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I just read this on DoneDeal:
"Posted by Blue Cat on Mandy.com:
'We are currently looking for bright, responsible, experienced readers to read our scripts and write 750 words of feedback. No synopses required, simply a thoughtful, constructive response to improve the screenplay. Job is done from your home or office electronically. Pay is $10 per screenplay. Work is available now.'"
Here's the ad: http://www.mandy.com/1/jobs3.cfm?v=45537642
What does everyone think about this? Can we trust readers that make a mere $10 per script? Does this mean that BlueCat isn't as great as people say?
Read the past thread topic Readers Arrgh! It will give you some answers
I've posted before about Blue Cat. Some of the readers are fine, professional and literate. But some of them obviously skim the first ten pages, five at midpoint and the last five. Then move on to the next script.
$10 per script if it takes two hours to read is slave labor. I suspect some readers are skimming 5 scripts per hour which is not bad money if you have no scruples.
I've learned my lesson and won't enter again.
LOL. 750 words indeed. One of my analysis on what needed work had exactly 64 words which included the sentences: "Cherri is good." and "Provide mileage from place to place."
The lesson in this is you get what you pay for. Gordy may mean well but according to who you got as a reader, the cost nothing analysis was worth exactly that: Nothing,
Wow. I just went to the site myself and the ad is there, plain as day. That's pretty shocking. Why would a reader do that for $10 a script? Maybe so they can put that on their writing resume? It does insure that the feedback is from amateurs, desperate for enough money to buy a happy meal for lunch. I would prefer they skip the feedback and give entrants 1 quality read. My feedback wasn't terrible (though I view it with much more skepticism now) but it varied wildly between the two readers and both contained minor factual mistakes re: my script. Quality was no different than a random review from a site like Triggerstreet. I may be wrong but the only contests in which I have confidence in the readers are PAGE and Nicholl.
So I was looking around on other film-related job sites and found the exact text on Entertainment Careers:
and on Get Film Jobs:
So that's how BlueCat gets their readers.
Where does the Nicholl Fellowship get its readers? Obviously not through an ad like this. I'm just curious as to how they find them.
Some of the better contests state they only use industry professionals and no students or interns. Nicholl's site reads that they spent over $200,000 on readers and that they are not in it to make a profit. I wonder if BlueCat checks references or if a 16 year old kid could claim to have a MFA from Harvard and get work.
I guess I don't find this nearly as shocking as others do. I mean, yeah, it's mildly surprising in one sense, but at the end of the day, we've heard these sorts of whispered rumors before. And how else will a contest assemble and coordinate a stable of readers for hundreds, if not thousands of scripts that need to be read?
Sure, the likes of Nicholl and a few others may be different, but if people wanna cross Bluecat off their list because of paid readers, I'm sure there's plenty more where this came from.
I wouldn't cross them off cause they're paid, hopefully all readers get paid. My complaint is that some of BlueCats readers (not all) don't read the scripts and their judgment is what determines if you advance or not in the contest.
You can resubmit but what's the point if you unfortunately get another reader that skims and is clueless? You've wasted your money. Some of mine were fine, but 2 readers didn't read.
Bluecat does require that you submit a resume and provide feedback for a 'sample' script they provide. Obviously there is not much weight given to the samples and resumes, becausse for $ 10 a shot, beggars can't be choosers.
It is very ironic that BlueCat is hitting people up with almost-daily email reminders about the 'early feedback' deadline while they are also posting want adsd for readers to acheive that very feedback.
Now, to be fair--I know three people who have won BlueCat in the past. The winning scripts were very, very worthy of the win and two of those three writers have gone on to have notable success. The third is going through developments right now. So while the initial rounds may be chaotic, the cream rises to the top in the end.
As for Nicholl and Austin, they use very experienced industry pros to read. Everything they do is at a top shelf-level, and Greg Beal (Nicholl coordinator) and Matt Dy (Austin coordinator) are both very approachable and up-front about the reading & judging process for their contests.
pardon me--the first line of the above post should read:
'BlueCat does require potential READERS to provide a resume and sample feedback on a sample script they provide'
For $10 an hour, the only reasonably qualified people I can see doing this are film students. And they're probably doing it more as an exercise than a chance to make money.
This is probably why, once in a while, people do get good feedback. For every good review, though, I bet there are 10 that are just mailed in.
I sent my 1st script to Blue cat and while one analaysis was mean (reader crabbed about my structure being wrong and my dialogue to long) the other one was really good. They encouraged me and told me I was a good writer and never said a word about structure. This will give me a lot of confidence and I'll be brave enough to enter more contests so I think your being unfair by picking on them. I'm a student and I could be a really good reader too.
When we were all starting out, we wanted to believe the good reviews and disregard the 'mean' ones. It's only after reading them again and with less emotion that often times the 'mean' one garners the most value, Lucy...
I'm torn on a lot of stuff in this thread so I'll just tell you my experiences on both sides of the table.
My script "Every time I go to Staten Island something bad happens..." was in the top 5 of BlueCat a few years ago. It was my first placement that high in a contest, the first real recognition of that script, and the highest that script placed. I remember that the feedback I'd received earlier gave me the idea that it wasn't going to advance (the same just happened with a script in Slamdance) so it was thrill to do so well and meet Gordy for burritos in Greenwich Village. This was a huge validation for my writing and kept me going. Gordy is a very smart, talented guy who wants to discover new writers. Ultimately, I wrote a short version of the script (19 pages) thinking I'd shoot it. The short script (I never shot the film) won several contests and when it won the Queens Film Festival, I met a director there who read the feature version, optioned it, has attached actors and a DP, and has most of the budget so far. Gordy was the first to discover my script.
On readers - in contests and yes, also in the business, readers are the first line and often not so experienced. There are hundreds or thousands of scripts to be read and they need to be narrowed down by coverage. Sure, a top writer or agent sends in a script or t has big attachments, it goes straight to the top. Or a smaller company may have it's principle reading scripts, butyou can bet they put it down by p.10 or p.20 if they're not into it - they have a stack to read that night. So in a way, contests and TriggerStreet aren't so off from reality.
Sure, the Nicholl has the entries and funding to hire readers, but many other contests need to make a profit (which is fine as long as they deliver what's been promised). I was hired as reader with zero experience for a Producer in NY, but only for a short time for a few scripts, but I learned how to do coverage. I then worked at company where I read more scripts, but didn't do coverage. On the set of a film that I was 2nd ADing, an Asst. Producer was working at a prodco and told me they needed readers UNPAID and I signed on to read two scripts a week plus a weekly readers meeting in the office. They gave me a test script to cover and I passed (it was really bad). I learned so much at that gig and now have a lot of confidence in my coverage and opinions (and my writing improved greatly).
But my point is, I had virtually no experience and there I was telling a prodco whether or not they should make a movie and why, UNPAID and with almost no experience. Sounds like the contests, right? The bottom line is that people who are willing to do this, especially for little or no money are probably people who want to learn and who care - obviously it's not for the money. So hopefully that's the case. Yes, some will be good at it and some won't be - the same with the industry. It's all subjective (I have scripts that have won a major contest and not even placed in a minor one) - the same with the industry. I can imagine how a contest can charge $50 and pay reader $30, but I'm not even sure that would make the results any different. So I think we all have to live with these things.
Sorry for the typos - I'm using an iPad on a train...
Sage advice Irin.
The readers I got stuck with offered insolence without insight. Not a good way to garner positive buzz for your competition.
The movie business is f####d, that's why all the movies coming out of Hollywood are about zombies.
Apparently, many of the people running prominent contests fit into that category as well.
Call it the State of Amerika. What do you expect from an empire in rapid decline with diminishing resources and a failure of leadership? Cheesy entertainment to stupify the already stupid masses.
Do you really think something intelligent is going to squeeze through the system? I still hope so, that's why I keep writing intelligent screenplays, but the odds are increasingly in favor of the zombies.
Neat story, Irin. Thanks for sharing. We put our scripts out there to be judged. If we're lucky, someone with more expertise and experience will actually read it, give notes, rank it, help us to become better writers, etc. No guarantees it will happen, though. Unlikely to happen at $10 a script.
I sent my script to Blue Cat and the first two analyses had a professional touch. They were positive and constructive, though the advice about structure and plot development were vague. The third reader hadn't understood the message and the writing style, it looked like they had read only couple of pages. They even referred to a certain scene which does not appear in my script. It's a shame. For 10 dollars...
Irin, thanks for taking the time to share your experience and wisdom. Most of us are blundering through this maze trying to find a way in. It really helps to hear a good war story to keep morale up.
Did you meet Gordy at Benny's Burritos??? :)
It was a few years ago but I have this memory of it being on the NE corner of Wash Sq Park. Is there a burrito place there? I may be completely wrong.
I think one problem with readers is plain burn-out. I've got an acquaintance who is one of three readers for a small regional contest and as the deadline draws near they become inundated with scripts people throw out long before they are ready for prime time. She says that the best way to get a reader to 'really' read something is to get the script in the contest as early as possible. One of the guys she works with threw his hands up and walked out and they were forced to find someone with little experience to fill the gap. Since BlueCat's deadline is nearing maybe this is what is happening. Ten bucks is not a enough for anything more than a skim and a few words. And I sure as hell wouldn't waste my time on 750 words for ten bucks unless the story jumped off the page and bit me.
I'm shocked they pay only $10 per script. $10/hr sounds more reasonable. I think most people submitting scripts would gladly pay an extra $20 to get first-class feedback. So allowing 2 hours to read the script and 1 hour to prepare the feedback, I think $30 is reasonable for a reader. It's a shame some contests try to scrimp on the readers. They are doing all of us writers a disservice and most of all, hurting themselves in the long run.
To give credit where credit is due: I decided to enter BlueCat on 9/15 after learning I could get feedback from two readers by October 1. I knew about the Mandy ad but figured it was worth a gamble to get a contest entry and two reader responses in only two weeks time. I did receive my feedback as promised on October 1st. And I'd like to say that I'm very pleased with the feedback. Both readers demonstrated that they had read the screenplay through and understood its nuances. The feedback is well-written and clearly stated. The suggestions for improvement are good and I plan to use their advice. There is even some consensus between the two reviews, which is always particularly helpful (instead of two reviewers suggesting I do the exact opposite things). So, whatever else happens in the contest, I received feedback that will help me improve the script. I'm happy I gave this a try.
I have to say, I just received my Blue Cat analyses and they were pretty great. I've been critical before and decided to give it one more try and was pleasantly surprised.
I entered the Bluecat script competition 5 days ago and have some serious concerns.
I wa snot sure if my script uploaded. There was no confirmation to show it. I did see where they charged my Paypal account $60. When i contacted Bluecat I received an email back from Heather that said:
I just forwarded your payment receipt. If there is a problem during processing, we will contact you.
We do not have a confirmation for uploading screenplays.
How the hell can they not have confirmation they received my screenplay? Am i just supposed to take their word for it? This Bluecat will NEVER get a penny from me again. So unprofessional.
Larry, you shouldn't be worried. When they send your payment confirmation, it means they got your script. Lots of contests do it that way.
You will also have proof it has been read when you receive your two script analysis.
One complaint. I just received a review and it was all about the un-PC things that were in my script. My characters were sexist, she didn't like that it was from, oh no, a "man's perspective" and that I made jokes about a metrosexual character in my comedy (she was "offended" and implied that I was being homophobic even though the character was not gay). Honestly, the script was as tame as could be, especially compared to the "Hangover." I am sensitive to PC issues and still I got a review that read like a checklist of a political agenda. I wanted constructive criticism, not a personal declaration of how self-righteous the reader thinks she is.
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