New Black List Thread - Franklin Leonard answers your questions

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

    Hey everyone, hope the week is going well. It's been awhile since we had a BL-related question (heresy in DDP land ) So I've got one.

    I'm just wondering about the experiences of anyone who's had an evaluation completed during holiday periods. Specifically, the week of and the week after Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you got an 8 or above, and went out on the mailing list, what were your downloads like? Did they seem lower than you'd expect? Did they pick up after the holiday period was over?

    Just curious because I'm likely putting up a script that would result in this eval timeframe. My first ever 8 on the BL was published a week before Christmas in 2012, and there were handfuls of downloads in each of the ensuing weeks. I'd like to think it was sustained interest, but I think it may have had more to do with the fact that BL resent the Christmas mailing lists two more times to account for a possible slowdown in downloads.

    I know the sample size for experience with this situation is likely small, but any insight would be appreciated.
    "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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

      In terms of aggregate downloads, we see a slight drop of (<20%) during the December holidays. We try to compensate for that by sending an additional email the second week of January listing all scripts that received an 8 overall or better during the previous month (basically extending back to the release of the annual Black List, which comes out the Monday before everyone goes on vacation.)

      Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
      Hey everyone, hope the week is going well. It's been awhile since we had a BL-related question (heresy in DDP land ) So I've got one.

      I'm just wondering about the experiences of anyone who's had an evaluation completed during holiday periods. Specifically, the week of and the week after Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you got an 8 or above, and went out on the mailing list, what were your downloads like? Did they seem lower than you'd expect? Did they pick up after the holiday period was over?

      Just curious because I'm likely putting up a script that would result in this eval timeframe. My first ever 8 on the BL was published a week before Christmas in 2012, and there were handfuls of downloads in each of the ensuing weeks. I'd like to think it was sustained interest, but I think it may have had more to do with the fact that BL resent the Christmas mailing lists two more times to account for a possible slowdown in downloads.

      I know the sample size for experience with this situation is likely small, but any insight would be appreciated.

      Comment


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

        Originally posted by FranklinLeonard View Post
        In terms of aggregate downloads, we see a slight drop of (<20%) during the December holidays. We try to compensate for that by sending an additional email the second week of January listing all scripts that received an 8 overall or better during the previous month (basically extending back to the release of the annual Black List, which comes out the Monday before everyone goes on vacation.)
        Thanks, Franklin!
        "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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

          One concern I have about the pay-per-script system is that it incentivizes readers to skim material. Is there any mechanism in place to ensure that readers are giving the scripts a proper read?

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

            Originally posted by Reagan View Post
            One concern I have about the pay-per-script system is that it incentivizes readers to skim material. Is there any mechanism in place to ensure that readers are giving the scripts a proper read?
            Write a script that the reader cannot stop turning the pages of

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

              Is there any mechanism in place to ensure that readers are giving the scripts a proper read?
              Reagan, you had seven posts when you wrote this.

              If you go and look at the threads dealing with the Black List, you will find lots of information on the methodology and on the policies that the service uses. I mean, really, all of these issues of fairness, completeness, consistency, objectivity, subjectivity, and on and on have been beaten to death for years.

              "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

              Comment


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

                Hey all,
                Hope you're all having a great holiday season.

                I just finished a first draft of a new spec, sent it off to my manager, but wanted to put it on the Black List just to get a paid review and some good notes. I don't want to allow anyone to download it as I will be rewriting it, obviously. I'd like some feedback, you know?

                Is it possible to submit for a review and not allow anyone to download it? I've had a good experience with their reviews in the past.

                Thanks for the advice if you have time to offer it.
                FA4
                "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                Comment


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

                  Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                  Is it possible to submit for a review and not allow anyone to download it?
                  If I could figure out how to get anyone to actually download my script at all, like ever, I'd pay an extra 100 dollars.

                  Obviously I'm being cheeky, but I'd put this concern in my top 10 list of Things To Not Worry About.

                  Comment


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

                    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                    Hey all,
                    Hope you're all having a great holiday season.

                    I just finished a first draft of a new spec, sent it off to my manager, but wanted to put it on the Black List just to get a paid review and some good notes. I don't want to allow anyone to download it as I will be rewriting it, obviously. I'd like some feedback, you know?

                    Is it possible to submit for a review and not allow anyone to download it? I've had a good experience with their reviews in the past.

                    Thanks for the advice if you have time to offer it.
                    FA4
                    I wish I would have asked this a week ago.

                    I put a new spec pilot script up on BL and bought an eval and within a couple hours, my script had a pro view and download (no reviews yet). I was basically done but knew I would have a couple days to go through one last time and see if I needed to edit anything else. Oh well.

                    Comment


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

                      Originally posted by Guerilla View Post
                      I wish I would have asked this a week ago.

                      I put a new spec pilot script up on BL and bought an eval and within a couple hours, my script had a pro view and download (no reviews yet). I was basically done but knew I would have a couple days to go through one last time and see if I needed to edit anything else. Oh well.
                      you're saying you uploaded a script and made it publicly available before you were 100% finished working on it?

                      Comment


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

                        Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
                        you're saying you uploaded a script and made it publicly available before you were 100% finished working on it?
                        I was 99.9% finished with it. I noticed a misspelling when I went through it one last time.

                        Comment


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

                          Originally posted by Guerilla View Post
                          I was 99.9% finished with it. I noticed a misspelling when I went through it one last time.
                          don't sweat one typo

                          Comment


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

                            Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
                            Is it possible to submit for a review and not allow anyone to download it?

                            Originally posted by kintnerboy View Post
                            If I could figure out how to get anyone to actually download my script at all, like ever, I'd pay an extra 100 dollars.

                            Obviously I'm being cheeky, but I'd put this concern in my top 10 list of Things To Not Worry About.
                            The original question is a good one. There are times when you'd really like some feedback, but for various reasons you don't want the script getting out there. For example, a client may be keeping the project under wraps.

                            So two questions for Franklin:

                            1. Are the Black List readers under some sort of NDA, so they can't share scripts outside the system?

                            2. Would the BL consider a "stealth mode," where people could get feedback but not make the scripts available to the pro members?
                            "People who work in Hollywood are the ones who didn't quit." -- Lawrence Kasdan

                            Please visit my website and blog: www.lauridonahue.com.

                            Comment


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

                              Another question:

                              Is the BL still sending out it's "top rated" newsletters twice a week?
                              "People who work in Hollywood are the ones who didn't quit." -- Lawrence Kasdan

                              Please visit my website and blog: www.lauridonahue.com.

                              Comment


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

                                Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
                                The numbers back that up - 24 out of 25 times, readers do exactly that. There's obviously a little subjectivity even within those groups, but 96% of the time, they don't vary by more than two points.
                                I know it's been two years since this post was written and I apologize if the point I'm about to make has already been made, but I've only recently started learning about The Black List and I think these numbers need to be put into perspective.

                                It would be very impressive for readers to be within two points of each other if scores were evenly distributed from the 1-10 scale, with roughly 10% receiving each number, but they're not. Reader scores have a bell-curve distribution. If we look over the 2013 stats, we find this distribution:
                                82 472 1022 1781 2258 2011 1288 460 83 2
                                That means 0.02% of scripts got a ten and 23.9% -- almost one in four -- got a five.

                                Here's yet another way to look at it: 88.4% of scripts scored in the three to seven range. That means if you programmed a computer to arbitrarily assign every script a five, that computer would be within two points of the human reader 88.4% of the time. It wouldn't have quite the same internal reliability as the average Black List reader, but it would be pretty close.

                                I still believe The Black List is a great service, and as far as I can tell it has the best possible execution for this particular idea. But I have yet to see evidence that reader ratings deserve the level of esteem some people here have given them.

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