New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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  • #31
    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

    Mine got two 7's and three 6's - for an aggregate score of 6. Below is the reader comments on weaknesses.

    "Although the concept itself is strong, the screenplay contains some content that may become too offensive or vivid for audiences, placing the film in a higher rating category than needed. For example, some derogatory language may not be necessary to the story and the sex scene does not need the accompanying dialogue."

    Reader when on to say that the film is meant for Indie and would play best to an older audience who doesn't shy away from violence.

    Now then. I purposely wrote if for an R rating pushing it to NC-17 because this is an adult drama which tackles controversial subject matter that includes rape, spousal abuse, child custody, emotional distress and meth addiction. I wrote it specifically for Indie market for a target age demographic of 25-50. The reason for this is that the story involves a developing love relationship between a hetero male, a bi female, her lesbian wife and the man's 8 year old son who needs a mother. There is a three way sex scene done in a loving and realistic way- which does include very limited dialog (hold me, i love you, love me, give yourself to him) and I believe this is appropriate for the scene. There is a flashback rape sequence which is very violent and includes a vicious, bare-handed, animalistic murder. The language is strong throughout as the film takes place in the deep south because it is the way people talk - I've lived here all my life so I know.

    I wrote this story from personal experience on all fronts in a gritty and realistic manner because I have lived it. Yet at the heart of the story is a beautiful love affair between four people and ends on a very positive note.

    I think one of the biggest problems with BL is the age of the readers. It is my understanding these are "first filters" at agencies, prodco's, and the like, which tends to be young people just starting out in the biz. Which is fine because everyone has to start somewhere. But with a script like mine, a young person will have a difficult time coming to grips in understanding the story without the benefit of a frame of reference and usually that comes with personal experience in relationships which is tied to directly to maturity.

    My story has received positive professional analysis by script consultants with one even suggesting the film could receive critical acclaim with the right director. So while my BL reader saw what was happening in the script, the small nuances went right over their head. This is not a complaint it is just an observation. And I think this may be the reason that some scripts that are really very good are overlooked not only on BL but in the town as a whole.

    My only suggestion for BL is to perhaps have scripts tagged for INDIE (mine is) be sent to readers who specialize in reading Indie material. When I start querying this script, I will only be targeting Indie managers and such because I realize the majors wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole even though I believe it would make money at the box. I am waiting on one more review but I don't anticipate it will be any better, maybe even worse, than the first.

    This is all just my 2 pennies and your results may vary.
    Last edited by AE35-Unit; 07-18-2013, 07:15 AM.
    We gain our innocence by taking yours.

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    • #32
      Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

      Did you really pay for five reads?

      EJ

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      • #33
        Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

        Me pay for five reads? No. I paid for two.

        EJ: I edited the above post because I can see where you think I paid for 5 reads. Should have made it more clear at the start.
        Last edited by AE35-Unit; 07-18-2013, 07:17 AM.
        We gain our innocence by taking yours.

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        • #34
          Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

          As much as I think the Black List is a valuable tool for screenwriters, these complaints don't surprise me. The site employs about 40 or so readers. When uploading a script for the first time, many people pay for two reads to get a shot at being one of the Top Uploaded Scripts. So, that's getting two opinions out of the 40 or so readers.

          Given how we've discussed ad nauseam on these forums how subjective an endeavor this is (and how the BL site freely admits to this), there is a decent chance that those two people will give you low ratings (with comments that make you say, "WTF?"). And that a number of the 38 other people would have given you strong ones. There's also always a chance that those two ratings will be wildly divergent, which a number of people have experienced on this forum.

          As an example, I had one script that was given an 8 by one reader, and a 4 by another. One of the producers who downloaded the script after seeing it in the Monday newsletter contacted me about how much he liked it, and asked to see more of my work. If the first of my two reads had been a 7, a 6, or 5, my script would not have appeared in the newsletter, and I'd have likely lost out on that opportunity, since your scripts are pretty much invisible if they don't get an 8 or higher (tags only increase traffic by so much).

          So unfortunately, to a large extent it is a matter of odds whether you get the two people on the first round of purchases who "get" your script. I mean, you can keep buying reads until that happens, but that could get expensive. However, just because one or two of their readers didn't happen to "get" your script, doesn't mean there aren't other people out there who will (though of course, some scripts are obviously genuinely not good enough).

          This is why I always say that despite the BL's value, you should never rely solely on the site for your screenplay marketing endeavors. Keep entering contests, pitchfests, and querying producers directly if you have enough confidence in your script. BL's only one of many tools out there, and it's never good to put all your eggs in one basket. But that's just my two cents
          "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

          Comment


          • #35
            Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

            Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
            As much as I think the Black List is a valuable tool for screenwriters, these complaints don't surprise me. The site employs about 40 or so readers. When uploading a script for the first time, many people pay for two reads to get a shot at being one of the Top Uploaded Scripts. So, that's getting two opinions out of the 40 or so readers.

            Given how we've discussed ad nauseam on these forums how subjective an endeavor this is (and how the BL site freely admits to this), there is a decent chance that those two people will give you low ratings (with comments that make you say, "WTF?"). And that a number of the 38 other people would have given you strong ones. There's also always a chance that those two ratings will be wildly divergent, which a number of people have experienced on this forum.

            As an example, I had one script that was given an 8 by one reader, and a 4 by another. One of the producers who downloaded the script after seeing it in the Monday newsletter contacted me about how much he liked it, and asked to see more of my work. If the first of my two reads had been a 7, a 6, or 5, my script would not have appeared in the newsletter, and I'd have likely lost out on that opportunity, since your scripts are pretty much invisible if they don't get an 8 or higher (tags only increase traffic by so much).

            So unfortunately, to a large extent it is a matter of odds whether you get the two people on the first round of purchases who "get" your script. I mean, you can keep buying reads until that happens, but that could get expensive. However, just because one or two of their readers didn't happen to "get" your script, doesn't mean there aren't other people out there who will (though of course, some scripts are obviously genuinely not good enough).

            This is why I always say that despite the BL's value, you should never rely solely on the site for your screenplay marketing endeavors. Keep entering contests, pitchfests, and querying producers directly if you have enough confidence in your script. BL's only one of many tools out there, and it's never good to put all your eggs in one basket. But that's just my two cents
            I'd like to clarify a few things about the #s being used here. The obvious implication is that our readers are a lottery. Some may like your script. Some may not.

            While that's true in the most theoretical sense, the reality is that most of our readers tend to agree on their assessments of material. I'd point you to the data dump we generated through five months of script hosting.

            85.3% of scripts who had 2 or more paid ratings had a standard error of the mean of those ratings of <=1, meaning that if they had two ratings, the scores differed by 2 points (4,6 or 5,7 or 6,8, etc.)

            95.9% had an SEM of <=1.5, or a three point differential if you've had two ratings.

            In other words, a spread of 4 or more (as @UpandComing did) on two ratings occurs for less than 1 in every 25 scripts with two or more ratings.

            It's a very rare occurrence.

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            • #36
              Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

              I look at utilizing BL as a marketing tool and a test bed just to get a glimpse of what they they're looking for because it changes so frequently - hell half the time they don't know what they're looking for. I really think I stand a shot with this script. Yes it is narrow market as most of my stuff is. But I'm a lot closer than I used to be. If it scores an 8 then that's great because I don't have to rely solely on cold calls. If it doesn't go out with BL, then I simply buy another roll of stamps and work harder at getting it read. All I want is right now is manager and I think this one is good enough to find someone who wants to talk.

              BL for its flaws is better than anything else around right now. Even busting into Nicholl doesn't guarantee you'll get anywhere. Heck I see people who have material on BL that placed in the finals in Nicholl. And if they're on BL after a year there's a reason. That's why I write for the Indie market. Good story. Easy to shoot. No CG. Because I know right now if I tried to write a big budget tent-pole nobody would give me the time of day.

              I write what I know. And if that never sells so be it. I still have one hell of a lot of fun doing it. And at 53, unless it's four-way sex, I can't think of anything better.
              Last edited by AE35-Unit; 07-18-2013, 07:39 PM.
              We gain our innocence by taking yours.

              Comment


              • #37
                Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

                "5,7"... Since the average score is ~ 6.7, that's a big difference. I'd much rather have the 7

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                • #38
                  Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

                  I haven't uploaded to the BL, but I plan to.

                  I will say that I prefer these blind reads to the alternative: letting the second reviewer be influenced by the score of the first. I think if Franklin wanted to close the gap on score deviations he could easily make readers aware of other reviews to ensure they're not far apart. But I applaud him for not doing that.

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                  • #39
                    Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

                    Originally posted by dmtr View Post
                    I haven't uploaded to the BL, but I plan to.

                    I will say that I prefer these blind reads to the alternative: letting the second reviewer be influenced by the score of the first. I think if Franklin wanted to close the gap on score deviations he could easily make readers aware of other reviews to ensure they're not far apart. But I applaud him for not doing that.
                    Yeah, and we won't be doing that. Blind reads are critical.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

                      Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
                      As much as I think the Black List is a valuable tool for screenwriters, these complaints don't surprise me. The site employs about 40 or so readers. When uploading a script for the first time, many people pay for two reads to get a shot at being one of the Top Uploaded Scripts. So, that's getting two opinions out of the 40 or so readers.

                      Given how we've discussed ad nauseam on these forums how subjective an endeavor this is (and how the BL site freely admits to this), there is a decent chance that those two people will give you low ratings (with comments that make you say, "WTF?"). And that a number of the 38 other people would have given you strong ones. There's also always a chance that those two ratings will be wildly divergent, which a number of people have experienced on this forum.

                      As an example, I had one script that was given an 8 by one reader, and a 4 by another. One of the producers who downloaded the script after seeing it in the Monday newsletter contacted me about how much he liked it, and asked to see more of my work. If the first of my two reads had been a 7, a 6, or 5, my script would not have appeared in the newsletter, and I'd have likely lost out on that opportunity, since your scripts are pretty much invisible if they don't get an 8 or higher (tags only increase traffic by so much).

                      So unfortunately, to a large extent it is a matter of odds whether you get the two people on the first round of purchases who "get" your script. I mean, you can keep buying reads until that happens, but that could get expensive. However, just because one or two of their readers didn't happen to "get" your script, doesn't mean there aren't other people out there who will (though of course, some scripts are obviously genuinely not good enough).

                      This is why I always say that despite the BL's value, you should never rely solely on the site for your screenplay marketing endeavors. Keep entering contests, pitchfests, and querying producers directly if you have enough confidence in your script. BL's only one of many tools out there, and it's never good to put all your eggs in one basket. But that's just my two cents
                      My experience as well.
                      http://www.pjmcilvaine.com/

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

                        Originally posted by LIMAMA View Post
                        My experience as well.
                        Mine too.

                        I completely agree with UpandComing's analysis.

                        My website:www.marjorykaptanoglu.com

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

                          Originally posted by FranklinLeonard View Post
                          Yeah, and we won't be doing that. Blind reads are critical.
                          Yes they are. And 50 ain't bad for one compared to what I've paid in the past. Especially from people who know which side is shiny side up.

                          Jeez, say that three times quick.
                          We gain our innocence by taking yours.

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                          • #43
                            Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

                            An example: the second script I uploaded was a teen sex comedy in the vein of AMERICAN PIE. It's set over summer vacation. I was dinged because of the time frame. I guess I should have just had the horny kids stay home and masturbate. Talk about limited locations!
                            http://www.pjmcilvaine.com/

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                            • #44
                              Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

                              Originally posted by AE35-Unit View Post
                              Yes they are. And 50 ain't bad for one compared to what I've paid in the past. Especially from people who know which side is shiny side up.

                              Jeez, say that three times quick.
                              Is that a blind read, or a half asleep read?

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Re: New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

                                Originally posted by LIMAMA View Post
                                An example: the second script I uploaded was a teen sex comedy in the vein of AMERICAN PIE. It's set over summer vacation. I was dinged because of the time frame. I guess I should have just had the horny kids stay home and masturbate. Talk about limited locations!
                                LIMAMA I snorted coffee on that one. effin' hilarious.
                                We gain our innocence by taking yours.

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