Wednesday 17 October 2012

Black List to host amateur screenplays... for a fee

Franklin Leonard, founder of The Black List, Hollywood’s annual list of most-liked screenplays, has announced he will allow any screenwriter, amateur or professional, to upload their script to The Black List website.

Uploaded scripts will be evaluated by professional script readers and, depending on evaluation, be read by any of the 1,000 film industry members who choose to do so.

"For years people have been asking me how to get their scripts to Hollywood. Short of endless rounds of unanswered query letters and screenplay competitions that may, in the best case scenario, attract the notice of a few people, I never had a good answer. We built this to provide one. It’s essentially a screenplay competition with rolling admission, as many prizes as there are good scripts, and instead of a check, you may be rewarded with a career as a professional screenwriter. But it’s also more than that: we’re delivering the best scripts directly to the hundreds of people who can help get them bought and made."
Aspiring screenwriters will pay $25 a month to have their script hosted on The Black List’s website, where it can be accessed only by a closed community of Hollywood professionals.

The Black List will not claim a commission, finder’s fee, or producer credit on business generated by their service.

"Writers retain all rights to sell and produce their work and are free to negotiate the best deal they can get. All we ask is an email letting us know of their success.”
There is a second tier of access on offer: aspiring screenwriters who want more access to Hollywood insiders can pay $50 for an evaluation by one of Leonard's professional script readers. These are individuals who have previously read scripts professionally for major agencies, management companies, production companies or studios, essentially the people who have previously served as the first filter when a script lands at any of these places.
"All writers will be able to monitor the volume of traffic to their script — views of their script page, downloads of their script, numbers of ratings, etc. If their script gets reviewed poorly and is getting no traffic, we will encourage them to take it down."
The site also has a Do No Harm policy, whereby it's the writer's decision to make individual evaluations public to the industry membership. A script will only come to the attention of an industry professional if it gets high ratings on the site, either from one of the readers or from the other members who already subscribe.
"I think the industry is always desperate for good scripts, which is why the Black List became the thing it did. The sad reality is that good screenplays are rare, so if this initiative can find them, everyone will be quite happy about it.
For my part, I'm more than a little curious to see how the new service copes with the initial influx of screenplays for evaluation. A total of $75 for a Black List evaluation (written, I assume), seems unbelievably cheap.

Here's their comment on Twitter on Day Two.

That's over 200 a day. I'd be surprised if the early response doesn't turn out to be far greater than Black List staff can handle. Will people have to go on paying, month after month, until they receive their evaluation? Watch this space...

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I understand your scepticism, Henry, but it's great to see a good faith approach to the problem.