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Old 02-09-2014, 12:04 PM   #241
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Default Re: Blacklist Secret Shopping Experience

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Originally Posted by Bitter Script Reader View Post
They're explicitly told NOT to judge on that criteria. They don't second guess what other people MIGHT think of the script. They are to evaluate it based on their own professional judgement.
They may not be told to second guess what other people MIGHT think of the script but I'm sure they do. I'm sure they second guess how they'll be judge themselves for recommending this or that script. Or whether they'll get fired for championing a script that pisses most people off. It's human. Everyone is looking to save face on some level. Our egos will have it no other way.
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:08 PM   #242
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Default Re: Blacklist Secret Shopping Experience

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But how does one reader fathom what might be viably commercial for a myriad of some 2300 industry folks while reading/analyzing scripts.

For that reason, I echo Geoff's & Margie's thoughts as I mentioned earlier...
Which is exactly what Franklin has spent the last 400 pages of this thread saying. A lot of criticism has been that though a reader might not rate a piece, an industry pro would, so a reader should think of whether someone might want to produce it. As Franklin has repeated, a person cannot legislate for the opinion of others so can only go off their own judgement.
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:08 PM   #243
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Default Re: Blacklist Secret Shopping Experience

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Actually, they put Sanjaya through to the Top 12, so this is not the best analogy
Yeah, but Sanjaya was also utterly unlike anyone out there and he was getting attention in a way that suggested an audience might find him compelling. He's the crazy polarizing outlier.

If you must think of him in screenwriting terms, he's the BALLS OUT of American Idol performers, loved and hated in equally intense measures for being such a contrast to the norm.
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:19 PM   #244
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Default Re: Blacklist Secret Shopping Experience

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Originally Posted by Bitter Script Reader View Post
Yeah, but Sanjaya was also utterly unlike anyone out there and he was getting attention in a way that suggested an audience might find him compelling. He's the crazy polarizing outlier.

If you must think of him in screenwriting terms, he's the BALLS OUT of American Idol performers, loved and hated in equally intense measures for being such a contrast to the norm.
Okay. Then based on my polarizing score history, I am the Sanjaya of the Black List, and should be getting a deal any day now
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:38 PM   #245
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Default Re: Blacklist Secret Shopping Experience

I don't know if there's a proper end to this debate.

The site has its rating system and it's got a big element of the subjective, because that's inherent in any creative assessment.

They went with 1-10, which personally I don't mind. It's got to be more informative than 'pass, consider, recommend,' which is restrictive and doesn't give as much flexibility.

That said, a document explaining to the readers (and writers) what each number means can't hurt, and for all I know, already exists.
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:23 PM   #246
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Default Re: Blacklist Secret Shopping Experience

For me a quality to look for in a pro-reader would be the ability to evaluate scripts beyond the narrow field of their own opinion. The industry shouldn’t be recruiting readers for their opinions, they should recruit for insight and expertise.

To be fair, I’d guess many experienced readers do exhibit these qualities and that reading numerous scripts would have the effect of teaching these skills. Hopefully the Black List is able to cherry pick these higher quality readers.

I imagine most of us have encountered readers who allow their opinions to override their evaluation of a script. I’m sure I’ve done it myself! Often these reviews take the form of “The script you should have written is...”

Sometimes those will be valid opinions and you’ll come to see that a major rewrite makes sense. Other times your response is “No, it’s not, because...” and you’ll conclude that you the artist made a valid artistic choice. You are then at an impasse with that specific reader.

In the case of Jeff’s feedback, the lower scoring reviewer is stating that the script he should have written is one in which the social attitudes of key players are more acceptable in a modern context. Jeff doesn’t agree and has made a good case for what he has chosen to do.

So it comes down to the unanswerable question of who is right? Jeff has earned the right to say, “I am.” The rest of us have to take our lumps with a $50 hole in our pocket.

As a reviewer it is a true challenge to first accept the writer’s intent. Anyone can second guess artistic choices based on the choice they would have made. The person who has put the brutal work in is entitled to a default assumption that their intent is valid. To base an evaluation on an assessment that you know better than the writer you need to be able to explain the flaw or mistake, rather than provide an alternate opinion.

Suggestions to make things better are fine. Dinging a project based on your opinion when you’re second guessing the writer is not.
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:26 PM   #247
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Default Re: Blacklist Secret Shopping Experience

Crazy thread.

I think the last few pages are very interesting, and I like where Geoff is headed with his comments.

I don't have a problem with the 1-10 scale. I did have a problem with is when there are more than the average point spread on a high-low basis for reviews, but now I've accepted that my script can be polarizing.

I had one review that clearly (at least to me) the reader was ultra-sensitive to the violent nature of my spec. But even in that review, the reader had a lot of really good things to say about it, too-- which made the rating somewhat confusing.

What I'm not sure I believe yet, is that a '7' doesn't (generally speaking maybe) get lost statement because I did receive a 7 for my spec on 1/27 and the result:

4 pro views on 1/28
1 pro view on 1/29
1 pro view on 1/30
Downloads: zero

That's two full weeks. Not sure how long it should take. My spec is flagged as a high concept, so I don't know 'how' a spec doesn't get lost if there's nothing to notify the membership that there was a spec that received a new review and it was a 7.

Honestly, I'm not that upset about not receiving downloads, because the reviews have been insightful and I'll be rewriting this spec when the last review comes in-- most likely this week. Then I'll give another wackattit-- to see if it's actually ready to be queried. I don't want anyone taking a look at it until it's really ready, you know?

Admittedly, and in fairness to Franklin Leonard, I do not even pretend to understand the algorithms they use-- so maybe the bases are all covered.

It might be nice to consider having a list link that can be clicked on that lists scripts with new ratings/reviews. I can't think of the arguments against that, though I'm sure there are some.

So, bottom line is that I do think the site is worth my money and my time-- do I think it's perfect? No. Do I think it can be improved-- sure.

FA4

Post Edit: I think that Howie428 (above) has some very valid comments.
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:45 PM   #248
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Default Re: Blacklist Secret Shopping Experience

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Re Jeff's review (and I haven't read his script, so I can't comment on that one way or the other, Susan C I hate you)...

I have done many, many critiques/notes/reviews, both paid and unpaid. Probably the most important lesson I learned is the ability to recognize a script that is great but not one that I would necessarily want to see and give it high marks. Maybe the subject matter was polarizing. Maybe it left me uncomfortable. Upset my comfort zone. Challenged me. So I have to put my personal prejudices and feelings aside and still say with passion and conviction, this is great and it has a place. It might not be for me, but it will be for someone else. It shouldn't receive a low score because the reader wouldn't pay to see it. If it's great, it should stand alone.

In my opinion, it's not acceptable for a reader to say, I like comedies, therefore only give me comedies to crit. A good reader should be capable of handling all genres and give constructive, meaningful comments even if the script or subject matter is not their cup of tea.
Fundamentally disagree.

An exceptional reader with a great deal of experience may have developed a varied and deep enough knowledge base to deliver insightful notes across all genres, but there's a big difference between what makes a horror film work and what makes a romantic comedy work. Sure there's overlap, even significant overlap, but there's definitely specialized knowledge involved in each genre. There's absolutely no need to put a writer at a disadvantage by having a reader read a script they're likely to be predisposed against when it can be avoided.

That's why our readers aren't asked to read genres in which they have no interest. At a minimum, we try to give the writer the best opportunity to have their script liked.
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:46 PM   #249
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Default Re: Blacklist Secret Shopping Experience

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That said, a document explaining to the readers (and writers) what each number means can't hurt, and for all I know, already exists.
Exactly. I asked this almost a year ago in another Blacklist thread; is there a standard that the readers use when assigning scores. It seemed to me the answer was "Not really." We writers are okay with a numerical value being assigned to our script, as long as ALL the readers are grading on the same curve. As an example, I read a script that received a hiigh rating on the Blacklist. There was no way I would have rated that script so high. Based on this, I was sure the script I subsequently uploaded would receive a 10. It got a 6. I'm sure it deserved a 6, (it was an early draft) but I promise you that my reader judged on an entirely different scale than the reader of the high-scoring script. But if the readers are not told, 6 means this, 7 means this, etc. but instead are told to quantify a feeling, it's no wonder there is so much confusion and disparity in the scores. That is why we writers are asking for a more clearly defined rating system (consider/pass etc.) It's not so much so we can understand the rating system, but so we can have confidence that the readers do.

Also, everybody is saying: See, the system works, Jeff got a 9. But what if he only purchased one evaluation, the one that came back a 6. Wouldn't people be saying the process needs to be fixed?
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:53 PM   #250
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Default Re: Blacklist Secret Shopping Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howie428 View Post
For me a quality to look for in a pro-reader would be the ability to evaluate scripts beyond the narrow field of their own opinion. The industry shouldn’t be recruiting readers for their opinions, they should recruit for insight and expertise.

To be fair, I’d guess many experienced readers do exhibit these qualities and that reading numerous scripts would have the effect of teaching these skills. Hopefully the Black List is able to cherry pick these higher quality readers.

I imagine most of us have encountered readers who allow their opinions to override their evaluation of a script. I’m sure I’ve done it myself! Often these reviews take the form of “The script you should have written is...”

Sometimes those will be valid opinions and you’ll come to see that a major rewrite makes sense. Other times your response is “No, it’s not, because...” and you’ll conclude that you the artist made a valid artistic choice. You are then at an impasse with that specific reader.

In the case of Jeff’s feedback, the lower scoring reviewer is stating that the script he should have written is one in which the social attitudes of key players are more acceptable in a modern context. Jeff doesn’t agree and has made a good case for what he has chosen to do.

So it comes down to the unanswerable question of who is right? Jeff has earned the right to say, “I am.” The rest of us have to take our lumps with a $50 hole in our pocket.

As a reviewer it is a true challenge to first accept the writer’s intent. Anyone can second guess artistic choices based on the choice they would have made. The person who has put the brutal work in is entitled to a default assumption that their intent is valid. To base an evaluation on an assessment that you know better than the writer you need to be able to explain the flaw or mistake, rather than provide an alternate opinion.

Suggestions to make things better are fine. Dinging a project based on your opinion when you’re second guessing the writer is not.
This is brilliant. And the paragraph I BF'd is so good I think everyone, even those who simply give notes to friends, would do well to keep it in mind.

It's hard enough in an industry where non-writers have the final say on what gets developed or produced. Readers -- who are writers themselves, more often than not -- need to give the writer the benefit of the doubt.

One problem I see is that readers, for the most part, should be paid more to do what they do. So that they're compensated for the time needed to mull over the writer's intent and make a truly fair call.

For example, in Jeff's script (which had a number of Whoa! moments for me), there was one scene that made me so uncomfortable my knee-jerk thought was, "Do we really need this scene?" And I read it again. And then a third time because that's what it took for the discomfort pass and I realized, "Ah - I see exactly what he's doing. Yes. the scene works."

I'll be honest, though, if I was getting paid $25 per read and had a stack of scripts to get through PLUS was tasked with writing a cogent assessment of the script, I may have gone with my knee jerk reaction and moved on.

It sort of boggles my mind, in an industry where so much money is risked, readers, the first filter of material, get paid so little.
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