My Black List Experience

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  • #91
    Re: My Black List Experience

    Originally posted by Phoenixman78 View Post
    Thanks Richter. I'm pretty happy that both of the readers said I can write well. That's a definite positive to take away and you're right it comes down to the fact that one liked it and one doesn't.

    I could tweak the script endlessly but personally I like the story in the form it's in. I've sent out some queries but nothing much so far. I think I'll join IMDB pro to get more connections. I've gone through the managers list on here but a lot have unknown for query policy and no email structure.
    Well just having fairly good coverage reports can get you read. However there's other ways to get in front of industry people. Have you thought of applying to screenwriter's labs? Check out Film Independent in Los Angeles and IFP in New York. You pay for membership, and you apply for their labs. Assuming you get into their labs, for a week or so you come to either Los Angeles or New York and meet industry people and pitch your work.

    If you can go to any major film festival or events that have producers and film buyers you should go there for connections too. All it would take is one offer from a producer/sales proposal and you can get an agent to close the deal.

    What is the biggest film industry event in Australia? You might check those out, whatever they are.
    Check out my videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/NyFilmmaker32/videos

    Comment


    • #92
      Re: My Black List Experience

      Originally posted by TheConnorNoden View Post
      I'd take the 9 and run.
      I think I'm going to adopt this as my motto for life in general.

      Comment


      • #93
        Re: My Black List Experience

        Originally posted by Phoenixman78 View Post
        Ok everyone. Got the second Evaluation back. It's a 5 dammit. So screw it, I'm posting up both of 'em below and open the floor for discussion.

        Everything the first reviewer liked about my script, the second reviewer hated.

        Here's the first one.

        Era:
        Present

        Locations:
        American City

        Budgets:
        Medium

        Genre:
        Horror, Ghosts & Haunts, Monsters, Supernatural Thriller

        Logline:
        A private detective tries to uncover a mysterious group that he believes drove his daughter to suicide, discovering a supernatural force that preys on troubled youths.

        Strengths:
        The author does an excellent job of developing a world and a tone that are consistently disturbing and frightening. The creatures that come through from the darkness are made more frightening by their ability to use the appearance of children and teenagers, while preying on the insecurities of their victims. Olivia's passion and commitment to stopping this plague is particularly strong and well grounded in the loss of her own son and the story plays on this well when Toby appears to her in the cabin. The connection to the writings found in Nes Harim gives a great mythological basis for the story, tying the creatures into a Biblical reality that adds a lot of depth to the world.

        Weaknesses:
        The alternate story that John tells about Adam and Eve suggests that the Mark of Adam is a good thing, but doesn't fully explain why the creatures from the darkness are targeting them or if there are any other qualities that children with the Mark of Adam have apart from being targets. That also doesn't explain why the creatures are able to come after Olivia, John, and Father Patrick, who presumably do not have the Mark of Adam, or how Sarah is able to exist in the world at all. By leaving these things unexplained, the rules are left a bit fuzzy as to what exactly the threat is and the script does not deliver a clear resolution. The story also indicates that Father Patrick has had some dealing with the church on this topic, but the story does not bring religion into the fight actively.

        Prospects:
        This is an engaging horror story and there are some excellent cinematic moments that will please genre fans, but the rules of the world are somewhat underdeveloped and further development could improve this script's potential.

        Pages:
        99

        So this reviewer gave me a 7 on the script, premise, setting and character and 6 on plot and dialogue.

        Second Evaluation.


        Era:
        2000's

        Locations:
        Unspecified city

        Budgets:
        Medium

        Genre:
        Horror, Monsters, Supernatural Thriller

        Logline:
        A PI searches for an evil entity that haunts kids and drives them to madness.

        Strengths:
        For the most part, it's slickly written with perfect formatting. Some genuinely creepy moments, in particular the pool scene. Descriptions are punchy and move scenes along. John's an easy enough protagonist to root for, even if he's not particularly deep. Some good one-liners during the action sequences.

        Weaknesses:
        Relies on horror film tropes. Such as jump scares, scary kids, black blood, teaser at the end showing the threat is still alive, and the scary kids only appear when Katie is left alone, which happens conveniently a lot. Especially the babysitter deciding to take a bath instead of watching over the troubled child. Huge, long, boring exposition dump in the second half that brings the momentum to a halt and goes on for about ten pages. Extremely out of place movie references; it's doubtful a seasoned detective knows much about Sam Raimi and The Evil Dead. Father Patrick and John having a disagreement while they play chess is a cliche, even going so far as ending the conversation with "Check mate." Scenes run long and are dialogue heavy, which hurts the pacing. Moves away from horror in the final act and becomes more of an action movie.

        Prospects:
        Though it's plenty creepy and competently written, its over-reliance on horror movie tropes hurt its chances of finding an audience in the already crowded horror field.

        Pages:
        99

        So this reviewer gave me 5 on the script, plot, character and dialogue and 3 on the premise and 4 on the setting.

        So pretty much this guy says my writing ability is up there but that's pretty much it. His point about how a seasoned detective wouldn't know about Sam Raimi or the Evil Dead to me is stupid.

        The exposition dump as it's called is in the strengths in the first review which referenced Nes Harim.

        Note to self, characters can't play chess but I get where he's coming from. BTW the conversation doesn't end with "check mate".

        So overall the second time around the reviewers were much more competent and felt that they both fully read the script. So all up a 6 overall which isn't what I was hoping for but oh well.

        ** EDIT**

        Just something I thought of. With all 3 of the poor ratings I've received which includes the 2 that were wiped and this one above, none of them mentioned Olivia, a supporting character. The reviewer who gave me a 7 did. So is there anything to take note of here or am I just reading into it too much??

        I shall open the floor now. Comments, questions?
        Sounds like you need to dig deeper--better idea, more original, more character, more texture. Strive to dream bigger with your next script.

        Comment


        • #94
          Re: My Black List Experience

          Originally posted by Phoenixman78 View Post

          Just something I thought of. With all 3 of the poor ratings I've received which includes the 2 that were wiped and this one above, none of them mentioned Olivia, a supporting character. The reviewer who gave me a 7 did. So is there anything to take note of here or am I just reading into it too much??
          You're reading too much into it.

          Remember what I said earlier: the note is worthless, the reaction valuable. People have their reaction, and then look to various elements to explain why they had the reaction. They may or may not be good at identifying why they reacted the way they did - some probably are, some aren't.

          I'd agree with Geoff that it's probably time for you to move on, and I'd simply suggest the following before you start your next one:

          Ask yourself why a person who wanted to make this type of movie, with a stack of this type of scripts, would pick your script from the pile as the one to invest millions of dollars in? Aim high, even with your genre stuff, because that's the only way you get to the top of the pile.

          Originally posted by FoxHound View Post
          Aside from subjective taste, I also think that scripts with large worlds or intricate plots may be an issue. Like any type of skill, we all vary in our ability to absorb and process information. For eg. After seeing Inception, my friends were like "I have no clue what the fu*k happened for the entire second half." Where I was like "Huh? I understood it perfectly."
          Your comment about Frozen makes me think you know this, but just to be clear:

          It's dangerous to assume that we're too smart for our readers. That's a comforting attitude, no doubt. But it's largely not true. And remember that film is a popular medium: the goal is not a glowing review full of $10 words in the New York Review of Books, but rather an audience full of happy filmgoers.

          Hey, look, I've had that reaction too, on occasion. But the reality is this is a mass medium, and every Joe Schmoe off the street knows when he's having a good time at the movies or not.

          Comment


          • #95
            Re: My Black List Experience

            The guy that gave me a three did this. The guy that gave me a 5 focused on this. The guy that gave me a 7 didn't focus on this, etc, etc, etc.

            Ignore the numbers. YOU need to focus on what's being said. You'd better off if they didn't give numbers because it's all you see. The numbers are the least important part of the coverage.
            If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base.
            Dave Barry

            Comment


            • #96
              Re: My Black List Experience

              Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post
              It's dangerous to assume that we're too smart for our readers. That's a comforting attitude, no doubt. But it's largely not true.
              I'm sure there's lots of readers who know what they're doing, and a lot that don't. Notably, the junior readers who don't "get it." For eg. I had a comment in my action/adventure that my characters were too simple. And needed complexity. But in Robert McKee's own screenwriting book, he says that characters in these films are supposed to be simple --

              "The relative complexity of character must be adjusted to genre. Action/Adventure and Farce demand simplicity of character because complexity would distract us from the derring-do and pratfalls indispensable to those genres."

              So basically, he wanted me to have American Beauty-type characters in my action flick. He didn't "get it."
              I'm never wrong. Reality is just stubborn.

              Comment


              • #97
                Re: My Black List Experience

                Originally posted by FoxHound View Post
                I'm sure there's lots of readers who know what they're doing, and a lot that don't. Notably, the junior readers who don't "get it." For eg. I had a comment in my action/adventure that my characters were too simple. And needed complexity. But in Robert McKee's own screenwriting book, he says that characters in these films are supposed to be simple --

                "The relative complexity of character must be adjusted to genre. Action/Adventure and Farce demand simplicity of character because complexity would distract us from the derring-do and pratfalls indispensable to those genres."

                So basically, he wanted me to have American Beauty-type characters in my action flick. He didn't "get it."
                Having complex characters in an action flick could elevate the potential film. Almost like a thinking man's action flick, i.e. Bourne.

                Comment


                • #98
                  Re: My Black List Experience

                  Originally posted by FoxHound View Post
                  I'm sure there's lots of readers who know what they're doing, and a lot that don't. Notably, the junior readers who don't "get it." For eg. I had a comment in my action/adventure that my characters were too simple. And needed complexity. But in Robert McKee's own screenwriting book, he says that characters in these films are supposed to be simple --

                  "The relative complexity of character must be adjusted to genre. Action/Adventure and Farce demand simplicity of character because complexity would distract us from the derring-do and pratfalls indispensable to those genres."

                  So basically, he wanted me to have American Beauty-type characters in my action flick. He didn't "get it."
                  Dude, that book was from before I was born.

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    Re: My Black List Experience

                    Originally posted by Centurio View Post
                    The guy that gave me a three did this. The guy that gave me a 5 focused on this. The guy that gave me a 7 didn't focus on this, etc, etc, etc.

                    Ignore the numbers. YOU need to focus on what's being said. You'd better off if they didn't give numbers because it's all you see. The numbers are the least important part of the coverage.
                    Agreed. The goal should be using the coverage to improve your posted scripts and your writing in general.

                    With that said, who wouldn't want to find out their work is highly rated? But for that to happen one must focus on what is being SAID!
                    Check out my videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/NyFilmmaker32/videos

                    Comment


                    • Re: My Black List Experience

                      Originally posted by TheConnorNoden View Post
                      I'd take the 9 and run.
                      Originally posted by Cooper View Post
                      I think I'm going to adopt this as my motto for life in general.
                      LOL. I love this too.

                      Comment


                      • Re: My Black List Experience

                        Originally posted by Centurio View Post
                        The guy that gave me a three did this. The guy that gave me a 5 focused on this. The guy that gave me a 7 didn't focus on this, etc, etc, etc.

                        Ignore the numbers. YOU need to focus on what's being said. You'd better off if they didn't give numbers because it's all you see. The numbers are the least important part of the coverage.
                        The point, for me anyway, of the Black List is to attain that 8. The "coverage" they provide is far from the most useful I've ever received. For between $60 to $99 I've received pages of notes, not a paragraph or two.

                        I didn't got to the Black List for the notes. I went for the rating. My initial problem was the first evaluations were based on the readers not giving enough of a crap to read the script properly and I stand by that. The 7 and the 5 I've received the second time around both demonstrated the readers actually read the script or a damn sight more of it than the initial two.

                        The script in question is in the vault now and for the foreseeable future is staying there. I've got a comedy I'm working on right now, an action/adventure in the vein of Willow which I'm tackling next and a contained horror I'll get to if I get the time this year. All of the eggs are not in the one basket.

                        Comment


                        • Re: My Black List Experience

                          Originally posted by FoxHound View Post
                          "The relative complexity of character must be adjusted to genre. Action/Adventure and Farce demand simplicity of character because complexity would distract us from the derring-do and pratfalls indispensable to those genres."
                          Well, sure, we all have examples of people who didn't understand our genre as well as us (I got a note about a script full of banter where the coverage said the excellent dialog didn't matter so much because in this type of project a lot of dialog is improvised - which, no. Actually in fast-paced back-and-forth dialog there's almost no improvisation).

                          But this is again confusing the note and the reaction. People may have no clue why they didn't like something, but you don't have to be a story expert to know you don't like something.

                          Comment


                          • Re: My Black List Experience

                            Originally posted by Phoenixman78 View Post
                            I didn't got to the Black List for the notes. I went for the rating. My initial problem was the first evaluations were based on the readers not giving enough of a crap to read the script properly and I stand by that.
                            Which just shows that you're missing the point. They almost certainly didn't read the script closely enough BECAUSE it didn't hook them.

                            Yes, they were wrong to do that. But to say that they didn't like it because they didn't read it closely is getting the order wrong.

                            I know somebody who has gotten 15+ reads on a script which got a six. He's in a genre where maybe it doesn't matter, or he's got a logline which is really hooking the right producers.

                            Comment


                            • Re: My Black List Experience

                              Originally posted by Phoenixman78 View Post
                              The point, for me anyway, of the Black List is to attain that 8. The "coverage" they provide is far from the most useful I've ever received. For between $60 to $99 I've received pages of notes, not a paragraph or two.

                              I didn't got to the Black List for the notes. I went for the rating. My initial problem was the first evaluations were based on the readers not giving enough of a crap to read the script properly and I stand by that. The 7 and the 5 I've received the second time around both demonstrated the readers actually read the script or a damn sight more of it than the initial two.

                              The script in question is in the vault now and for the foreseeable future is staying there. I've got a comedy I'm working on right now, an action/adventure in the vein of Willow which I'm tackling next and a contained horror I'll get to if I get the time this year. All of the eggs are not in the one basket.
                              It would have been nice had you gotten an 8 or more. Sadly, you didn't. But it's not the end of the world. As everyone else is saying, move on. You really have no choice. You can't force BL to give you 8s on those scripts. What you can do is right new scripts, and when they are ready you can later post them on Black List and try you luck again if you are not already sold. If you don't like their coverage perhaps you shouldn't use the service. 8 would be a comparatively rare score (cream rising to the top).
                              Check out my videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/NyFilmmaker32/videos

                              Comment


                              • Re: My Black List Experience

                                I got a 7 and a 6 on my script. Someone still downloaded it and then passed it to an assistant at WME. He and another assistant are now trying to get something going with it over there.

                                Why?

                                Not because I got an 8+. Because it was on the blacklist. And the point of the blacklist is that at any moment, a real industry person can download ANYBODY'S script on there and read it. And if they like it, then they'll do something about it. That's something that just didn't exist prior to the blacklist.

                                Sure getting an 8+ gets more eyes on you. But that's not the "point."

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