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

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Nicholas Verso

Who: Writer-director of feature The Boys in the Trees (2016); director of award-winning television series Nowhere Boys.

How did you break in or get your start in screenwriting?

My first script was optioned when I was still studying at university. One of my lecturers read it and said, “I don’t understand a word of it, but I’m pretty sure it’s good,” and asked if he could pass it on to a producer friend. She optioned it and while the film didn’t make it into production, it started a long creative relationship that allowed me to transition into television production and kept me writing. My next feature script, Boys in the Trees, was optioned by another company and that went into production.

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

Be ready for luck. When you get that lucky break, make sure you have something ready to show. Also, it’s worth having more than one thing on the go. You’ll always have that favorite priority project, but have something ready as a back-up to increase your odds.

Who are your favorite screenwriters?

I think Thelma & Louise is a perfect screenplay and whenever I hit a wall, I go back to that film and wonder, ‘What would Callie Khouri do?’ I also love the wit and pace of Billy Wilder dialogue and the magic and heart of Melissa Mathison. These days I’m inspired by Eric Heisserer, Michael Werwie and John J. Griffin.

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

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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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