New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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

    Originally posted by celticbeauty View Post
    That's what you took from my comment?

    Satirical or not, my point is still valid. Rejection happens a lot in this business and happens to everyone--long into their careers.

    More than that, many projects that are worthy still get rejected. Many famous films (including Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Back to the Future) faced rejection all over town before someone took a chance on them. The same thing happened to Mark Cherry's hit series Desperate Housewives. It was rejected all over town. Cherry did 17 drafts on it before it finally sold to ABC. But it sold and became wildly successful because he kept rewriting until he had a script they could not say no to.

    Rejection, while it may sting, isn't necessarily a bad thing. It can be motivating--and if you channel your efforts into a rewrite, it can help you strengthen your project, and your writing.
    I agreed with everything you said.....

    Comment


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

      You're welcome. As I said, I don't know your script, and the review certainly could have just been the reader's personal preference. You'll have a better idea once you get that second read.

      That said, I'd say most people don't have the right to attack a reader after any draft, first or fifteenth. Some tenth drafts aren't ready. As I mentioned in a response to another writer, it was Mark Cherry's 17th draft of Desperate Housewives that sold--and he was an experienced television writer.

      Plus, a reader is entitled to his or her opinion--and opinions are subjective. Not all readers will agree on what a script needs. Plus, if you work in this industry long enough, you're going to get professional notes from a producer or studio exec that you don't agree with. It'll happen. Probably a number of times. The key is to find the note behind the note and addressing that issue. It may not be those specific scenes that this reader is missing--it may be a plot beat, character development, or some other key piece of information that was originally in those scenes that he is missing.

      Best of luck with your second read. Let us know how it turns out!


      Hey, thanks for the extensive reply.

      I'm actually very hard on myself, particularly this story, to make sure it's "just right". The people whom I gave it to who liked the character are respected readers such as ScriptGal and Screenplay Mechanic. That was back in September, I made my final rewrite a week ago. It is much more concise and flows smoother.

      For example, one thing which all readers told me from the get-go was to remove certain scenes (and they made total sense) yet this reader asked for those exact unnecessary scenes.

      I'm fully with you on how some people are very eager and most people wouldn't have a right to attack the reader immediately after a first draft. However, in my respectful opinion, I thought all the correct facets were achieved, especially so many drafts later. I'm also onboard with you when you said that if the reader is right they did me a favour. The first few reviews I got, I anticipated prior to opening them they would find it to be best thing since sliced bread. Boy, was I wrong.

      Although I was disappointed they didn't like a few major aspects, they did note which parts were good and the parts that were bad, they were correct it noting it out. Reading dozens of more professional scripts (good and bad) since then, articles and books has helped me improve and diminish the few slight bad qualities I once had.

      Thanks for the link. Don't worry I'm not discouraged, Lincoln lost the election 8 times, had two failed businesses and a nervous breakdown before he became president

      Hopefully the second read goes well.

      Hey, if you're interested in reading it, let me know.

      Comment


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

        Originally posted by Wise View Post
        I agreed with everything you said.....
        Sorry Wise. That comment was directed at PP "omovie", not you.
        Last edited by celticbeauty; 02-19-2014, 12:08 PM.

        Comment


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

          I have a serious urgent consideration with posting my script with your fine “Black List” venue that could effect other writers' approach to successful posting at TBL, and possibly change TBL's posting design. I feel there are very possible reasons or conditions where a reader needs to be primed beyond logline, genre, and tag information, in certain situations. I think there might be something I did seriously wrong at my presentation level as I've only had two "Views" and no critique, and well into my third day!! I think a “View” means they've only looked at my logline, tags, genres, and very basic personal info; or can they also somehow at the “View” level read glance over my script without downloading? There's been no downloads.


          Possible serious flaws of my own driving them away: my being conservative on the number of genres and so far noted, “Drama”, and “Drama Adventure”. Doesn't too many or even too few genres count against me? Other possible genres... in brief my protagonist heists a 1.3 million dollar over one hundred year old pair of diamond studded slippers (for what my teenage protagonist believes are magnanimous reasons) and hits the road across the South from LA area to Miami area (there is a definite reason for Miami area) and is chased by an evil foe as she risks her life. Her boyfriend catches up to her; and they both end up stowing away on a cruise ship to Dominican Republic (also for a definite reason) where they face tragedy. So my story involves adventure, their friendship involves love interest, it is a heist, it involves high technology at times, there are a couple of car chases, and it has a twist yet happy ending. It would be rated PG13 as there is no swearing, no sex, and no gratuitous violence. I wrote for 15 to 20 yr old audience demographic. What else could be driving your industry pros away? Maybe my logline might be scaring them off with copyright fears that don't exist yet would very much appear to. It's a paradoxical situation for me as the importance of the slippers to my story are because of their origins and not because of the original children's OZ story content.


          A consultant told me my story would never be produced, only if MGM produced it (greatly reduces the odds) and stated the “Ruby Slippers” in the MGM 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz”, are under major iron-clad MGM copyright. The original children's story published in 1900, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, has been public domain since 1956. Originally the slippers were silver, not ruby. So I changed the slippers to silver, which actually had, and in many ways, an amazing plot effect and strengthened my story as it doesn't distract viewers into thinking it is just another cliché OZ based story. So if that issue is scaring them away upon just viewing at the presentation level I seriously feel I need a way of letting them know there is no problem in that regard and that my script is not just another OZ derived story. Also seeing Judy Garland's name maybe throws up red flags, yet the story has nothing to do with her life, just a few scenes at the museum. Maybe there could be a small notice to industry pros box, or, “additional pertinent info” box, a place in plain view where writers could leave a brief comment, which in my case is badly needed.


          Then I could tell viewers there is no worry about copyright, or MGM etc. What do I think might be causing them alarm? Maybe it is the logline. The title of my script is; “The Silver Slipper Affair”.

          Logline: When a 17 year old girl discovers Dorothy's magical slippers in the Judy Garland museum have extraordinary powers and are the targets of an evil man bent on hurting America, she steals them herself with hopes to unlock the slippers' powers.

          I'm afraid they are turning away before even taking a real look; and I'll never be read. I feel entrapped and look forward to your response Franklin and/or any other writers' too. Thanks for your patience and for providing such a great venue for unknown screenwriters.


          Hi Tinlizzie!


          Very nice of you to respond with such helpful advice!! I was only wondering if someone from TBL might also respond.


          Are you a TBL volunteer or a working staff member?


          I don't mean to ask that sounding negative... but just wondering if still there might be, in addition to your very nice response, more responses coming up in reaction to what I wrote, including, if not Franklin, some staff member too.


          I thought that Franklin Leonard also responds, right?


          I was hoping they would consider changing the design of their presentation area so writers, when necessary, could ad a short note readers would see, as in my case, where copyright issues might scare them away as with my logline that has Judy Garland's name in it and Dorothy... only it's not the “Dorothy” from the movie it's the Dorothy from the original childrens' story.


          You encapsulated a lot with the words “black hole” which sounds ominous to think that is what really happens in the masses of submissions I never thought about. So you thought my logline then was what mainly scared them away? What did you think might have turned them away?


          So now my story is so buried it could go for weeks and no one even see it, unless by luck?


          What happens if I ad more genres to it? I was conservative when I added only one “Adventure Drama”. Would adding more genres make it more noticeable or attract even fewer?


          The sum total of genres the two consultants I paid to read (original and rewrite) was first consultant noted: “Family/Thriller/Adventure”, and second consultant, “Action/Sci-Fi/Fantasy”. Which among these genres would you think the readers would like most? I guess that way I'd list them and still try to keep number of sub-genres to a minimum.


          Also “Views”, does that also mean they were able to without downloading glance at a few pages?


          I should have been more clear but I paid $50 to TBL for one review, all I can afford right now, and understand it might take a while before a reader who happens to like my type of story, to want to read it.


          So even if I paid for one review, then it means I'm just the same, still in the black hole and it could be weeks before anyone really wants to read it?


          The first consultant didn't rate the film's cost. The second consultant rated it at “High Medium”, whatever that means. Also the two “Views” came within about 3 minutes of submitting my script, then none ever since and now into my fourth day, so I imagine like you said, all that happened was for the couple of minutes before my script disappeared into the mass I got the two views!


          Thanks again for your response!
          Sincerely,
          Mike
          Last edited by MichaelJ; 02-19-2014, 05:19 PM. Reason: Copy/pasted my initial post hoping readers would actually see it by cutting and pasting.

          Comment


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

            Hey Mike,

            I'm afraid I'm just a fellow writer who has used the BL. Franklin does come on and answer here so you might yet get a response. Great that you bought a review, now you just have to cross your fingers that you get an 8 somewhere. Even without any 8's, decent scores will help you come up in the "you may also like" section of recommendations. As Franklin explained, those are based at least partly on similar rankings from the same reviewer - in other words, if someone views a script that your reviewer rated highly and you got a 7 from them, you're fairly likely to come up. Even if you don't, I wouldn't despair. If the scores are at least decent and you still don't get any downloads, you could always suspend hosting until you can afford a second review with a reasonable hope of making it onto the top lists then.

            Also, I would definitely add some genres since your script sounds like it could fit into a lot of categories and I imagine that's one of the most highly used search criteria (no evidence for this - it just seems like common sense).

            I would also tweak the logline. It's not bad, but could read a little smoother and if all you get is those few words to make an impression, you need them to be the best they can be.

            As for the copyright concerns, I have seen some people include a super short note in a second sentence tacked on to their logline. If there is a way you can put people's fears to rest in a concise way, you could always do that. Or perhaps you could put that info into the "based on" part of the notes below the listing - basically say it's based on the book and has no elements from the movie. Just a thought.

            Anyway, hope it all goes well.

            Comment


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

              MichaelJ, Don't worry too much about views on the Black List. Getting very few seems to be par for the course until some outside light is shined on a specific project.

              Unfortunately your decision to make the ruby slippers into silver slippers while still attributing them to Judy Garland doesn't seem to make sense. No set of silver slippers would have the same value as the ruby slippers used in the movie. For me it makes sense to stick with them being the ruby slippers, or to consider making them a fictionalized artifact with no connection to the Wizard of Oz.

              Also unfortunately, you have stepped into a notorious legal battle. The distinction between the published Wizard of Oz and the original aspects added by the filmmakers, for which they assert separate rights protection, is an area that has the attention of teams of lawyers.

              The good news for you is that Disney/MGM still make movies, and as with "Saving Mr. Banks- it's possible they would make a movie about the ruby slippers. Of course it would need to be an amazing script that doesn't harm their intellectual property.

              As a general point about the Black List, I was a bit surprised when I checked the rules that they don't require the submitting person to have the rights for what they are submitting. On reflection that makes sense, since it's hard to know where to draw the line and as with your project the rights may be obtainable, even if it's hugely difficult to do so.

              The reason I checked this point is that I noticed some well received Black List scripts for which I'd be surprised if the writers have obtained the rights. It turns out they don't need to. That got me thinking about throwing in a couple of adapted scripts of mine that can't be submitted to other venues. I haven't done it yet, but I'm hoping the willingness to accept these submissions means the reviewers are open minded on the possibility of obtaining the rights.

              Comment


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

                Hi TinLizzie, Franklin, and Anyone Else Out There!

                Thanks again for taking the time in this fast paced world. If you can't respond to this I fully understand and put it out there for anyone else too. You've perceived much from how the TBL system works. It takes a while for me to comprehend what means what, like after giving more thought to what genres are involved with my script, like my first choice of posting only "Drama" and "Adventure Drama" where yes my protagonist is launched into an adventure, yet again to her it is a vitally necessary act to achieve her goal after a major heist. She has remorse for having committed a crime, yet juxtaposed with her altruistic feelings that it had to be for the greater good.

                It is an adventure as she slips by as unnoticed as possible by hitchhiking from LA area through America's South to Miami area all leading on to Dominican Republic - a number of new physical environments and character obstacles that involve survivalist strategies while being pursued by an antagonist of evil intent, but all in result of the circumstances of her "crime" and the particular item she chose to steal.

                She is eventually joined by the boy next door, yet plot-related very importantly so... thus enters another element. So at second thought last night I added four more genres which make me nervous as it could be misinterpreted as being a sign of in-cohesiveness with my story structure, what I imagine to be a big red flag to the industry pros yet one that could seriously mislead them to pass a great story by, which is actually happening now into my fourth day of posting and descent deeper and deeper into the black hole you mention. Also last night adding my amateur estimate of film costing up to 20 million doesn't help either as maybe it could cost 5 million tops... yet I felt it necessary to let readers know, but again maybe inadvertently driving them off before they even read. Also with the two different drafts both consultants I hired at lowest budget level of crit never estimated film cost.

                The first two "Views" happened in about 4 minutes of very first posting. When I added genres last night to now total five, Drama, Adventure Drama, Sci-Fi Fantasy (some high-tech items and computers involved), Family Drama (I feel would be rated PG13 with no swearing, no gratuitous violence -- there are gun incidents i.e. gunpoint hold-ups and one very seriously wounded so the "13" part of it, no sex, no recreational drug use...), also Action Thriller with foot-chase, two car chases, gunpoint hold-ups, gunfire incidents, imprisonment....

                Does my logic of genre choices seem representative to you with the genres I've chosen?

                One odd thing is the various scripts that pop up as being related to mine. So I click on those scripts and look at what scripts they are relevant to and mine isn't in-turn included with their script posting.

                Why would their scripts be linked to mine yet mine not being linked to theirs?

                That seems odd, illogical, not fair... to me. Maybe I really should reduce my film cost to 5 million as Dominican Republic cost of travel is low and cruise line could see it as advertising for their line as they stow away on a cruise ship. Would that seem a safe budget estimate? There is some brief special effects, yet with computer generated effects they can do things at very low cost. There is only one aerial shot too. Anyone know how to get in contact with singer/songwriter Taylor Swift as I'm thinking she'd be perfect for the lead role as I read she is involved in some movies now... but I suppose it would cost like a million dollars to get her to be in it. At least I'd like to see if she'd read my script. I wrote to her Nashville agent but no response three weeks later.... Maybe one of you even knows her ha! Although too, this wouldn't involve attaching the "chick flick" tag as my story isn't formulaic from that regard as my endearing protagonist grows to be a very endearing and very strong person who has triumphantly surmounted tremendous odds.

                With Gratitude,
                Mike

                Comment


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

                  Hi Again TinLizzie and Anyone:

                  TinLizzie, I must have been typing my reply to your post of yesterday and discover your other post just now! That's great our communication has led you to unleash several of your scripts GOOD FOR YOU! So I guess I can call them Ruby Slippers after all! Really though even the Silver Slippers are important from the aspect they were once, just in my story, owned (fictionally) by Frank L. Baum the original author and the silver slippers that relate to his story. I just thought it was extremely limiting to think only MGM and Disney being virtually the only companies outside of the thousands of other ones who could be interested if they were instead silver slippers. It was just that consultant who said if they were "ruby" it would be virtually impossible for anyone besides MGM and MGM is so huge and... who am I? It would be like writing a story just for them and no one else in the film world if you know what I mean.

                  Really though changing to silver slippers brought out an area I would not have otherwise ventured into where now, silver or not, can be involved with the ruby slippers just by fictionalizing as in historic reality Frank L. Baum wouldn't have ever known them to be ruby as he died long before the movie was made. It wouldn't take much and I could in a few days alter the script back from silver to my original ruby yet keep all the amazing influence that occurred when I had changed them from ruby to silver... as long as I can get by being historically inaccurate with the fact Baum died long before the movie. I mean there is a very important link with the mystery behind the slippers that closely relate to the times when Baum was alive.

                  Also I face the problem... if I were to change the title back to the original "The Ruby Slipper Affair", I'd then have to maybe (but hopefully not) pay to re-post the script with my title change, that's unless I can go back change my script, and not be charged twice for the $50 reading part and the $25 entry fee. I wonder if I should pull my script! Can someone do that and at the same time save their $50 for when they re-post and re-upload their script with the new title? I think I could change the script I would maybe lose $25 which I can afford - or maybe they'd let me re-apply it since no one has read it yet. I was wondering what you'd do if you were me; or Franklin if you're out there, what I should do? Now it's funny as I'm hoping the opposite ha, that no one reads my script before I can do this... that's if I should do it. I might go to that "Support" black tag on the right of my script posting screen and ask Terry who has answered some of my technical questions before. He's the one who led me to here though... but this is urgent, or time sensitive now. Let me know what you think.

                  Later,
                  Mike

                  Comment


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

                    Dear Howie428 and TinLizzie;

                    I'm really in dire straights now... yet first I say... thanks to both of you, very much! I replied thinking I was replying to you TinLizzie and at the time I was actually responding to your advice Howie428. I'm getting use to Done Deal environment. To both of you I would appreciate any advice about this new dilema you might have already guessed... worse case scenario now! I was going to suspend my script right away once Support told me I could but didn't say if it would cost me more fees. So I waited for final word from TBL "Support" tab on the right of my script posting screen whether or not they charge to pull the script. I just wanted to be sure I wasn't going to be charged twice as I'm very low budget at this particular time, for now, unemployed but really trying to get my writing out and some medical issues in the way soon to hopefully surmount.

                    But anyways, I decided since no response was coming to suspend my script anyways, potential for fees or not. So I clicked Suspend and then saw the note that there is no charge for suspending afterall!! So I clicked "Suspend" and it wouldn't let me!! My heart sank, really sank! It said I couldn't until a Pro reader was going to finish their review!! Oh no!! I don't know what BL will do as then I sent Support a message hoping the pro reader had not read yet as it happened quite recently... only the odd thing is I was 1 1/2 hrs from midnight and the graph showed a viewer had been counted tomorrow, in the future! How can that be?! It wasn't even tomorrow, Friday, (it was 10:30PM CST) even on the East Coast either and I'm in the MidWest! So maybe... I wonder if that means the pro reader is in like Europe or somewhere else in the world. Does that make sense? I thought all the pro readers are in Hollywood area or New York, at least around the film industry somewhere in the US, right?

                    So I won't change my logline until after the review I guess... only I guess I don't need to worry as no one can request reading it if I only paid for one read. Now I'm really worried as the pro reader might think... "silver slippers?! They should be ruby! The moviegoers won't believe this! This has a serious credibility gap... Silver slippers can't be worth 1.3 million dollars!" etc. etc. (actually I also had the silver slippers with some diamonds on them). So the main issue is... there go my points! Now I'm really in trouble as it will be my one and only review! Even if they review I can't take it away, right? I would've done suspended my script sooner if I would've had an answer to my question if I was going to be charged more fees... but I will just hope and see what they say, and any input from you guys would be much appreciated.

                    I just sent right away a message to support hoping they will see my dilema and make and exception, pull the review as really now over the ruby or silver slippers issue that really never was as writers can post without having to worry about that. What do you guys see would be my next best thing I could do due to my unusual situation. It's strange as so many times in my life I end up in a fix and there I am, down and out and on the skids! Any advice would be appreciated, and thanks for all of your patience! I can say this, but every writer does about their own story... it is really a great story even though that version has the slippers as silver... yet I need ever iota of anything in my favor being an unknown and also in such a terribly competitive world as the film world. I need all the prayers I can get! Sincerely, Mike

                    Comment


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

                      Hi Again TinLizzie and Howie428!

                      I just noticed going to my post! There have been no "Downloads" of my script! Then why does the system tell me I can't suspend my script when no pro has even downloaded it?! That doesn't make sense! Zero Pro Downloads, Zero Reader Downloads, and Zero Non-Unique Downloads! How can someone claim to review without even downloading my script? All it notes that there has been on "Pro View" and 3 "Peer Views". Does "Peer" mean just other writers who can review anything as I have it where the public doesn't review my script, only the Pros. Any advice would be much appreciated!

                      Sincerely,
                      Mike

                      Comment


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

                        Originally posted by MichaelJ View Post
                        Hi Again TinLizzie and Howie428!

                        I just noticed going to my post! There have been no "Downloads" of my script! Then why does the system tell me I can't suspend my script when no pro has even downloaded it?! That doesn't make sense! Zero Pro Downloads, Zero Reader Downloads, and Zero Non-Unique Downloads! How can someone claim to review without even downloading my script? All it notes that there has been on "Pro View" and 3 "Peer Views". Does "Peer" mean just other writers who can review anything as I have it where the public doesn't review my script, only the Pros. Any advice would be much appreciated!

                        Sincerely,
                        Mike
                        Don't worry, everything is proceeding normally. A script can't be suspended while a review is pending, and that doesn't necessarily mean a reader has downloaded it yet, just that it's in the queue.

                        Peer views simply mean that other members have cruised by your script and taken a look at your logline and other information. Non-pro members can download your script only if you allow them to, but they can't rate it.

                        Comment


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

                          Originally posted by Cooper View Post
                          Don't worry, everything is proceeding normally. A script can't be suspended while a review is pending, and that doesn't necessarily mean a reader has downloaded it yet, just that it's in the queue.

                          Peer views simply mean that other members have cruised by your script and taken a look at your logline and other information. Non-pro members can download your script only if you allow them to, but they can't rate it.
                          That's odd. Because I uploaded a pilot and am awaiting my reader feedback. I have zero downloads of any kind, but one "Peer View" and 1 Rating. I wonder how that can be? Franklin?

                          Comment


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

                            Look Mike, the thing you've got to realize is that in the end, it's just going to come down to your script - is it good enough. Unfortunately, the answer probably is no (or at least not yet). That's not a comment on you, just an assessment of probability.

                            It seems like you've got the tags right and i wouldn't go overboard worrying about the silver vs. ruby issue. What I can say is that if no reader has downloaded yet, I would assume you could upload a new draft and then they'd read that. Note that this is just a guess on my part, the BL support people could give you a more definitive answer.

                            I was under the impression that you could suspend as long a a reader hadn't downloaded yet - I thought Franklin once said that would bump you to the back of that readers list again. Perhaps this isn't true and any pending review means you can't suspend until it comes in.

                            Either way, i'd just wait for the review - which might be eye-opening for you.

                            Comment


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

                              Also, I noticed the same thing you did with the "similar scripts" section. I think there's more that goes into it than tags. As far as I can tell from what Franklin has said, the tags portion is used mostly for the search function and the "you might also like" and "related scripts" lists are generated with some sort of complicated algorithm.

                              In other words, if there's an ideal set of tags/genres/whatever that would allow you to game the system, I can't find it. Which is as it should be. You just have to write something great.

                              Comment


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

                                Originally posted by muckraker View Post
                                That's odd. Because I uploaded a pilot and am awaiting my reader feedback. I have zero downloads of any kind, but one "Peer View" and 1 Rating. I wonder how that can be? Franklin?
                                Okay, then I'm totally confused... Franklin?

                                Comment

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