Franklin Leonard

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Franklin Leonard
Alma materHarvard University
OccupationFilm executive
Known forFounder of The Black List

Franklin Leonard is an American film executive best known for founding The Black List,[1] a yearly publication featuring Hollywood's most popular unproduced screenplays. After working as a development executive for Overbrook Entertainment[2][3] and Universal Pictures,[4] Leonard is currently an adviser to BoomGen Studios[5] and Plympton.[6] Leonard serves on the board of directors for Young Storytellers.[7]


After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 2000 in Social Studies, Leonard began his career as the Communications Director for John Cranley's campaign for the United States House of Representatives in Ohio's first district. He went on to work as a columnist for the Trinidad Guardian, an analyst for McKinsey & Company, and an assistant for Creative Artists Agency.[6]

Beginning in 2004, Leonard worked as a development executive for John Goldwyn Productions, Appian Way Productions, and Mirage Entertainment. While working at Appian Way in 2005, he came up with the concept behind "The Black List," forwarding a spreadsheet to seventy five fellow producers to collect the names of well-known but unproduced screenplays.[8] After becoming an instant success, The Black List was adapted into a website and has provided over two hundred screenplays which later became feature films. The vast majority of The Black List scripts however were already purchased or commissioned by large studios, prior to being placed on The Black List.[1]

Leonard went on to become one of the youngest executives at Universal Pictures, serving as Director of Development and Production.[5] Two years later, he was Vice President of Creative Affairs at Will Smith's production company, Overbrook Entertainment. Leonard shared the title with Smith's brother-in-law Caleeb Pinkett, and later left the company after two years.[3]

Besides his full-time work on The Black List, Leonard is currently an adviser to Plympton,[6] a literary studio that specializes in serialized fiction, and BoomGen Studios, where he assisted in developing the transmedia graphic novel 1001.[5] He is also a Judge on the Afrinolly Short Film Competition; Africa's most prestigious Short Film Competition with a $25,000 first place cash prize to winners.[9] He currently serves on the board of directors for Young Storytellers, an arts education nonprofit organization.[7]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Black List: About". The Black List, LLC. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  2. ^ Kit, Borys (November 17, 2010). "EXCLUSIVE: Black List Creator to Join Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Sperling, Nicole (September 19, 2012). "Black List founder Franklin Leonard out at Overbrook Entertainment". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  4. ^ Sperling, Nicole (December 10, 2008). "The Black List: How Hollywood's Buzziest Scripts Get Their Juice". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "Franklin Leonard | BoomGen Studios". BoomGen Studios. BoomGen Studios. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Our Team | Plympton". Plympton, Inc. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Our Team - Young Storytellers". Young Storytellers. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  8. ^ Vox (September 14, 2017), How an underground script list changed movies, retrieved September 14, 2017
  9. ^ Afrinolly Short Film Competition, Meet The Judges. "Afrinolly Short Film Competition Judge".