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

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Tracy Oliver

Who: Co-writer of Barbershop: The Next Cut and the upcoming Girls Trip; writer, producer and star, with Issa Rae, of web-series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?

Barbershop: The Next Cut. It was quite a challenge to take an old franchise and make it feel fresh. The other hard part was dealing with the tragedy that’s taking place in the South Side of Chicago, while also finding enough humor to make sure the movie’s still funny. What helped was not shying away from tackling the issues head on and whenever possible, finding a humorous way to undercut those dramatic moments, so it never got too serious or too broad.

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

I wrote a script called Marriage is for White People that was never made, but won a writing competition and got me representation and several meetings around town. Also, the web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl went viral and gave me an even bigger platform for my writing.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently adapting a beautiful love story written by Niccola Yoon called The Sun is Also a Star for Warner and MGM. I’m also gearing up to direct my first film in the summer.

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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