Click here for Done Deal Pro home page

Done Deal Pro Home Page

Loading

Go Back   Done Deal Pro Forums > General > Sites, Services, Software, & Supplies
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-29-2017, 10:23 AM   #1
kintnerboy
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,479
Default Black List Website Postmortem

Okay so I've had a script hosted on the BL website for about 12 months, and I feel it has just about run its course as far as what I am going to get out of it, so I thought I'd post my final stats to give anyone out there who wants to know an idea of what they can expect to get for their money if they use this service.

Keep in mind that my experience is in many ways a best case scenario, in that I benefited from a lot of enthusiastic readers. This script was among the highest rated on the website for a number of months and I got a fair amount of free hosting and free reviews.

My script is a gritty crime thriller, ready to produce, in the 8-10M dollar range.

BY THE NUMBERS-

At the end of a year or so I wound up with:

1014 SCRIPT VIEWS

The website changed last March to lump Pro Views and other member views all together, but I was running about 12% Pro Views at that point, so figure that maybe 120 of those 1014 were industry professionals.

12 REVIEWS by paid readers

The scores were: 8-8-6-7-7-7-6-8-5-5-7-6, so you can see, your mileage may vary greatly and some tastes are definitely acquired.

48 PRO DOWNLOADS

7 of the Pros chose to leave scores. They were 9-8-9-8-7-8-7

I was eventually contacted by 7 Industry Professionals, as follows:

2- Legit Producers of crime thrillers in the 8-12 million dollars range. Both of these guys went through all the trouble of setting up phone meetings via multiple back-and-forth emails and then blew off the calls when the time came. I don't really care if someone gets busy (or cold feet) but to not at least give a courtesy email or call is something that I can not get past professionally, and I now regard these producer contacts with a healthy dose of skepticism rather than excitement.

2- other producers with credits in the 500k - 1M dollar range who were clearly batting out of their league with hopes of getting the financing to produce my script, however we had some nice phone calls (1 hour +), flirted with options, and might perhaps cross paths in the future.

2- Literary Managers, who ultimately did not make offers of representation, but invited future submissions. In retrospect, both of these guys were actively soliciting clients at the time (I noticed they both signed multiple writers the same month they contacted me) and so I'm not that crushed by their passing on me. I'd rather have someone fall in love with my work rather than get signed by someone padding their roster.

1- NYC based tv commercial director looking to make the jump to features. We had one very long meeting (we're both in NY) to discuss a major rewrite, which I finished in about a month. We submitted it, through our own contacts, to a large production company and a studio. Both read it and liked it (the studio script coverage came back as a Recommend) but ultimately both passed for the same reason: The projected box office ceiling for this would be around 35M, and that's just not good enough anymore (unless you're Taylor Sheridan). We are still shopping it nonetheless.

I am most likely going to wind up re-writing this as a novel or a pilot, as those are the formats most friendly to the crime genre.


So anyway, my script hosting runs out on January 8th, and I am not renewing it. I have opened it up for downloading by any BL member, in case you're curious or just home and bored during the holiday break.

https://blcklst.com/members/scripts/view/48390

Here is the most recent favorable review to give you an idea of what it's about:


Era
Present Day

Locations
Garfield, New Jersey; blue-collar neighborhood, suburban, diner, highway

Budgets
Low

Genre
Drama, Crime Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Crime Thriller

Logline
A carpenter struggling to make ends meet is drawn into a vicious criminal underworld after being targeted by a shady debt-collection company.

Strengths
The narrative's premise, which follows a working man in tough economic times doing whatever it takes, could resonate powerfully with the current moment and appeal to a broad audience. Kevin's character is memorably introduced and developed in the first act. His financial struggles, admirable, but flawed business practices, valiant efforts as a father and husband, all earn a very strong empathetic response from the audience. The highly specific, nuanced, grounded characterization of Kevin's role makes it truly stand out, and could make it perfect for an up and coming leading man, such as Milo Ventimiglia. The strength of the script is its stellar plotting, which consistently escalates the conflict, maintains a knife edge tension and suspense, continually surprises, and marches towards a thrilling third act. Baxter is a vicious, ruthless antagonist who tests Kevin to his limits and beyond. The visual storytelling is consistently strong, and the dialogue is well characterized, featuring some lines and exchanges that pop off the page and feel ripe for the big screen.

Weaknesses
Theresa, Kevin's wife and the film's female lead, could feature more, and have a more impactful, meaningful and determinant role. In current form, she mostly functions as just Kevin's wife, who catches him in a lie, and, along with Allison, their daughter, represents stakes that Kevin cannot, at any cost, afford to lose. Finding ways to involve Theresa more, and perhaps feature Allison, their daughter, more as well, might broaden the appeal of the premise, add another exciting, attractive casting opportunity (to play Theresa), intensify Kevin's struggle as not only that of a man under pressure, but a father and husband as well, and thus increase the overall emotional engagement of the plot. After Kevin's first meeting with Gil, when he puts Mr. Green in his place, he then rolls over surprisingly easily when the Manager gets on the phone and threatens him. It's surprising Kevin wouldn't call the Manager's bluff to "subpoena every piece of paper" after having been reassured by Gil. The ending could be more climactic. For all that he puts Kevin through, Baxter is vanquished surprisingly easily. A finale more epic befitting the riveting conflict that preceded it is likely warranted.

Prospects:
FALSE COMFORTS could be a bonafide star vehicle for an up and coming leading man, which along with its stellar plotting, and riveting conflict, makes it an exciting project with genuine commercial potential. Overall, this is a very well executed, compelling story with no significant weaknesses that could also function as an attractive writing sample. Improving Theresa's role and developing a more epic, climactic finale are recommended revisions for further development of an already great script.

Last edited by kintnerboy : 12-29-2017 at 10:37 AM.
kintnerboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2017, 12:05 PM   #2
catcon
Member
 
catcon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London, Canada
Posts: 1,552
Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

Thanks a great deal for this. All the stats and personal reflections are really valuable.

You mentioned one rewrite for the NY company; how many did you do, and post on BL, over the course of the year? I'm just trying to rationalize that wide variety of scores beyond the usual reasoning of "subjectivity".

And the box office ceiling of $35M wasn't enough incentive to move on a production with a $8M-$10M budget?! What the...?!

Personally, I've never had the money for BL or the similar InkTip posting option, and have pretty well expired my funds on the pitching or newsletter sites. That leaves me (and you should try it) with the free such posting site referred to elsewhere on this board. (I don't want to patronize it here under a BL thread, but you can do a search or PM me)
catcon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2017, 02:20 PM   #3
DaltWisney
Regular
 
DaltWisney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 420
Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

Thanks for sharing. I've got a script up there now with a 7 and a 6 after two paid reads. The 6 was pretty complimentary and mainly focused on the length as a negative (script is barely over 90 pages). No other downloads so far after a few days. I'm not sure whether to expect any. I had an earlier draft of this script up there a while back and also got a 7 and a 6 on my reviews. That one did get downloaded a few times, though nothing came of it.

The BL is an interesting tool, but I still wonder about the ROI unless you have some kind of super killer app script. The fact that they essentially don't give 9/10 ratings and that 6/7 ratings don't guarantee any real traction means you're aiming at a pretty small target. If you don't get an 8, your odds of getting any looks seem quite slim (though I realize lower scores can and do still result in some reads and traction).

Personally, I don't expect much out of it. I just use it as a tool to get a rough sense of how my script might be received if I were to send it out to prodcos/agents/etc. Taste varies from person to person, but the overall trend line of a particular script becomes pretty clear if you get feedback from 4-5 sources.
DaltWisney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2017, 04:54 PM   #4
kintnerboy
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,479
Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

Quote:
Originally Posted by catcon View Post
You mentioned one rewrite for the NY company; how many did you do, and post on BL, over the course of the year? I'm just trying to rationalize that wide variety of scores beyond the usual reasoning of "subjectivity".
I had the same draft of the script posted for about 6 months. It was the one that got these reader scores: 8-8-6-7-7-7-6, and most of the heat / attention.

After I hooked up with the NY based director, he wanted me to do a rewrite with 2 main objectives: Reduce the page count by 10-15 (from 120 to 105-110) because in the independent film world, every page cut can mean a 50-100 thousand dollar savings, and second, remove an extended scene of graphic violence near the end of the script that he felt cheapened it to a level of exploitation and come up with a new finale (the fact that it was that scene that caused most of the heat among readers in the beginning meant nothing to him).

I liked the changes (still do) but I re-uploaded it to see if I had done any major damage to the spine of the story.

The first review was an 8 (posted above) that made me feel like we had improved it for the better. But then that was quickly followed by (2) 5's, a 7 and a 6, so who knows? Future versions of this script will probably combine elements of both.

I have so many written reviews for this script, and most of them are literally at odds with each other.

I have come to the conclusion that readers make up their minds very quickly (10-15 pages) whether they like a script or not, and spend the rest of the read building a case to support it.

If they don't like it, they will make a point of calling you out for a 3rd act plot coincidence. If they love it, they could never be bothered to notice such trivialities.

There were also the occasional negative reviews that called my script 'old fashioned' because it had a straight white male protagonist. You can not fight that kind of mindset, nor should you try. Best to keep you chin up and move on.

Also, IN THEORY the difference between 6-7-8 isn't that big. The 6's are very complimentary. They just aren't Raves... I have to admit, the 5s hurt though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by catcon View Post
And the box office ceiling of $35M wasn't enough incentive to move on a production with a $8M-$10M budget?! What the...?!
It's madness, for sure, where somehow you have to estimate 70M+ to guarantee it won't bomb (the fact that Brawl In Cell Block 99 was DOA in theaters doesn't help).... I have been told by more than one person that the audience for crime stories is at home in front of their tv's. I have learned my lesson and will learn the pilot format.

Last edited by kintnerboy : 12-29-2017 at 05:05 PM.
kintnerboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2017, 05:18 PM   #5
figment
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 847
Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

Quote:
Originally Posted by kintnerboy View Post

I have come to the conclusion that readers make up their minds very quickly (10-15 pages) whether they like a script or not, and spend the rest of the read building a case to support it.
This is an interesting theory -- I have to say I never thought about it like that, but I bet there is a lot of weight to that.

Congrats on the script's success and hopefully it can still be parlayed into a sale at some point, as its clearly spawned interest.
figment is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2017, 05:32 PM   #6
kintnerboy
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,479
Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaltWisney View Post
The BL is an interesting tool, but I still wonder about the ROI unless you have some kind of super killer app script.
If I were a cynic (and I am) I would say that one look at the BL trending scripts timeline would tell you that writing a biopic about a hot button historical / social issue is worth a +2 to your overall score.

The truth is, you had better really knock it out of the park to even hope for one '8' (and then have a few other great scripts to post to capitalize on any fleeting interest).
kintnerboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2017, 05:48 PM   #7
glantern2814
User
 
glantern2814's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 165
Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll share my most recent one.

My script, a high-budget biopic, got a 7-6-5 when I first submitted a couple of years ago. After some rewrites, the script did very well in competitions (won a competition in the UK, Nicholl QF, Austin QF twice). I decided to pay for another read and scored an 8.

The BL then offered me two free months of hosting if I took two more free reads from their folks. OK, I figured. With the 8, I got five or six downloads in a week from industry types and was on the trending list.

Then, the first of the free reads came back -- a 4. There was such a disparity from the 8 that I got an email offering me another read at a reduced rate, which I passed. The second free read came back a few days later with a 7 and very complimentary with the comments.

I argued with the BL folks about the merits of the 4 (for example, I got a 4/10 in setting, even though it's a factual historical biopic -- it takes place where it actually took place -- so why is that a 4?) Because of the way they do weighted averages, even though the average of the three scripts is 6.3 -- above the standard of 6.02 set by the BL to get on the top lists -- the weighted average (formula unknown) is apparently less. Since I got the 4, I haven't had a download since. So, essentially, the script will be hosted for free over the next six weeks with apparently no purpose.

I'm a little irritated because one score sank the script, which has a good pedigree. I realize contests aren't the be-all, end-all, but to do well in three high-profile contests, and get an 8 from a BL reader suggests to me it's a good script beyond my own ego.
glantern2814 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2017, 05:54 PM   #8
JoeBanks
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,692
Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

Quote:
Originally Posted by kintnerboy View Post
If I were a cynic (and I am) I would say that one look at the BL trending scripts timeline would tell you that writing a biopic about a hot button historical / social issue is worth a +2 to your overall score.

The truth is, you had better really knock it out of the park to even hope for one '8' (and then have a few other great scripts to post to capitalize on any fleeting interest).
i wish this were true but my social issue biopic only managed 5s (yes it needs another pass but the reviews were pretty fair about the strengths and weaknesses)
JoeBanks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2017, 07:54 PM   #9
SBdeb
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 501
Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

I had a similar situation to Kinterboy, and thought I share in case it is of interest to someone out there.

I paid for an eval in December 2017 --the only paid read for this script. It randomly scored a 9, which gave me three free evals. One of those was an 8 so I got two more free reads. In the end I had 14 evals: the one I paid for, the 5 free BL ones, and 8 industry ones. The paid one was a 9, the 5 free ones were 8, 7, 7, 6, 6. The industry ones were: 6,7,7,7, 8,8,8,8.

I also got to be featured script in spring. I donít know how many months I ended up paying for hosting after the free hosting they gave me. In the past 12 months, I had 40 industry downloads (again, eight of them evaluated the script which was nice as you need to have a good number of evals to keep it listed on the top lists for year to date) and 1,238 views (whatever those are).

Disappointingly, only two producers (and no reps) reached out to me and though one was very interested in optioning it, in the end it didnít pan out. I believe high scores can be used in queries, but my little character-driven drama is low concept and not the type that is universally loved. I did some querying with '9 on Blacklist' in the subject line and maybe got 2 or 3 read requests. I may not have selected the right reps to reach out to, and my logline is evidently not very compelling (which I suspect is part of my problem in not being able to capitalize on some decent scores.)

To my DDP friends: I got some solid feed back from you guys as I was crafting the story--as painful as it can be. (I had a family in a car and the parents telling the kids they were getting a divorce. I remember someone saying "you can do better" ... and I did.)

On a side note, I feel that the Black List treated me well. Frankly, the high scores were super encouraging to me, and that is huge. I was always aware that somehow my script simply connected with the very first BL reader who gave it a 9, so when later two BL readers gave it disappointing 6s, I was able to shrug it off, because clearly it did not resonate with them.
SBdeb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2017, 09:44 AM   #10
kintnerboy
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,479
Default Re: Black List Website Postmortem

Quote:
Originally Posted by glantern2814 View Post
Because of the way they do weighted averages, even though the average of the three scripts is 6.3 -- above the standard of 6.02 set by the BL to get on the top lists -- the weighted average (formula unknown) is apparently less. Since I got the 4, I haven't had a download since. So, essentially, the script will be hosted for free over the next six weeks with apparently no purpose.
I'm in the exact same position. I've been hosted for free since October (when I got the 8) but my two free reads came back as 5s, which knocked me off the toplist, and so no one has looked at it since.

Ideally, when you get the 8 you should get a healthy amount of downloads, and you have to hope that some of those pros leave you 8s and 9s (which is what happened to me initially last year) because the paid readers are pretty unforgiving.

When I got the most recent 8, the BL of course included my script in the weekly email blast, and then promoted it again on their Twitter account a week after that, but both of those plugs only resulted in 1 additional download, which is why I feel like it has run its course, and everybody who wanted to see my script has seen it.

It was a fun ride, but I need to finish up a new script in some other genre.
kintnerboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Done Deal Pro

eXTReMe Tracker