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Old 02-23-2015, 08:04 PM   #621
FranklinLeonard
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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
I'm more concerned about the minimum one-year requirements. Some of the comments I've received just seemed so silly / amateurish.

For eg, One reader complained my 36-year-old action hero lead was "too old." Which apparently explains why Iron Man is such a huge BO failure (He's 49). Not to mention my lead's age could be adjusted to 26 with ZERO effect on the story.

Similarly, TWO reviewers gave my low-budget sci-fi a "blockbuster" budget because I had a thirty-second-long scene of New York being engulfed by a hurricane. After watching Sharknado, I bet those same reviewers thought the CGI cost $160 million alone.

I just have a hunch the best readers out there are working for the big companies, and the BL gets the bottom of the barrel.
Your hunch is, simply put, incorrect.

All of our readers have worked for at least a year at - at a minimum - reputable agencies, management companies, production companies, and studios. They are further vetted by me personally based on their ability to critically read and write and their knowledge of the current market for screenplays.

I would encourage you to share the actual comments your readers issued on your scripts, both the "too old" action hero and the blockbuster budget. Based only on your comments, I would say two things:

1. If your lead character can be aged down by a decade with zero effect on the story, I suspect you have bigger problems with the script than a too old action hero.

2. If TWO readers believe that the budget is likely to be interpreted as a blockbuster, I suspect that there's either A. more to the script's size and scope than you're suggesting here, or B. the presentation of New York flooding suggests a larger budget than you're possibly admitting to yourself. There are plenty of ways to suggest New York flooding on the page that range widely in terms of the implied budget.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:05 PM   #622
FranklinLeonard
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by jariax View Post
I don't really see how their model works.
The only readers they accept are readers with experience with agencies etc.

They pay the readers $25, which is about $12.50/hour if the reader spends a whopping two hours on the script.

So, I imagine it's difficult to get enough quality reviewers with the right background, that are willing to work for $12 an hour.
The hourly wage works out to about what the agencies pay their readers for reading work. The difference with us is that the work is incredibly flexible and readers can suspend their reading queues as they desire.

Consequently, we're able to get quite a few readers with "the right background." Over fifty at present.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:21 PM   #623
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Franklin,

Is the Black List planning on doing another round of submission calls for TV this year? Thanks!
Ah, Franklin's back. I'm going to repost in hopes of an answer. Thanks, Franklin.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:39 PM   #624
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Ah, Franklin's back. I'm going to repost in hopes of an answer. Thanks, Franklin.
Sorry. Missed this question. We're always accepting pilot scripts via the site. We have no immediate plans to announce further partnerships with television networks, but as they happen, we'll obviously announce them.

Know too though that there are always additional opportunities that aren't announced (e.g. the Sundance episodic lab asking us to recommend writers whose scripts have performed well on the site, etc.)
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:43 PM   #625
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by FranklinLeonard View Post
Your hunch is, simply put, incorrect.

All of our readers have worked for at least a year at - at a minimum - reputable agencies, management companies, production companies, and studios. They are further vetted by me personally based on their ability to critically read and write and their knowledge of the current market for screenplays.

I would encourage you to share the actual comments your readers issued on your scripts, both the "too old" action hero and the blockbuster budget. Based only on your comments, I would say two things:

1. If your lead character can be aged down by a decade with zero effect on the story, I suspect you have bigger problems with the script than a too old action hero.

2. If TWO readers believe that the budget is likely to be interpreted as a blockbuster, I suspect that there's either A. more to the script's size and scope than you're suggesting here, or B. the presentation of New York flooding suggests a larger budget than you're possibly admitting to yourself. There are plenty of ways to suggest New York flooding on the page that range widely in terms of the implied budget.
I doubt a 33-year-old Robert Downey Jr. would radically alter Iron Man 1. Or a 35-year-old Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in The Avengers. The lead in my action flick is just a hard-nosed marine. You could cast any actor in the 25-40 role. His age is never a factor in the story.

As for budget, if the alien invasion flick "Skyline" can be made for $10 million, I have zero clue how my script (95% of which takes place inside a mine) would cost $165 million. There's no flooding. There's one big cgi shot of a hurricane engulfing NY -- no flooding.

The bottom of the barrel thing was harsh. I apologize. I've just had a frustrating BL experience. Maybe if the readers could write more detailed coverage, they could offer more of an explanation as to why the budget would be so high or why they think the actor needs to be younger, etc.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:14 PM   #626
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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
I doubt a 33-year-old Robert Downey Jr. would radically alter Iron Man 1. Or a 35-year-old Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in The Avengers. The lead in my action flick is just a hard-nosed marine. You could cast any actor in the 25-40 role. His age is never a factor in the story.

As for budget, if the alien invasion flick "Skyline" can be made for $10 million, I have zero clue how my script (95% of which takes place inside a mine) would cost $165 million. There's no flooding. There's one big cgi shot of a hurricane engulfing NY -- no flooding.

The bottom of the barrel thing was harsh. I apologize. I've just had a frustrating BL experience. Maybe if the readers could write more detailed coverage, they could offer more of an explanation as to why the budget would be so high or why they think the actor needs to be younger, etc.
The age of the actor is a moot point. I'm talking about the age of the character. A man at age 36 is a very different psychological reality than a man at age 26, something I personally know all too well. They have different life experiences, skill sets, and preoccupations, particularly if they're a "hard nosed marine." And the characterization and resulting plot should reflect that, if the script is strong.

A 28 year old Tony Stark is a very different character than a 38 year Tony Stark. Ditto Bruce Banner. And notice further that you're using as comps characters that are already a somewhat formed in the psyche of many moviegoers. You're creating a new character out of whole cloth, so it's critical that the character be specific, lest your audience (and your readers) are going to have a difficult time imagining it.

As for budget, don't believe everything you read. Skyline could report a $10MM budget because its directors owned a special effects house, and I'm reasonably sure the costs wouldn't be the same costs as they would for your film. But again, interrogate how the hurricane is being presented on the page. There's a reason the readers said it might be a blockbuster, even if it's a tenuous one. Further I'd ask if they said that it was ONLY able to be made on a blockbuster budget. Our readers are able to select multiple budgetary tags and they're encouraged to do so. I'd guess that at least one indicated that the script could be made for a number of different budgets, including Blockbuster.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:46 PM   #627
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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Originally Posted by FranklinLeonard View Post
The age of the actor is a moot point. I'm talking about the age of the character. A man at age 36 is a very different psychological reality than a man at age 26, something I personally know all too well.
This has gone a little astray. The original reader comment wasn't that his age didn't match his psychological state. The review in question was pulled & replaced with a new one, but the gist was that a 36-year-old lead was "too old" for the modern audience. I've since changed him to a 29-year-old disillusioned soldier. At least now a reader can't claim he's too old (American Sniper made $300 million).
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:14 PM   #628
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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
This has gone a little astray. The original reader comment wasn't that his age didn't match his psychological state. The review in question was pulled & replaced with a new one, but the gist was that a 36-year-old lead was "too old" for the modern audience. I've since changed him to a 29-year-old disillusioned soldier. At least now a reader can't claim he's too old (American Sniper made $300 million).
The gist is not the actual text. I'm glad to hear that the evaluation was removed, but I'd also caution you about using single examples of successes as justification for elements of your own scripts.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:03 AM   #629
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

I got one of these silly comments from a Black List reader, it’s worth a laugh...

“The early second act drags due largely to another logic hole: Bree and Grant quickly agree that the coincidence of their exes living on the street must be because they are secretly on a reality TV show. It’s illogical they would assume this having never signed a contract, even in their heightened world, and this wild assumption is too flimsy a motivator to keep the dramatic tension as they go from ex to ex making amends so as to look good for the cameras.”

So an unacceptable logic hole in a broad R-rated comedy is that it doesn’t adhere to the contractual rules of reality television! Someone’s been living in LA a bit too long!

It’s also the easiest fix in the world since one of the characters could say they signed a neighborhood association contract. However, it’s such a silly note that I suspect that putting in the fix for it would leave other readers scratching their heads.

In looking at the review again it also has another amusing note giving trope on display...

“It’s never made clear why Bree and Grant want to be married, despite their passive bourgeois values (Bree comments that “he gets a trophy wife and I get to be one”).”

So something that’s “never made clear” is sufficiently clear that the note giver manages to give a spot on explanation of it in the same sentence! The story includes backstory that explains why the protags came to be this way.

Since I know people don’t like it when we cull quotes from these reviews here is the full text...

“EX-STREET
Era: Present Day
Locations: Not Stated
Budgets: Medium
Genre: Action Comedy, Romantic Adventure

Logline: Cynical BREE and GRANT get married out of convenience and are cursed to live on a street with all of their exes.

Strengths: The high concept premise is original, and plays out in a number of fun ways. The curse first sets in when Bree and Grant are visited by their neighbors, the Nexters, and it’s clear that members of each couple recognizes members of the other. This continues with Bree and Grant spotting TJ and Aggy, their respective high school flings, and the concept fully explodes at a block party where the pair realizes they’ve dated every person who lives on the block. The wedding sequence is delightfully disrespectful of the institution of marriage, and Bree and Grant say their own cynical vows, asking to be cut to pieces or eaten by fish if they don’t fulfill their marital obligations. This pays off well in future obstacles, especially when Bree and Grant recognizes they’ve been cursed and each try to sneak away from the house, only to face increasing threats of knives and/or fish attack. The film starts with the sickly sweet wedding of Molly and Bastion, whose cloying romance serves as an excellent foil for Bree and Grant’s arrangement: this leads to a great turn in the late second act, when the dinner party revelation of the street being full of Bree and Grant’s exes causes Molly and Bastion to fly off the handle and not rest until they see Bree and Grant punished for destroying their romance.

Weaknesses: There are a number of logic holes that hurt the pacing of the script. It’s never made clear why Bree and Grant want to be married, despite their passive bourgeois values (Bree comments that “he gets a trophy wife and I get to be one”). The story will be strengthened if they have a clearer motivation for their marriage, or else it doesn’t make sense that they wouldn’t just take the annulment. The curse of the occult shrine works okay as a plot device, but it requires Scales to pop up in odd places like the block party, at which point he must explain everything in non-filmic talking head scenes. The early second act drags due largely to another logic hole: Bree and Grant quickly agree that the coincidence of their exes living on the street must be because they are secretly on a reality TV show. It’s illogical they would assume this having never signed a contract, even in their heightened world, and this wild assumption is too flimsy a motivator to keep the dramatic tension as they go from ex to ex making amends so as to look good for the cameras. The end sequence with Molly and Bastion out for vengeance has good tension, but needs a better setup: it was never stated that Bree and Grant slept with them during their relationship, so it’s illogical that they go so cuckoo in assuming the other to be a cheater.

Prospects: This script could do well as a studio romantic adventure comedy if the logic holes are smoothed out to keep the narrative tension through the second act.

Pages: 98”
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:42 AM   #630
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Default Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howie428 View Post
I got one of these silly comments from a Black List reader, it’s worth a laugh...

“The early second act drags due largely to another logic hole: Bree and Grant quickly agree that the coincidence of their exes living on the street must be because they are secretly on a reality TV show. It’s illogical they would assume this having never signed a contract, even in their heightened world, and this wild assumption is too flimsy a motivator to keep the dramatic tension as they go from ex to ex making amends so as to look good for the cameras.”

So an unacceptable logic hole in a broad R-rated comedy is that it doesn’t adhere to the contractual rules of reality television! Someone’s been living in LA a bit too long!

It’s also the easiest fix in the world since one of the characters could say they signed a neighborhood association contract. However, it’s such a silly note that I suspect that putting in the fix for it would leave other readers scratching their heads.

In looking at the review again it also has another amusing note giving trope on display...

“It’s never made clear why Bree and Grant want to be married, despite their passive bourgeois values (Bree comments that “he gets a trophy wife and I get to be one”).”

So something that’s “never made clear” is sufficiently clear that the note giver manages to give a spot on explanation of it in the same sentence! The story includes backstory that explains why the protags came to be this way.

Since I know people don’t like it when we cull quotes from these reviews here is the full text...

“EX-STREET
Era: Present Day
Locations: Not Stated
Budgets: Medium
Genre: Action Comedy, Romantic Adventure

Logline: Cynical BREE and GRANT get married out of convenience and are cursed to live on a street with all of their exes.

Strengths: The high concept premise is original, and plays out in a number of fun ways. The curse first sets in when Bree and Grant are visited by their neighbors, the Nexters, and it’s clear that members of each couple recognizes members of the other. This continues with Bree and Grant spotting TJ and Aggy, their respective high school flings, and the concept fully explodes at a block party where the pair realizes they’ve dated every person who lives on the block. The wedding sequence is delightfully disrespectful of the institution of marriage, and Bree and Grant say their own cynical vows, asking to be cut to pieces or eaten by fish if they don’t fulfill their marital obligations. This pays off well in future obstacles, especially when Bree and Grant recognizes they’ve been cursed and each try to sneak away from the house, only to face increasing threats of knives and/or fish attack. The film starts with the sickly sweet wedding of Molly and Bastion, whose cloying romance serves as an excellent foil for Bree and Grant’s arrangement: this leads to a great turn in the late second act, when the dinner party revelation of the street being full of Bree and Grant’s exes causes Molly and Bastion to fly off the handle and not rest until they see Bree and Grant punished for destroying their romance.

Weaknesses: There are a number of logic holes that hurt the pacing of the script. It’s never made clear why Bree and Grant want to be married, despite their passive bourgeois values (Bree comments that “he gets a trophy wife and I get to be one”). The story will be strengthened if they have a clearer motivation for their marriage, or else it doesn’t make sense that they wouldn’t just take the annulment. The curse of the occult shrine works okay as a plot device, but it requires Scales to pop up in odd places like the block party, at which point he must explain everything in non-filmic talking head scenes. The early second act drags due largely to another logic hole: Bree and Grant quickly agree that the coincidence of their exes living on the street must be because they are secretly on a reality TV show. It’s illogical they would assume this having never signed a contract, even in their heightened world, and this wild assumption is too flimsy a motivator to keep the dramatic tension as they go from ex to ex making amends so as to look good for the cameras. The end sequence with Molly and Bastion out for vengeance has good tension, but needs a better setup: it was never stated that Bree and Grant slept with them during their relationship, so it’s illogical that they go so cuckoo in assuming the other to be a cheater.

Prospects: This script could do well as a studio romantic adventure comedy if the logic holes are smoothed out to keep the narrative tension through the second act.

Pages: 98”
Thanks for sharing this. It seems to show to me that these readers are pretty spot on.
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