of time, if you care to, and check out at the top scripts. If they show the graph, you will see that even the highest scoring scripts have lowball scores along side high scores. It's a pain because it's a slow process, the screens always default to the "period" time frame.

The Black List says they have "guidelines," that their readers use, but they don't share them.

Hey, it's their site. It is what it is.

As long a there is no competition, and the industry uses it because it's free, has a brand behind it that the industry somewhat believes in, it's another resource and they aren't changing it.

FA4
Thanks so much for this, FA4 - as a baby writer who has often dreamed about appearing on a BL Top List, it's been a slightly disillusioning to finally end up there and hear absolutely nothing. My script is currently within the top 10 for its genre but in the week since it arrived there, I've managed to garner a whopping three whole views and not a single download. Not sure if there's a deficiency with my logline, the site's user base or a little bit of both, but I was definitely hoping for something more than... this? Again, I only have two 7's right now so maybe it takes an 8 or 9 to really light that tinder, but it's been a pretty depressing experience so far, haha
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:02 PM   #52
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

How many screenplays have been made into movies after being 'discovered' on the Black List? Does anyone know?
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:05 PM   #53
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

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Originally Posted by Crayon View Post
How many screenplays have been made into movies after being 'discovered' on the Black List? Does anyone know?
My understanding is that it isn't too many, but I've heard plenty of anecdotal stories about writers finding representation there and that's really the main thing I'm chasing right now.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:26 PM   #54
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

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Originally Posted by Crayon View Post
How many screenplays have been made into movies after being 'discovered' on the Black List? Does anyone know?
I can't provide any number, but they're quick to point out a large number of major award winners and blockbusters that "were on the BL".

It seems that posting the script on this site has become as typical a part of marketing ("What's your BL score?!" as entrance in film festivals and showing up at comicon etc. (depending on the film type).

I'm thinking even regular writers are figuring it's a better deal than contests. If true, Franklin Leonard's cornering more than one market with this.

What a guy!

It's all part of the prestige component, something he captured with great success (through his cred before he started the site), as opposed to the equivalent script hosting/logline hunting/coverage sites such as VPF, InkTip, and the free ScriptRevolution.

I sure admire FL's entrepreneurship, but have never myself been able to take advantage of his site due to the cost. I see he has some great educational/reference resources on the site, but I still despise the name and think he should have retitled it from "black list" when he monetized it from his old script survey. And I like listening to the guy speak and admire his passion, but still think he's charging the wrong side (s/b the users ie. reps/producers, like those expensive personnel contact sites I-forget-their-names; but I guess those are more like IMDB, which charges both the talent and rep side oh well).

My daily BL rant. Who cares, eh?
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:31 PM   #55
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

That’s not it. When they cite it was on the Black List it means it was part of the annual Black List. There is no score. (Well, there are number of votes received but no one cares, really) And they, shadily IMO, attach their brand to something they had little to do with.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:33 PM   #56
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

An 8 and a 3....that's quite a disparity. That's like if two English teachers, one graded the same paper an A and the other a F. If such a wide margin happens, the site should look at that and see why themselves....not have the writer have to dispute it.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:00 PM   #57
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

Well, the one script that excelled on the Black List website was Susan Allain with Mr. Malcom's List. It was the first that received a lot of attention with a studio executive that loved the script, said so publically, and shared it. This was a few years ago. And it was in production and I believe released, last year?

YAY SUSAN!!

To give some perspective. My script TRACKER produced these results a couple years ago... it is currently still hosted on the site, is a featured script and is reader endorsed. It received 8s & 9s. Three people have wanted to get it produced. Part of the issue, I believe, is that the budget ranks about $50 million and they just aren't making a lot of features at this budget, not to mention that most serial killer stories now reside in the streaming TV series format. Also consider that while it was hosted at this time I was repped by both a manager and a lawyer, so any manager that "viewed" the script information would have seen that and moved on.

Views: 2,055
Indy Pro downloads: 98
Writer downloads: 112

Now, I don't know who in the industry downloaded it. If you search by the "most popular" script, it is #9. Think about those numbers.

It still has an average that is above the community average and when I asked the black list WHY it no longer showed up on the top list, even though its score is more than high enough, they said this...

"We want to focus on newer writers."

Which is bullshit. What they're REALLY saying is that they support the writers that continue to pay for reviews, because if I bought two additional reviews and they averaged above the community average it would be back on the top list.

It doesn't matter WHEN your script was written. A good script is a good script. I read one script (before it was on the black list) currently on the TOP LIST, was also on the list in 2013 (7 years ago). Its done well in contests and even got the writer into Imagine Impact 2. This script was good in 2009 and I'm certain its good now. But the point is, it shouldn't matter if you have the scores you should stay on the top lists.

It's all about getting your script to the RIGHT person.

Yes, FL is capitalizing on the brand he created with the Annual Black List and, from the podcasts I've heard, managers do look to The Black List as a resource but their general belief is that most of the material is not up to the pro level.

I have a new spec on the site. I have an industry view with a rating of 9. It's a rom com so the next review might well be a 2. haha. I have disputed an evaluation and they are giving me a new one to replace it. I am still not visible because I only have ONE review, not two, it takes two that average above the community average to get on the top lists. It's been on the site for a month and here are the results...

Total views: 7
Pro downloads: 2
Writer downloads: 2

As far as the disparity between an 8 and a 3? FL has defended it with the statement that it's based on THAT reader's expectation of a rating based on HOW LIKELY he would be to recommend it. I don't know, maybe they worked for the Christian Network and read a dark action thriller thinking, HELL, I would never recommend this.

Readers read based on WHAT the person that has hired them WANTS. If you don't establish a standard guideline or rubric that ALL READERS MUST ADHERER TO, then you have 1) no consistency, and 2) no validity.

I have absolutely no respect for any reader that speed reads scripts to make a buck as fast as possible. YOUR job is to do your job WELL and circumventing your responsibilities because you're too ****ing lazy to do a good job, just pisses the **** out of me.

Titan Creed gave me notes on the script on the site now and he gave like 14 pages of carefully considered comments designed to address my intentions. They were hones and fair. I may not agree with all of them, but his examination gave me insight into weaknesses I needed to strengthen. I've now used him twice and have two scripts in the cue.

I don't think the quality of readers is the same now as it was a few years ago. Sometimes, the comments are so general that you know they didn't read it. It's really disappointing.

What ever happened to being proud of the job you do, regardless of whether you feel you're paid appropriately for it.

I don't know... I actually hate the conversations about the black list. I know it doesn't seem so, but I'd like to help inform others, so they walk in with their eyes open.

Had a long day. Stay safe everyone. And remember, it all starts with ONE person believing in your work. I'm not gonna give up looking for mine-- don't give up looking for yours.
FA4
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:06 PM   #58
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

All you have to do is go back and read reviews to great movies that got trashed by big critics to see how it's just opinion. Nothing more. Your favorite TV show -- someone else hates. So just imagine having only the words to the movie -- the screenplay -- there is no Harrison Ford in the movie -- no soundtrack --and you can see how it's even more of a crap shoot when random readers are reading random screenplays on random days in genres they might love or hate.

I'm a comedy guy -- so I prefer to read comedy specs -- however -- I'm also harder on comedy specs because that's my thing. I may be much more forgiving of a thriller movie as a reader. Or I may not understand it as well as my mind thinks differently and give it a bad grade. All these factors go into someone reading you script.

I honestly do not get these debates. Been going on here for all the time I've been here.

Even friends that we share the same jokes, world will love one of my scripts, hate the others. And they are on my side. So imagine that random reader.

It's not grading a math test. There is no right answer. That's the thing that people do not seem to get. You can't write a 7 or 10 or 3 script. It's not up to you. It's up to them.

In real worlds terms, a rep or producers like or doesn't like your script enough to want to do something with it. Some reps want to take a "5" script as BL might say and make it a 10. Some reps will pass. One rep might read it and think it's already a "9" and send it right out. It's all subjective.

There is of course good writing and bad. If you write well you will have success on BL site and any contest. You should take that as a sign you're pretty good and keep on trying other avenues too. But you should NOT take it as PROOF you're script is perfect and why aren't these people buying it? Same way you shouldn't take it as EVIDENCE you stink if you get bad scores.

You can be on the New York Times Bestseller list -- top 10 -- one week if you sell 1000 books depending on the level of competition and number of books released that week. So a book on the bestseller list could have sold a 100K books in one week and another book 5000 and they are both on the same list. It's just based on timing. And rarely on the quality of the book vs the great book sitting on the shelf that sold 4 copies that week.

You know in your heart if you're writing and script are good. You are validated along the way from friends, peers, contests... you get better as you go. One day you'll wake up and go "Oh, i am a good writer. I know it. I'm going to try and find a manager to sell this."

And I hope we all get there soon. I'm cheering for us all.
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:11 AM   #59
Friday
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

Quote:
Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
Well, the one script that excelled on the Black List website was Susan Allain with Mr. Malcom's List. It was the first that received a lot of attention with a studio executive that loved the script, said so publically, and shared it. This was a few years ago. And it was in production and I believe released, last year?

YAY SUSAN!!

To give some perspective. My script TRACKER produced these results a couple years ago... it is currently still hosted on the site, is a featured script and is reader endorsed. It received 8s & 9s. Three people have wanted to get it produced. Part of the issue, I believe, is that the budget ranks about $50 million and they just aren't making a lot of features at this budget, not to mention that most serial killer stories now reside in the streaming TV series format. Also consider that while it was hosted at this time I was repped by both a manager and a lawyer, so any manager that "viewed" the script information would have seen that and moved on.

Views: 2,055
Indy Pro downloads: 98
Writer downloads: 112

Now, I don't know who in the industry downloaded it. If you search by the "most popular" script, it is #9. Think about those numbers.

It still has an average that is above the community average and when I asked the black list WHY it no longer showed up on the top list, even though its score is more than high enough, they said this...

"We want to focus on newer writers."

Which is bullshit. What they're REALLY saying is that they support the writers that continue to pay for reviews, because if I bought two additional reviews and they averaged above the community average it would be back on the top list.

It doesn't matter WHEN your script was written. A good script is a good script. I read one script (before it was on the black list) currently on the TOP LIST, was also on the list in 2013 (7 years ago). Its done well in contests and even got the writer into Imagine Impact 2. This script was good in 2009 and I'm certain its good now. But the point is, it shouldn't matter if you have the scores you should stay on the top lists.

It's all about getting your script to the RIGHT person.

Yes, FL is capitalizing on the brand he created with the Annual Black List and, from the podcasts I've heard, managers do look to The Black List as a resource but their general belief is that most of the material is not up to the pro level.

I have a new spec on the site. I have an industry view with a rating of 9. It's a rom com so the next review might well be a 2. haha. I have disputed an evaluation and they are giving me a new one to replace it. I am still not visible because I only have ONE review, not two, it takes two that average above the community average to get on the top lists. It's been on the site for a month and here are the results...

Total views: 7
Pro downloads: 2
Writer downloads: 2

As far as the disparity between an 8 and a 3? FL has defended it with the statement that it's based on THAT reader's expectation of a rating based on HOW LIKELY he would be to recommend it. I don't know, maybe they worked for the Christian Network and read a dark action thriller thinking, HELL, I would never recommend this.

Readers read based on WHAT the person that has hired them WANTS. If you don't establish a standard guideline or rubric that ALL READERS MUST ADHERER TO, then you have 1) no consistency, and 2) no validity.

I have absolutely no respect for any reader that speed reads scripts to make a buck as fast as possible. YOUR job is to do your job WELL and circumventing your responsibilities because you're too ****ing lazy to do a good job, just pisses the **** out of me.

Titan Creed gave me notes on the script on the site now and he gave like 14 pages of carefully considered comments designed to address my intentions. They were hones and fair. I may not agree with all of them, but his examination gave me insight into weaknesses I needed to strengthen. I've now used him twice and have two scripts in the cue.

I don't think the quality of readers is the same now as it was a few years ago. Sometimes, the comments are so general that you know they didn't read it. It's really disappointing.

What ever happened to being proud of the job you do, regardless of whether you feel you're paid appropriately for it.

I don't know... I actually hate the conversations about the black list. I know it doesn't seem so, but I'd like to help inform others, so they walk in with their eyes open.

Had a long day. Stay safe everyone. And remember, it all starts with ONE person believing in your work. I'm not gonna give up looking for mine-- don't give up looking for yours.
FA4

Many educational systems at least attempt to have a standard of judging. They will have teachers grade samples and make sure there isn't a wide fluctuation and what's considered an A, B, C.... It's not just "Hmm... I like it." Scripts aren't just a matter of taste. Even if a genre is not your jam, there should be an ability to judge "American Beauty" A plus from a direct to video script...to someone's first time script.



I know you use the Blacklist....but have you considered the top tier contests?
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:35 AM   #60
finalact4
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

Friday: I agree with you. Black List should be able to more consistently identify what a good story/script looks like. I think the problem might have to do with the fact that a reader that has one year experience has a limited view and a lot of personal biases. Are there good readers that have one year experience? Sure. It's possible, BUT you're getting what that company has taught them and not an extensive background.

I'm not here debating. I'm offering a point of view from my experience. I will still use black list because 1) it's fast and 2) the industry uses it.

I did try contests early on, but when I got to the semifinalist and quarterfinalist and read those scripts after I was a far better writer-- I knew it was bullshit because the scripts were no where near where they needed to be. The concepts were strong. I can absolutely tell the difference between well executed and not.

I don't write Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, Green Book or Moonlight fare. Great stories all, but it's not my jam. It's not why I go to the movies. My scripts lean toward high-concept commercial fare. Plot driven action thrillers. Dark tones.

I might use Austin this year, but honestly unless you win or place it isn't going to do anything for you. And if you don't write what they are good at, why bother? None of my writing will do well in Nicholl. I'm smart enough to NOT throw money at something that isn't a fit for my writing. And I'm fine with that because I know what it is.

I'm shifting focus to a contained thriller along the lines of Gravity meets Solaris. And a dark TV series this year.

What I want to share is that you have to consider every avenue and regardless of the naysayers, including me, it's your responsibility as a writer to use every resource you can to find YOUR way in.

Queries have always worked well for me. Once I get the second score on the black list i may or may not use it in my queries, but I'm still going to send them out. It costs nothing but time to do so.

good luck to everyone and keep writing, keep fighting to get the attention you deserve, and know that we're all going through the same thing.

My biggest tip? Learn quickly to "send it and forget it." Move on to the next thing, because the next thing might be a brilliant idea that you never even thought you could have.
FA4
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