Franklin Leonard’s The Black List Foretells the Changing Future of Hollywood

Franklin Leonard is anxious about press. “There’s a fundamental vanity to it that makes me really uncomfortable,” he said. “I’m increasingly realizing that it’s a valuable part for getting the message out and building the company.”

The Black List founder would prefer to focus on the work, but these days he has no choice but to pick up the phone. He created the annual survey of the best unproduced screenplays in 2005 and it now commands an online community of roughly a quarter million people. More importantly, it’s become a talent dowsing rod for agents, studio and network presidents, and A-list actors and directors. As a result, he’s now a major influencer leading the charge in the diversification of Hollywood. But for Leonard, who toiled at agencies and studios doing data analysis for nearly a decade, there’s still much work to be done.

“Launching something
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