Franklin Leonard

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  • Re: Franklin Leonard

    You are demanding objectivity about a subjective act, the judging of art. It will never happen. And if someone tells you that they've figured out a way to do it, they are lying to you to get your money.

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    • Re: Franklin Leonard

      Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
      You are demanding objectivity about a subjective act, the judging of art. It will never happen. And if someone tells you that they've figured out a way to do it, they are lying to you to get your money.
      Art is subjective, but there must be some kind of objective standard applied when you are charging people to evaluate it. Otherwise it's hard to take a service seriously.

      All I'm asking is for a tangible set of criteria for scoring that is made public. If Nicholl and PAGE can do it, so can the Black List:

      https://www.oscars.org/nicholl/about (see "Judging Criteria")

      https://pageawards.com/the-contest/judging-procedure/
      "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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      • Re: Franklin Leonard

        Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
        Yes. I have no reason to question his integrity. Do you?
        I question that number because it is several years old. Maybe that was true when they were first getting off the ground, but in my experience, the quality of the evaluations has degraded severely in the past few years, the number of wildly divergent scores I've received has increased dramatically, and I've heard more and more stories of other writers who have experienced the same.

        Perhaps part of the reason why Franklin never shows his face anymore is because the current statistics are so ugly and he knows it.

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        • Re: Franklin Leonard

          Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
          You are demanding objectivity about a subjective act, the judging of art. It will never happen. And if someone tells you that they've figured out a way to do it, they are lying to you to get your money.
          I agree with this 100%. A good example is your BL experiment. I have no doubt that the 6 score was solely because the reader was offended by the subject matter and was incapable of being objective about the quality of the writing or its potential.

          Yet this is a reality of the industry, isn't it? Scripts getting tossed out of consideration for any number of totally subjective reasons.
          Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

          Comment


          • Re: Franklin Leonard

            Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
            FA4, you got two option offers and two representation offers from having used the Blacklist. You are a walking advertisement for it. There's no such thing as an objective analysis of art, so there's always going to be variation. It would be like saying "critics should agree on whether The Last Jedi was good."

            (Full disclosure: I ran an experiment years ago where I got two reviews from The Blacklist. One was a glowing 9, the other a very harsh 6. Which... is probably the reaction the script would have gotten if it were made.)

            I think Bono's got it right - this isn't the only way in, it's not even a major way in, but it is a way in. If someone has the cash to take a shot with it, it can produce results, with a little luck of getting the right readers who appreciate your material.
            absolutely correct, the black list helped me a couple of years ago and i'm both grateful and i have always given them full credit for that, and still do. i have also supported the site by hosting 2 scripts for over two years. and paid for several evaluations.

            but that doesn't mean they don't have a problem that needs addressing. as a paying customer i have a right to voice my opinion of their services. there shouldn't be that much disparity.

            i well remember your experience. as i recall it was a pilot about the porn industry and the reviewer didn't like the way you depicted female characters, or something along those lines. the difference between a 6 and a 9 is a big difference, but not as bad as difference between a 9 and a 3.

            if there is even a 2 rating difference, TBL will offer you a discounted rate for an additional review. and i'm not talking about a 2 point spread, i'm talking about a 5 point difference.

            a service can be both good and bad, if you're paying for the service you shouldn't have to "suck it up," because sometimes they do it right. when you pay for the service, you should be able to expect the same quality.

            when there are huge variances like that, it's a cue to take a look at the one that is the outlier. and to be honest, the readers are supposed to be as objective as possible-- that's what professionals do. we're paying for their professional ability to give as objective a review as possible. it's not the same as asking them to base their review on personal preference; that's not what anyone is paying for.

            and it would be nice if we actually knew who the readers were and what their experience is. other paid services give you the names and complete bios of the readers. professional writers are seeing problems, too. it's not just those still trying to break in.

            https://www.reddit.com/r/Screenwriti..._is_a_failure/

            it's a good read. the writer sent it to several paid services and he provides the results.
            Last edited by finalact4; 09-12-2019, 02:18 PM.
            "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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            • Re: Franklin Leonard

              FA4:

              I seem to remember reading somewhere, perhaps here, that the readers at BL are paid $25 per script. I now see that the rate writers pay for a feature script read has been raised to $75. I have no idea if BL readers also got a raise or if their pay is still a flat $25. As someone who is solidly in the gig economy, that's dirt cheap pay, IMO.

              I understand your point when you say: "we're paying for their professional ability to give as objective a review as possible." However, I have to question what level of professionalism can be expected when the readers get only $25 a pop.

              A likely scenario -- the better readers, the more professional readers, move into higher-paid gigs after putting the Blacklist on their resumes and what's left are the not-very-professional readers. This can possibly be the reason why your more recent experiences with the Blacklist are not living up to the positive experiences you had a couple years ago.

              With that said, if the BL criteria is solely:

              "It really is very simple: the number represents how likely a reader would be to recommend your script to a peer or superior in the industry. Crazy enthusiastic recommend = 10; I would never recommend this under any circumstance = 1."

              Expecting true objectivity is a big ask. Especially from readers who may not have ever been in a job where they were recommending scripts to superiors in the industry. We have to take FL at his word that the readers have solid industry experience but with a pay rate of $25 per script I sincerely doubt they do.

              I know when I read scripts for fellow writers -- the read itself takes a minimum of an hour (I've always been a fast reader) and the notes take me another hour plus, sometimes more. That's an average of $10-$12 an hour and I have to wonder how much objectivity I can expect for that kind of pay.
              Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

              Comment


              • Re: Franklin Leonard

                FA4:

                PS: I just clicked the Reditt link you provided and found this in the comments section which sort of confirms mu suspicions:

                I know a few readers at the Black List and unfortunately... this insight gives me a great indication of the sort of feedback you're gonna get. It's mainly assistants and film students who need the extra $30 that fill up the majority of the regular readers, and they don't really know what they're talking about most of the time. Some of them are at least competent and should know what they are talking about, but for the most, they don't care about it and just pump out the same dribble each and every time. It's about speed for them so they just repeat, repeat and repeat. ... (mind you, they got 7's all around because the sight doesn't really like to give away free months)
                If that last sentence is true it could explain why 8s and 9s are rare.

                EDITED TO ADD: Here's another comment in the Reditt thread that had me laugh aloud:

                The anonymity of the service reminds me of phone sex operators: not as good as the real thing, and given by people who haven't had much sex in their actual lives.
                Last edited by sc111; 09-12-2019, 03:03 PM.
                Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

                Comment


                • Re: Franklin Leonard

                  Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                  FA4:

                  PS: I just clicked the Reditt link you provided and found this in the comments section which sort of confirms mu suspicions:
                  yeah. sometimes services have issues. they don't get fixed if no one speaks out about it. i was actually please to see that in the top lists, there weren't to many big variances.

                  the reason i'm speaking out is because i love what the site has done for me in the past and was hoping it would still be the same quality even after all the negative things i've heard. i want to use them ALL the time if i can count on some kind of consistency. there is consistency, you can see it by clicking on scripts.

                  i have some really amazing reviews. and listen, i'm not saying "i want high scores out of the gate every time." that'd be nice, for sure, what i'm saying is that i want an eval that makes sense, doesn't contradict itself, one that doesn't say something patently untrue.

                  you can tell by some of the evals that they're doing a "plug n play," on the eval. it's just my opinion. no one has to listen. i want to feel good about giving them my money.
                  "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                  Comment


                  • Re: Franklin Leonard

                    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                    yeah. sometimes services have issues. they don't get fixed if no one speaks out about it. i was actually please to see that in the top lists, there weren't to many big variances.

                    the reason i'm speaking out is because i love what the site has done for me in the past and was hoping it would still be the same quality even after all the negative things i've heard. i want to use them ALL the time if i can count on some kind of consistency. there is consistency, you can see it by clicking on scripts.

                    i have some really amazing reviews. and listen, i'm not saying "i want high scores out of the gate every time." that'd be nice, for sure, what i'm saying is that i want an eval that makes sense, doesn't contradict itself, one that doesn't say something patently untrue.

                    you can tell by some of the evals that they're doing a "plug n play," on the eval. it's just my opinion. no one has to listen. i want to feel good about giving them my money.
                    You totally have the right to "want to feel good about giving them my money." The question is: has quality control on the notes provided by BL readers slipped to the extent it's no longer worth the fee?
                    Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

                    Comment


                    • Re: Franklin Leonard

                      Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                      FA4:

                      I seem to remember reading somewhere, perhaps here, that the readers at BL are paid $25 per script. I now see that the rate writers pay for a feature script read has been raised to $75. I have no idea if BL readers also got a raise or if their pay is still a flat $25. As someone who is solidly in the gig economy, that's dirt cheap pay, IMO.

                      I understand your point when you say: "we're paying for their professional ability to give as objective a review as possible." However, I have to question what level of professionalism can be expected when the readers get only $25 a pop.

                      A likely scenario -- the better readers, the more professional readers, move into higher-paid gigs after putting the Blacklist on their resumes and what's left are the not-very-professional readers. This can possibly be the reason why your more recent experiences with the Blacklist are not living up to the positive experiences you had a couple years ago.

                      With that said, if the BL criteria is solely:

                      "It really is very simple: the number represents how likely a reader would be to recommend your script to a peer or superior in the industry. Crazy enthusiastic recommend = 10; I would never recommend this under any circumstance = 1."

                      Expecting true objectivity is a big ask. Especially from readers who may not have ever been in a job where they were recommending scripts to superiors in the industry. We have to take FL at his word that the readers have solid industry experience but with a pay rate of $25 per script I sincerely doubt they do.

                      I know when I read scripts for fellow writers -- the read itself takes a minimum of an hour (I've always been a fast reader) and the notes take me another hour plus, sometimes more. That's an average of $10-$12 an hour and I have to wonder how much objectivity I can expect for that kind of pay.
                      i totally hear you, sc111. you're a damn fast reader-- me, i'm slow.

                      my comments are not directed as FL, the man. i don't know the man, and can't say anything about him one way or the other. i'm solely commenting on a paid service that i patron. it seems the quality of the evaluations has faltered from what used to be.

                      it's unfortunate that they can't pay readers more.

                      to me, i'm about doing a job well. i've never been in the position where i did something half assed to pump out "volume," and to make more, when i don't deserve it. i take a job, i'm paid to do my best, ima gonna do my best every time. 1000%. i mean, how to you become the best at something if you're trying to skirt the system or take advantage? you took the job under the condition that you'd do your best, then do your best.

                      i give notes to writer friends and i'm in writer's groups, so i review work every month-- it's a commitment. it's time consuming. but they're all doing it too. best we can.

                      i laughed at the "sex operators," comment too.
                      "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                      Comment


                      • Re: Franklin Leonard

                        Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                        You totally have the right to "want to feel good about giving them my money." The question is: has quality control on the notes provided by BL readers slipped to the extent it's no longer worth the fee?
                        the only reason i left the spec up is to run out the credit on the one month free. it won't matter. i was offered a discount because of the variance and declined. i'm not paying for another review. not even at a discounted rate.

                        i'm leaving Tracker up because it's reader recommended, on the featured script list, and has some high scores. but that won't help me, because i'm not going to chance paying for more reviews to get back on the list like other writers have done. it's the only thing you really can do once your script ages out past the one year mark.

                        tbl says the reason they don't allow your scores to count beyond the one year, even though you can see it on you script, is because "they want to focus on newer writers." they actually told me that. but it's not the truth, is it? they want you to buy more evals. they want you to continue to host your script. even if you only ever get one download every month or two. if i had reps, i'd have them go rate it, but i don't.

                        that irked me, because i was like, so why should i continue to pay to host my script every month when the only way you'll support me is if i pay to get more evaluations? i mean, totally their choice and mine to remain if i choose.

                        i'm rewriting my rom com now, so we'll see how i feel about it when it's done. i might try another service. as soon as the free month is up, i'll take it down.

                        i dunno, i might try again. it's got huge name recognition. i was even thinking about suggesting i'd be willing to help out as a QC person. that's really what they need.

                        and think about that for a minute, if there were more consistency, think about how much that would really help writers and indy pros. think about how MANY more writers would use the site. i know everyone has an opinion. i'm fine with that. was i shocked that my script got a 3? hell yeah, i was. i mean, i think we sent it to XXXXXX, they passed so maybe it is a ****ing 3.
                        Last edited by finalact4; 09-12-2019, 04:48 PM.
                        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                        Comment


                        • Re: Franklin Leonard

                          Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                          i totally hear you, sc111. you're a damn fast reader-- me, i'm slow.

                          my comments are not directed as FL, the man. i don't know the man, and can't say anything about him one way or the other. i'm solely commenting on a paid service that i patron. it seems the quality of the evaluations has faltered from what used to be.

                          it's unfortunate that they can't pay readers more.

                          to me, i'm about doing a job well. i've never been in the position where i did something half assed to pump out "volume," and to make more, when i don't deserve it. i take a job, i'm paid to do my best, ima gonna do my best every time. 1000%. i mean, how to you become the best at something if you're trying to skirt the system or take advantage? you took the job under the condition that you'd do your best, then do your best.

                          i give notes to writer friends and i'm in writer's groups, so i review work every month-- it's a commitment. it's time consuming. but they're all doing it too. best we can.

                          i laughed at the "sex operators," comment too.
                          I agree with you and as a freelance advertising writer, the fact that I go above and beyond is likely the reason I still get work when so many other freelancers I know couldn't make anything close to a living and dropped out of the industry.

                          However, if a client is expecting the moon and the stars for what amounts to minimum wage, I will tell them to go fvck themselves. And I have. Because I refuse to give clients the benefit of my experience and skills for minimum wage. If it comes to that, I'll get a job at the grocery store.

                          Now, I don't know Franklin the man but I will say, in my opinion, even if he's paying readers $30 per feature script, now, he has to know a percentage of readers will do a less than stellar job because their goal is quantity not quality.

                          The counter argument may be the $75 fee is lower than the cost of getting notes from pro readers like those who have received great testimonials from members, here.

                          I guess the bottom line is -- we get what we pay for. And Franklin is not paying his readers a decent fee for services in my opinion, so...
                          Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

                          Comment


                          • Re: Franklin Leonard

                            I just read this after I posted above. Hmmm:


                            Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                            the only reason i left the spec up is to run out the credit on the one month free. it won't matter. i was offered a discount because of the variance and declined. i'm not paying for another review. not even at a discounted rate.

                            i'm leaving Tracker up because it's reader recommended, on the featured script list, and has some high scores. but that won't help me, because i'm not going to chance paying for more reviews to get back on the list like other writers have done. it's the only thing you really can do once your script ages out past the one year mark.

                            tbl says the reason they don't allow your scores to count beyond the one year, even though you can see it on you script, is because "they want to focus on newer writers." they actually told me that. but it's not the truth, is it? they want you to buy more evals. they want you to continue to host your script. even if you only ever get one download every month or two. if i had reps, i'd have them go rate it, but i don't.

                            that irked me, because i was like, so why should i continue to pay to host my script every month when the only way you'll support me is if i pay to get more evaluations? i mean, totally their choice and mine to remain if i choose.

                            i'm rewriting my rom com now, so we'll see how i feel about it when it's done. i might try another service. as soon as the free month is up, i'll take it down.

                            i dunno, i might try again. it's got huge name recognition. i was even thinking about suggesting i'd be willing to help out as a QC person. that's really what they need.

                            and think about that for a minute, if there were more consistency, think about how much that would really help writers and indy pros. think about how MANY more writers would use the site. i know everyone has an opinion. i'm fine with that. was i shocked that my script got a 3? hell yeah, i was. i mean, i think we sent it to screen gems, they passed so maybe it is a ****ing 3.
                            Since I never used BL I had no idea about the details you shared above. It would give me pause if I was an existing customer. BTW: What is a QC person?
                            ----------------
                            NEVERMIND on the question: Ha - QC = Quality Control. Penny just dropped.
                            Last edited by sc111; 09-12-2019, 04:09 PM.
                            Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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                            • Re: Franklin Leonard

                              Quick question, do you think our industry would be better if there was more than 1 way to break in and not just the black list? Seems so... maybe I'll start a new service...

                              Comment


                              • Re: Franklin Leonard

                                Originally posted by Bono
                                UpandComing -- If you were my close friend or someone I know from DD, I'd say dump the black list -- it sounds like an ex girlfriend who has hurt you too many times and you keep going back. And you say, but sure there are other girls, but she gets me and maybe she's the one. And I say, that's stupid, she makes you miserable even if you have some good times together, you'd feel 100% better if you just move on. And either you hug me or don't listen to me, marry her and get divorced. It's your life. I just think you'd instantly be happier if you just let... it... go....

                                I do not believe for one second that one service is the reason anyone makes it. You won't be on your death bed, going, if only i used the black list more...

                                I finished in Top 5 of a big contest, got offered rep. But I was also querying at same time and same script got my a better offer from a rep, so I took that one at the time.

                                So if I never entered the contest -- same result. Because the script was good.

                                Just because a great script like SHUT IN finds great success and they happen to have used BL, does not mean 100% that the BL is the reason for it. You're forgetting the talented writer and great script... BL is just a friend trying to get you a date. You have to do the rest...
                                Haha, Bono, funny analogy. But I'm not sure it's the best one. When you have a girlfriend, she's the only one you're dating (well, unless you're the leader of a cult).

                                As I've said before, the Black List is one of only a handful of options for getting serious notice from the industry. Thus, for many writers, it's included among that small group of services they are using simultaneously. I know it can help people, because I myself have been contacted by a producer and a manger on the site after they read my 8-scoring scripts (though it ultimately did not pan out). So I have firsthand experience with its value.

                                Do I have some issues with its operation? Sure. But not enough to justify never using the site again. I think you may have gotten the wrong impression of me. I do not spend my days and nights steaming about the BL. I do pop in to talk about the site every once in awhile on DDP, but that's usually only when someone critiques it and I feel the need to back them up/defend them from the attacks they inevitably receive. It's not like I've been starting my own threads on BL (at least, I haven't in years). And my arguments can sometimes get lengthy and intense, but that's because I enjoy a healthy debate. The fact is, I don't use the site often enough for it to be constantly present of mind -- maybe once or twice a year at most, whenever I have a new script.

                                I've gotta say, I find it interesting that two of the people arguing to "just stop using BL" are people who've never used it. If you've received contact from people through the site like myself and finalact4, you'd understand why it doesn't make sense to leave the possibility of success through BL off the table.
                                "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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