In 2004, my graduate school application included the following: “Rich Leder provided the first significant inspiration for my pursuit of a career in screenwriting. I found his commitment to story and his infatuation for his craft deeply enthralling as he sucked me in with a single phrase, No one can outwork me. I immediately accepted the challenge.” The American Film Institute accepted my application and granted me their highest screenwriting award two years later. If I had never met Rich, I would be a writer. Having met, studied under, and maintained a relationship with Rich, I am a far greater writer. He brings unrivaled exuberance to the table and in doing so elevates those around him. His passion for and knowledge of story does not make you believe in your work; it inspires you to find your own singular trigger to make yourself believe in your work. The fact that he can gift such a tool of self-sufficiency in such an onerous field as screenwriting proves invaluable. He excites and delights all the while fostering the storyteller within. I am forever indebted to Rich for his support of my pursuits as a young man, for his kindness, and for his friendship.
Leif Lindhjem, Writer
Graduated from the American Film Institute in September 2007

Red Dot, Run Lost Fifties Films (original) 2008
Everglade (original) 2008
The Forest Tiny Story Pictures (dialogue polish) 2007
AFI’s William J. Fadiman Screenwriting Award (2007) for the feature script Mossadegh
this is AFI’s top achievement in the screenwriting discipline.

I have had the pleasure of working with Rich over many years and I can honestly say that without his insight and encouragement I would have quit writing long ago. It’s not just that Rich has the talent to dig beneath the surface of the text and take you down new, surprising paths, into the heart of a story you THOUGHT you knew, but that he does so with such infectious enthusiasm (and some wicked wit) that you can’t wait to write more... just so you can show it to him! I’ve never met an editor with a keener blade, a dreamer with sharper vision, or a coach with a bigger heart.”
Hal Jay Greene
President, Visitors Publishing
I know Rich Leder as a colleague and fellow screenwriting professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. We taught beginning and advanced screenwriting courses there for several years.  Whenever Rich talks to me about the craft of screenwriting, directing, writing for television, or about the process of turning a story into a film, I learn something new.  Whenever Rich teaches students about the same, he inspires a new generation.  Rich is my “go-to-guy” whenever I have a new script, concept or idea that I want to develop.  He knows the business. He knows whether a concept can be sold.  He knows when a script is ready for the marketplace.
Terry Linehan
Academy Awards Foundation - Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Semifinalist
Screenwriting and Film Production Professor - UNC-Wilmington
Rich helped me past a crippling creative block by guiding me in the right direction: not to idealize the thought of having written, but to enjoy and love the act of writing itself. He challenged me to better myself in every way possible, whether it was thoughtful advice on the truth of my character’s needs, or standing on his desk, yelling dialogue with me, forcing me to make it real. There are now a dozen stories on paper and on screen that would otherwise have been trapped, unrealized, in my head. Rich‘s coaching in the craft of story has made me a better writer, shooter, and filmmaker.
Andy Bader, Independent Filmmaker
The Drill, Cinematographer
Bummin’ It: The Life and Times of Oyster Bummins, Cinematographer, Producer, Co-director
So who is Richard Leder? He is, in my opinion, one of the best screenwriters I have worked with in my 30 years as a director of television drama. He absolutely knows the essentials, the fundamentals of his craft. More than that, the three highly rated TV movies he wrote and that we worked on together — A Season Of Hope, A Thousand Men And A Baby, and Yesterday’s Children — showed his skill at creating compelling stories and nuanced characters. I never had any trouble directing his work. The scenes sang and the actors were happy. A generous collaborator, he was always ready with fresh insights and creative suggestions, always open to new ideas and possibilities. Quality is what he is after. Believe me, this guy knows his stuff. And, before I forget, he’s funny. It doesn’t feel like work when you’re working with Rich. It’s fun, serious fun to be sure because he wants the script to be as good as it possibly can be, whether it’s his or yours. I loved working with him and I promise you will too… if you’re smart enough to take the opportunity.
Marcus Cole, Director


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