Gatekeeper QOTD: Franklin Leonard (The Black List)


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Screen Rant: “So far, the screenwriting community has had a mixed reaction to this news. Many believe it is a positive way for aspiring screenwriters to break into Hollywood, while others are more skeptical. What are your thoughts on that skepticism? How is The Black List screenwriting review service different from other offerings?”

Franklin Leonard (Founder, The Black List): “I think a healthy skepticism is a good thing and, as a consequence, I want to be as transparent as possible about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, why we’re doing it in the way that we’re doing it, and why we’re doing it all.

I think there have been so many people that have been scamming writers for so long that the natural reaction when anything shows up that asks people to spend money is to assume that it’s like everything else. I think if people look closely at what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, they’ll begin to see that what we’re doing is very, very, very different than anything that’s been done before. And also that it’s structured in a way to empower the writer to make intelligent decisions and responsible decisions with their money based on information they get from us. There are two really good examples of that.

First, the evaluations that the readers provide are only visible to our industry professional community if and only if the writer of the script wants to make them visible. They can keep the average score of their script, the review score, the evaluation as a whole – all that they can keep private. We still use the content of that evaluation to identify the top scripts and make targeted recommendations.

The second thing is, you can actually view traffic to your script page – the volume of traffic to your script page, number of downloads, and the number of ratings – so you know if it’s actually attracting attention based on the evaluations. So if you’re not getting any traffic because your reads have been middling, then you should take it down and we encourage people to take scripts down when they’re not getting the traffic they want.

We’re not trying to take advantage of people, we’re trying to create an ecosystem that will allow talented scripts to get found and talented people to have the careers that they want. And if you’re not finding that, we don’t want your money.”

From  Interview: Franklin Leonard on Expanding ‘The Black List’ & Finding Great Screenwriters —  Screen Rant

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