On a few of the forums and online pages I occasionally lurk on, the question comes up: What is this Blacklist dot com thing? Have you tried it? Is it worth it?
In this three-part series, I will address each of these questions.
Part 1: What is blcklst.com?
Back in 2004 (according to Wikipedia, and it seems about right) “The Blacklist” appeared. Spearheaded by a development exec named Franklin Leonard, The Blacklist was the results of a year-end survey given to studio and production company execs, asking them what scripts they really liked, but that hadn’t been produced, the dark horses in the race, if you will. Over time the dark horse mythology has come into question as there are those who suggest that since the list has caught on it has become one more way for players already in the game to lobby for street cred.
Regardless, to have a script on the Black List is a big step for writers who aren’t already known. It sometimes leads to scripts becoming movies, or leads to the writer getting meetings and jobs.
So far, so awesome.
More recently (I want to say in about the last year) the folks at The Blacklist constructed a big website that is a kind of script clearinghouse where industry-type people ( who have registered by showing some credibility as a director, producer or execs) can come to look at scripts based on their interests.
As a writer, it’s a pay to play deal. If you want to include your script on the site, you pay $25 a month for hosting. And as a writer, you are not one of the afore-mentioned industry types, so while you can see some of the listings, you can’t actually read any of the other scripts on the site.
As a writer, I also haven’t been able to determine how many scripts are on the site overall. I assume, from my Amazon experience that it’s in high hundreds or low thousands. I also assume, from all my experience ever that there are far more scripts than there are people to read them.
So how, out of the hundreds or thousands of scripts, does one seduce an industry-type into reading your script? That’s where ratings come in. People like to read scripts that have been endorsed by other people, so the blcklst.com gives the industry folk the ability to leave ratings and feedback on the scripts that they download. Ratings range from 1-10 with 10 being the highest score. According to the site’s literature, if you have a couple of ratings that are higher than an eight, that’s enough to really garner some attention.
But what if you don’t know any industry people who want to register for the site and read your script? (No big surprise since that’s likely why you are using a pay-to-play site to begin with.) There is a potential solution. For $50 a read, you can order a read from a professional-reader-type person. They will rate your script and leave you feedback. The logic is, if your script is super-duper awesome, the two readers will give you high scores, and for a hundred bucks (plus the $25 to host) you might generate a flurry of interest in your work–almost like the original Black List!