Franklin Leonard

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    ScreenRider
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  • ScreenRider
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    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
    i see a lot of, well i got a 5 and it placed in the quarters at Nicholl. they complain that they didn't get an 8 because they thought they were going to get an 8. that's where a writer might be misguided in their own abilities. and instead of rewriting it, to improve it, they complain that they system is rigged.
    It's funny you say that because I got an 8 on the Black List and the same script didn't make past the first round in a contest. I also made semi-finals at AFF and then got a 5 on the Black List. I also got a 7 and a 3 on the same script on the Black List.

    Not complaining. It's a gamble but the BL is one of the few ways to get your foot in the door. I just don't think industry readers in general are as qualified as people pretend. It's subjective of course, but what I mean is that they are not qualified to pick what their bosses would consider winners.

    It's easy to eliminate the 90% of amateurish scripts but the people who can find the potential in the remaining few get paid a lot more than $50 a script.

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  • UpandComing
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  • UpandComing
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    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
    Originally Posted by UpandComing
    i haven't disputed that i'd like to see better transparency. it have stated that it would be beneficial to know who, as in their title, has downloaded my script. i pay hosting fees every month, a business person would expect nothing less.
    Did you make up this quote and stick my username in there? Because I never said this, and I can't find it anywhere in this or other DDP threads, lol.

    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
    okay, to clarify, i never said, "all of the complaints we've heard over the years can't just be chalked up to writers being "pissed off they didn't get an 8."
    I didn't say that you specifically said that "all of the complaints we've heard over the years can't just be chalked up to writers being "pissed off they didn't get an 8" (otherwise, I would've put it in quotes). My statement was meant to indicate that the only explanation you seem to bring up for writers' complaints is frustration with not getting an 8. You don't consider any other possible explanations.

    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
    i do stand by what i did say. and i'm speaking from what i see, from my personal experiences. there are certain writers that are pissed off they didn't receive high scores. then they bash the ones that do as if it's rigged or there is favoritism, or somehow someone's conspiring to help only certain people.

    there are writers who are never happy that someone else is succeeding. that they somehow didn't earn it. instead of focusing on what they can do to advance their own skills. they criticize someone else's success. i hate it.
    Of course I agree that there are certain writers who just complain because they are frustrated with not getting an 8. But it is conspicuous that you spend multiple paragraphs criticizing that, yet do not address any of the specific points I made regarding problematic issues on the BL's part. You dedicate exactly one word to those arguments: "agreed." So it's clear that you're more focused on any problematic issues on behalf of writers than any potential problems on behalf of the BL.

    You have to admit that there appears to be a kind of bias in your responses -- and it wouldn't be that hard to understand, given Tracker's high ranking and status as a Featured Script on the site.

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  • finalact4
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  • finalact4
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    Re: Franklin Leonard

    i haven't disputed that i'd like to see better transparency. it have stated that it would be beneficial to know who, as in their title, has downloaded my script. i pay hosting fees every month, a business person would expect nothing less.

    you can't judge the value if you don't know who the "whose" are. that's not going to change. people in the industry do use The Black List website as a resource to scripts. would a pro pay a service fee for that? no, because they don't have to.

    Thus, all of the complaints we've heard over the years can't just be chalked up to writers being "pissed off they didn't get an 8." Some of it is just frustration over a lack of clarity over what we're paying for. FL seems to have a habit of saying/promising one thing to appease writers on DDP (where he knows he'll be held accountable) and not providing such information/following through on his site. Maybe that's why he doesn't come here anymore.
    okay, to clarify, i never said, "all of the complaints we've heard over the years can't just be chalked up to writers being "pissed off they didn't get an 8."

    i do stand by what i did say. and i'm speaking from what i see, from my personal experiences. there are certain writers that are pissed off they didn't receive high scores. then they bash the ones that do as if it's rigged or there is favoritism, or somehow someone's conspiring to help only certain people.

    if there's something wrong with a BL review, i say call it out. i can't tell you how many emails i've sent to The Black List website to correct things. if you push hard enough they will look into it.

    remember when JL did that blind submission to the Black List? he paid for 2 reviews. they came back and one he received a 9 and the other a 6. polarizing material for sure. if anyone recalls it was a pilot about the porn industry. and one reviewer was offended by the depiction of his female characters. that's their opinion and they're entitled to it.

    the other day, a writer suggested that JL actually had mediocre scores and after TBL saw that JL was running a blind test, that TBL suddenly changed his scores to 9s. they stated it as fact. i mean, that's absurd.

    i corrected that writer. i provided the link to the JL post that clearly showed that he posted the tread AFTER he paid for and received the reviews.

    that kind of bull$hit hurts a company's reputation and a writer's credibility. neither deserved it. that is never okay.

    there are writers who are never happy that someone else is succeeding. that they somehow didn't earn it. instead of focusing on what they can do to advance their own skills. they criticize someone else's success. i hate it.

    It's great that the Black List has a mission of connecting writers with people who can help them with their projects. But it's also a paying service. And as a paying service, it would be nice to see some evidence of its tangible benefits on the website rather than just vague claims.
    agreed.
    finalact4
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    Last edited by finalact4; 05-07-2019, 01:45 PM. Reason: corrected to remove misplaced [quote]

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  • UpandComing
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  • UpandComing
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    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
    most of the films on The Annual Black List get made in the following years.
    Well, that's certainly not true : ) Many do, but not most.

    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
    you are being judged on how ready your script is, in the opinion of the reader, to be produced, not win a contest. there are working writers with reps whose scripts are on the site.

    and the reality is, whether writers like to admit it or not, only a very small percentage (1 -5%) are ready for representation and ready, or good enough to produce.

    The Black List website isn't there to make a writer's career. it's there to connect a writer with a film maker to make a movie.
    This is all well good and true, and I'm fine with classifying the Black List as more of a screenwriting marketplace/platform for connecting writers and pros than a competition.

    That said, I think part of the continuing confusion about the Black List's purpose and subsequent frustration is its a) ambiguity about its core benefit and b) lack of public proof that the benefit most people are seeking, which is getting contacted by pros, actually happens.

    Let's take a look.

    Ambiguity About Core Benefit
    The BL screed introducing its service said the following: "Yesterday the Black List launched a new service for enabling aspiring screenwriters to get their scripts in front of 1000+ industry insiders...Yesterday morning, the Black List announced what we hope will be the beginning of a paradigm shift in the way screenplays are discovered by people who make movies." https://blcklst.com/about/ (see "The What, The How, and the Why" section)

    This heavily implies that the core benefit of the BL is to connect writers with people who can help them with their projects.

    But guess what? When I wrote a post on here three years ago telling Franklin I saw little ROI from using the BL, he said the following (at this link: http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...d.php?t=80575)):

    Originally posted by FranklinLeonard View Post
    Personally, I think you’re overlooking the most realistic benefit that the website provides, one that everyone who hosts a script and purchases an evaluation receives: high quality feedback on their script from a reputable source on a relatively quick turnaround.
    Wait, what? This isn't mentioned anywhere in that long screed on the website, or in the "About" section. Sounds a tad misleading to me.

    Lack of Public Proof of Pro Contact
    The "About" section of the BL website says the following: "As a direct result of introductions made on the Black List, dozens of writers have found representation at major talent agencies and management companies, as well as sold or optioned their screenplays." https://blcklst.com/about/

    That sounds awesome! That's the reason most people sign up for the site! Except guess what? It's very easy to make that claim. Why doesn't BL provide any actual numbers to back that statement up? Or high-profile examples of such signings/sales? We've seen sporadic press releases on Deadline over the years (very few), but there is no mention of evidence of any of this "success" on the actual website. Why? I'm returning to my theory that this actual success is extremely few and far between. Which is fine, I understand that the odds are low. But as a service that's paid for, I think it could make more of an effort to provide evidence of any success on the site.

    Let's forget getting contacted by pros. What about numbers regarding how they even just use the site? I asked Franklin if it were possible for him to provide numbers for various metrics (at this link: http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...d.php?t=80575). This is how he responded (his responses are in the quotes):

    Percentage of pro members that conduct actual searches: "We actually haven’t collected data on searches." Really? I know a site as sophisticated as BL has the capability of doing this. Maybe it just doesn't want people to know this data.

    Percentage of hosted scripts that have gotten one or more downloads without an evaluation: "As of June 2015 (the last time I checked), 24.8%" Why can't this number be posted somewhere on the site so we can get a sense of how non-evaluated scripts are being seen? And be updated as well? We don't even have the right to know whether those scripts are just disappearing into the ether (at the cost of $30 a month)? I know it's common knowledge now on DDP that the vast majority of non-evaluated scripts disappear, but think about all those poor rubes who don't frequent this forum.

    Percentage of pro members that have downloaded a script in the last quarter: "Not a number I have handy." (I find that hard to believe) "There are, on average, roughly 1000 unique industry pro downloads in a given month though, which should give you an order of magnitude on the activity there." So he's able to obtain monthly numbers but not quarterly? (Right). Also, the monthly number is useful data for customers. Why can't he post it on the website instead of having it forced out of him due to writer complaints on screenwriting forums?

    Number of script downloads by genre for the quarter: "This (https://blog.blcklst.com/ratings-and...130#.dhpyxsk9h) focuses on ratings and genre, but the question re: downloads is an interesting one that I’ll direct Terry to look at it in future post on the blog." I'm not sure if he ever actually got around to having Terry do that (he has a habit of promising more transparency on DDP and not following through on it). I do know that it would be more far more useful if he posted this as a chart that was updated regularly on the site rather than as a random blog post that future site visitors would have to search for.

    Number of writers known to have gotten repped/received options through the site: "Again, we don’t have precise numbers on this, principally because it happens often enough that people no longer bother to tell us when it happens." REALLY? If a site that is all about connecting writers and pros finds that those connections happen "often enough," why wouldn't it provide evidence of this on the site? And would customers really just stop telling it about those connections (come on)?


    This all sure sounds like a significant lack of transparency regarding ROI to me. Which is strange considering that it is a site that a) touts from the rooftops how "transparent" it is and b) has made significant noise about how much it loves to collect all types of data.

    Thus, all of the complaints we've heard over the years can't just be chalked up to writers being "pissed off they didn't get an 8." Some of it is just frustration over a lack of clarity over what we're paying for. FL seems to have a habit of saying/promising one thing to appease writers on DDP (where he knows he'll be held accountable) and not providing such information/following through on his site. Maybe that's why he doesn't come here anymore.

    It's great that the Black List has a mission of connecting writers with people who can help them with their projects. But it's also a paying service. And as a paying service, it would be nice to see some evidence of its tangible benefits on the website rather than just vague claims.
    UpandComing
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    Last edited by UpandComing; 05-08-2019, 09:03 AM.

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  • finalact4
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  • finalact4
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    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by ScreenRider View Post
    But the top contests have a better track record when it comes to starting careers and getting scripts produced. Doesn't that show that they have a better percentage of market ready participants?
    how do you come to that assessment? just because you don't hear about it doesn't mean writers aren't benefiting from it. consider this, why would a repped writer host their script on the black list website?

    maybe they feel it's a place where they can send industry folk to take a peak at what someone in the industry has already had to say about it. they wouldn't use it if it didn't help them in some way.

    Do you consider the featured scripts on the Black Lists to be market ready?
    i'm not the one that determines that. nor would i even suggest that i could.

    but i've judged a small contest before, and it was no where close to professional.

    i was a semi-finalist in a well known contest with my third script, and trust me, i know, it was a fvcking mess. good writing. yes. talent. sure. ready? not even close.

    but if a script gets consistently high scores onThe Black List website, then yes, i'd consider that it's a well written story. not just good writing. a good, marketable story.

    that's my opinion.

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  • finalact4
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  • finalact4
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    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    Barh isn't totally wrong IN the first part of the post...

    Just to help out, yes The Black List still comes out every year and that's free -- a list of the most like scripts by executives that were unsold I believe right? But now it's all murky as sometimes you see scripts by Sorkin on there and other big writers and you're like WTF? And if you write a good bio pic you can make the list. And for some reason there's always at least 2 of the same person on the list in the same year. Always weird...
    no, you are not correct. and it's not murky, imo. only possibly misunderstood.

    when Sorkin comes out with a script and it hasn't gone into production yet, that is distributed within the industry by execs and asst. by sharing, it'll most likely be on the list.

    Social Network made the rounds in 2009. everybody in the industry was reading it. it's an amazing script. a lot of people thought so.

    other scripts on the list in 2009:
    Hanna
    The King's Speech
    Due Date
    If I Stay
    Prisoners
    Social Network

    scripts on the list in 2016:
    Adrift
    Blonde Ambition
    Hotel Artimis
    I Tonya
    The Post

    scripts on the list 2018 with financing and producers attached:

    Harry's All Night Hamburgers - warner bros
    Promising Young Woman - flimnation
    Cobweb - lionsgate
    Covers - universal
    Just the Facts - first look media
    Queens of the Stoneage - sony pictures
    To The Extreme - endeavor content
    Dead Dad's Club - no trace camping
    Happy Anniversary - paramount
    The Liberators - warner bros.
    The Beast - H-collective
    Dark - paramount
    Queen & Slim - make ready, universal

    i don't understand how this misunderstanding about the Annual Black List and The Black List website persists... they are two separate things that are not connected by anything other than Franklin created both and capitalized on the Black List "brand."

    not one script on The Annual Black List is hosted on The Black List website.

    The Annual Black List was started by Franklin Leonard back in, like 2005 or 2006. he was an executive that wanted to know what the industry felt were their favorite scripts that they had read that year that were, as yet, unproduced in that year that received the highest votes by approx 200-ish industry people.

    Sorkin's Social Network was on the list because it did not go into production until the next calendar year.

    you cannot just get on the list. these are scripts circulating in the industry for that year that were sent to buyers and their assistants from Agents and Managers to read with the intention to produce.

    it isn't open to anybody in the world and there is NO connection to The Black List website. ie, your black list hosted script is NOT eligible to get on the list.

    most of the films on The Annual Black List get made in the following years. many of them, at the time the list comes out, are already set up with a financier and/or producers. how do i know this? because the list tells you which ones are already set up.

    these are the best, or rather most popular scripts that circulated the industry that year. i have all the scripts for every year except for 2010 which there was a big lawsuit about 'sharing.'

    So yes I don't think he did that to make money. I bet it wasn't even in the back of his head at the start... then as it went on he said to himself, I should capitalize on the name....

    And then yes he made The Black List 2.0 where you can pay to get your script read on "the black list" but it's not the same thing... and yes that is 100% to make money.

    Just the fact that it's not a different name always annoyed me. Anyone else?
    to reiterate. no one that hosts their script on The Black List website is on The Annual Black List. these are two totally unrelated things.
    finalact4
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    Last edited by finalact4; 05-07-2019, 10:17 AM.

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  • finalact4
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  • finalact4
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    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    A contest is a competition. the black list and most things fall under that.
    the black list is not a competition. it's a resource for finding 'good' material. you are not competing against anyone else. you are competing against an industry expectation. your script stands on its own merit.

    when a pro is looking at your script they're not saying i'm looking at ALL the scripts and the best one gets the job. they're looking for the material that speaks to them. they are not looking for the best written one.

    the reviews give the writer legitimacy, that what you're about to read isn't from a hack. if writers better understood the black list and the potential opportunity they could use it to help themselves. that's my opinion.

    i see a lot of, well i got a 5 and it placed in the quarters at Nicholl. they complain that they didn't get an 8 because they thought they were going to get an 8. that's where a writer might be misguided in their own abilities. and instead of rewriting it, to improve it, they complain that they system is rigged.

    if you get four 5s on the black list, guess what, maybe consider it needs a rewrite. when i received 8s and 9s i still rewrote it because i agreed with the review. but that's not the general sentiment of most new writers.

    they're pissed off they didn't get an 8.

    because they believe they deserve an 8. but they don't understand the rating and what it means. it's about how producible (or market ready) that reader feels the script is. we've heard for years that readers recommend like, 1% of all the scripts they read. the black list is using what they feel are industry standards.

    the top lists represent about 5% of the total scripts on the black list. are some reviews inaccurate? probably. but not all of them.

    an OWA would be considered a contest as well. but we don't call it that do we? it's dangerous to misrepresent something as if it's something else. a studio is looking for a thriller script, well they're not going to buy at a rom-com script, right? no, they're going to go to resources that has the genre they're looking for to find the right writer for their project.

    it's akin to saying that the scripts that an agent has is a competition. it's not. they're a resource, too.

    There are Sundance Labs and certain things that you have to be more along to being a pro than an amateur to get selected to them -- but even then -- you're getting chosen out of many. So that's a competition. A contest.
    agreed. yes, you have to be selected-- the very definition of contest. you win something tangible.

    and let's not forget that the traditional contests limit their entries to non-professional writers ($20k and below).

    And just because some people on the black list may be pros, aren't 99% listed scripts by non sold writers putting their stuff up?
    the only scripts that matter, for the most part, are the ones on the top lists. the black list gives attention to those whose average exceeds the community average.

    it doesn't matter what 95% of the scripts are. that's not the point of the site. if a writer gets 4s and wants to pay to host their script on the website, it's not up to the black list to kick them off. they do make recommendations on removing it and rewriting it. at least they did in the FAQs. it's not the black lists's responsibility to tell a writer what to do.

    nor is it the black list's fault if a writer continues to host their script. i mean, there are writers who host their script and have 0 reviews. that's someone who doesn't understand how something can work for or against them.

    and a big difference is that professional writers host their specs on the site.

    So why you can say if just get a score, you can't win a prize, the prize in the black list "contest" would be to get your script noticed by someone that can help sell it or make it or want to rep you? So that's the prize.
    right and when you send out 300 query letters and 25 people request a read, that's a competition, too, the way you put it, everything is a competition.

    my point, which you're diluting, is that the black list is different from a competition and when a writer understands the differences and what it can do for them, they will be able to exploit is to help their script get noticed.

    if i got four 5s on the black list, i'd either tank the script or rewrite it.

    I'm just learning about Imagine Impact from FA4 on this board -- and it sounds great -- but it's not the first of it's kind. It's very much like fellowships and sundance lab and other things writing boot camps where the goal is to find new great writers, and also for companies to make some money off those new great writers. Project greenlight had it's own way of doing it -- but that one that lanched the horror writing team of the first movie to crazy huge success. One of the more successful contest winners of all time -- Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Milton.
    with all due respect, maybe you should dig into what it is before you formulate an opinion on Imagine Impact. the writers that are selected aren't newbie writers. they are, for the most part, professional writers working in the industry, or similar industries that have chops. they are writers that haven't yet hit it big.

    the big difference is that the entrants for Impact 2 are professional working writers. they have no restrictions on who can apply. Cornue sent out a tweet saying, "all pro writers..." summoning them to this Imagine Impact opportunity.

    they are trying to change the development process in the industry.

    i believe you said you were currently unrepped, isn't that correct? Imagine Impact is perfect for you if you have a script that falls within their objectives.

    they aren't going to pay 20 people a $40,000 stipend each for 8 weeks of work just for ****$ and giggles. you'd do it wouldn't you? rewrite a spec you have and get paid $40,000? and the possibility of finding a home for it? getting it made? selling their feature or pilot.

    This is how I see it. Either way it's just arguing semantics isn't it?
    of course, you can see it anyway you want. you want to lump them all into the same bucket, okay.

    sure, grocery shopping is a contest, too. right? if you're the first one in line, you get the pick of the best rack of lamb. winner!

    my suggestion is that anyone who is really serious about finding outlets for their work, that they do their due diligence and learn as much about each opportunity in order to exploit it for your career.

    the better you understand these resources or any for that matter, the better it can help you achieve your goal.

    don't take my word for it. don't take Bono's word for it. research it yourself. find what will work for you. just make sure you understand what a thing is. and what it isn't.

    your career depends on you developing a proper strategy.

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  • catcon
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
    I'm highly skeptical of this statistic. Since the BL site's debut, I've maybe heard of a dozen people through the trades that have gotten repped/optioned. It's strange that the site can make such a bold claim without providing a list of some kind. Especially since it doesn't communicate directly with writers who do happen to get repped/optioned through the site...
    In an effort to take a very shoe-on-the-other-footist point of view, maybe the reason BL doesn't advertise the specifics of their successes is due to the proprietor's unusually extreme efforts to keep his "pros" anonymous.

    To disclose a writer's success means you'd also learn (or could easily figure out) the buyer(s). And such transparency still doesn't really prove it was as the result of BL, without even more disclosures.

    It's certainly a different behavior from the average script consultant with an on-line presence, and certainly most contests, who for years ad nauseum push the success (identifying both the writer and buyers) of their clientele and winners.

    However, I agree that it isn't a very strong excuse. Statements without proof go only so far in building and perpetuating a brand, which the BL certainly is. You know, for certain, that every assertion ever on the site made would have to be published and proven if they ever wanted to go public, and expected an IPO worth any money at all to come of it.

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  • Bono
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    Re: Franklin Leonard

    To be clear, I like the name and it was totally a thing... so I'm so confused there. It's like calling a bar Prohibition.

    I was just saying, it should be slightly different that we don't get confused like when I look at new iPhones and they named them all stupid names now... there is a 7, 8, xr, xs, max, plus... steve jobs would go crazy looking at how complicated this is.

    And then of course a hit show comes on call The Blacklist with Spader and you can't even google the thing as easily as before w/o FL name...

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  • catcon
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    And then yes he made The Black List 2.0 where you can pay to get your script read on "the black list" but it's not the same thing... and yes that is 100% to make money.

    Just the fact that it's not a different name always annoyed me. Anyone else?
    Oh, don't even get me on it!

    He says the name is an "inversion of that thing that happened in the 1940s and 50s".

    The Hollywood Blacklist was not a thing.

    It didn't take Cranston's marvelous work on Trumbo to make me figure it out. Nor should my being older (a baby boomer) make me unique in finding it odd to want to pursue being on something called "a" or "the" black list. Maybe if life were a satire, but in our profession wanting to be on a black list is a complete oxymoron.

    I think when FL decided to monetize his annual list, that was the time to have given it a more marketable name. After all, he/I/we all knew he wasn't going to be able to make money out of the producers/reps, right? Inevitably, it was going to come from the starry-eyed side, as it always does. At least he could have come up with a name that was more appealing to us writers (and yes, not as confusing with the list-thing).

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  • ScreenRider
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  • ScreenRider
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    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
    it's not remotely like a contest. a contest is for amateur writers compared against other amateur writers, and it says that "this year" this person is the winner. it doesn't say this is a market ready spec. it only says it's the best of this pool of writers.
    But the top contests have a better track record when it comes to starting careers and getting scripts produced. Doesn't that show that they have a better percentage of market ready participants?

    Do you consider the featured scripts on the Black Lists to be market ready?

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  • UpandComing
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  • UpandComing
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    Barh isn't totally wrong if the first part of the post...
    Just realized when he was talking about Franklin not doing this "for money," he was talking about the annual Black List (my apologies, Barh).

    As long as he's aware that the Black List 2.0 is very much a for-profit business (and one that's doing very well in that regard).
    UpandComing
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    Last edited by UpandComing; 05-07-2019, 01:01 AM.

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  • Bono
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    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by barh View Post
    My understanding is, you can get your script on The Black List for free by having it bounce around Hollywood the old-fashioned way and have producers and agents recommend it (which is way easier said than done), so it goes up the list for publication around town at the end of the year.

    I don't think Franklin started this for money, because it would have been very difficult to start something like this "on purpose."

    He could get plenty of writers to sign up, for free or for money, but how would he get important reps and producers and execs to take it seriously, so it would do writers any good? There are a million of these kinds of lists out there that no one looks at.

    By asking for 10 good scripts, and then having that list get forwarded everywhere, and then someone asking, "when is next year's list coming out?" the whole thing went viral, before going viral was a thing. Important people thought it was an important list, and it became one.

    Franklin added the money side of it so any writer could be on it, and get noticed if their script was good enough. The money was to cover the costs of readers and coverage and web site expenses, and possibly to make a profit. Maybe he did it to help writers, maybe he did it to make money, but you don't have to do it, and there have been some good results, a lot better than you can get in most other places. "Here's $500 and a great script, get my career started please." Sounds like a bargain, especially compared to $50,000 a year at USC Film School.

    The big-time writers and reps who generally poo-poo contests as a way of breaking in, they pretty consistently like The Black List, Austin and Nicholl. Some people like some others, but those are the 3 I always see recommended.
    Barh isn't totally wrong IN the first part of the post...

    Just to help out, yes The Black List still comes out every year and that's free -- a list of the most like scripts by executives that were unsold I believe right? But now it's all murky as sometimes you see scripts by Sorkin on there and other big writers and you're like WTF? And if you write a good bio pic you can make the list. And for some reason there's always at least 2 of the same person on the list in the same year. Always weird...

    So yes I don't think he did that to make money. I bet it wasn't even in the back of his head at the start... then as it went on he said to himself, I should capitalize on the name....

    And then yes he made The Black List 2.0 where you can pay to get your script read on "the black list" but it's not the same thing... and yes that is 100% to make money.

    Just the fact that it's not a different name always annoyed me. Anyone else?
    Last edited by Bono; 05-06-2019, 10:28 PM.

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  • finalact4
    Member

  • finalact4
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by barh View Post
    My understanding is, you can get your script on The Black List for free by having it bounce around Hollywood the old-fashioned way and have producers and agents recommend it (which is way easier said than done), so it goes up the list for publication around town at the end of the year.
    that's not how it works. you can host your script like everyone else does and not have it reviewed. you'll get nothing in return for that. the return comes from getting high scores. you want high scores rewrite your script until it "averages" 8s and above. that's where the game is.

    I don't think Franklin started this for money, because it would have been very difficult to start something like this "on purpose."
    of course he did. he also had a real idea to connect writers with industry people. the problem is the writer with their hosting fees and evaluation purchases are the sole support for the industry to have free access to well written specs.

    he is leveraging his brand, which he built. when you say The Black List in Hollywood almost literally everyone first thinks "The Annual Black List." which is a prestigious list of most popular, as yet, unproduced screenplays that have circulated the industry for that year.

    He could get plenty of writers to sign up, for free or for money, but how would he get important reps and producers and execs to take it seriously, so it would do writers any good? There are a million of these kinds of lists out there that no one looks at..
    the black list is unique in that it already carries a "brand" that is known to the industry. again, the black list doesn't exist so promote unknown writers. it exists to promote any writer that has a screenplay that an industry professional falls in love with and wants to produce. it's not just about one thing.

    the difference is that the evaluations legitimize the script. that's why the industry values the Black List.

    By asking for 10 good scripts, and then having that list get forwarded everywhere, and then someone asking, "when is next year's list coming out?" the whole thing went viral, before going viral was a thing. Important people thought it was an important list, and it became one.
    i think you might be confusing the Annual Black List with the Black List website. they are two separate things. the Black List website has broadcast emails of their top scripts with scores of 8 and above that go our every week.

    they maintain a rolling list of top scripts by week, month, quarter and year. you can also be a most popular script.

    the Annual Black List is a list that is only distributed once a year. the bear the same name but the have nothing to do with one another.

    Franklin added the money side of it so any writer could be on it, and get noticed if their script was good enough. The money was to cover the costs of readers and coverage and web site expenses, and possibly to make a profit. Maybe he did it to help writers, maybe he did it to make money, but you don't have to do it, and there have been some good results, a lot better than you can get in most other places. "Here's $500 and a great script, get my career started please." Sounds like a bargain, especially compared to $50,000 a year at USC Film School.
    it's not a non-profit organization. it is designed to make money. he did it for several reasons. it was really smart, because people in the industry associate the brand with a quality expectation. there are companies that have been around far longer than The Black List website that have no recognition in the industry.
    The big-time writers and reps who generally poo-poo contests as a way of breaking in, they pretty consistently like The Black List, Austin and Nicholl. Some people like some others, but those are the 3 I always see recommended.
    because they are the contests that bring the highest quality scripts. and you know what, people in the industry want to talk to the winner. the reason there isn't the support of other contests is because the caliber of the writing isn't the same. and i wouldn't doubt if the real issue is that they simply haven't ever heard of them.

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  • Bono
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    A contest is a competition. the black list and most things fall under that.

    There are Sundance Labs and certain things that you have to be more along to being a pro than an amateur to get selected to them -- but even then -- you're getting chosen out of many. So that's a competition. A contest.

    And just because some people on the black list may be pros, aren't 99% listed scripts by non sold writers putting their stuff up?

    So why you can say if just get a score, you can't win a prize, the prize in the black list "contest" would be to get your script noticed by someone that can help sell it or make it or want to rep you? So that's the prize.

    I'm just learning about Imagine Impact from FA4 on this board -- and it sounds great -- but it's not the first of it's kind. It's very much like fellowships and sundance lab and other things writing boot camps where the goal is to find new great writers, and also for companies to make some money off those new great writers. Project greenlight had it's own way of doing it -- but that one that lanched the horror writing team of the first movie to crazy huge success. One of the more successful contest winners of all time -- Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Milton.

    This is how I see it. Either way it's just arguing semantics isn't it?

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