Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Black List Pay Site: One Writer's Experience Part 2

Follow up questions with Lauri Donohue, award-winning screenwriter, on her experience with the Black List pay site:

1. What was your initial cost for posting on the the Black List pay site and what did it buy? What have you spent since then?

$75 per script -- one month hosting plus one review. So far I've paid for a second month for two scripts.

2. What an "impression" and who counts as a "download"? How many have you received of each?

Impression = someone (writer or pro) looks at the project page for your script. This is where you have the logline, reviews, genres, etc.

Download = a pro downloads your script. Doesn't necessarily means they read it. ;)

For Whiplash I've gotten 442 impressions and 21 downloads.

3. Do you know who the downloaders were?  Did they contact you or your rep?

No and no.

4. Are you able to read scripts other writers have posted? Their loglines? Their stats?

No on scripts, yes on loglines. Can see their reviews and ratings (if they make them public) but not the number of downloads.

5. How does the BL newsletter work?

There's one on Friday that only goes to a subset of the pro members and only includes "component" scores for things like premise, dialogue, etc. There seem to be only 5 scripts (which vary from member to member based on their preferences ) on Friday. The newsletter on Monday is for scripts that get an 8/+ overall.

Thus, you can be in Friday but not in Monday. And I think you can be in Monday but not go to everyone on Friday.

6. Tell me about the other script you have posted?

My script "Herod" has gotten 111 impressions and 8 downloads, presumably due to people checking out Whiplash and wanting to see what else I had.

7. Is it true only the paid reviews,"count" for your number score? Are all reviews public? True that one high paid review is enough to land you in the newsletter?

No. All ratings count for the number score. Reviews are only public if you make them that way. (I already answered that last time.) Same for ratings. Yes, one review will put you in the newsletter, but it takes two ratings to put you on the top 15.

8. There were more success stories this week of writers being signed from the BL. How active are actual producers on the site?

The only "success stories" I've heard about are people getting signed with managers, and there have only been a handful of these that I know about. I have no idea how active producers are, and the BL has not shared this info.

9. Is it possible to have a long distance screenwriting career?m. So much seems to depend on networking, contacts, and sweepstakes pitching?

Ask someone who has one. :) The general consensus is no. What I have is more like a paying hobby. I made more money from screenwriting than half the WGA membership this year -- but half the WGA membership earns zero from screenwriting in a given year.

10. At what point would you exit the Black List site?

If I wasn't getting downloads at a rate that I thought justified the $25/month, or for whatever other reason I didn't think it was worthwhile. Or if the scripts all sold, of course. :)

Thanks, Lauri, for answering more questions!

Lauri's website:

1 comment:

  1. Thx, very helpful interviews. Sounds like the BL is a good idea but not for writers listing their own scripts. If Lauri got rated that high and isn't receiving any calls then it just doesn't sound like it's working, does it? Perhaps, as you mention, there aren't that many producers, etc., reading them. Would be a great thing for the BL to do - reveal just who is on the list, in terms of # of producers/directors/managers etc. Seems like they just want the fees rather than being straight with the writers. Hopefully they just haven't worked that out yet. Thanks, Stephen and Lauri.