The New Black List

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  • ATB
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    Here's the thing, Jak: many great scripts go unrepped, unsold and unmade. And Pulp Fiction could very well have been one of them.

    It was made because Tarantino had already proven his ability as a solid, bankable director. If he hadn't, PF probably would not have made it.

    And rightfully so. No one spends millions to a make a movie they're not sure will make money. But Tarantino was/is bankable. As is Terrence Malick or Nicolas Refn or Wes Anderson or Paul Thomas Anderson or whoever else.

    Pulp Fiction was made because of Tarantino. Tree of Life because of Malick. Drive because of Refn. Moonlight Kingdom because of Anderson. The Master because of PTA.

    These are not examples that disprove the necessity of a solid concept. These are examples of talented people earning the right to bet their careers on not-so-marketable ideas.

    Leave a comment:


  • Deion22
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    I think people are missing what HALLOWEENJAK is saying. or maybe I'm misunderstanding. Let's take Tarrantino's history out of the convo. What I think he is saying, if an average JOE queried with a script that was like PULP FICTION, execs would pass reading on the script. Because it doesn't really have a concise logline.

    For example a script that rocks and sold for a million dollars, PRISONERS doesn't not have a really compelling logline. But the script is f*cking awesome. I think the point he is trying to make and kind of what BDZ said, there are a lot of scripts that have great loglines that suck. There are also scripts that don't have compelling loglines that are awesome scripts. HEAT is a perfect example.

    Leave a comment:

  • halloweenjak
    Regular

  • halloweenjak
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    Originally posted by haroldhecuba View Post
    You're absolutely right, halloweenie...since your script can't be 'pitched' in less than a sentence or two, it's Hollywood's fault.

    And you still miss the point that it doesn't matter what the logline for PULP FICTION is...as long as you've got a couple of optioned screenplays under your belt, and your first directorial effort was a critical and commercial success, you're going to be given a little bit longer leash to follow it up with a movie that only has one star.

    HH

    This is Monday morning quarterbacking on your part.

    Using Tarantino's history is not fair to the premise of the hypothetical.

    Saying he's an exception because he was a success, isn't fair to the hypothetical.

    If the cards hadn't aligned with "Reservoir Dogs" and Tarantino had been working in that video store when he wrote "Pulp Fiction" and didn't have any connections, that's the hypothetical.

    Would a logline have sold that script. Based strictly on the logline.

    Please tell me now how he's a special case, and I'm not Tarantino, nor are there any other budding Tarantinos outside the fortress gate.

    I still have yet to see any of you concoct a suitable logline. ( not a short pitch. )

    It's a great script. Sell it in a sentence.

    Leave a comment:


  • ATB
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    One blip does not disproof anything. I'm not gonna point out the endless numbers of films that stars did not salvage. We all know of examples.

    Leave a comment:

  • Travis Fields
    User

  • Travis Fields
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    Originally posted by halloweenjak View Post
    Jeff, you asked me how Hollywood sells an audience on a project, I said star power....Who gets paid the most money?...Who are the people that make opening box office?...Stars. I didn't say that's the only way, but you asked and my answer is, above all else famous actors are the number one way movies are sold to audiences...Word of mouth is risky...Do they expect to cast a no name in "The Disciple Program"? Of course not.
    Back in the 80s I might have agreed with you to some degree.

    But Stars don't open movies like they used to.
    Look at their track record: it's just not there anymore.
    Even Tom Cruise can't deviate far from what he does best and still hit it.

    Think about what kind of movies made Will Smith a huge star:
    FX-heavy Science Fiction Spectacles with a romantic subplot.
    Ever since 96 he's made most of his money doing those.

    How many $100 million hits would he have if he preferred starring in Romantic Comedies?

    Stars appear in Indies all the time. They can't get a wide release and rarely make much money.

    Leave a comment:

  • halloweenjak
    Regular

  • halloweenjak
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    "There's plenty of evidence that big stars can do big business, but no star can salvage a bad movie. "

    This is verifiably false.

    "Grown Ups" has spawned a sequel. And "Grown Ups 2" will make money.

    Of course I'm using salvage in a monetary sense, not an artistic sense. The only sense that matters.

    Leave a comment:

  • Richmond Weems
    Member

  • Richmond Weems
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    You're absolutely right, halloweenie...since your script can't be 'pitched' in less than a sentence or two, it's Hollywood's fault.

    And you still miss the point that it doesn't matter what the logline for PULP FICTION is...as long as you've got a couple of optioned screenplays under your belt, and your first directorial effort was a critical and commercial success, you're going to be given a little bit longer leash to follow it up with a movie that only has one star.

    HH

    Leave a comment:

  • JeffLowell
    Member

  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    So a logline is irrelevant because movies are all about stars, but a 30 second pitch is relevant because you can answer a question?

    Got it.

    Leave a comment:

  • halloweenjak
    Regular

  • halloweenjak
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
    The basic short pitch is the tool that represents your script when you're talking to your agent, when your agent is talking to producers, when producers are talking to studios, and when studios are talking to directors and stars.

    It has to be so clear and compelling that any chucklehead can repeat it and still excite his boss or client.

    Because to get a script repped, sold, and to production, people will ask roughly a thousand times: "what's it about?" before they agree to read it. If the answer is "I couldn't possibly boil it down. It resists quick description," then you are truly and deeply fucked.

    No, I understand this is the reality of the industry today.

    But a short pitch and a logline are not exactly the same things. A short pitch in person, where someone can feel out the person they're pitching and allay their concerns is not the same as a single sentence sent through email.

    When Buck Henry pitches Tim Robbins in the "Player" for a "Graduate" sequel, and Griffin Mill ( Robbins ) asks is this going to be funny, he answers "yeah it'll be funny, with a stroke ( Mrs. Robinsons )

    There's a difference between pitching and a single logline, which can't answer such questions when asked. Because loglines can't talk.

    Leave a comment:


  • ATB
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    Jak, ignoring the fact that I wasn't even responding to you, here's a great article to read: The Myth of Stars.

    An excerpt:

    Of the 100 most popular movies of all time (based on box-office gross adjusted for inflation), 42 were made after 1975. Of these 42, half featured no star actors (defined as someone who had top billing in at least one hit movie previously).

    The movies at the very top of the list--Star Wars, E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial and Titanic--had no stars. (Leonardo DiCaprio became a star in Titanic, but he was not one before.) Of the top 15, seven had no stars, and six certainly did. The other two, both sequels to Star Wars, featured Harrison Ford, who became a star by virtue of the first installment of that intergalactic series.

    "There's plenty of evidence that big stars can do big business, but no star can salvage a bad movie. No star can change the odor of a stinker," says Leonard Maltin, the critic and film historian. "What [the top-grossing movies list] confirms is that it's the movie itself--not the star--that makes the hit."

    The absence of star actors in the most popular movies is especially remarkable because, Hollywood insiders say, many films would not be produced at all except for the fact that stars are attached. None of this says that people don't go to the movies in part because of the chance to gaze at Julia Roberts or Brad Pitt.

    But even together Pitt and Roberts are no guarantee--witness The Mexican (U.S. 2001 gross $66.8 million). By the same token, Spider-Man and Jurassic Park did huge business without stars.

    "Movies are a marketing business," says Lawrence Turman, a veteran movie and television producer who also heads the producing program at the University of Southern California's film school. "They [studios] are looking for an 'event' movie. If they can make an event out of Spider-Man, then Spider-Man is the star. They have made it an event without a star."
    Bolded for emphasis.

    Leave a comment:

  • JeffLowell
    Member

  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    The basic short pitch is the tool that represents your script when you're talking to your agent, when your agent is talking to producers, when producers are talking to studios, and when studios are talking to directors and stars.

    It has to be so clear and compelling that any chucklehead can repeat it and still excite his boss or client.

    Because to get a script repped, sold, and to production, people will ask roughly a thousand times: "what's it about?" before they agree to read it. If the answer is "I couldn't possibly boil it down. It resists quick description," then you are truly and deeply fucked.

    Of course, as I said (sincerely, not facetiously), if you've got the next Pulp Fiction, then the circumstances change. If you're an incredibly hot actors' director and can go to major stars personally and say "I wrote this part for you," then you get to skip a few steps.

    I'm not there. Are you? If not, maybe work on making your script sound like a movie.

    Or not! No skin off my nose.

    Leave a comment:

  • halloweenjak
    Regular

  • halloweenjak
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    Originally posted by Geoff Alexander View Post
    No, cast is only one element. Beyond that, you're completely missing the point of Lowell's post. You need some sort of driving idea that can be articulated in a comprehensible fashion. Like a writer strives for with a logline, marketing strives for in advertising the completed movie.

    No, you're missing the point.

    What logline for "Pulp Fiction" would earn it attention by the industry, if no names were attached to it.

    It's a simple question. Answer it or accept the fact that the system is flawed.

    Leave a comment:

  • Hamboogul
    Member

  • Hamboogul
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    Like query letters, contests, film festivals, and referrals, Blacklist 3.0 will likely only help the top 1-5 percent of the aspiring screenwriters who are extremely dedicated and talented.

    And if you are in that top 1 to 5 percent, you should explore every possible outlet available to you within your financial means to get discovered by a champion.

    Jeff Lowell has said in this thread that he is cautious about the effectiveness of BL 3.0 but if he were unrepped like most people in DDP, he would give it a try.

    I have also said that if this service was available 12 months ago, I would have given it a try.

    And then you have a dozen or so procrastinators who have nothing better to do than complaining about how Hollywood is biased against their genius. You should really spend your time honing that genius instead of channeling all your greatest words in this thread.

    Leave a comment:

  • Geoff Alexander
    Member

  • Geoff Alexander
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    Originally posted by halloweenjak View Post
    You're wrong.

    I'm the audience. They're sold to me, and the millions of us out there.

    You're talking about insider decisions.

    I know what Hollywood does to get me to go to a movie.

    You don't have to be an insider to know that. Okay?
    No, cast is only one element. Beyond that, you're completely missing the point of Lowell's post. You need some sort of driving idea that can be articulated in a comprehensible fashion. Like a writer strives for with a logline, marketing strives for in advertising the completed movie.

    Leave a comment:

  • halloweenjak
    Regular

  • halloweenjak
    replied
    Re: The New Black List

    Let's see Hecuba, Lowell, Atb...

    The usual possee who follows me around these boards. Where's Joe Lefors?

    Jeff, you asked me how Hollywood sells an audience on a project, I said star power.

    Who gets paid the most money?

    Who are the people that make opening box office?

    Stars. I didn't say that's the only way, but you asked and my answer is, above all else famous actors are the number one way movies are sold to audiences.

    Word of mouth is risky.

    Do they expect to cast a no name in "The Disciple Program"? Of course not.

    And Hecuba, the hypothetical entailed a suspension of your need to destroy the very parameter of the hypothetical simply for the sake of argument. If both movies were pitched simultaneously, the logline to "Deep Blue Sea" might sound more exciting, more capable of raising interest than "Jaws".

    An industry predicated on telling stories that hates reading them in their entirety is to me silly. It saves time, but as the Twit Pitch experiment proved loglines are no indicator of writing acumen.

    Leave a comment:

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