Franklin Leonard

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  • Re: Franklin Leonard

    Once again, I'm quoting this, below, because it is truly the most important post in this thread. If agencies do not take the BL seriously, WHY should you, the writer?

    Originally posted by docgonzo View Post
    Someone posted the Verve Coverage Guide on r/screenwriting the other day and it mentions the BL specifically in regard to how the go about covering scripts.

    The Blacklist is a company that monitors unrepresented writers with unsolicited materials. Generally, the material is not strong enough to be considered for representation but, sometimes, there is an excellent screenplay or writer waiting to be discovered. More often than not, these submissions are a pass. If so, you will probably know within the first 30 or 40 pages.

    So while they are getting subs from the BL, they're looking at them with a jaundiced eye. The implication is pretty clear: aside from a rare exception, they don't see BL scripts as being ready for primetime. If that's the prevailing attitude at a mid-tier agency that is more writer-friendly than most, it's not hard to imagine how CAA or WME might feel.
    Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post
    Yes, contests run $35 to $100 and hosting on TBL can get expensive. A writer doesn't have to host to market his screenplay. If I remember right, his logline would go out in an e-mail to TBL industry members.
    This is incorrect. IF you host your script AND get an 8, 9, or 10, your info gets sent in an email blast. The other hundreds/thousands of scripts do not. By the way, your hosting will run out a week after you get your scores, [I]so you'll be forced to buy another month of hosting just in case some anonymous person wants to look at your script.
    Last edited by figment; 09-15-2019, 09:30 AM.

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    • Re: Franklin Leonard

      Docgonzo makes a good point, but every source of amateur screenplays yields a pass more often than an offer of representation. There's no system that's going to find more than handful of great undiscovered writers. How many people broke in through Amazon Studios of the thousands of people that submitted and the millions they spent looking? Nicholl gets real heat for five scripts a year, out of 7000 entries. If the BL gets ten people reps or jobs a year, they're probably the most successful "contest" way to break in.

      There just aren't many slots for new writers. Half of the WGA is trying to get work, and they've already broken in. 99% of the people who pay for the BL will be disappointed in the results, just like every other path.

      Comment


      • Re: Franklin Leonard

        Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
        Docgonzo makes a good point, but every source of amateur screenplays yields a pass more often than an offer of representation. There's no system that's going to find more than handful of great undiscovered writers. How many people broke in through Amazon Studios of the thousands of people that submitted and the millions they spent looking? Nicholl gets real heat for five scripts a year, out of 7000 entries. If the BL gets ten people reps or jobs a year, they're probably the most successful "contest" way to break in.

        There just aren't many slots for new writers. Half of the WGA is trying to get work, and they've already broken in. 99% of the people who pay for the BL will be disappointed in the results, just like every other path.
        this is very true.

        expectations have to be managed at every level. one would expect that repped writers are writing at the professional level and the fact that these writers are utilizing tools that include both repped writers and amateurs is demonstrative of the challenges that professional writers face as well.

        there are over 100 writers with reps on The Black List. many of the writers that secure a position in Ron Howard's and Brian Glazer's Imagine Impact are working writers, and TrackingB allows any level of writer to enter their contest.

        so i think the big take away for amateur writers is that you have to write with the strategy that YOUR COMPETITION is professional writers, because, imo, they are. i don't want to be the best amateur writer, i want to be the best writer. that's my goal.
        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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        • Re: Franklin Leonard

          Originally posted by figment View Post
          Once again, I'm quoting this, below, because it is truly the most important post in this thread. If agencies do not take the BL seriously, WHY should you, the writer?





          This is incorrect. IF you host your script AND get an 8, 9, or 10, your info gets sent in an email blast. The other hundreds/thousands of scripts do not. By the way, your hosting will run out a week after you get your scores, [I]so you'll be forced to buy another month of hosting just in case some anonymous person wants to look at your script.
          hosting gets you nothing more than a place card on the site. you can enter one of their fellowships, but TBL determines, based on their own preferences and their paid evaluations, WHO gets on the short list for consideration. they do not divulge what their criteria are.

          and figment is correct, it could take 3 weeks for your eval to come in and then you basically have one week left of hosting, so of course, you buy another month.

          and it's important to specify that IF you receive a rating 8 or above, you get sent out in the email blast exactly ONE TIME. consider how many weekly emails are you actually able to read consistently each and every week? i miss stuff all the time. haha.

          the biggest "pro" to the black list that contests don't provide is year round access, and that does count for something. contests are, for the most part, an annual submission.

          on the black list you could receive year round attention. you can also revise your screenplay, and upload it again any number of times.

          "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

          Comment


          • Re: Franklin Leonard

            Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
            Docgonzo makes a good point, but every source of amateur screenplays yields a pass more often than an offer of representation. There's no system that's going to find more than handful of great undiscovered writers. How many people broke in through Amazon Studios of the thousands of people that submitted and the millions they spent looking? Nicholl gets real heat for five scripts a year, out of 7000 entries. If the BL gets ten people reps or jobs a year, they're probably the most successful "contest" way to break in.

            There just aren't many slots for new writers. Half of the WGA is trying to get work, and they've already broken in. 99% of the people who pay for the BL will be disappointed in the results, just like every other path.
            Good points.

            So, the question is, if there are fifty slots per year for new writers, ten ways of getting there and 20,000 people trying, which of the ten ways do you want to personally try?

            You can...

            - Grow up in the industry (thinking of the Max Landis types)
            - Go to college with those who grew up in the industry (attend USC)
            - Get entry level jobs in the entertainment industry (intern, PA)
            - Query reps and producers with finished work (assuming it's great)
            - Network (go to WGA events in LA, take classes and meet people)
            - Submit to established contests like Austin, Nicholl (not for profit)
            - Apply for labs like Imagine Impact, Sundance and Film Independent (not for profit)
            - Pay for Black List service, which is like FL's concierge contest and other "for profit" contests like Tracking Board, ScreenCraft, etc.
            - Do the other pay-to-play service (like paying to pitch, for profit)
            - Trying sleeping your way in?

            Are there any other routes? It seems those are the options.

            I've been in and out of the screenwriting space for ten years and have watched a lot of people (attempt to) get in. The ones that have had the highest rate of getting in actually moved to LA and did the entry-level job route. (Barring the two trust funders who went to college with the offspring of celebrities and stepped into writing work right after graduating.)

            If you're past college age and don't have any personal connections, then you have to ask yourself what routes are you willing to try.

            The Black List is a route. It's a very long-shot route. Same with contests.

            I think what it comes down to is that most writers' projects are DOA by page two or three. They either don't have a concept worthy of a feature film/TV show, or if they do, they can't execute the concept on the page.

            At the end of the day, querying probably gets you the same result/feedback on a script as contests without the costs.

            I don't know why so many people want to be writers for TV and film when it's clear that few people are able to make a meaningful living doing it.

            Comment


            • Re: Franklin Leonard

              Originally posted by lostfootage View Post
              So, the question is, if there are fifty slots per year for new writers, ten ways of getting there and 20,000 people trying, which of the ten ways do you want to personally try?

              You can...

              - Trying sleeping your way in?
              I don't think most screenwriters are attractive enough for this to be a viable alternative. That's for actors.

              Originally posted by lostfootage View Post
              I don't know why so many people want to be writers for TV and film when it's clear that few people are able to make a meaningful living doing it.
              Because at the end of the day, it's a more fun career to wake up to than the vast majority of jobs.
              "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

              Comment


              • Re: Franklin Leonard

                Originally posted by lostfootage View Post
                Good points.

                So, the question is, if there are fifty slots per year for new writers, ten ways of getting there and 20,000 people trying, which of the ten ways do you want to personally try?

                You can...

                - Grow up in the industry (thinking of the Max Landis types)
                - Go to college with those who grew up in the industry (attend USC)
                - Get entry level jobs in the entertainment industry (intern, PA)
                - Query reps and producers with finished work (assuming it's great)
                - Network (go to WGA events in LA, take classes and meet people)
                - Submit to established contests like Austin, Nicholl (not for profit)
                - Apply for labs like Imagine Impact, Sundance and Film Independent (not for profit)
                - Pay for Black List service, which is like FL's concierge contest and other "for profit" contests like Tracking Board, ScreenCraft, etc.
                - Do the other pay-to-play service (like paying to pitch, for profit)
                - Trying sleeping your way in?

                Are there any other routes? It seems those are the options.
                .
                write, fund, direct it yourself? Jackson, Rodrigues, Smith...
                I heard the starting gun


                sigpic

                Comment


                • Re: Franklin Leonard

                  Originally posted by Southern_land View Post
                  write, fund, direct it yourself? Jackson, Rodrigues, Smith...
                  I was thinking that the goal is selling a script or idea to someone, but yes making it yourself is a great route. So obvious I forgot it. Doh!

                  Comment


                  • Re: Franklin Leonard

                    Originally posted by lostfootage View Post
                    Good points.

                    So, the question is, if there are fifty slots per year for new writers, ten ways of getting there and 20,000 people trying, which of the ten ways do you want to personally try?

                    You can...

                    - Grow up in the industry (thinking of the Max Landis types)
                    - Go to college with those who grew up in the industry (attend USC)
                    - Get entry level jobs in the entertainment industry (intern, PA)
                    - Query reps and producers with finished work (assuming it's great)
                    - Network (go to WGA events in LA, take classes and meet people)
                    - Submit to established contests like Austin, Nicholl (not for profit)
                    - Apply for labs like Imagine Impact, Sundance and Film Independent (not for profit)
                    - Pay for Black List service, which is like FL's concierge contest and other "for profit" contests like Tracking Board, ScreenCraft, etc.
                    - Do the other pay-to-play service (like paying to pitch, for profit)
                    - Trying sleeping your way in?

                    Are there any other routes? It seems those are the options.

                    I've been in and out of the screenwriting space for ten years and have watched a lot of people (attempt to) get in. The ones that have had the highest rate of getting in actually moved to LA and did the entry-level job route. (Barring the two trust funders who went to college with the offspring of celebrities and stepped into writing work right after graduating.)

                    If you're past college age and don't have any personal connections, then you have to ask yourself what routes are you willing to try.

                    The Black List is a route. It's a very long-shot route. Same with contests.

                    I think what it comes down to is that most writers' projects are DOA by page two or three. They either don't have a concept worthy of a feature film/TV show, or if they do, they can't execute the concept on the page.

                    At the end of the day, querying probably gets you the same result/feedback on a script as contests without the costs.

                    I don't know why so many people want to be writers for TV and film when it's clear that few people are able to make a meaningful living doing it.
                    all good points. well said. but, here's the change up...

                    if you're good, very good, you're not competing against 20,000 other writers. you're competing with the 2% (or less) of 20,000, that's 400 writers. so, it's more realistic to think in those terms. a sage writer explained this to me recently.

                    how does that translate?

                    140 writers at Nicholl
                    65 at The Black List
                    100 each at contests with submissions of 5,000 entrants.

                    many will simultaneously submit at several outlets every year. now, if that doesn't make you hungry to give it 1,000% trying to write your amazing ****ing script, maybe screenwriting isn't for you.

                    it's ****ing hard as ****, but it's not impossible. look, i've come close twice and have a new, hopefully, chance to snatch at it again, but i'm not stopping. i'm not ****ing giving in, and not giving up. let's hope the elections at the WGA this week turn the tide into a wave of negotiations that starts the turbine churning with opportunities we can all reach for. **** yeah!

                    best to you all! myself included

                    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                    Comment


                    • Re: Franklin Leonard

                      Why is everyone being so positive now? Gross!

                      Comment


                      • Re: Franklin Leonard

                        Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                        all good points. well said. but, here's the change up...

                        if you're good, very good, you're not competing against 20,000 other writers. you're competing with the 2% (or less) of 20,000, that's 400 writers. so, it's more realistic to think in those terms. a sage writer explained this to me recently.

                        how does that translate?

                        140 writers at Nicholl
                        65 at The Black List
                        100 each at contests with submissions of 5,000 entrants.

                        Interesting. I had not thought of parsing it out that way. But that makes a lot of sense.

                        Comment


                        • Re: Franklin Leonard

                          How about making a plan where you displace one or more of the top guys. Mazin, Fey, August, Lowell, Haas, Spellman, Talbott, Frank, etc. I think you'll find it a much easier focus.


                          Hey! You might do it in your house, but in this house we don't lick our butts. -- Mother Teresa

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                          • Re: Franklin Leonard

                            Originally posted by figment View Post
                            This is incorrect. IF you host your script AND get an 8, 9, or 10, your info gets sent in an email blast.
                            I tried to get away with what I remembered when the Black List site came out in 2012. I hate ignorance, so I went to the Black List to do the research that I should have done in the first place.

                            From the Black List site:

                            Since they began with the Black List (BL) site in 2012, they have performed 85,000 reviews. That breaks down, on average, to about 12,000 reviews a year.

                            They say their services is not tailored for writers to workshop their scripts.

                            To host a script is $25 a month and industry professionals find scripts, by tags, genres, etc.

                            Every Monday, to promote worthy, vetted screenplays, they have a weekly e-mail blast to their 5,000 industry membership, i.e., agency assistants, studio and network presidents, A-list actors and directors, etc.

                            For a writer to get on this list he must have his script evaluated by a BL reader. An overall score of 8, or higher, will achieve this. Each evaluation is $75, but all you need to get on this list is one review that scores 8 or higher.

                            Every Friday, e-mails go out listing titles. Authors, genres, and loglines of scripts that received scores of 8 and higher in categories or genres where the industry pros have expressed specific interest.

                            Having at least 2 ratings whose weighted average is above the community average will get the writer on a top list, depending on the time period.

                            They say, the rating variance of overall scores in two or more reviews has been low, but if the variance is three points or more the writer has an option to purchase a discounted third read for $40. (Well, this tells us that a reader is paid $40 for each script he reviews. Below the industry union rate, but I guess volume of steady work makes up for that.)

                            If the reviews hasn’t come in within 21 days, a free month of hosting is given.

                            So, it’s a total investment of $100. $25 first month hosting and $75 for one review.

                            Writers say if the review takes 3 weeks there’s only one week of hosting left, which isn’t enough time for an interested industry person to take a look at the script on the BL’s site.

                            When I was a young lad and sent out my first query letters to the industry professionals, any industry person who was interested in my concept contacted me within 24 hours, but let’s say you want to gain the most from your BL score of 8, or higher, so then, invest another $25 for one more month.

                            I think a total investment of $125 (if you’re not using your rent money) is worth a shot in marketing your vetted screenplay. And this investment is not restricted to the BL site. The rating of 9 could be used in other marketing endeavors such as queries, etc.

                            By the way, this e-mail blast to industry pros is another example why the first ten pages of your script are the most important. Most likely this busy industry person, who visits the site to look at the script that he was interested in, isn’t gonna read more than 10 pages to see if the execution and concept is for him. If it’s not, he’s moving on to the next script.

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                            • Re: Franklin Leonard

                              So, in other words, I was correct?

                              Do you use the BL, JoeNYC?

                              My point in this thread, is that at least one agency has two different protocols for coverage giving -- and one is for all other scripts, and one is for the BL. At said agency, the coverage-giver for the BL script doesn't even have to finish the script, they can just stop whenever. They are also given the information that according to the company they work for that most BL scripts are not up to par. This is telling information. Instead of knocking oneself out with BL scores or giving the BL lots of money in hopes of chasing a good score, one might want to reconsider exactly what the BL is doing for them. Is it actually helping? I would assume that wanting to get repped or sold -- both of which require coverage at some point, is the goal. But if you're querying with your BL 8 apparently, at least at this agency, you are not doing yourself a huge favor. Since if it wasn't a BL script the coverage-giver would at least have to read the entire thing and do actual coverage.

                              But do whatever you want.
                              Last edited by figment; 09-16-2019, 04:20 AM.

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                              • Re: Franklin Leonard

                                Originally posted by figment View Post
                                My point in this thread, is that at least one agency has two different protocols for coverage giving -- and one is for all other scripts, and one is for the BL. At said agency, the coverage-giver for the BL script doesn't even have to finish the script, they can just stop whenever.
                                All the more reason for a writer to be patient and not rush to post his screenplay on the Black List as soon as he completes it. The Black List is not for feedback. It's for marketing. If a writer happens to get an 8, it goes out to the industry maybe before it should have.

                                I'm taking my own advice with my completed script. I'm gonna be patient and go through a thorough feedback process. After which I'm satisfied, I'll post my screenplay on the Black List and buy 2 reviews.

                                And, if I get a ranking of 3, there WILL be hell to pay. Franklin, you listening?

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