New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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    FranklinLeonard
    Member

  • FranklinLeonard
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Originally posted by figment View Post
    -- Franklin doesn't list his profit margin on a yearly basis, so we don't really know what his overhead costs entail though, do we? I'm not being a smart-a$$. I don't know. Does he?

    --Who's paying 500 for coverage? There are three or four people on this board alone (that have done it for years on end) that charge like a hundred bucks and the one person that's newer only charges 30 dollars and gives the best notes of all (imo).

    The "demand" for readers on the BL isn't for the coverage they provide, it's because people need the SCORES in order to get downloads. BL notes aren't really known for being super actionable (though some readers do a good job). This doesn't mean that readers shouldn't be paid more, but rather that not very many writers are paying for the "notes." Also, the BL gave themselves another 10 dollars raise per read, too. The price hike wasn't entirely for the readers.
    We don't make public our profit margin but few, if any, private companies do.

    Here's what you can know for certain: Today's announcement results in a lower profit margin for us. We've gone from making 50% of the revenue on each evaluation to roughly 47%.

    As for demand, however you want to frame it, the demand for evaluations far exceeded our capacity to provide them. Something was undervalued. We could either increase the monthly hosting fee or the evaluation cost, and we chose to do the latter and pass along most of that increased cost to the readers.

    Leave a comment:

  • Mpimentel
    Regular

  • Mpimentel
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Just received an Email that the prices in fact have went up.

    "Evaluation Prices Are Now $75 for Features and 1-hr Pilots, $50 for 1/2 hr or Shorter Pilots"

    As a struggling writer that's a ridiculous price to pay for something that could be hit or miss in terms of subjectivity.

    The pilot for my TV series got I think a 3 or a 2, the reviewer said it seemed racist, and if you are sensitive to certain subjects then I'm spending 50 bucks for someone who is not going to get the joke...

    I posted the pilot here (see signature) and all i got was positive feedback, in fact people love it! So am I supposed to pay another 50 bucks plus another months hosting to see if someone may or may not be sensitive to certain jokes?

    You know what would be helpful? Because complaining without any feedback is useless... IF the person paying for feedback could choose certain aspects of WHO the reviewer is...

    If I'm making a show about Latinos for the 15-35 age range, and the reviewer is a 60 year old white male he might not get it at all... Not everything is for everybody... Now If i were able to pick my audience, and my reviewer fits in that category then there is a higher chance of answering the real question of if I'm hitting who I'm trying to hit.

    Forget that, maybe have a section where you get to choose what shows, or what movies this is like... and it pairs you with people who understand that genre or that type of action/comedy/horror...

    I know it does not matter much as I am just one person, and the email I got even says they expect to lose clients... So me crying about "I'm never gonna use it again" is useless... But I don't plan to use the service again.

    Best of luck however to Franklin, seems cool, and very nice of him to come here and answer questions... That is respectable.

    Also... Someone mentioned why not charge the people LOOKING for talent instead of the talent... I doubt that will ever happen, but that would be great, after all... In the corporate world, Companies searching for employees pay head hunters to get good candidates, and they certainly don't charge the applicant to apply... But, this is Hollywood.

    Leave a comment:


  • figment
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Originally posted by Celtic1 View Post
    After reading a few comments (i don't have all day) it is obvious people don't realize running a business has more costs than just reading your script...overhead, improvements, data reports (they post stats all the time-articles about the industry- assuming no one is researching all that for free).


    What i do know is I remember what we had BEFORE a Black List. We had people who charge $500 bucks to give you coverage on a screenplay, flyers that get mailed out with your logline (about $100) or an online posting. That's what I remember.
    -- Franklin doesn't list his profit margin on a yearly basis, so we don't really know what his overhead costs entail though, do we? I'm not being a smart-a$$. I don't know. Does he?

    --Who's paying 500 for coverage? There are three or four people on this board alone (that have done it for years on end) that charge like a hundred bucks and the one person that's newer only charges 30 dollars and gives the best notes of all (imo).

    The "demand" for readers on the BL isn't for the coverage they provide, it's because people need the SCORES in order to get downloads. BL notes aren't really known for being super actionable (though some readers do a good job). This doesn't mean that readers shouldn't be paid more, but rather that not very many writers are paying for the "notes." Also, the BL gave themselves another 10 dollars raise per read, too. The price hike wasn't entirely for the readers.

    Leave a comment:


  • Celtic1
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    After reading a few comments (i don't have all day) it is obvious people don't realize running a business has more costs than just reading your script...overhead, improvements, data reports (they post stats all the time-articles about the industry- assuming no one is researching all that for free). For what the Black List charges you get reviews, you get opportunities (sorry if you can't make the cut), you get the chance to network with other writers, access to managers and producers who if they like what you do may reach out. Or maybe they'll remember your name if another script you wrote lands on their desk. Who knows?
    What i do know is I remember what we had BEFORE a Black List. We had people who charge $500 bucks to give you coverage on a screenplay, flyers that get mailed out with your logline (about $100) or an online posting. That's what I remember.

    Leave a comment:

  • jroger
    New User

  • jroger
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    I would like to know how the BL justifies taking such a large cut of the reader fee. If BL took a smaller cut, you could pay readers even more, hence attracting even more and better readers, which benefits pretty much-- everyone.

    I was a bit disappointed to see that even with the recent price increase, BL still takes nearly 50% of the amount of each read. Especially given that you also collect all of the hosting fees. I realize that you have support staff and everything to account for, but I'd be willing to wager that the amount of time spent supporting each script is a tiny fraction of the time spent evaluating it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dingo_Pug
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Fair enough :-) just a suggestion.

    Leave a comment:

  • FranklinLeonard
    Member

  • FranklinLeonard
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Originally posted by Dingo_Pug View Post
    The changes make sense generally - given delays in reviews. I would add that people shouldn't have to pay to host while they are getting a discounted read due to an outlier review.

    This will likely not be a majority opinion, but I'd be amenable to opening up the standards for readers - at present they need a year as a 'real reader' (not intern) and then someone at BL evaluates some of their coverage. Frankly, I've had more thoughtful and thorough reviews of my scripts at zoetrope for free by people who have never read for a production company. If BL is evaluating their sample then I'm not sure that the firm one year rule is necessary. This would greatly expand your pool of readers. It might also make sense to *not retain* those readers whose reviews are regularly not in step with other reviews of the same script.
    1. You're receiving a discount not because an evaluation is an "outlier." You're receiving a discount because we recognize value in acquiring more information about scripts who elicit divergent opinions.

    2. Not going to happen.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dingo_Pug
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    The changes make sense generally - given delays in reviews. I would add that people shouldn't have to pay to host while they are getting a discounted read due to an outlier review.

    This will likely not be a majority opinion, but I'd be amenable to opening up the standards for readers - at present they need a year as a 'real reader' (not intern) and then someone at BL evaluates some of their coverage. Frankly, I've had more thoughtful and thorough reviews of my scripts at zoetrope for free by people who have never read for a production company. If BL is evaluating their sample then I'm not sure that the firm one year rule is necessary. This would greatly expand your pool of readers. It might also make sense to *not retain* those readers whose reviews are regularly not in step with other reviews of the same script.

    Leave a comment:

  • FranklinLeonard
    Member

  • FranklinLeonard
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Originally posted by Jai Brandon View Post
    Ah, now THAT jives with the wording in the previous paragraph. I feel this should be under one heading. We realize higher costs might be a problem for some writers, so here's our solution. Perhaps a bit of shuffling is in order...?

    Consider:
    You're entitled to your opinion. I obviously disagree.

    Leave a comment:

  • FranklinLeonard
    Member

  • FranklinLeonard
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Originally posted by RobWriter View Post
    I know in the past that the Black List (Franklin) has made it clear that the brief reviews given by their readers are not full coverage or even script notes - that's how the initial price point was explained. With the reads now costing $75, does this mean the reviews will have more substance to them, i.e., more coverage-like? Or, will they remain as they are?
    They will remain as they are. It was quite clear from the relative demand and supply that they were underpriced, thus the increase.

    Leave a comment:

  • Jai Brandon
    Member

  • Jai Brandon
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Originally posted by FranklinLeonard View Post
    You're ignoring the paragraph that directly follows that one:
    Ah, now THAT jives with the wording in the previous paragraph. I feel this should be under one heading. We realize higher costs might be a problem for some writers, so here's our solution. Perhaps a bit of shuffling is in order...?

    Consider:

    We understand that these price increases could have the effect of reducing somewhat the number of folks with the financial wherewithal to take advantage of the Black List website, which is a result we very much want to avoid. To address this, we will further be offering free evaluations and script hosting more frequently on all fronts.

    In other words, if you want to take advantage of the site for free, follow us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Follow us on Instagram. Subscribe to the mailing list. Read Scott Myers’s blog Go Into the Story. Stop by our monthly happy hours (in any one of a dozen cities in the US, Canada, and the UK). There will be many opportunities. Please do take advantage of them.

    Moreover, in addition to the free evaluations we currently offer scripts that receive high scores from our paid readers, we will now offer free hosting as follows:
    Paid Reader Overall 8: 2 free months of hosting & 2 free script evaluations
    Paid Reader Overall 9: 2 free months of hosting & 3 free script evaluations
    Paid Reader Overall 10: 2 free months of hosting & 5 free script evaluations
    It is entirely possible that with the purchase of a single month of hosting and an evaluation, a script could end up in a loop of free hosting and evaluations that runs the catalog of our readers in a genre. It’s already happened once.

    Leave a comment:


  • RobWriter
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    I know in the past that the Black List (Franklin) has made it clear that the brief reviews given by their readers are not full coverage or even script notes - that's how the initial price point was explained. With the reads now costing $75, does this mean the reviews will have more substance to them, i.e., more coverage-like? Or, will they remain as they are?

    Leave a comment:

  • FranklinLeonard
    Member

  • FranklinLeonard
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Originally posted by surftatboy View Post
    Paying the readers more is a solid move in my book -- One nod for that. I know they surely grind.
    We think so.

    Leave a comment:

  • surftatboy
    Member

  • surftatboy
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Originally posted by FranklinLeonard View Post
    The idea is that by increasing readers' pay, we'll be increasing the number of readers who are interested in reading for us, thus increasing our capacity which will in turn reduce wait times.
    Paying the readers more is a solid move in my book -- One nod for that. I know they surely grind.

    Leave a comment:

  • FranklinLeonard
    Member

  • FranklinLeonard
    replied
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
    Read the e-mail as well. Certainly understand the desire to pay readers more due to demand. But how will this affect customers, the majority of whom get a 7 or below?

    Does the increased price mean that readers will be required to get a certain number of evaluations completed within a given week? Because if customers will be paying $25 more and facing the same long waits (4-week turnaround times), I'm finding it hard to see how that's fair.
    The idea is that by increasing readers' pay, we'll be increasing the number of readers who are interested in reading for us, thus increasing our capacity which will in turn reduce wait times.

    Leave a comment:

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