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Old 09-15-2016, 08:06 AM   #891
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by Phoenixman78 View Post
I'm not trying to convince anyone so you can untwist your panties and calm your farm. There's always people bitching on here about the BL, which I myself have done in the past, but they seem to think it's going to be their break into the industry which it has been for some people but for the vast vast vast majority it's resulted in nothing but a lighter bank balance.
The biggest issue with the BL is that for 95% of writers, it doesn't actially give you anything in return. That's why it feels like a con job. I've personally spent $500 on the BL, and have received no tangible advice, knowlefge or assistance whatsoever. I literally spent my money for a "Don't quit your day job."
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Old 09-15-2016, 10:04 AM   #892
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by FoxHound View Post
The biggest issue with the BL is that for 95% of writers, it doesn't actially give you anything in return. That's why it feels like a con job. I've personally spent $500 on the BL, and have received no tangible advice, knowlefge or assistance whatsoever. I literally spent my money for a "Don't quit your day job."
99.9% of all writers who try to break into the business through any avenue will not succeed. why should the Black List be any different?
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Old 09-15-2016, 11:14 AM   #893
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by JoeBanks View Post
99.9% of all writers who try to break into the business through any avenue will not succeed. why should the Black List be any different?
The BL actually did take the stance that it was, in fact, different.

Especially in the beginning, the BL presented itself as the be all and end all of contests. Remember the media blitz? All the articles written and interviews given? All the hoopla here, even, with Franklin announcing something "huge" about to happen that would change the industry in favor of writers forever? Because all you needed was a highly-scored script?

While other contests promised you'd get a read and maybe some traction if you were lucky, the BL (at least initially, when they needed the business) took the -- THIS IS IT!!! THIS IS ALL YOU NEED!!! -- route.

Well, that was great for marketing, but it is also tough for a service to live down once it's found out that isn't exactly the case...

I don't use it anymore, so I don't even care one way or the other, but that is why. Because writers got those elusive 8s or 9s and... often times nothing happened. They felt misled a bit.
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Old 09-15-2016, 01:00 PM   #894
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

Writers get rejected most of the time in this business...for free.

A tiny percentage of those writers will break through every year...for free.

If a writer chooses to pay money to receive an otherwise free rejection...well that's exactly why business types don't respect writers in general.

If your script is good enough to score well on the BL, it's good enough to get noticed...for free. Eager new writers are attempting to shortcut the learning process new writers need to go through in order to succeed. Learning about the industry, as in learning how to get that one-in-a-million script into the proper hands is an important part of the learning process so that they can become both writers AND business persons.

Writers need to understand that they can't buy their way into the business unless they pay the price of producing their own successful film. The BL and other pay services cash in on the myth of buying one's way in is possible for a nominal fee. It's not. It's a money grab. The BL is fully aware that most paying customers are throwing their money away, and even worse, those customers aren't learning anything in the process because they're interacting an inert website with secret readers rather than human beings working at entertainment companies/agencies. Normally, a business that sells the majority of its customers nothing is a scam. But in Hollywood, if you know the right people, they'll allow you to call it an 'opportunity'.

Don't believe a word I've posted? That's fine. Study the history for yourself. There is nothing new under the sun. People have been trying to scam aspiring screenwriters long before there was a BL, or even a www for that matter. Long, long before managers suddenly appeared in the last couple of decades and ruined the spec market for writers (a post for another day), there were agents out there charging aspiring writers to read their scripts with absolutely zero guarantees that the script would even be adequately read. Sound familiar? It got so bad with ripoff artists making more money charging for reads than they ever did selling scripts. Sound familiar? A law had to be passed forbidding Guild signatory agents from charging aspiring writers for reads. Charging for reads, sound familiar? Aspiring writers were so desperate they would give their money to anyone just to take a look. The writers needed to be protected from their own overwhelming desperation. Sound familiar?

Charging aspiring writers to get read is unethical, not because mgwriter is an ass who dislikes the BL. It just is. Charging for reads was deemed bad for writers long before mgwriter ever thought about writing anything, and it still is. We need to educate ourselves on the history so we don't make the same mistakes over and over.

Now Franklin Leonard is a clever guy, and went out and made associations with WGA. He did this to protect his bottom line (money charged for reads). He will undoubtedly chime in and cite his association with the WGA as an endorsement for charging for reads. IT IS NOT THAT! Franklin is very good at sleight of hand, taking one thing and pretending it means something else. He does it all the time with the Annual Blacklist pretending it equates to success stories on the Paying Blacklist, when in fact they are two totally separate things. The Annual Blacklist has elvolved to where it highlights the favorite scripts that have not gone into production yet, but are well on their way to production and maybe a few not going into production to keep the illusion alive. And then Franklin turns around and markets the produced movies as Blacklist success stories. If you produce a list of movies about to go into production soon, you can't turn around and take credit for picking the movies that got produced. Look at some of the status and attachments on Annual Blacklist. It's like, duh? A movie was made? The worst part is when Franklin uses Annual Blacklist movies that got produced and markets them as success stories to encourage people to purchase reads on the Paid Blacklist when one list has nothing to do with the other, just a tad unethical.

In reality, Franklin Leonard's association with the WGA essentially amounts to WGA members being allowed to list their scripts for free, which actually helps the BL as they attempt to become Hollywood's one stop shop for all scripts available, what a magnanimous gesture. The WGA DOES NOT ENDORSE charging aspiring writers for reads, what they have is an association that allows current members to list their scripts for free, which is NOT an endorsement of charging writers for reads. if the WGA's current leadership knew more about the WGA's history and stance against writers paying for reads, then they would stay far away from the BL pay site. People who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it.

Because of advancements in technology it's easier than ever to dress things up to look like legitimate business even when something is scammy in its origins at the very least. I give you the BL pay site. It's an intricate looking website with all kinds of buttons and metric diagrams that mean nothing. at the end of the day, it's nothing more than the latest form of the old charging writers for reads scam. It's an historically unethical practice (not because mgwriter says so, because history says so) used to make money selling the dream of making movies rather than doing the hard work of making movies to EARN money that way.

And now folks will start with the inevitable name calling and personally attacking mgwriter as they seek to gain favor with the BL, a service that has little to no respect for aspiring writers, though the ones who are friends of Franklin seem to do okay. But people won't successfully attack mgwriter's message, as that would be an attack on historical facts. Educate oneself.

Happy and successful writing!

Last edited by mgwriter : 09-15-2016 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:14 PM   #895
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

I appreciate your stroll down memory lane, mgwriter.

The best thing I got from the BL is a "paid read" that was as objective as I can get with my limited network of people willing read. It was cheap compared to the Mechanic or the Gal and it didn't lead to one request for more material from someone at the entry level of one of the big literary agencies.

But most of all, it convinced me to start producing/directing/editing in order to build my WRITING career.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-15-2016, 03:41 PM   #896
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by Kermet Key View Post
The best thing I got from the BL is a "paid read" that was as objective as I can get with my limited network of people willing read. It was cheap compared to the Mechanic or the Gal
Titan Creed's reads are 30 bucks. And they are really good.
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Old 09-15-2016, 03:46 PM   #897
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgwriter View Post
Writers get rejected most of the time in this business...for free.

A tiny percentage of those writers will break through every year...for free.

If a writer chooses to pay money to receive an otherwise free rejection...well that's exactly why business types don't respect writers in general.

If your script is good enough to score well on the BL, it's good enough to get noticed...for free. Eager new writers are attempting to shortcut the learning process new writers need to go through in order to succeed. Learning about the industry, as in learning how to get that one-in-a-million script into the proper hands is an important part of the learning process so that they can become both writers AND business persons.

Writers need to understand that they can't buy their way into the business unless they pay the price of producing their own successful film. The BL and other pay services cash in on the myth of buying one's way in is possible for a nominal fee. It's not. It's a money grab. The BL is fully aware that most paying customers are throwing their money away, and even worse, those customers aren't learning anything in the process because they're interacting an inert website with secret readers rather than human beings working at entertainment companies/agencies. Normally, a business that sells the majority of its customers nothing is a scam. But in Hollywood, if you know the right people, they'll allow you to call it an 'opportunity'.

Don't believe a word I've posted? That's fine. Study the history for yourself. There is nothing new under the sun. People have been trying to scam aspiring screenwriters long before there was a BL, or even a www for that matter. Long, long before managers suddenly appeared in the last couple of decades and ruined the spec market for writers (a post for another day), there were agents out there charging aspiring writers to read their scripts with absolutely zero guarantees that the script would even be adequately read. Sound familiar? It got so bad with ripoff artists making more money charging for reads than they ever did selling scripts. Sound familiar? A law had to be passed forbidding Guild signatory agents from charging aspiring writers for reads. Charging for reads, sound familiar? Aspiring writers were so desperate they would give their money to anyone just to take a look. The writers needed to be protected from their own overwhelming desperation. Sound familiar?

Charging aspiring writers to get read is unethical, not because mgwriter is an ass who dislikes the BL. It just is. Charging for reads was deemed bad for writers long before mgwriter ever thought about writing anything, and it still is. We need to educate ourselves on the history so we don't make the same mistakes over and over.

Now Franklin Leonard is a clever guy, and went out and made associations with WGA. He did this to protect his bottom line (money charged for reads). He will undoubtedly chime in and cite his association with the WGA as an endorsement for charging for reads. IT IS NOT THAT! Franklin is very good at sleight of hand, taking one thing and pretending it means something else. He does it all the time with the Annual Blacklist pretending it equates to success stories on the Paying Blacklist, when in fact they are two totally separate things. The Annual Blacklist has elvolved to where it highlights the favorite scripts that have not gone into production yet, but are well on their way to production and maybe a few not going into production to keep the illusion alive. And then Franklin turns around and markets the produced movies as Blacklist success stories. If you produce a list of movies about to go into production soon, you can't turn around and take credit for picking the movies that got produced. Look at some of the status and attachments on Annual Blacklist. It's like, duh? A movie was made? The worst part is when Franklin uses Annual Blacklist movies that got produced and markets them as success stories to encourage people to purchase reads on the Paid Blacklist when one list has nothing to do with the other, just a tad unethical.

In reality, Franklin Leonard's association with the WGA essentially amounts to WGA members being allowed to list their scripts for free, which actually helps the BL as they attempt to become Hollywood's one stop shop for all scripts available, what a magnanimous gesture. The WGA DOES NOT ENDORSE charging aspiring writers for reads, what they have is an association that allows current members to list their scripts for free, which is NOT an endorsement of charging writers for reads. if the WGA's current leadership knew more about the WGA's history and stance against writers paying for reads, then they would stay far away from the BL pay site. People who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it.

Because of advancements in technology it's easier than ever to dress things up to look like legitimate business even when something is scammy in its origins at the very least. I give you the BL pay site. It's an intricate looking website with all kinds of buttons and metric diagrams that mean nothing. at the end of the day, it's nothing more than the latest form of the old charging writers for reads scam. It's an historically unethical practice (not because mgwriter says so, because history says so) used to make money selling the dream of making movies rather than doing the hard work of making movies to EARN money that way.

And now folks will start with the inevitable name calling and personally attacking mgwriter as they seek to gain favor with the BL, a service that has little to no respect for aspiring writers, though the ones who are friends of Franklin seem to do okay. But people won't successfully attack mgwriter's message, as that would be an attack on historical facts. Educate oneself.

Happy and successful writing!
The notion that charging for reads is something that history had previously settled as "unethical" is untrue. I'm curious if you think the Nicholl Fellowship was unethical for charging for submissions to its contest for years without even providing feedback. Are they unethical now because they do? How about the Austin Film Festival screenwriting competition?

As for the WGA, our association with all writers guilds (East and West, of Great Britain, of Canada, of New Zealand, and South Africa) isn't an endorsement of charging for reads generally, and abstracting it to such a claim is ridiculous. It's an endorsement of the Black List as an organization, its website, and the way we do business, just as the Academy's relationship with the Nicholl is not an endorsement of charging for reads generally, it's an endorsement of the Nicholl Fellowship and how it does business under Greg's extraordinarily watchful eye.

Further, your description of our association with the Guilds is woefully inadequate, but if you doubt the depth of their support of our organization, look no further than the public comments (and participation) of WGA East and West Board members Billy Ray and Beau Willimon as mentors of our screenwriters labs and WGAw President Howard Rodman in the announcement of the annual list this year. Or talk to Craig Mazin and John August - both past and present WGAw board members - about their thoughts on what we do. I doubt seriously that they would engage in such heavy, public association if we were who you claimed we are.

And no, we don't use the success of scripts from the annual Black List to get people to pay for reads on the website. We always distinguish those success stories as scripts from the annual Black List as opposed to the website. And frankly, we don't need to: A half dozen scripts from the website have already been produced into feature films, and every single one of those movies have premiered at a major film festival (London, Sundance, Toronto, Los Angeles, SXSW, and Toronto... just last week KATIE SAYS GOODBYE.)

Last edited by FranklinLeonard : 09-15-2016 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 09-15-2016, 03:54 PM   #898
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by figment View Post
The BL actually did take the stance that it was, in fact, different.

Especially in the beginning, the BL presented itself as the be all and end all of contests. Remember the media blitz? All the articles written and interviews given? All the hoopla here, even, with Franklin announcing something "huge" about to happen that would change the industry in favor of writers forever? Because all you needed was a highly-scored script?

While other contests promised you'd get a read and maybe some traction if you were lucky, the BL (at least initially, when they needed the business) took the -- THIS IS IT!!! THIS IS ALL YOU NEED!!! -- route.

Well, that was great for marketing, but it is also tough for a service to live down once it's found out that isn't exactly the case...

I don't use it anymore, so I don't even care one way or the other, but that is why. Because writers got those elusive 8s or 9s and... often times nothing happened. They felt misled a bit.
It is different, and I've enumerated the ways in which it was and is endlessly, and I stand by them. I don't believe I've ever claimed that "this is all you need" (Though feel free to point me in that direction if I've ever said that), and I have in fact encouraged folks to use or not use the Black List website as they see fit. My point of view on the site remains largely unchanged from when I pushed this essay the day after we launched.

I even address the question of folks who get good scores but don't get signed or sell their scripts therein. An 8 or a 9 from one of our paid readers doesn't mean you're a brilliant writer who's ready to be a working screenwriter or have their script sold. It means that one industry professional really liked your script and would recommend it to another industry professional.

Can that lead to you getting signed? Yes, it's happened quite literally hundreds of times. Can that lead to your script selling or being optioned? Yes, same thing. Can that even lead to your script getting made? Also yes, and it's already happened a half dozen times.

But please spare me and everyone else the straw man argument that we claimed to be a silver bullet where everyone with a halfway decent script would get signed.

We didn't, nor would we ever.

We represent - among many other things - a more efficient marketplace where strong scripts can receive greater visibility than they would anywhere else. Is it perfect? No, but thousands of writers have benefited from the feedback we provide and hundreds have found themselves with representation, producers, directors, and produced movies they likely wouldn't have either.
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Old 09-15-2016, 05:56 PM   #899
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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I don't believe I've ever claimed that "this is all you need"


But please spare me and everyone else the straw man argument that we claimed to be a silver bullet where everyone with a halfway decent script would get signed.

We didn't, nor would we ever.
Nowhere in my post did I state that "everyone with a halfway decent script would get signed..."

Hell, a halfway decent script would be scored a "5," would it not? Ha!


I remember the hoopla, it absolutely was billed as the new thing that writers needed, finally (hence the silver bullet for very great scripts). It was created for writers.

Re: the claim "all you need": meaning what the BL decided was missing in other contests was better paid writers, transparent scoring, a meritocracy, and anyone in the industry being able to download a script...

... in reality reads are crapshoots (because Franklin, all reads are crapshoots no matter the contest...), the scoring is a nice aspect but inconsistent (again, just like every other contest), and when you score the elusive 8, 9 or 10 it can often mean nothing for you (again, just like every other contest).

It doesn't mean the Bl is evil. It means the BL isn't any better or worse than any other avenue -- which was not how it was initially presented -- it was supposedly better because it had those different aspects -- and gobs of data to boot!

(I'm not even against you, btw. I love it that some writers are getting signed/sold, and I absolutely look forward to the BL "list" every year. This is my last BL post. Anyone on the board, feel free to shoot me in the head if I ever contribute again, cuz honestly...)
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Old 09-16-2016, 03:54 PM   #900
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

I'll lock this incredibly long thread up since a new one was started.
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