Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2017, Presented by MovieMaker

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Maybe the idea of “watching a screenwriter” sounds a little like watching a kettle boil: Sit at desk. Clutch pen in hand. Think.

We’ll admit, they’re not the most dynamic visuals. But hearing these budding stars talk about the process—all of it, from brainstorming to braving feedback, live reads to networking—will convince you of the drama inherent to, well, inventing drama. For the second year running, we’ve teamed up with the Austin Film Festival, the circuit’s premiere screenwriting destination, to spotlight 25 promising writers (or writing duos). Train your eyes on these guys in the coming year.

(List presented in no particular order.)

Directory

1. Jono Matt and Glen Powell 2. Ryan Piers Williams 3. Etta Devine and Gabriel Diani 4. Lena Khan 5. Trey Selman 6. Tracy Oliver 7. Justin Lader and Charlie McDowell 8. Clint Bentley and Greg Kwedar 9. Damir Konjicija and Dario Konjicija 10. Juanjo Moscardó Rius 11. Ben Snyder and Ari Issler 12. Kyle Bugg 13. Jimmy Mosqueda 14. Michael Noonan 15. Geeta Malik 16. Josh Barkey 17. Nicholas Verso 18. Minhal Baig 19. Henry Jones 20. Kevin Arbouet 21. Megan Park 22. Wes Brown 23. Louisiana Kreutz 24. Kate Nowlin 25. Elizabeth Guest


Jono Matt and Glen Powell

(L-R) Jono Matt and Glen Powell

Who: Writing partners currently adapting the live-action version of Captain Planet for the big screen.

What was a major turning point in your careers?

We learned to live by this phrase: ‘Help do the next guy’s job.’ A script needs to climb a chain of command, so supply whatever tools the next person needs in order pitch it to their boss. We make the posters, the storyboards, the trailer—anything to make the sale a no-brainer.

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?

1. There are more NFL athletes than paid screenwriters.

2. Only write what you’d pay $18 to see on opening night.

3. Nap.

Who are some of your favorite screenwriters?

We believe that life begins and ends with Richard Linklater. He is the way, the truth, the light. And he is totes adorbs.

 

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3 Comments

  1. James Mayfield

    June 21, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Very inspiring stuff. Loved to learn how these guys and gals got their big breaks, especially those who had little to no contact in LA. Sort of inspiring, and it kind of makes you forget, if only for a moment, that many screenwriters work less than minimum wage. There’s hope!

  2. Tommy G Warren

    May 30, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Congratulations to all these writers! Knowing Ben Synder, who has worked with me on a scripts, I want to particularly congratulate him and Ari Lssler for achieving this endeavor in the ‘Storyworld’ of Cinema!

    Spiderwood Productions / Tommy G Warren, Writer, Producer.

  3. Bruce Spencer

    April 24, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Conspicuous by their absence are such stellar screenplay writers as Buck Henry (“The Graduate”), Robert Downey, Sr. (“Putney Swope”), Penny Lane (Nuts”)and Ben and Dan Barnz.

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