DeVon Franklin was on track to become a mover and shaker in Hollywood when he hit what he calls “development hell.” For a time, his upwardly mobile career path was stalling, if not dying altogether. His employer, MGM, was about to be sold, and Franklin, then a junior exec, thought he’d lose his job.
When Sony Pictures bought MGM in 2004, Franklin survived the sale and continued his climb. He’s now vice president of production for Columbia Pictures (a division of Sony), where he has overseen such projects as The Pursuit of Happyness, The Karate Kid, and this summer’s Jumping the Broom. Franklin, 33 and single, chronicles his story in Produced by Faith: Enjoy Real Success Without Losing Your True Self (Howard Books, 2011). His book encourages fellow Christians to use “faith as a professional asset,” with chapters on “Writing the Script,” “God’s Green Light,” and, yes, “Development Hell.”
Actor Will Smith, one of Franklin’s oldest friends in Hollywood, says Franklin “lives his life the same way he makes his movies: with commitment, humility, and a work ethic that demands respect.”