Franklin Buckner is the brother of the late famed, brilliant and humble director, writer and filmmaker, George Hickenlooper. I had the distinct honor and pleasure of developing my tv show idea based off my paranormal legacy and who I was becoming with George years ago. He believed in it and more importantly... in me. That was the kind of person George was. He and I chatted on the phone. He had no pretentious ways about him and always shot straight from his hip. I once asked him if I could use something he said from an e-mail that inspired me, and turn it into a quote, he replied..."Sure. No problem." I can relate to some degree to Franklin, as my father was a public figure and well-known, and here I am carrying that torch trying to find out where I belong in all of it. To show how small this world really can be at times, it turned out that my husband's cousin's boyfriend went to Yale with George and were still friendly after all the years past. They reconnected because I connected with him. It was such a great feeling. George made you forget who he was in stature, fame and importance and was a regular Joe lending his respect and courtesy back to you.
Caption: George and Franklin.
"I always say be humble but be firm. Humility and openness are the key to success without compromising your beliefs." -- George Hickenlooper
I now turn the conversation over to this family tradition in Hollywood that is truly talented, kind folk who have the ability to persevere no matter what the obstacles.
Alexandra Holzer: I want to say first off how deeply saddened I was to hear of your brothers passing last year. Can you share some moments with us about the two of you?
Franklin Buckner: Too many to share and I can't say specifics, but I'll answer that with an overview of our relationship, which sums up who George was; a guy with the biggest heart. George was 17 years older than me when I was born. Different fathers. He was head-strong and had a vision for who he wanted to be. George was one of the lucky few who knew exactly what he was going to be for the rest of his life. He was going to make movies. He had his acceptance to Yale and his whole future ahead of him. George had no obligation to have a relationship with me. To put it simply, I was the kid his mom had with the "new" guy. (George lived with his dad after the divorce.) However, with my own father lacking in my life, G. stepped up and turned out to be more than a brother and was really THE male influence in my life. Most have no choice in who their siblings are. George CHOSE to be my brother and then some. In the same day, George could scold me like a father and play with me like a brother. I would do anything for him.
Caption: George and Franklin enjoying a Baseball game.
AH: Did your brother have any influence on you to get into the entertainment industry or did you have your own aspirations from the get go and it ran in the family so-to-speak.
FB: George is 100 percent responsible for me being even remotely involved with Hollywood. Growing up, my ONLY interest was to be with George. I loved him more than anyone. Me being with him, however, meant I had to be a part of whatever project he might be working on. G. was a workaholic, plain and simple. I wanted to spend my Christmas break with him? He's working. So he gets me on with the Art Department. I want to spend my Summer Break with him? He's working. So he gets me on as a PA. George regularly worked with a production mixer, Peter Meisselmann. Peter took me under his wing and I fell in love with the sound crew. Way cooler than the camera dept. It was because of working with Peter that I eventually made union. It was huge and I was stoked! I was 20 or 21 yrs old at the time.
AH: I read that you took courses for nursing at John Wood College. Can you elaborate more on that and what was it geared towards?
FB: Looking back, I think I was exposed too quickly. I'll just say, I have real sympathy for "child stars." There is a pace and a lifestyle that can catch you off guard in this town and I'm only speaking from the point of view of a brother of an independent filmmaker. Never mind a full-blown celebrity. Anyhow, our mom is a nurse. Our aunt is in the Sciences too. Nursing school back home in the Midwest was my attempt to be "normal." Filmmaking was George's mission and I was a casualty of that. "Casualty" is a bit much, but it's the only word that comes to mind. Anyway, I got into the RN program there at the same time I met my (now) wife in New York during George's premier of Mayor of the Sunset Strip. I actually transferred to a nursing program in Santa Monica to be with her here in Los Angeles. George was more excited about me coming back to LA in general, rather than the fact I was engaged.
AH: In closing, what new projects are you working on and what are your future goals in the industry you are looking to obtain?
FB: It was during the time G. was filming Casino Jack that I decided to return to film. I went to see him on set in Toronto. He got me a room down from his own. It was a blast! I realized what I had walked away from. I didn't know if I wanted to do set work though. I wanted to dive into Post. We fantasized about the prospect of me becoming an editor and he could freely yell on set, "We'll fix it in Post. I got a guy," and I could be his whipping boy once again. Currently I'm wrapping up the Recording Arts program at the LA Film School, focussing on Post Production and Mixing in general. I particularly enjoy SFX and ADR and would love to work with the big boys some day at a place like Todd AO or Skywalker Ranch.
Some of the past projects Franklin has worked on include being a Programmer at The Los Angeles Shorts Festival, Production Assistant at Prom: The Walt Disney Company to doing Utility Sound at The Man From Elysian Fields and a PA to Director at The Low Life and Some Folks Call It A Sling Blade to name a few.
Caption: Poster of the Film "Some Folks Call It A Sling Blade."
To connect with Franklin, please go here: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/frank-buckner/27/5a7/77a