In Conversation With...
Franklin Leonard

The Imitation Game, Spotlight, The Revenant, Whiplash, Argo, The King's Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, Juno, There Will Be Blood (Oscar winning film picks from The Black List)


Charismatic revolutionary and detail obsessed nerd -and former film executive who founded The Black List, an annual anonymous survey of entertainment professionals ranking of Hollywood’s most coveted unproduced screenplays.

Photography by Djeneba Aduayom

Photography by Djeneba Aduayom


You are an active Engager on Twitter, lending consistent voice to the political and social injustices, do you feel this (having an opinion) is a requirement/responsibility of being an Influencer? Personally, I hate the term influencer. At the end of the day, I'm just a person with a point of view expressing that point of view publicly. Whether it's a requirement or not is largely moot. Not saying anything is an explicit statement in support of injustice. I choose to speak up against it.

The SPOILS (of success)

What is the greatest joy/benefit of your current success? Being in a position to introduce talented people from entirely different industries with the knowledge that the introduction will yield something beautiful and potentially world changing.  


Is there a future in politics for you? I suppose that depends on how you define "future in politics." 


Get back up. 

Photography by Djeneba Aduayom

Photography by Djeneba Aduayom


8:00AM Usually is when I wake up. Varies depending on the day and how late I worked the night before.

What is your morning routine? Unhealthily, I check the news and email immediately upon waking up, usually before I've left bed. Then it's typically two cups of black coffee while I start responding to whatever email came in while I was asleep. 

9:00AM Breakfast at a meeting, if there's one scheduled, sometime thereabout at home if not. Entirely dependent on the schedule for the day.

Do you work from a traditional office? For now, my entire team - myself included - works from home.

What is your morning 'in-office' routine? Don't have one. It honestly varies entirely depending on what else is scheduled for the day. 

What types of meetings do you take during the day? Varies widely from conversations with my events team about casting for our live reads, working with my technical team on improving some element of the site, sitting with potential corporate partners from production companies to major brands to pitching potential financiers of future films. 

1:00PM Lunch, if I have one scheduled. Whenever I get hungry - typically long after 1 pm - if I don't. 

If short on time what’s your go-to snack/drink for a midday energy boost? I should probably figure one out. 

Where is the time allocated in your schedule to read scripts, meet at studios etc.? Nothing set. I take meetings, read scripts, do what I do, etc. when it makes sense to do it.

How much does public speaking, moderating and/or industry related events occupy your schedule? Right now, too much. Historically, if I could make an invitation work, I've tended to accept it, which means that I'm speaking publicly between two to four times a week. It's too much. Given the demands on my time, it's something I should be more discriminating about, but oftentimes it's difficult to choose not to have your voice heard.

What time do you leave the ‘office;’ for the evening, a premier or work-related event? One of the downsides of a home office is that you're rarely not at work. There's never a proper "leaving." 

8:00PM and 2:00AM Wind down. Whenever I'm done or reach a reasonable stopping place.

Do you cook? I'm blessed to be in a relationship with a brilliant cook who loves cooking. She handles business so I don't have to (which is probably good for both of us.) 

What is your end of night routine? I should probably figure one out.


Flexibility, Freedom, Impact

Photography by Djeneba Aduayom

Photography by Djeneba Aduayom


Favorite book/author, and why? Big fan of Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski. I go hard for narrative non-fiction, and he's one of the best.  

When traveling on a long flight; what print magazines, newspapers and on-line sites are required reading/entertainment for you? I tend to use flights to either catch up on email (as I am literally doing now as I write this) or read a book that I haven't had the chance to read.


If your life were a soundtrack, what song would it start with and what song would it end with? Maybe start with Kamasi Washington's "Truth" but that might just be because I've been listening to it a lot lately. How it ends is yet to be determined.

Album cover art by Amani Washington

Album cover art by Amani Washington

5 Things I Can’t Live Without:


MacBook Air (or any laptop)

Black Levi's jeans

Black t-shirt