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The Team Deakins podcast is an ongoing conversation between acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins and James Deakins, his collaborator, about cinematography, the film business and whatever other questions are submitted. We start with a specific question and end....who knows where! We are joined by guests periodically. Followup questions can be posted in the forums at

Oct 4, 2023


Franklin Leonard, the founder of The Black List, joins us on this episode of the Team Deakins Podcast for a fascinating conversation. Franklin, a Harvard-educated military brat, starts by recounting his many travels across continents and industries before finding his footing as an assistant in the motion picture literary department at CAA. Having transitioned into development, Franklin shares how The Black List was born out of an innate desire to do better in his job as a junior executive at the time. We learn how The Black List has since evolved and how Franklin’s experiences influenced those evolutions to address industry access issues. We later consider what makes a good script, the inherent subjectivity of evaluating art, and how a script appearing on the list can vindicate one’s interest in “weird” material. Franklin stresses how the ultimate goal should not be to get on The Black List but to get your movie made, and he exposes the psyops he executes to avoid leaking which scripts end up on the list.


The Black List is an annual list of the most-liked scripts circulating within Hollywood in a given year, and it has served as a valuable industry tool for filmmakers since its inception.