Founder of Real Southern Men, originator of at least four otherwise unused Twitter hashtags and inventor of candied bacon-infused waffles, Wayne Franklin is a Renaissance man for no generation. The son of a mechanic from rural Escambia County, Alabama and a retired office manager who was born in Foley, graduated in Fairhope and lived everywhere from Beaumont to Brewton in the intervening years. Despite this rather stereotypical Southern background, Wayne somehow ended up a geeky filmmaker from the ‘burbs with a penchant for wordplay and no discernible Southern accent.
After a largely uneventful and abnormally normal American childhood in Mobile, Alabama, Wayne put in three years at the Capstone (the University of Alabama, for the uninitiated) and then settled in the one city he swore to which he would never move: Birmingham.
After toiling at frustrating day jobs for seven years, Wayne (along with wife, Kelli,) founded Wannabe Films in 1998. Serving ad agency and direct clients, Wannabe has been the machine that allows Wayne to pursue more speculative ventures in his spare time.
A year later, they co-founded the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in Birmingham, which regularly makes top-10 lists of the best film festivals in the country.
Those ventures include a partnership with Kris Wheeler, Self-Proclaimed Entertainment. SPE is working with a number of well-established TV production companies to develop new, original unscripted series – most of which have decidedly Southern sensibilities. (You probably already know that if you’re clicking around this site.)
Kris also offered Wayne a chance to stretch his legs as a writer. Wayne contributed feature articles and humor columns to Kris’ magazine Coastal Homes & Lifestyles. That taste of the writing life, a Facebook fan page created by friends & family and a fateful trip to Disney World inspired Wayne to try his hand at becoming a novelist. The result is Midlife Mouse, a satire about midlife crisis and the challenge to rise to one’s potential. (There’s also a mouse in there somewhere.) Wayne is currently working with his TV agent to find literary representation…which means only about three people have actually read the book. But hey, they liked it!