Franklin Leonard

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  • #46
    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.
    "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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    • #47
      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.

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      • #48
        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.
        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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        • #49
          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.
          Hobby Writer

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          • #50
            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, 07:59 PM.

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            • #51
              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
              "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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              • #52
                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.
                "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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                • #53
                  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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                  • #54
                    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.
                    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      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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                      • #56
                        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).
                        Last edited by UpandComing; 05-07-2019, 01:01 AM.
                        "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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                        • #57
                          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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                          • #58
                            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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                            • #59
                              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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                              • #60
                                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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