Today I had lunch with Franklin Leonard #57 of the most creative business people of 2010 – so of course it’s fitting that he is less than half that at #28 of my masters of inspiration!
Yesterday my friend Milana introduced Franklin and me – and as soon as I got the email my brain pulled up an article I’d read recently….
Fast Company described him like this:
A McKinsey management consultant turned studio development executive sounds like shorthand for a Hollywood screenwriter’s nightmare. Yet Franklin Leonard, 31, avoids those stereotypes. “I came to Hollywood because I have a real love and admiration for storytellers and writers,” he says. The Harvard-educated Georgia native shows the love every year with his side project, the Black List, an annual ranking of the year’s best unproduced scripts, picked by some 300 Hollywood, New York, and London film insiders. Many of these scripts are subsequently produced: Oscar winners Juno and There Will Be Blood are alums…
It’s kind of the coolest feeling when you read about someone and think – wow I want to be friends with that guy or actually more like I wish I could meet that guy – and then you meet and the person is 100 times cooler than you’d imagined.
Why is Franklin a master?
1. Character. It was obvious by the way Franklin treated the people we ran into on our walk to the garden at Soho. Whether he knew them well or had just met them, Franklin had a way with people. And people respected him and didn’t forget him.
2. Humility. Franklin was modest about his accomplishments – so driven he didn’t seem to think that he had accomplished much – or didn’t admit to it anyway.
“True humility is intelligent self respect which keeps us from thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves. It makes us modest by reminding us how far we have come short of what we can be.” – Ralph Sockman
3. He let me into his world. I got to hear about exciting work that Franklin is going to be doing next. It’s great to be in the inner circle even if for a day or two. When you get to celebrate someone’s life-changing moments with them, it’s a special thing.
4. The lunch was over and I felt like I had 45 more questions I wanted to ask F Leonard! I think maybe he felt the same. It’s great to leave wanting more!
5. This point in Franklin’s life verified the theory that we all make big changes between 28-32. He is newly single, moved to Los Feliz, and is changing jobs!
6. Know The Black List! It’s a brilliant example of how a simple idea can grow and affect business in a huge way!