My Black List Experience

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  • #46
    Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post

    It's not feedback. I'm not ordering feedback from the contests. It was to research each contest by entering and reporting on their operation and value to the members so they could make knowledgeable decisions on which contests to enter, but if members feel this report on the most popular contests that are available offer no value to guests and members, okay. I'll save my money and not proceed with this endeavor.

    Now we all can move on and focus on the craft and business of screenwriting.
    If reporting back to members is your sole motive, maybe you should save your money.

    If no one has asked you to conduct this survey, you may end of feeling unappreciated for your effort if few see value in it. Which is likely to happen in my opinion.

    Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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    • #47
      Originally posted by sc111 View Post

      If no one has asked you to conduct this survey, you may end of feeling unappreciated for your effort if few see value in it. Which is likely to happen in my opinion.
      No one asked me to post threads on "My Black List Experience," "First Ten Pages," "High Concept and Low Concept," "Write The Right Script," "Script Consultants," "Rejection," etc., but I did because this is a site about the craft of screenwriting. Without active members who participate and contribute, this site will be dead and certainly wouldn't be of any value to new writers, or any writers.

      sc111, if you are so certain that my efforts will produce no value for anyone, then this begs the question: Why am I wasting my time and energy here?

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      • #48
        I was speaking specifically to this contest survey. Not about other topics you've written about to start discussions.

        This experiment will cost you - what? - $500 or more (ballparking it in my head).

        The topic of contests has been discussed at length here. Individually and collectively. And the consensus is contests can be subjective with varying results even with the same script entered in the same contest only in different years.

        It is my opinion that your analysis of results from 9 contests isn't likely to add any major Ah-ha! insights on what writers can expect from contests. That's why I used the word: value.

        It's commendable that you seek to keep the site active. If you believe your 9-contest survey is going to generate new insights of great value for other writers, well -- it's your money -- go for it.



        Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

        Comment


        • #49
          @Jeff and @Will- Thanks for the business side insight. Spot on. fwiw, I had a cousin who worked @GE HQ in accounting (back when GE owned Universal). I remember him telling us that 95% of the movies they distributed either lost money or broke even. It was those 5% blockbusters that offset the losses and made the studio a small profitable.

          @Joe Don't mean to hijack your thread, but what's your definition of professional readers. Does Blacklist provide you with reader's name who gives out those ratings? Can you pick a reader or a reader is assigned based on the genre? I suspect latter. The reason I ask is because I've just completed a first draft of my horror script and would love to get feedback from likes of The Hayes brothers or Gary Dauberman or Chris Cargill. Is that even possible?

          And like sc111 said, writing is very subjective. Reminds me of a line from, Midnight in Paris where Hemingway says, If it's bad, I'll hate it because I hate bad writing, and if it's good, I'll be envious and hate all the more. You don't want the opinion of another writer.

          cheers,
          fallen
          Last edited by fallenangel; 01-23-2021, 06:47 PM.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by fallenangel View Post
            what's your definition of professional readers. Does Blacklist provide you with reader's name who gives out those ratings? Can you pick a reader or a reader is assigned based on the genre? ... And like sc111 said, writing is very subjective.
            In my opinion, a "professional reader" is a person who reviews screenplays for a living, but the level and quality differs. You can have a non-pro who was a Quarterfinalist in a no name competition, a Hollywood union reader, ex-development executive, college professor, ex-"A" list professional writer, etc. It's up to the writer to research for a reader who's a best fit for his screenplay. The Black List does not provide reader names and credentials for a writer to choose. The Black List says their readers have been vetted and verified to be experience working, or ex-readers in the industry and scripts are assigned to a reader's genre preferences.

            Reviewing a screenplay is subjective. This is why I would like to get at least 3 peer or professional reviews for my screenplay. This is why I would like to enter at least 3 contests. If a writer is a strong and experienced writer, then he should advance in at least 1 out of every 3 contests, no matter if the screenplay is low or high concept. This is why I paid for 3 Black List readers. One out of the 3 gave me some 7s, which is the equivalent to a Quarterfinalist in a contest (8 semifinalist, 9 finalist, 10 winner), but unlike if you were entered into 6 different contests, the Black List combines the 3 readers' scores for an overall average score.

            And I would like to point out that The Black List is not a contest. There are no restrictions on how many 9s, 10s get selected. The Black List is one route to be utilized to market your screenplay to the industry.

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            • #51
              Thanks, Joe for a detailed explanation. I wish you nothing but success with your writing endeavors. And, please continue to post on DD forums. Helps fellow writers to gain from peers perspectives. I only speak for myself.

              PS:

              1. Would be great to see hard numbers from the blacklist. # scripts reviewed in 2020, # of professional readers (although I'd love to see a few resumes), genre, sales, rep, Prod Co etc.). What % of the script writers within a genre were able to get an agent, generate a sale.

              2. Couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across a site with list of 2019 spec sales. A few sales have a loglines and others just an NA. Looking at these specs, I continue to remain convinced that there is no science behind storytelling and sales. Nobody knows. Educate yourself by reading countless produced scripts and follow your heart. Write a story. Submit.

              -- fallen

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              • #52
                Originally posted by fallenangel View Post

                Would be great to see hard numbers from the blacklist. # scripts reviewed in 2020, # of professional readers (although I'd love to see a few resumes), genre, sales, rep, Prod Co etc.). What % of the script writers within a genre were able to get an agent, generate a sale.
                Yes, hearing success stories would be great, but the majority of writers and industry people are not keeping the Black List informed on who and where people are obtaining representations and selling.

                As for how many scripts are being submitted and reviewed in a year -- MY GUESS -- would be around 10,000. I've come to this conclusion because there are around 200 scripts on the TOP LIST read page, which are scripts that obtained at least an overall average score of 7 and higher from at least two evaluation reads (a score of 6 is the site's average). Receiving a score of a 7 is not easy.

                The Black List, even though it would be great for repeat business in making writers happy by being generous in scoring, must maintain credibility with the industry professionals, where when they say a script is worth looking at, the industry person can trust this is true. So, I believe only 2% of the scripts advanced to the TOP LIST read page, thus the 10,000 scripts a year assumption.

                Done Deal Pro has a sleight relationship with Franklin from the time he posted here, so maybe Will can get an accurate figure on how many scripts are reviewed in a year. What percentage advanced to the TOP LIST read page? What percentage receive an overall score of 8/higher and are sent out on the e-mail list to Black List's industry professionals who have agreed to receiving this e-mail?

                Breaking it down by genre would be great, but this might be asking too much of a person's time and energy.

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                • #53
                  Franklin used to publish detailed statistics - maybe he still does? He answered a lot of questions people have been asking in one of the numerous threads here about the blacklist...

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                  • #54
                    I don't know Franklin. He did post here quite a bit in the early days of his new service to get the word out and (I strongly feel) to try to get ahead of any criticisms as best he could. Once it was all rolling along, there wasn't much need any more to explain or defend, I think one can conclude/surmise.

                    For the most part, I really only know what most folks are aware of from articles, interviews and his posts. From what I've seen, as of at this moment, there are thousands upon thousands of "paid for hosting" scripts on the site along with WGA writers' scripts, who get at 20% discount to host their work. Per a general "rule" when looking at scripts from writers of all levels & skill sets, I am sure only a small few in the whole scheme of things get 8s or higher. Small few.
                    Last edited by Done Deal Pro; 01-24-2021, 11:36 AM.
                    Will
                    Done Deal Pro
                    www.donedealpro.com

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                    • #55
                      Rightly or wrongly, I've concluded breaking in is similar to the lottery but playing the "winning numbers" requires higher-than-average writing skills plus a fresh, highly commercial concept executed near flawlessly.

                      Even with such a script there are so many other business-side factors, including timing and competition with pro writers, that the odds against you are seriously high.

                      With that said, I'm still not completely over my own addiction to screenwriting. 😐

                      Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post

                        If a writer is a strong and experienced writer, then he should advance in at least 1 out of every 3 contests, no matter if the screenplay is low or high concept.
                        Where are you getting this from? I think this is a overgeneralization.

                        As someone who's entered multiple scripts in previous contests, I really feel that after a certain level of skill, its often the luck of the draw on getting the right readers that will connect with your script. That's why you'll get a 8 and a 5 for the same script on the BL (happened to me).

                        Or, one of my favorite examples from a script I entered in the Nicholl:

                        One reader said: "Everything about this script was stellar... X is an exceptional protaganist … Each line of important dialogue really sings... I'd read a spin-off movie of almost every character in this script..."

                        Another reader said: "The main character isn't especially unique, neither are the villains or the story."

                        Those are WILDLY differing assessments. So, who is right and who is wrong? They're both right, because its just their opinion, and they clearly have different tastes. I think this happens all the time. It's just the luck of the draw, reader-wise. So to say if something is "good" it should advance in 1 out of 3 contests makes no sense to me -- "good" according to whom?


                        Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post

                        This is why I paid for 3 Black List readers. One out of the 3 gave me some 7s, which is the equivalent to a Quarterfinalist in a contest (8 semifinalist, 9 finalist, 10 winner)
                        Nicholl QF ae the top 5 percent out of like 8k or so. I don't think a "7 score" is the equivalent of that in the BL -- there are too many "7's: An 8, maybe?.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by figment View Post

                          Where are you getting this from? I think this is a overgeneralization. ... its often the luck of the draw on getting the right readers that will connect with your script. ... It's just the luck of the draw, reader-wise. So to say if something is "good" it should advance in 1 out of 3 contests makes no sense to me ... Nicholl QF are the top 5 percent out of like 8k or so. I don't think a "7 score" is the equivalent of that in the BL
                          I'm going by my own practical experience. I've entered broad comedies, romantic dramas, etc. into contests and they advanced in at least 1 out of every 3 contests. My action adventure advanced in 2 out of 4 contests last year and the feedback readers that I used said it wasn't ready.

                          Yes, judging a screenplay is subjective, but if you're an experience writer, where your feedback eventually says your script is strong, then how many different contest readers, not a Hollywood production company, does it take before the writing resonates with someone?

                          For the majority of contests, the QF's percentage is not the top 5 percent like the Nicholl. It's the top 15 to 20 percent. From the Austin competition: "Second Round (Top 15-20%)."

                          If an experience writer can't make at least the top 20% in 1 out of 3 contests, then he may not be ready to join the professional ranks.
                          Last edited by JoeNYC; 01-24-2021, 03:05 PM.

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                          • #58
                            Some writers ask for permission to succeed, other writers just go for it. I find more pros fall into the latter. Contests are fine when you're starting out. I get sad when writers of 10 plus year experience are still entering Nicholl or any contest over and over again... I just don't think that's the way in. I think the way in is simply write a great screenplay and enter the real contest -- finding a rep/selling a script. The rest is just window dressing.

                            Believe in your writing ability and go after managers not doing well in contest.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Your "20%" calculation makes no sense to me, Joe. There are other factors you're totally ignoring in addition to assuming the quality of your competition's scripts is exactly the same in every contest.

                              I've read several accounts where writers hit that 20% one year. Then entered the same script in the same contest the following year and failed to make the first cut.

                              How could this happen?

                              Readers are extremely subjective -- two, three, six different readers can rate the same script with a wide range of scores. We've seen this with BL which, in my opinion, is simply a perpetual contest at its core.

                              Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Bono View Post
                                Some writers ask for permission to succeed, other writers just go for it. I find more pros fall into the latter. Contests are fine when you're starting out. I get sad when writers of 10 plus year experience are still entering Nicholl or any contest over and over again... I just don't think that's the way in. I think the way in is simply write a great screenplay and enter the real contest -- finding a rep/selling a script. The rest is just window dressing.

                                Believe in your writing ability and go after managers not doing well in contest.
                                Agree 100%.
                                Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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