Franklin Leonard

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  • finalact4
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by ScreenRider View Post
    Isn't Black List just a rolling contest with no deadline? It has the same drawbacks as any other contest in that only a tiny percentage benefits. It is difficult to say how much any contests contribute to a writer's success, but I've heard at least two successful managers on the Scripts and Scribes say that they use the Black List to find clients.

    It's overpriced and a big gamble but trying to break into this business is a suckers bet no matter what method you use. I think people get more frustrated with the Black List because the time span between the payment and failure is much shorter than contests.
    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.

    the black list is and has always been about comparing each writer against and industry standard. as if you were submitting directly to a production house or studio.

    the reader reviews. like any you'd receive in a prodco of studio are subjective.

    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.

    Mr.Malcolm's List, as some of you may recall, was released as a film in February 2019. that was the first screenplay that received huge attention from the black list. the writer won the first blind deal with Warner Bros. and she's been a working screenwriter ever since. take note, she was a novelist to start.

    the other one that writers get wrong is Ron Howard and Brian Glazer's Imagine Impact. amateur writers have this misguided assumption that it's designed for amateurs to break into the industry. it's a contest at the professional level.

    what they fail to comprehend is that they are trying to develop projects that have commercial appeal, are written at the professional level already, and concepts that they feel the industry is looking for.

    it's not like Project Greenlight where a screenwriter WINS a chance to have their film produced. Imagine Impact is looking for the best ideas. and when amateur writers don't make the cut, they point to the winners and say, "they won because they're already in the industry." and the answer is yes, because they are producing material that based on Ron Howard and Brian Glazer's opinion about what the industry wants. it's a new development paradigm.

    i'm sure the people who win the spots deserve it. and i hope, as i do for all writers, that they are one step closer.

    you ever hear that adage, if you want your bosses job, you have to show that you can already do your bosses job. well, like it or not... there's truth in it.

    Leave a comment:


  • UpandComing
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by barh View Post
    I don't think Franklin started this for money
    I hope you are a comedy writer, 'cause this is hilarious : )

    Originally posted by barh View Post
    The money was to cover the costs of readers and coverage and web site expenses, and possibly to make a profit.
    I assure you, the goal of all businesses is to make a profit. Franklin needs to make a living just like the rest of us.

    But if you are so invested in the idea of the BL being solely an altruistic aspiring nonprofit for writers, I invite you to read all about the Scriptbook debacle: http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...ad.php?t=82484

    Leave a comment:


  • catcon
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
    the way you rake in evaluations is each time you receive 8s you are given additional reviews at no charge. if the no charge reviews come back with 8s, guess what, you get more free reviews, and so on and so on.
    I was aware of the award for an 8+, but I assume you get only one (or two, I think) free reviews (or maybe some deal on hosting) for each paid review with an 8.

    But there must be some limit. Let's say you pay for one, get an 8, get a freebie, get an 8 or 9 on it, and it metastasizes on and on. Wouldn't there be situations where there are a hundred or more, for really good scripts?

    Anyway, the post here on DDPro said '22 paid reviews', so I assumed that was the case and that there must be some way to determine this. Thus my question remains: What's the value of so many?
    Last edited by catcon; 05-06-2019, 06:59 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • barh
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • finalact4
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by catcon View Post
    Ah, thank you 'search tool' in DDPro. In March 2018 there were several comments that contributed to my notions about Shia's script, in the 'My Blacklist Experience' thread. Here's one:

    (The bold/underline is my emphasis, so that helps to answer my question about whether or not scripts are ID'd for the evaluations. Further:

    Is this right? 22 evaluations? Why?
    the way you rake in evaluations is each time you receive 8s you are given additional reviews at no charge. if the no charge reviews come back with 8s, guess what, you get more free reviews, and so on and so on.

    Leave a comment:


  • ScreenRider
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
    I think there's a notable difference between results produced from the Black List and those produced from contests.

    The top contests aren't afraid to publish their success stories.
    Yes. Maybe It's more comparable to the less successful contests.

    I do wonder why it hasn't had more success in starting careers though. It seems to have enough followers in the industry.

    Judging on premise alone, I've never been impressed by their featured lists, but considering they use industry readers, I would assume that's what producers want.

    Leave a comment:


  • UpandComing
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    BTW, it's not just the lack of confirmed results for BL despite many more submissions than contests.

    BL costs a lot more than contests -- $75 for a read plus (apparently now) $30 to host for one month = $105 -- much more than the late entry fee for every contest except TrackingB.

    So basically, we're paying higher fees for a service with significantly less transparency regarding its track record (and likely significantly fewer positive outcomes for writers).

    I think all the "opportunities" the BL has added in the last few years (fellowships, "Featured Script of the Week," etc.) have served to disguise the fact that its core service doesn't provide much value. Someone should really do a study on the ROI of this service and put it out there.

    Leave a comment:


  • UpandComing
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by ScreenRider View Post
    Isn't Black List just a rolling contest with no deadline? It has the same drawbacks as any other contest in that only a tiny percentage benefits. It is difficult to say how much any contests contribute to a writer's success, but I've heard at least two successful managers on the Scripts and Scribes say that they use the Black List to find clients.
    I think there's a notable difference between results produced from the Black List and those produced from contests.

    The top contests aren't afraid to publish their success stories. See:

    Nicholl: https://www.facebook.com/notes/acade...3208928621452/ and https://www.oscars.org/nicholl/notable

    Austin: https://austinfilmfestival.com/festi...ccess-stories/

    PAGE: https://pageawards.com/success-stories/

    The Black List, on the other hand, doesn't publish any list of success stories. Considering that it is a "rolling contest" with people getting promoted to pros every week via e-mail, you'd think that there'd be a) a much higher percentage of people getting signed than with contests and b) a desire on the part of the organization to collect information regarding such signings and publish it on its site, as evidence of its ROI.

    I genuinely think it probably avoids publishing such information because the ratio of actual signings/options to people who submit scripts is probably drastically lower than the ratio for contests -- and it doesn't want to draw attention to that reality. But that's just my theory.

    Leave a comment:


  • ScreenRider
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Isn't Black List just a rolling contest with no deadline? It has the same drawbacks as any other contest in that only a tiny percentage benefits. It is difficult to say how much any contests contribute to a writer's success, but I've heard at least two successful managers on the Scripts and Scribes say that they use the Black List to find clients.

    It's overpriced and a big gamble but trying to break into this business is a suckers bet no matter what method you use. I think people get more frustrated with the Black List because the time span between the payment and failure is much shorter than contests.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bono
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    I still have always contended that the writers who find success in contests would have found success without them... I'm sure there's 1% where they might not have kept pushing w/o the win and the introduction...

    Again, never used black list, if it helps, great. But if these are the numbers they are prompting on their own website -- that means the best PR spin you can do -- well that's not very exciting to me cost vs reward.

    Leave a comment:


  • catcon
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
    I'm highly skeptical of this statistic. Since the BL site's debut...
    Maybe the "algorithm" needs tweaking.

    But I agree with you. Why the privacy rules? Script Pipeline (nee ScriptPimp!) is still promoting Evan Daugherty's pro success, nearly a decade after he won their contest.

    Leave a comment:


  • UpandComing
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    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.
    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.

    This is a great example of customers just accepting a claim because a service says so, with the service not receiving any kind of accountability for that claim whatsoever.

    Leave a comment:


  • catcon
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    So 55,000 script, dozens of writers is less than 100 writers the way I read that, closer to 36 writers in my head, but if we make it 100 that's 0.0018% that found some success... so how are those odds compared to just querying your spec directly to managers?
    I think those numbers are pretty dated; however, right away I jumped on the 55,000 scripts times $75 equals momma mia!

    This proves that if this service has cornered the market on script evaluations, as seems apparent, the proprietor(s) won't do anything to rattle that tree!

    Yet, this site is different in that it collects, and saves, these evaluations and rankings. A site that does that concerns me, even if there is an option for hiding/deleting them.

    Remember what they say about any social media: It stays there, or somewhere, forever. The metrics in this case are actually pretty valuable. It's not too conspiratorial to imagine somebody parsing them off the site, so they could sell them for good bucks to reps/buyers.

    Thus, I hope the site's claim of "Do No Harm" is more than mere words, and that its ironic name of "the black list" doesn't turn out to be just that for earnest writers and their scripts. What a helluva kick in the pants that'd be; and we only paid $75 for the privilege!

    Anyway, there are alternatives to the BL, and it's not just direct (cold) querying. Yes, the latter is free, but so is ScriptRevolution which is, except for the cost, basically a twin for the BL service offering - as far as the hosting and search facility for producers/reps is concerned.

    I've corresponded several times with CJ Walley, the owner/creator of SR. I really admire what he's done there, not just for the objective but his use of technology - since I'm of that database background as well, but not to his level. We've talked about enabling evaluations, somehow, chiefly as a way to inform buyer/reps that the quality of the scripts in the place is high. The best idea I can come up with is for him to provide some sort of secret "coupon code" for his signed-up members, which then they use to go to a select group of providers for discounted notes/coverage. He could probably assemble a decent list of quality consultants who'd be willing to agree to a discount if it increased their overall sales throughput by a significant percentage.

    Of course, the next step toward world domination would be for all writers to take a queue from the WGA-Agents battle going on right now, and migrate en masse from BL to SR, which would inevitably drag the buyers/reps on the former right along with them.

    Um, it's called free enterprise and competition, folks!

    Ha, well, I'm always coming up with great ideas for others, but am myself so far one of the hapless poverty-stricken saps. That's the way it always is.

    Anyway, this was a year ago, and CJ said he was considering options, but he's now a produced writer (congratulations!) and a very busy guy. The good thing is, his SR is now pretty well just surfing along, self-maintaining, which in time the best of these sites (BL, VPF, etc.) tend to achieve.

    That is, the strong technology that underpins the sites basically runs without any major upkeep, now that the bugs have been worked out: Thus, whether the site holds 1000 users and scripts or 50,000 barely matters. It's just data. A few bytes each, below a nice interface. Once this interface is enabled, and you add the odd blog and front-page update now and then, you've got a site that pretty well self-perpetuates.

    Ah, the lucky few among us...

    Leave a comment:


  • ScreenRider
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    So 55,000 script, dozens of writers is less than 100 writers the way I read that, closer to 36 writers in my head, but if we make it 100 that's 0.0018% that found some success... so how are those odds compared to just querying your spec directly to managers?
    Yes, but people don't view it as a lottery with even odds. You buy an eval on the assumption that you can get an 8 or above. The odds are better than querying for the people who manage to do that.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bono
    replied
    Re: Franklin Leonard

    Lots in this thread, I never used blacklist site before, is there a simple way to explain how it works these days? I have what I think happens in my head, but what really happens.

    I found this on their site, pricing too...

    In October of 2012, the Black List launched a unique online community where screenwriters make their work available to readers, buyers and employers. Since its inception, it has hosted more than 55,000 screenplays and teleplays and provided more than 85,000 script evaluations. 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. In only three years, a half dozen films have been produced from scripts introduced on the website including Golden Globe-nominated NIGHTINGALE, starring David Oyelowo.

    So 55,000 script, dozens of writers is less than 100 writers the way I read that, closer to 36 writers in my head, but if we make it 100 that's 0.0018% that found some success... so how are those odds compared to just querying your spec directly to managers?

    Leave a comment:

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