My Black List Experience

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  • sc111
    replied
    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. 😐

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  • Done Deal Pro
    replied
    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, 10:36 AM.

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  • JeffLowell
    replied
    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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  • JoeNYC
    replied
    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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  • fallenangel
    replied
    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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  • JoeNYC
    replied
    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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  • fallenangel
    replied
    @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, 05:47 PM.

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  • sc111
    replied
    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.



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  • JoeNYC
    replied
    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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  • sc111
    replied
    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.

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  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post

    Okay, thanks for your input on the business side of things. I guess for the most part romantic comedy writers will need to look at the streaming platforms for their material.
    My advice to romantic comedy writers would be to look at TV.

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  • JoeNYC
    replied
    Originally posted by sc111 View Post

    Frankly, I don't understand entering in nine contests either. ... Feedback from nine sets of contest readers? Whew. I truly don't understand the strategy, Joe.
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • sc111
    replied
    Frankly, I don't understand entering in nine contests either. My only experience with a contest was my first script. Also a Rom Com. Blue Cat was newish and one of the members here had won and recommended it.

    In the first round, I received notes and scores from two readers. One said it was one the better non-pro scripts they'd ever read. The other panned it with a vengeance. Which cancelled any chance of advancing.

    It was a good experience for me early on in terms of understanding how subjective readers can be. Never entered another.

    Feedback from nine sets of contest readers? Whew. I truly don't understand the strategy, Joe.


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  • JoeNYC
    replied
    Originally posted by figment View Post

    I still think it's a hell of a lot of money to spend
    Yes, it's a "hell" of a lot of money.

    Normally, I would select no more than half that amount of contests for my screenplay, but contests are an important route and investment for writers to make for their screenplay and themselves, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a thread on contests where writers can make knowledgeable decisions on which contests to enter.

    I try my best to contribute to the Done Deal screenwriting forum, whether that be time, energy, or money. Not just sit back and take.

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  • figment
    replied
    Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post

    "This is not as fresh as you may believe."

    When did I ever say this romantic comedy trope is fresh? In another thread, I only pointed out that it's a popular trope by giving a long list of successful romantic comedies applying it -- and that list could have gone on forever.
    I assumed because you were entering NINE contests, that you were doing so because you thought it would place or win, which is why most people enter contests. But apparently you're entering nine contests in order to compose a thread about it at the end of the year. I stand corrected.

    I still think it's a hell of a lot of money to spend, but that's coming from me, who's racing to finish the script I'm working on right now to have time to get notes and still be able to enter it in ONE contest this year.

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