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The Black List founder, Franklin Leonard, joins us to answer questions about how The Black List can be valuable for playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists. They have exciting theatre industry news you don't want to miss.


The Black List, founded in 2005, began as an annual survey of Hollywood executives' favorite unproduced screenplays. Since then, over 440 scripts that have appeared on the Black List have been produced, grossing over $30 billion in box office worldwide. Those films have gone on to win 54 Academy Awards from 267 nominations, including four of the last twelve Best Picture Oscars and eleven of the last 28 Best Screenplay Oscars.


In October of 2012, the Black List launched a unique online community where writers could make their work available to readers, buyers and employers. Since its inception, it has hosted nearly 80,000 screenplays and pilots and provided more than 130,000 script evaluations. As a result, hundreds of writers have found representation at major talent agencies and management companies, as well as sold or optioned their screenplays.


Several films have been produced from scripts showcased on the website including Golden Globe nominated NIGHTINGALE, starring David Oyelowo. Currently, the Black List hosts over 5,500 screenplays and pilot scripts by approximately 3,700 writer members. These scripts are available for download by industry professionals ranging from agency assistants, to studio and network presidents, to A-list actors and directors.


Franklin Leonard is a film and television producer, cultural commentator, and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of the Black List, the company that celebrates and supports great screenwriting and the writers who do it via film production, its annual survey of best unproduced screenplays, online marketplace, live staged script readings, screenwriter labs, and film culture publications. More than 400 scripts from the annual Black List survey have been produced as feature films earning 250 Academy Award nominations and 50 wins including four of the last thirteen Best Pictures and eleven of the last twenty-four screenwriting Oscars. Franklin has worked in feature film development at Universal Pictures and the production companies of Will Smith, Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella, and Leonardo DiCaprio. 


He has been a juror at the Sundance, Toronto, Guanajuato, and Mumbai Film Festivals and for the PEN Center Literary Awards. He’s been one of Hollywood Disruptor, Hollywood Reporter’s 35 Under 35, Black Enterprise magazine’s “40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future,” and Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.”  He was the recipient of the 2019 Writers Guild of America, East (WGAe) Evelyn Burkey award for elevating the honor and dignity of screenwriters. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). He is a frequent conference and corporate speaker including keynote appearances at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Bloomberg, 99U, TBWA/Media Arts Lab, Warby Parker, Betterment, and the Chautauqua Institution. His TED talk has been viewed more than 1.6 million times. 


Megan Halpern joined the Black List in 2014, where she co-runs film and television for Franklin Leonard and leads all of the Black List's feature and television Lab programs. Prior to working in entertainment, she spent seven years in book publishing at Penguin Random House and Picador USA. Independently, she has produced a number of short films, including DEB starring Ahna O'Reilly and Scott Michael Foster; THE LAST DAYS OF TJ STAGGS starring Paul Scheer and Constance Wu; and THE PRIEST starring Patton Oswalt. Her first feature film, DEBORAH, written and directed by Noga Pnueli and starring Sophia Bush and Deborah Ann Woll, is currently in post-production. She is a graduate of New York University.

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