Franklin Leonard

The Black List

I did the whole film school thing – but not until I was 26 – when I got divorced. Jacked my old life and just went for it. I’m heavily tattooed, white, Irish trailer trash. Didn’t know anybody in the business whatsoever, nobody famous, nada, nout, zero, naught, nothing. And, apart from the lasting friendships formed, film school was fucking waste of time! Spent years being lied to, being skint, sleeping on people’s floors. Did every shit job imaginable – anything to pay the rent. We’ve all done it, I know. Only thing I got from it was learning that if you want it, you have to do it yourself. Actually, a little caveat to that: the editor on my current gig was actually in my class at film school – so retrospectively I guess I did get something out of it (19 years later). Now, I’m a jobbing director – been fortunate enough to have worked on some pretty funky high-end TV shows like Atlantis, Merlin, Being Human, Robin Hood, and Wire in the Blood. I’ve also done more than my fair share of the shite TV stuff – and everything in between. As my transition into features, I’d written this contained Irish revenge thriller called Broken Cove. Spent 18 months or so trying to get it airborne – and when the finance fell through for the umpteenth time, I just said “Fuck it.”

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Kill Your Darlings

Donning some sweet spectacles again, Daniel Radcliffe returns to theaters this upcoming Wednesday as beat poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings. The actor joins us to talk about finding that character and the hunt for great material. Continuing that theme, Black List founder Franklin Leonard speaks with us in an extended interview on the website’s 1st birthday as an outlet for aspiring writers to be discovered and receive feedback from industry professionals. What successes they’ve faced, what challenges lie ahead, and what changes we’ll see in year two. All coming up on today’s program as well as some advice from Geoff on knowing whether you’re ready to have your work read by the big dogs. You should follow The Black List (@theblcklst),Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #37 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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The Black List

As it says on its website, The Black List — the annual guide to the most well-liked unproduced screenplays floating around Hollywood — is responsible for over 200 scripts getting made into films. The unique project was created by Franklin Leonard, a production executive working up until recently for Overbrook Entertainment, who drops the listing every year on the second Friday in December. In the past, it’s been a useful tool for both writers who want to get their work noticed and executives who want to find something worth making. If there’s been any true critique of The Black List, it’s that it’s too insular. As Slate’s David Haglund noted in 2011, it’s a project that celebrates work that’s already made its way inside the impossibly closed circle of the Hollywood studio system. Perhaps in response to that criticism (but probably born more from a broader, higher ideal), Leonard didn’t wait until Christmas to unveil a new mission: to open the Black List to everyone. If you’re an aspiring screenwriter, The Black List is now a machine for getting your work read by the right people. For $25 a month, per script, they’ll host your work in a database where 1200+ professionals (studio and non) will be able to read it, propelled by an algorithm of ratings. Obviously, nothing like this has been tried before, but because it’s such an exciting initiative, it also demands a high level of scrutiny. To that end, Leonard has penned a lengthy piece explaining his […]

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Franklin Leonard’s Black List has become something of a cultural phenomenon, and for good reason. Every year he compiles the list, a compendium of the best scripts that are floating around Hollywood but not getting produced, and creates a media stir by publishing them. This, in turn, makes studio heads give the scripts another look, and many times put the projects into production. Every year the Black List is one of the main ways that we get movies made that aren’t sequels, remakes, or film versions of consumer products that have brand recognition but no inherent storytelling potential; so I am in full support of giving it all the publicity possible. How are titles chosen for the list? According to the list itself, “The Black List was compiled from the suggestions of over 300 film executives, each of whom contributed the names of up to ten of their favorite scripts that were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2011 and will not have begun principal photography during this calendar year.” Topping the list this year, with 133 votes, is a script by Graham Moore called The Imitation Game (a script Warner Bros has the rights to, and that Leonardo DiCaprio has been rumored to be circling). It’s the life story of Alan Turing, who was the British cryptographer that cracked the German Enigma Code in WWII, and who committed suicide later in life after being prosecuted for homosexuality. Those 133 votes make The Imitation Game the big winner, […]

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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