Franklin Leonard

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  • Re: Franklin Leonard

    But seriously...

    I like writing because I enjoy it and I enjoy irritating people.

    It's not my day job.

    If writing scripts was my day job, I can't imagine why I'd spend hundreds of dollars on contests and black lists, instead of just trying to sell the damn things.

    How many times have you heard: "I want to be a street sweeper -- who can I pay to interview me?"
    "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

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    • Re: Franklin Leonard

      Originally posted by ScreenRider View Post
      So I got back all 5 Black List evaluations for my script and it was a straight flush. Scores of 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. I think I'll take a long break before rolling that ten-sided dice again.
      After spending all that money, how have the arbitrary numeric scores helped to move your project forward?

      If your script is good enough to receive an 8,9,or 10, chances are your script is good enough to get reads from free queries.

      Stop being lazy and send out those queries.

      The blacklist pay site exists primary to tell industry folks NOT to read scripts.

      If industry pro gets query that sounds interesting, they might look at first few pages. If they see the same script on blacklist pay site and it is rated less than 8, they'll probably skip it.

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      • Re: Franklin Leonard

        ScreenRider
        So I got back all 5 Black List evaluations for my script and it was a straight flush. Scores of 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. I think I'll take a long break before rolling that ten-sided dice again.
        Perhaps it was that BL reader who's on LinkedIn, boasting how she reads 3-5 scripts per day. As she juices up on energy drinks and power bars as the day wears on, it results in improved scores.

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        • Re: Franklin Leonard

          Originally posted by JaGra View Post
          If your script is good enough to receive an 8,9,or 10, chances are your script is good enough to get reads from free queries.

          Stop being lazy and send out those queries.

          I do send out email queries and get read. No reason not try other methods and it's not like queries are free when you consider how much time and work it takes to get a single request.

          Didn't get any benefits from the blacklist but that's because the scores were low. I was hoping for an 8. I've gotten an 8 in the past which led to a lot of industry downloads and two development assistants wanting to read more of my stuff. It didn't lead anywhere but nothing ever does...

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          • Re: Franklin Leonard

            (It's so interesting you guys - someone, anyway - are pushing the poster to stop being lazy and send queries when most people on another thing I was reading -- probably Twitter -- agree that no one really sends queries. My opinion, they work sometimes so you might as well send some targeted ones, but for the most part, it's got to come from the contacts you know or you can meet.)

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            • Re: Franklin Leonard

              I think most people starting out get repped via query... maybe when you "make it" you can get passed around by someone you know in the industry... but first you have to be in the industry, hence query....

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              • Re: Franklin Leonard

                Originally posted by Bono View Post
                I think most people starting out get repped via query... maybe when you "make it" you can get passed around by someone you know in the industry... but first you have to be in the industry, hence query....
                I would argue that's not the case. I don't know anyone who has gotten a rep from a query. Yes, it happens but I don't think most get theirs this way. It's usually a referral from working in the industry in some other capacity (assistant, on set, etc.), or getting into one of the TV fellowships, or winnng/placing high in a significant contest (Nicholl, Austin, both Tracking comps). But if I were to guess, it's referral that gets most writers their first rep.

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                • Re: Franklin Leonard

                  Originally posted by JaGra View Post

                  The blacklist pay site exists primary to tell industry folks NOT to read scripts.

                  No. It exists primarily to make Franklin Leonard money, by underpaying readers to read the work of neophytes who are so inexperienced as to be unable to recognize his predatory business model.

                  Run the numbers of how many scripts have been reviewed and hosted on that site at great expense to the amateur screenwriting community, and how little the Black List readers have been paid to read those thousands of scripts, and it isn't hard to see that the guy has made literal millions off his predatory business model.

                  I don't think he set out to deliberately defraud writers, but that is what he has done.

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                  • Re: Franklin Leonard

                    Sheesh, another 12+ page BL thread...

                    Anyway, I do think it's just a typical pay-for-access site, with a few benefits of the prestige variety.

                    But as to cost-benefit ratio, it's a rare business that is successful that charges the sellers (in this case, writers) and gives free access to the actual users and eventual buyers (in this case, reps and producers). Nice....

                    I understand the (fairly modest) cost of the coverage.

                    But since almost everybody has their own website on which they could host their scripts, or have access to such webspace, for free, the BL should enable URL links to the scripts, and do away with the hosting charges. I pay $60 a year for over a gig, on which I host all my various websites. His site charges, what, $30 or more a MONTH for hosting a 200 kilobyte script file?!

                    Everything else could remain the same on the BL site: The searchable evaluations and ratings, etc. but recognizing the reality of hosting costs would be a benefit. Hard to administer? Maybe. A cut into the revenue. Absolutely.

                    But it'll only happen when writers apply to BL (and the other such sites) the same collective willpower they're presently sending the way of the agencies.

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                    • Re: Franklin Leonard

                      Originally posted by docgonzo View Post
                      I would argue that's not the case. I don't know anyone who has gotten a rep from a query. Yes, it happens but I don't think most get theirs this way. It's usually a referral from working in the industry in some other capacity (assistant, on set, etc.), or getting into one of the TV fellowships, or winnng/placing high in a significant contest (Nicholl, Austin, both Tracking comps). But if I were to guess, it's referral that gets most writers their first rep.
                      Well if you sort of know me, then you know one person that got repped from a query. And everyone I met on this board the past 10 plus year, working writers, got started that way. I'm struggling to think of 1 person I know personally that got in the referral way... And I'm thinking of 100 plus writers...

                      Do you know 10 writers that made it the way you said above or 2?

                      Honestly i was half asleep when i wrote that other post, but my guess is 98% of writers got in because of queries...

                      By the way --if you're assistant to an agent, you still have to ask your boss to read your script -- so it's still a query...

                      I don't really have to prove that queries are the main way we break in do I? But there's never one way in.... It's still about putting yourself and your script out there.... If you just use the BL or a contest and nothing happens from it -- it's up to you to keep pushing your script.

                      They rarely come to you. You have to go to them. At least in 2019. And in 2007 when I was starting out....

                      Now I'm sure this was a lot different in the 80s, 90s...
                      Last edited by Bono; 06-08-2019, 08:21 AM.

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                      • Re: Franklin Leonard

                        I was repped off a query.

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                        • Re: Franklin Leonard

                          I got repped off a query, but it was a million years ago.

                          But here's a post from early in the BL's existence:

                          I mentioned my "8" coverage in query letters and got almost 40 script requests. From some very big companies. The Black List definitely has huge name recognition in the Industry. Getting a high BL score was a huge help.

                          Being proactive with a query campaign that mentions a high Black List score will get you a whole lot further than just sitting around and waiting for downloads to come in.

                          I got way more script requests through querying than downloads on the site.

                          And it's nice to know exactly who is reading your script.
                          Link to the post.

                          Querying is tough. I remember having about a 3% success rate through querying, but when you send out enough letters...

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                          • Re: Franklin Leonard

                            Well, I'm a query dude all the way, but that's out of necessity - because I have no fear and just don't have any discretionary income for the pay-for-access services anyway.

                            But the thing I get here, about what's being said about query success, is that if you're getting a reaction when you mention a BL score, or that coverage is available from a reputable source, or a significant placement in a contest that counts, etc.... it means that these queries are being read.

                            So many think they're a total waste of time because they figure automatic email rules are simply filtering them out. But I tend to think that almost everything is read... out of fear of missing something.

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                            • Re: Franklin Leonard

                              Originally posted by Bono View Post
                              By the way --if you're assistant to an agent, you still have to ask your boss to read your script -- so it's still a query...
                              I don't want to speak for docgonzo but in reading your previous post, I assumed you were talking about blind email queries. I have no stats to back this up whatsoever, just my own personal experience in this business, so I may very well be entirely wrong, but I'd be shocked if the majority of working writers got their start via blind queries. Obviously it happens (just look at you and the other posters who've piped up in this thread) and I think it's awesome when it does.

                              But I would personally consider an assistant asking their agent boss to read their script as breaking in from within the industry, which I think is very different from what is normally meant by the term "querying." That assistant built relationships to get that job and then built a relationship with their agent boss. Again, I'm only speaking from my own personal experience but I think that most of the working writers that I know broke in that way... moving to LA, getting an entry-level job and building relationships all while writing their ass off.

                              The bottom line though is that there seriously is no one, two or three ways to do it. Whatever gets your script read!

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                              • Re: Franklin Leonard

                                Originally posted by DLev24 View Post
                                I don't want to speak for docgonzo but in reading your previous post, I assumed you were talking about blind email queries. I have no stats to back this up whatsoever, just my own personal experience in this business, so I may very well be entirely wrong, but I'd be shocked if the majority of working writers got their start via blind queries. Obviously it happens (just look at you and the other posters who've piped up in this thread) and I think it's awesome when it does.

                                But I would personally consider an assistant asking their agent boss to read their script as breaking in from within the industry, which I think is very different from what is normally meant by the term "querying." That assistant built relationships to get that job and then built a relationship with their agent boss. Again, I'm only speaking from my own personal experience but I think that most of the working writers that I know broke in that way... moving to LA, getting an entry-level job and building relationships all while writing their ass off.

                                The bottom line though is that there seriously is no one, two or three ways to do it. Whatever gets your script read!
                                I was talking about blind queries, but then again, when does it become a relationship and you ask them to read the script? If you've talked to that manager before in any way?

                                You're not wrong, I was just having fun with calling that a query from assistant to boss. And yes if that's your world, it makes sense to know more of them. I guess most writers I know I met on here and they didn't' go that route.

                                I guess it's due to the emergence of more managers and just more places to query -- when it used to be mostly just agents you can query and less access to break in without someone else getting you into the club.

                                Anyway -- yes anyway is fine.

                                But circle back to what Jeff Lowell mentioned and what I was trying to say many times in these thread (at least I think it was this thread been going on so long) is that if you do well on the black list, use that to query with and get read! Query, ask your boss, get your foot driven over by Ron Howard and then ask them to read your script that got all 9's on the black list.

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