We said the new screenplay service from The Black List would have a success story and we would hear about it. This week, only one month after its launch, The Black List announced that screenwriter Justin Kremer signed with CAA as a result of his screenplay McCarthy getting discovered via the new Black List paid service for screenwriters to post their screenplays online to be read and rated by industry professionals. Yes, the first writer discovered from The Black List's new service happened to write a screenplay that has a connection of sorts to the historical blacklist. The Black List founder Franklin Leonard even remarked, "My personal interest in this period of Hollywood history is no secret. It’s part of why the Black List is called what it is. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t read the script as soon as the review was completed to be sure someone wasn’t playing an elaborate practical joke." Well, Kremer's script is no joke. Check out what Kremer had to say about The Black List service from the company's press release:
I submitted MCCARTHY to the Black List site out of sheer curiosity, and entered the process with absolutely no expectations. The script had been completed for some time and was collecting dust in a drawer. The response I’ve received has been truly incredible. None of this would have been possible without the Black List site. The avenue it has provided has been invaluable, and one that I expect to breed many success stories.
The press release goes on to explain that Kremer submitted his script to The Black List four days after the service launched, paid for one professional read, and received a high rating from that read. As a result, The Black List highlighted his screenplay in its weekly email, several more industry professionals downloaded the script, read it, and rated it highly, making it the highest rated screenplay on the service. Last week, Kremer signed with CAA to represent him.
Those of you who read The Bitter Script Reader blog may recognize McCarthy as The Bitter Script Reader recommended it back on Oct. 29 after offering to read the first 25 Black List scripts that blog readers submitted. In that post, The Bitter Script Reader pointed out that McCarthy had already been highlighted in the weekly email from The Black List and the service's algorithm recommended that The Bitter Script Reader would most likely rate it an 8.3 based on past preferences, which The Bitter Script Reader subsequently confirmed.
The press release from The Black List also offers a little bit of data about the service. As of Nov. 18, the new Black List service has received over 1,100 screenplays from 21 countries and 41 states. With this amount of volume in the early weeks of the service and the success of Kremer due to the initial paid reading and subsequent email highlighting, the need for at least one paid, positive rating for a screenplay to get noticed on The Black List's service becomes clear.
Have you submitted a screenplay to the new Black List service, and if so, what has been your experience thus far? Does this announcement of the first writer signing as a result of the Black List service encourage you to submit your screenplay? Let us know in the Comments.
Link: Go Into the Story - "Update on new Black List service: Writer signs with CAA"
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He was an intern at The Black List. This was on Deadline. I recommend an editorial note.
November 20, 2012 at 8:14AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I saw the same thing on Go Into The Story's post, but decided not to include it in the body of my post. I figured it would make it into the comments.
Here's The Black List's Franklin Leonard's response to Kremer's former connection to The Black List as posted on GITS:
“In a press release this morning announcing Justin Kremer’s recently signing with Creative Artists Agency after submitting his script to the new Black List website, I failed to mention that he had previously volunteered work to the Black List as an “intern.”
To clarify, from time to time, we put out calls for individuals to assist us with various tasks like transcribing interviews and alerting us to information about Black List scripts that comes up via the news. In exchange for such occasional assistance, we allow those individuals to call themselves interns though it is an “internship” in the loosest possible sense of the term.
Justin submitted his script without our knowledge. He paid to have his script hosted. He paid to have it read. It was read with no further information beyond its genre, as is the case with all of our screenplays. It was evaluated and included in our emails based on that evaluation and was downloaded and subsequently rated highly based on the evaluations of individuals who had no knowledge of Justin beyond his screenplay and the fact of its high scores.
I personally only became aware of the screenplay when its evaluation was published to our site.
I cannot emphasize enough that the process his script experienced was in no way different than any other submitted script. I have no tolerance for anything but a pure mathematical experience when it comes to the Black List, and we will continue to function in exactly that way.
If there was an error here, it was in my failure to include the information about our previous, tenuous relationship in the press release that announced his great success.
It is my sincere hope that this failure does not affect the view of Justin’s script. It shouldn’t. The path his script took did not and could not have been affected by his previous work. The failure here is mine in failing to mention it when celebrating his good fortune.
Personally, I'm still on the fence about The Black List's new screenplay service. For Justin Kremer, I say hats off to him on signing with CAA, and I hope he gets screenwriting work from it or sells his script as a result. As for this particular case, I'm going to give The Black List and Kremer the benefit of the doubt (call me naive if you must).
Why am I giving them the benefit of the doubt? Because I hope someday somebody will give me and my screenwriting the benefit of the doubt, too.
November 20, 2012 at 8:47AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
" I hope someday somebody will give me and my screenwriting the benefit of the doubt, too."
As Stephen Sagmeister likes to say, "everything you do comes back to you". Good call, good karma, good luck! :)
November 20, 2012 at 11:08AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I understand, that. I just don't think Franklin Leonard can make this kind of an announcement about his service being a whopping success, when there's such a blatant look of nepotism over merit. Not saying it was, but it looks too fishy to be a good PR release.
November 20, 2012 at 2:47PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
As opposed to my experience: posted script, got 4 downloads in a month, 0 ratings, $25 down the drain.
November 22, 2012 at 1:10PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Burf where do you post your screenplays? I’m looking for a horror/genre script but I haven’t yet found a good way to locate potential scripts.
September 11, 2021 at 3:14AM
Oh course you still have to have talent...but if you have it, that's usually not enough...once again, "it's not what you know, it's who you know".
Most jobs I get (I'm a DP/steadicam operator, although I dabble with screenplays a bit), I get through a referral, not my reel. The highest paid gigs I've gotten have been from people who never even saw my reel.
November 30, 2012 at 3:56PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
Your website offered us with valuable information to work on. You've done an impressive job and our whole community will be thankful to you.
May 16, 2014 at 1:14PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM