Black List Founder Franklin Leonard On Changing Hollywood For Screenwriters [Qumra 2019]

The Playlist | 4/13/2019 | Jessica Kiang
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Qumra is an industry event comprising lectures, masterclasses, labs, and mentoring sessions, held annually in the Qatari capital Doha for the benefit of emerging filmmakers from the region and worldwide, sponsored by the increasingly influential Doha Film Institute.

FADE IN: INT. LA STARBUCKS – MORNING. A HIGH-POWERED STUDIO EXEC accidentally spills her coffee and barista JIM, a John Krasinski-type, cleans it up. As he works, the Exec notices a dog-eared screenplay, title visible, sticking out of his back pocket. “Did you write that? It’s exactly what we’re looking for!” Jim tosses his apron in the trash as they walk out arm-in-arm towards the sunrise, which glitters on the horizon like an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Scenario - Glib - Legitimacy - Route - Hollywood

Until recently this patently unlikely scenario (or one only slightly less glib) had enough legitimacy as a route into Hollywood for an untested screenwriter with no prior connections, that it at least kept Starbucks fully staffed. That was before Franklin Leonard, speaker at the recent Qumra event in Doha, almost by accident, founded The Black List in 2005 — and then very much on purpose, created its website in 2012.

Now pretty much a Hollywood tradition, the annual list of the year’s best-liked unproduced screenplays has yielded 1200 scripts in total, 400 of which have been made. Those films have taken over 26 billion in worldwide box office, and garnered 60 Academy Awards out of a huge 280 nominations. Four of the last 12 Best Picture winners were based on Black List-ed scripts, and 10 of the last 24 Screenwriting Oscar-winners. And crucially, as Leonard explains, it has changed the landscape for emerging screenwriters.

Fascinating - Talk - Leonard - List - Limitations

In a fascinating, frank talk (Leonard acknowledges the List’s limitations, chiefly its English-language-only rule) that is of value not just to writers but to anyone interested in a behind-the-curtain peek at the business...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Playlist
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