Contests or Black List?

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  • Contests or Black List?

    Not sure if this is the right forum but here goes.

    I saw this question brought up in another forum and now with contest season approaching, I'm starting to wonder.

    This year I spent about $300 on contest entries(just entries no feedback) with in essence, no success. So now, even though the revamped Blacklist is only a couple of months old, is it worth entering contests anymore?

    At $25/month+ professional reads, I can get an almost instantaneous feel of whether my script will sell or gain representation. Financially, it is also cheaper. Yes, a contest win/placement will add prestige, but if several readers love it, does a contest make any difference?

    The two that will still be on my list would be Nicholl and Page, but even those I'm having doubts about.

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: Contests or Black List?

    My writers have been asking similar questions. Is validation the only reason you have for entering contests?

    Contests are useful for imposing deadlines and forcing you to finish that script. Placing high enough is a great way to land an agent or manager (will reps pay attention to your Black List score?). They're also one of the cheapest options for getting detailed coverage on your script, something the new Black List doesn't offer.

    I'm not counting on any one avenue to success, I'm racing down all of them. Why not do both?
    Vancouver Screenwriters Meetup Group

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    • #3
      Re: Contests or Black List?

      There are a lot of contests that offer feedback. If you hustle you can enter BlueCat - their final deadline is TONIGHT!

      You will receive two sets of notes from two different readers from BlueCat.

      There are several other contests that offer notes as part of the contest and also offer notes services outside of their contests.

      If you've entered several contests and haven't at least made the QFs in any of them, you first need to find out why. Did you enter only 3 or 4 contests? Or more than that?

      The scores/notes you get from the BlackList might not be extensive enough feedback. You might consider paying ScriptGal Amanda or the EvilRabbit (you can find them here on DD) or Script Shark for detailed notes first before you invest in two reads and one month hosting ($125) on the BL.

      For the record: I'm currently entered in BlueCat and Zoestope, plan to enter Nicholl in 2013 (if I'm eligible), and just posted a script on the BlackList. If anything, I say the BlackList replaces the querying process, not contests.
      "Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again." -[/SIZE] James R. Cook

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      • #4
        Re: Contests or Black List?

        Originally posted by ReneC View Post
        (will reps pay attention to your Black List score?).
        Seems they already do, according to GhostWhite's post in the Franklin Leonard thread.

        I'm racing down all of them. Why not do both?
        Wow. Do you have a family to feed? ;-)

        I do think that -- apart from Nicholl -- contests become a bit obsolete faced with The Black List... if it functions well, that is (proper search capabilities for the industry guys, some active life for a script with less than 2 ratings etc.)

        You get no prize money... but awards are for dogs and horses anyway.

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        • #5
          Re: Contests or Black List?

          Adhering to a strict budget this year. Knowing I will still pay for readers, before entering or listing on BL, is a determining financial factor.

          Will probably just enter PAGE and Nicholl. Hopefully, I will attend Austin this year instead of entering the contest.

          Did not enter Bluecat. Still unsure after seeing they were recruiting readers from Craig's List. But I'll leave that for another forum.

          I'm beginning to see BL as a query service but with fixed term contract.

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          • #6
            Re: Contests or Black List?

            I would go with the Black List, with paid reads. If your script scores well, you'll get exposure to a ton of people who work in the industry and are actively seeking out scripts for repping or buying.

            Many contests offer that carrot, and deliver to one or two. Black List has the potential to deliver to all worthy material. Plus you're going to get a sense of how your script stacks up in the real world, not the contest world.

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            • #7
              Re: Contests or Black List?

              Is your writing strong enough for you the throw money at it, whether it be contests or the BL?

              I think that's the question....
              "Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again." -[/SIZE] James R. Cook

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              • #8
                Re: Contests or Black List?

                I'd go with Black List. Even early on it seems like more bang for your buck and it gives access to the reads that are actually worthwhile. I think I'll sign up in new year methinks, might be more beneficial than Nicholl.

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                • #9
                  Re: Contests or Black List?

                  I'm seeing The Black List as just another good option along with the top contests... Nice to have more than one good place to send your work to get it noticed, besides querying.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Contests or Black List?

                    The Nicholl has started several careers. I still think it's the way to go if you're really confident on your writing.

                    The Black List sounds like it could be great, but it's too soon to judge. And I don't like the fact that you're charged a monthly fee for basically hosting your script online.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Contests or Black List?

                      Originally posted by Dr. Vergerus View Post
                      And I don't like the fact that you're charged a monthly fee for basically hosting your script online.
                      This is the bit I'm struggling with. It's super expensive. I wouldn't mind $25 for a year but monthly is a bit steep.

                      Of course, people might argue that if you're serious about your career, then you should be prepared to fork out the cash.

                      My one worry is that it will become the only place that managers/agents will go to look for new clients or material and querying will become a thing of the past.

                      I've had several read requests from querying loglines alone and hope that this way of doing business continues.

                      If the Black List becomes the go to place for scripts from unknown or "amateur" writers, then it's going to be difficult for those who can't afford the service to break in.

                      That said, I'm thinking of posting a script in January, when the holidays are over. But I'm not discounting querying or contests as other avenues too.
                      http://www.funminecraftservers.com/

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                      • #12
                        Re: Contests or Black List?

                        true... plus, the top contests have the once a year results thing going for them, as the industry really sits up and pays attention... hard to get that kind of attention all year.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Contests or Black List?

                          Here's a question: how long do you guys think you'd keep a script up on BL?

                          Three months? Six months? A year? There is the "however long it takes" side, but does there come a point where you think, "hey, this isn't getting enough response, time to pull the pin"?
                          Last edited by Australis; 11-18-2012, 01:15 AM.
                          Always choose cognac over cocaine -- Jon Lord

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                          • #14
                            Re: Contests or Black List?

                            Originally posted by Australis View Post
                            Here's a question: how long do you guys thinks you'd keep a script up on BL?

                            Three months? Six months? A year? There is the "however long it takes" side, but does there come a point where you think, "hey, this isn't getting enough response, time to pull the pin"?
                            Well, I think the upcoming holidays will make me keep my script up longer than I planned (I joined on 11/13). I don't have my scores yet but Franklin told me "soon."

                            If I get 8 or higher, I imagine - or hope - there will be will a bunch of downloads and if there's to be any interest from a rep, my guess it will come relatively quick. Is there a point to keeping your script up if you get signed? (Maybe there is... I guess a rep would advise me on that).

                            If I get 6-7, I may roll the dice on a third read, and then extend my hosting for a second month - until Jan. 13th because of the holidays.

                            If I get really low scores, is there much point to leaving it up past a month? Probably not...

                            Bottom line: I'll give it 3 months, tops.

                            I rather spend the money on hosting my TV pilot come February than continue hosting a feature that's already been up a couple of months.
                            "Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again." -[/SIZE] James R. Cook

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                            • #15
                              Re: Contests or Black List?

                              Compared to contests, the Black List is way more expensive… but it is also more direct. I think every writer has to balance that equation for themselves. A fool and his money etc.

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