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

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


Elizabeth Guest

Who: Member of Upright Citizens Brigade who co-wrote and starred in the long-running UCB shows Dumped and Nice Girls; won Best Scripted Digital Series at AFF for Guest Appearances.

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

Putting up my most recent UCB show was a great experience, because I saw how I could improve jokes and find new jokes every time. That discovery of change started to feel more fun to me than it has in the past. I used to judge myself and my scripts for not being perfect right away, but now I realize that changes can be exciting and that there is always room for improvement.

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

Something I am still writing, actually. It’s a dark comedy based on a really hard year for me in middle school. The challenge has been trying to figure out what to keep and what to scrap, because the world I’m creating is fiction but what inspired me to write it was my own experience. The key is figuring out what is absolutely essential to the story, and anything else has to go!

Who is your favorite screenwriter?

I admire Nancy Meyers for her ability to infuse her own wit, humor and heart into her stories. I always feel better and happier after watching one of her films. I took a quick photo with her at AFF and I could barely even open my eyes, I was so excited.


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 MM

Every year AFF brings together writers and storytellers for eight days of programming and networking. At this year’s Screenwriters Conference, AFF and MovieMaker will present a “Screenwriters to Watch” panel featuring writers from this list. More information at (October 26 – November 2, 2017).

MovieMaker reader Austin Film Festival Discount

Take $25 off your purchase of a Producers Badge or Conference Badge by using the code MOVIEMAKER25 during checkout.

This article appears in MovieMaker’s Spring 2017 issue.



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  1. 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.

  2. 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. James Mayfield says:

    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!

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