This article originally appeared on Den of Geek UK.
Below are 50 writers I believe will be the people producing the films and television we won’t stop watching and talking about over the next several years. I’ve mainly drawn them from the US and UK film and TV industry, and with a mix of writers who have had pretty major success already (some household names off-screen), and others that are almost totally unknown. What links them all, though, is that they are only now making a name for themselves in their screenwriting career, with some having only a handful of film and TV credits to their name, others working steadily but unspectacularly until now, and a few with a major break-out hit.
John Patton Ford – Rothschild
Previously known for writing/directing 2010 short film Patrol, John Patton Ford became a hot property in Hollywood thanks to his inclusion on the 2014 Black List. For those who are unaware, the Black List is a yearly list of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood, as voted for by industry professionals. While inclusion (or even coming top) in it doesn’t guarantee success, it’s a pretty good indicator of what will be making waves in the film world. The Imitation Game, Babel, Juno, The Prestige, 500 Days Of Summer, In Bruges, Superbad, Slumdog Millionaire, Source Code, The Social Network, Chronicle, and Whiplash have all featured previously.
So it’s a pretty good bet to reckon on Ford’s Rothschild, described as “A young, well-educated loner kills the members of his mother’s estranged family one-by-one in hopes that he will inherit the family’s vast fortune” becoming one of your favorite films in the next few years. Plus people in the industry have consistently spoken about what a lovely man Ford is, which is always nice to know.
Nicole Perlman – Guardians Of The Galaxy
The success story of the Marvel writers programme so far, Nicole Perlman was a science geek growing up, and expanded this love into writing science-fiction scripts. But while her script Challengers gained plaudits and won awards, it wasn’t produced. As she told Time magazine, I was noticing that I was having trouble convincing people, when I was pitching on projects, that I would be capable of doing this. There was a little bit of an attitude of, ‘Well, you’re a woman, you’re not writing romantic comedies, we’ll give you the Marie Curie biopic.’”
Following this, she was enrolled onto the Marvel writing programme, and given freedom to develop up the lesser characters any way she liked. Choosing Guardians Of The Galaxy, Perlman’s script was given the green light. Despite public differences between her and director James Gunn over who contributed what to the final version, Marvel obviously liked her work enough to invite her back to pen Captain Marvel, which she will be co-writing with Meg LeFauve
Meg LeFauve – Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur
A long-time producer, with Emmy nominations to show for it, LeFauve recently made the switch to screenwriting, coming on-board Pixar’s Inside Out with immediate success. Credited by director Pete Docter with getting the structure and story arcs right for the film, she then followed that up with work on The Good Dinosaur. Staying within the Disney fold, she is currently working on Captain Marvel.
John Scott III – Maggie
Following time in the military, and a career in commercials, John Scott III decided to try his hand at screenwriting for the movies. However, as he explained to Variety, “I wrote my very first screenplay back in 2008 and it was a big piece of crap,” His next attempt however, proved slightly better. A film inspired by his strained relationship with his father, Maggie was a horror film with a difference, and not just because it starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. Playing out zombieism as a terminal illness, Maggie has a ton of depth and proves that first attempts can always be bettered.
Melissa Stack – The Other Woman
Proof that becoming a writer can happen at any stage in your career, Stack was a practicing lawyer with semi-harboured ambitions of becoming a writer. Realizing that she had to do something about it, she enrolled at USC on a writing Masters, but still needed to practice law in order to make money.
However, when her script I Want to F**k Your Sister landed on the Black List, it opened doors for her. The result of this was the recent Cameron Diaz comedy The Other Woman, as well as an untitled Paul Feig revenge comedy.
Mike Le – Dark Summer, Amnesiac
How’s this for a Hollywood story come true? After moving to LA to pursue his dreams of screenwriting, Le ended up working as video store clerk in West Hollywood. One day he impressed a customer with his knowledge of film. That customer turned out to be Owen Wilson, who offered him a job.
Cue several years learning from Wilson and Wes Anderson. After releasing his own comic series Mayhem, Le returned to his screenwriting ambitions, penning two cult horror films, Dark Summerand Amnesiac, with a third, Patient Zero, to be released this year.
Stephany Folsom – Thor: Ragnarok
Another Black List alumni, Folsom’s script 1969: A Space Odyssey, Or How Kubrick Learned To Stop Worrying and Land On The Moon gained her massive industry attention, further focused when the script was chosen for The Black List’s inaugural live read of their unproduced scripts. The focus on her writing will only increase after she was announced as the new writer on Thor: Ragnarok, giving her the responsibility of bringing the Thor series to a satisfying conclusion.
Taylor Sheridan – Sicario
Proof that actors are multi-talented, Taylor Sheridan, perhaps previously best known for playing Deputy Chief David Hale on Sons Of Anarchy, may now find himself much more in demand as a writer following the huge success of Sicario. As he told Variety, “At some point for me, the idea of telling my own story sort of fascinated me more than telling someone else’s.”
Of course, upping the ante even more is the fact that Sicario tells the story of the drug trade along the Mexican-US border, meaning a lot of the script is in Spanish. Meaning a lot of research for Sheridan. But if Sicario’s thrilling narrative can attest to, Sheridan understands the power of cinema, no matter the language.
Andrew Dodge – Bad Words
Imagine if Spellboundhad been made as straight up comedy instead? Well thanks to Jason Bateman’s directorial debut Bad Words, you can see exactly that. And it’s incredibly funny, thanks in no small part to writer Andrew Dodge. Over 15 years at the Columbia Pictures story department, Dodge honed his craft while also getting all the ‘bad comedy’ out of his system. Writing Bad Words in his spare time, he then had no idea what to do with the finished script. Luckily his manager did, and it ended up being shown to Bateman.
Aaron Berg – Section 6
Aaron Berg’s story of writing and selling Section 6 is why the dream of Hollywood is still so much of a lure, and why so many of us try our hand at writing. After crafting Section 6, the tale of how Britain’s MI6 came into existence, this first time screenwriter prompted what can only be called be a scrum between the studios desperate to do the deal for it. Overnight Berg was a writing star, and has since landed representation with mega agency CAA and been tapped to write GI Joe III.
Justin Simien – Dear White People
Beginning as an idea for a television series, Dear White People morphed into a feature project anticipated by many. Boyz ‘n the Hood and Real Women Have Curvesproducers Stephanie Allain and Effie T. Brown got on board, and Simien used his skills as a publicist (his previous job) to spread the word about an IndieGoGo campaign to help raise funds. The result was a huge Sundance success followed by more success upon wide release.
As talented as a director as he is a writer, several projects including a comedy series and a musical have been rumoured for Simien’s next move.
Travis Beacham – Clash Of The Titans, Pacific Rim
It’s still early days yet, but Travis Beacham is certainly having the writing career all movie loving geeks would surely dream of. After graduating from the North Carolina School of Arts, his first spec script was picked up for development by Guillermo del Toro. Following that, he then wrote an early draft of theClash Of The Titans remake, before hitting geek gold with his script for Pacific Rim, which paired him with del Toro once again. An astute world builder to match del Toro, Beacham is a genre specialist creating work of depth.
Katie Dippold – The Heat, Ghostbusters
Beginning her career in improv comedy, it wasn’t before the writing and performances of Katie Dippold began to gain her attention. After working on Late Night With Conan O’Brien and MADtv, she was hired onto Parks And Recreation. In 2013 she gained her feature breakthrough with The Heat, the Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy buddy-cop comedy, which proved surprisingly smart and warm hearted.
Obviously the right people took notice too, and she was hired to reboot the new all-female Ghostbusters, one of 2016s most hotly anticipated films.
Jennifer Lee – Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen
Originally an art director for publisher Random House, Jennifer Lee decided to get serious about her writing bug and enrol at Columbia Film School. Although always interested in animation, it wasn’t until her friend Phil Johnston, at the time writing Wreck-It Ralph, asked her to come to L.A. and take over writing duties on the film. Suitably impressed, Disney asked her to stay on to script their next film, Frozen. Lee ended up co-directing as well, and the rest is, well, the biggest animation hit of all time. Lee is now concentrating on live-action scripts, as well as planning the Frozen stage musical and Frozen 2.
Graham Moore – The Imitation Game
Sherlockian author Graham Moore’s only real Hollywood experience was as a staff writer for the basically never seen 10 Things I Hate About You series. But after meeting producer Nora Grossman at a party and finding out she had optioned an Alan Turning biography, he knew he had to be involved.
As he told Variety, “I instantly freak out and launch into this totally insufferable l5-minute monologue where I’m like, this is how the movie starts, this is how the movie ends, I know everything about him, you have to let me work on this. I’ll write it on spec, I’ll do it for free, I just have to be involved.” That script topped the 2011 Black List, and won him the Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Not bad for your first feature.
Next up is an adaption of Erik Larsson’s incredible non-fiction as novel work The Devil In The White City, a true crime story about America’s first serial killer operating in the shadows of Chicago’s 1893 World Fair.
Greta Gerwig – Frances Ha
Known for being an accomplished and gifted actress, it was her collaboration on writing duties with Noah Baumbach on Frances Ha which served notice of her screenwriting prowess. Lifting the mumble core genre into something breezy, immediately engaging, yet still emotionally affecting, Gerwig was instrumental to just how good that film was, on page and on screen. While her acting career will surely take precedence as demand for her skills grows, let’s hope Gerwig finds time for more script work too.
Jeremy Saulnier – Blue Ruin
Proving as formidable a writer as he is a director and cinematographer, Jeremy Saulnier smashed it out of the park with his 2013 indie revenge thriller Blue Ruin. In fact I loved it so much I named it my top pick in my list of underappreciated films under 91 minutes long.
Financed through his own Amex, his wife and a last ditch Kickstarter campaign, the former corporate filmmaker wowed Cannes. He then turned down all the subsequent offers to go his own way again, writing and directing Green Room, a crime thriller about a punk band, and starring Anton Yeltsin and Sir Patrick Stewart. Acclaimed at Cannes, it’s finally released in cinemas this April, so you can see what all the fuss is about.
Sam Esmail – Mr. Robot
It almost beggars belief that one of the most critically acclaimed writers in the entertainment world right now is basically a complete professional novice. While Sam Esmail is a graduate from the AFI Conservatory (basically the best film school in the world), the hit series Mr. Robot is his second produced work.
Like many others here, it was the Black List that first gained him notice, Sequels, Remakes, And Adaptations landing on the 2008 list. Indeed, Mr Robot was famously first conceived as a film script, before being retooled as a serialised television show. One critically and audience adored season later, giving parent network USA the hit they badly needed, and Esmail is now writer/creator gold, gaining so much clout that he will now be directing every episode of the second season of Mr Robot.
Meredith Averill – The Good Wife, Star-Crossed, Jane The Virgin
After gaining experience as both writer and producer on the hugely acclaimed The Good Wife, Meredith Averill managed something incredibly unique in the world of screenwriting – she managed to successfully pitch an original sci-fi concept and took it to full series. While Star-Crossed, a show about a human girl falling in love with an alien interloper, sadly only lasted one season before the CW cancelled it, it had enough promise in it to make you wish it had been able to fulfil its potential.
While now working on Jane The Virgin, Averill recently had Centralia greenlit, a drama about the remaining residents of a mining ghost town where a underground fire has been raging for 50 years.
Jon Bokenkamp – The Blacklist
A Nebraskan native, Jon Bokenkamp won a screenwriting contest back in the mid-00s. An agent and a first paid gig followed, but nothing truly breakthrough. Until 2013, when his Halle Berry crime thriller The Call did solid numbers at the box-office, and he had a TV pilot picked up. That pilot was The Blacklist, the James Spader starring time drama about Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a brilliant military man turned master criminal who agrees to share his list of the world’s most dangerous criminals with the FBI in return for immunity and working exclusively with a rookie FBI profiler.
Now in its third season, its been a huge success for everyone involved, reinvigorating Spader’s career and putting Bokencamp firmly at the top of a lofty pedestal of TV writers.
Gennifer Hutchinson – Breaking Bad, The Strain
Proving that hard graft and scrapping will get you where you need to be, Gennifer Hutchinson started out by picking up writing work wherever she could, including for trading cards. Following assistant work on shows such as The X-Files and Mad Men (not bad places to learn your craft) she joined the crew of Breaking Bad, and penned one of my favorite episodes of the entire series, Salud, in which Gus takes down the formidable cartel on their own territory.
Recently she has adapted the Guillermo del Toro/Chuck Hogan horror-fantasy series The Strain for the small screen, turning it into something very much worth making time for.
Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer – Broad City
Starting life as a YouTube web series, Broad City quickly became a word of mouth must watch hit online. So much so that it wasn’t just inevitable that it made the transition to TV, it was necessary so as wide as possible an audience could enjoy it. While on the surface a comedy drama about young women navigating their life in New York City doesn’t seem the most original, Broad City is in fact one of the freshest shows around.
Jacobson and Glazer are friends in real life, and in writing and playing recognisable versions of themselves onscreen they bring a warmth to the comedy lacking in other similar series (I’m looking at you Girls). It also helps that Broad City is laugh out loud funny an almost obscene amount of times.
Lisa Joy – Pushing Daisies, Westworld
Starting in the corporate world at Universal, Lisa Joy seemingly left the entertainment world behind when she left to attend Harvard Law School. However, always interested in writing, she wrote several scripts in her spare time. About to start a job with a law firm, a spec script she had written for Veronica Mars got her a job writing for the brilliant Pushing Daisies, working with Hannibalgenius Bryan Fuller.
After moving over to Burn Notice, she found time to write a graphic novel (and adapt it too) before finally teaming up with husband Jonathan Nolan (brother of Christopher, and writer of Interstellar and The Dark Knight) to reboot sci-fi classic Westworld for HBO. Watch this space for even greater things.
Alan Yang – Master Of None
While leading star Aziz Ansari may have gained the majority of the plaudits for Netflix’s superb Master Of None, co-writer and co-creator Alan Yang was just as integral to the warmth, freshness, and style of the adored series. A Parks And Recreation veteran from the very beginning, it was that show that brought Yang into television again in a big way. He had started on South Park in his early days, but had concentrated on selling film comedy scripts.
However, after becoming firm friends with Ansari on Parks And Rec, the two decided to hatch plans for their own show, and Master Of None was born. Now in a position of critical adulation, expect many of Yang’s projects to be put into production.
Rachel Bloom – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Proving that YouTube stars can make the leap into mainstream entertainment, Rachel Bloom (of F*ck Me Ray Bradbury fame) conjured up a hugely enjoyable, very funny, and unexpected debut series in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Ignore the ‘ironic’ title, the show is a half hour comedy with musical interludes not 100 miles away from Flight Of The Conchords. Bloom writes scripts and songs, proving that she’s a comedic talent to reckon with.
Jack Amiel and Michael Begler – The Knick
Years of writing incredible off-the-wall spec scripts (which only seemed to get them boring middle of the road writing work) finally paid off this duo when their script for The Knick, a series set in a hospital during the early 20th century, where a cocaine addicted but brilliant surgeon tries to improve the genuinely horrific standard of surgery at the time.
Directed and exec-produced by Steven Soderbergh, The Knick is a great example of writers paying their dues and finally having their original ideas trusted, with brilliant if gruesome results.
Cheo Hodari Coker – Luke Cage
Former journalist Coker will be the man to watch for many this year as he debuts as a show runner with Luke Cage, the next Marvel Netflix series after Daredevil and Jessica Jones. While living up to that pedigree might be daunting to some, Coker’s previous experience will stand him in excellent stead. He has been a co-executive producer on the brilliant Ray Donovan, as well as a producer on hard-edged cop tale Southland.
Previous writing experience includes the rap biopic Notorious, so its safe to say the next Netflix superhero series is in safe hands.
Gillian Flynn – Utopia, Gone Girl
Already a famous author, and a BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated screenwriter for her adaption of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn may seem an odd choice for a TV writer to watch out for. But with her forthcoming work on adapting Channel 4’s Utopia (working with David Fincher again) we could be about to see the beginning of a long and successful TV career.
An accomplished novelist, it seems certain that Flynn’s strengths as a writer will be infinitely more suited to the long form narrative offered by television. With the audience’s desire for this sort of storytelling seemingly inexhaustible at the moment, Flynn is perfectly placed to make her mark on yet another medium.
Patrick Ness – A Monster Calls
While he probably should sit in with the US film writers (being as he was born and raised in the USA), Ness moved to London in 1999, holds dual-citizenship, and has found career success as a writer here. So I’m claiming him as a Brit. While he gained acclaim for his best-selling and award winning young adult novels, including the Chaos Walking trilogy, it was his 2011 book A Monster Calls which established him as one of the brightest authors working today.
A classic almost since release, this year’s film adaption from The Orphange’s Juan Antonio Bayona, feels like it should have been made already, even though this is probably the quickest the film could have been released. With Ness on scripting duties, prepare for the next stage of his career. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer.
Krysty Wilson-Cairns – Aether
A National Film School graduate, Wilson-Cairns so far only has a handful of shorts on her IMDB page. But don’t let that fool you, she’s about to blow up in a big way. Her original sci-fi crime thriller script Aether, about a device that allows you to listen in on sounds from the past, made the top ten of both the Black List and the Brit List (the UK version of the Black List, which has previously featured The King’s Speech).
Only 26 when she wrote it, and still working at a Soho pub, FilmNation bought the script and are currently developing it. A high concept procedural, Aether is already on my must-watch list. Wilson-Cairns was also reportedly tapped to write The Good Nurse for Darren Aronofsky, proving that the industry is definitely taking note of her.
Matt Charman – Bridge Of Spies
Playwright Matt Charman had an idea for a cold war thriller after finding a footnote in a history book about lawyer James Donovan. Thinking it might be a great idea for a film, he pitched it to a few places, including Dreamworks. Cue a phone-message a few weeks later with the immortal line, ‘Steven Spielberg would like to talk to you’. Now all he had to do was write his first draft.
That initial pitch became Bridge Of Spies, which as you watch it gives you the feeling that this is great filmmaking done exceptionally well by people who have huge amounts of experience at their craft. Which is true, apart from the man who wrote the script. But Charman has proven himself as at home in the world of Hollywood as in the world of London theatre, and with a Matt Reeves helmed heist movie coming down the pipeline, his will be a career to watch.
Phyllis Nagy – Carol
Born in New York, Nagy became a hugely successful playwright after moving to London in the ’90s (so another American I’m claiming). Winning countless awards, and becoming the Royal Court’s president writer, it was only in the last few years that she turned her attention to screenwriting. The result was Carol, an adaptation of her friend Patricia Highsmith’s novel and director Todd Haynes’ latest masterpiece.
A frontrunner for the Oscars, don’t be surprised to see Nagy accepting an award for her work on the night. Next up is another adaptation, this time for debut author Melanie Raabe’s crime thriller The Trap.
Dawn King – Ciphers
A hugely successful and award-winning playwright, Dawn King is now in the process of bringing her celebrated play Ciphers to the screen. Written before the Edward Snowden leaks, Ciphersis about a young spy embroiled in the world of surveillance. Picked up by young writers programmes at the Royal Court and Soho Theatre in 2002, King has remarked that she always wanted to write for film and television, and now via theatre has that chance. However, as she remarked to Screendaily after being chosen as one of their UK Stars of Tomorrow, “I’ve done my first treatment on Ciphers, and starting to work on it is making me realise how much of a bigger job it is than a play.”
Tom Williams – Chalet Girl, Kilo Two Bravo (Kajaki)
Responsible for what I reckon is probably the best British rom-com of the last ten years, Tom Williams followed up Chalet Girl with a hard hitting emotionally charged British war movie, which was also ace.
But not only does he seemingly master a broad swathe of genres, Tom Williams also lifts the lid of just how much effort goes into writing on his excellent and illuminating blog (which you can read here). So for any aspiring writers reading this, I suggest you go there ASAP. I look forward very much to seeing the next hard turn Tom Williams takes in his career.
Joy Wilkinson – Killer Resume, Enter The Dragons
Proof that the BBC writers academy is doing its job at identifying new talent, Joy Wilkinson is another with several scripts in development which could send her career stratospheric. Her BBC stint landed her with a contract writing for Doctors, but deciding to pursue film led her to write Killer Resume, a conspiracy thriller about a potential mass murder being covered up, and whether the reasons for exposing it are the right ones.
Landing on the Brit List, Wilkinson quit Doctors and quickly wrote another script, Enter The Dragons, a cross-cultural comedy set in the north in 1979.
Amy Jump – Kill List, A Field In England, High-Rise
Is Amy Jump actually the secret weapon behind Ben Wheatley’s success?
As both editor and writer of Wheatley’s work since Kill List (and also his wife), Jump’s creative input into the work is simply too important to be overlooked. It’s certainly no coincidence that Kill List marked the start of Wheatley’s recognisable themes and style. So instead of referring to Wheatley in singular, its probably time we recognise this married duo as a complimentary team.
With the critically acclaimed High Rise cementing their reputations, and Free Fire arriving next year, Wheatley and Jump have become one of the few must watch filmmakers in the UK movie industry.
Lucinda Coxon – The Danish Girl
A hugely celebrated playwright (seemingly the best way to become a screenwriter in the UK), Coxon’s sole film credit before 2015 was the not exactly brilliant Wild Target, the Bill Nighy/Rupert Grint hitman comedy (yes, it’s exactly the film you’re imagining). But then her 11-years-in-the-making script of The Danish Girl was finally produced and released, and its so brilliant it instantly catapults Coxon to the upper echelons of UK screenwriting talent.
While it could have so easily been a film considered far too ‘stagey’ The Danish Girl thrives on-screen, in large part to Coxon’s script. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another decade for the next one.
Kelly Marcel – Saving Mr Banks, Fifty Shades Of Grey
Former The Bill, Casualty, and Holby City actress Kelly Marcel’s break into Hollywood is almost legendary – an uncredited script doctor on Bronson (she met and befriended Tom Hardy when he was running an acting workshop in a pub) she wrote a 15 page treatment and 30 page ‘bible’ for a sci-fi show. After paying her own way to Los Angeles, she then learned how to pitch. None other than Steven Spielberg became interested, and Terra Nova was the end result. While being credited as creator, Marcel decided not to show-run and instead concentrated on film scripts, resulting in the Tom Hanks starring Saving Mr. Banks, about Mary Poppins author P L. Travers and her relationship with Walt Disney.
This was followed by her adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey, although this became an unhappy experience for Marcel, with her commenting, ‘When I delivered that script was when I realized that all of them saying, Yeah, absolutely this is what we want!, and, You can write anything you like and get crazy and artistic with it — that was utter, utter bullshit.’
A live action version of Cruella for Disney is up next, returning her back to the House of Mouse.
Joe Cornish – Attack The Block, The Adventures Of Tintin, Ant-Man
Attack The Block served notice to the world that indie comedy kid Joe Cornish had entered a new phase in his career, super talented writer/director. As his frequent collaborator Adam Buxton has remarked since, you could always tell from Joe Cornish’s output on their show that he had the instincts for Hollywood. But since Attack The Block, Cornish has yet to direct again, although has been lined up with hot property Section 6.
He has however, been co-credited with several other writers on both The Adventures Of Tintin and Ant-Man, but a produced solo script still beckons. So is this a case of a talent waiting for the right combination of events to explode, or someone who can’t be trusted without a team of writers? I’m willing to bet hard cash on the former.
Laura Wade – The Riot Club
A young theatre sensation who wrote her first produced play aged 19, Wade has had a stellar career in the decades since. But it was her 2010 play Posh which brought her to the public’s attention in a big way, with the play chiming with the general public feeling that the country had had been taken over by a literal rich boys’ club.
A film script of the play quickly followed, and featured in the Brit List. This then became The Riot Club, directed by Lone Scherfig, and was quite frankly an incredible movie. Here’s hoping Wade makes a swift return to the screen.
Freddy Syborn – Bad Education, Cockroaches
To many, Freddy Syborn has been unfairly labelled as just ‘Jack Whitehall’s mate’. While it’s true the two were best friends at school, and Syborn got his break into the industry via Whitehall’s success (initially writing the scripts for Big Brother’s Little Brother), Syborn has proved again and again he has the comedy chops to earn his success.
Bad Education was far more subversive than many give it credit for (although the less said about the film the better), and Syborn flew the coop when he created post-apocalyptic comedy Cockroaches, one of the most original shows to be on British TV in absolutely ages. While it didn’t quite live up to the premise, the 28 year old Syborn can only get better.
Dominic Mitchell – In The Flesh
Former playwright Mitchell managed to breathe new life into the undead with his brilliant, complex, and emotionally engaging zombie drama In The Flesh. Another success for the BBC Writer’s Academy, Mitchell had the idea for the show but no TV contacts.
However, after submitting through the writers academy, he was accepted and produced a script so good that the BBC commissioned a three part series. While In The Fleshwas controversially cancelled in the sweeping budget cuts happening at the BBC, Mitchell has remained a vocal campaigner for its continuation. Whether he returns to his world or creates a new one, it’ll be a must watch.
Jamie Mathieson – Being Human, Doctor Who
Gaining recognition with several excellent scripts for Being Human, Jamie Mathieson really came to prominence with a knock-out double in series 8 of Doctor Who, with his Mummy On The Orient Express and Flatline providing two highlights of an otherwise divisive run. Acclaimed across the board, it showcased Mathieson as not only a writer who understood Who completely, but also one who was seemingly comfortable in any genre.
While he also has the underrated feature film Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel under his belt, it seems that TV is where his talents really shine. With him gaining vital experience as lead writer on French sci-fi series Metal Hurlant: Origins at the moment, his is a name which surely must be in the running for the next Doctor Who show runner.
Joe Barton – Beaver Falls, Our World War, Humans
Young and incredibly talented, there seems to be no genre or project that Barton cannot accomplish with aplomb. Starting off in E4 comedy series Beaver Falls (much better than initial expectations), Barton really stretched his writing chops with the haunting, beautiful, and powerful Our World War, the breakout hit of the BBCs World War One season.
Based on the series Our War, Our World War took eyewitness statements to craft the drama, mixing it up with modern filmmaking techniques in order to bring home the reality of a seemingly historical war to today’s audience. After that, Barton took another left turn as he joined the writing team on Channel 4’s smash sci-fi hit Humans. A rumored film called Invasion is seemingly next up for Barton.
Rest of the world
Suha Arraf – The Syrian Bride, Villa Touma
A Palestinian from a small town in Israel, Arraf proves that you don’t need a phonebook full of contacts to make it as long as you have the talent and will to succeed. Fresh out of film school, she was asked to write the script for director Eran Riklis’ The Syrian Bride. Which had to be in Hebrew. Despite her inexperience and the language barrier, the film proved to be a huge critical success, paving the way for her follow-up The Lemon Tree, and her directorial debut Villa Touma.
Emma Donoghue – Room
Irish-born author Emma Donoghue made it look easy in her adaptation of her own novel Room, regarded by many as one of the films of 2015. But while it was her first screenplay, Donoghue has a lifetime of experience writing novels. Now living in Canada (and also a citizen there), and with a schedule of future books including her first children’s novel, the exquisite skill demonstrated in translating her words to the screen mark her as a natural sure to be much in demand from the studios.
Yared Zeleke – Lamb
Writer/director Zeleke’s debut film Lambbrought the house down at Cannes, and with good reason. The first ever Ethiopian film shown at the festival, Lamb distilled Zeleke’s incredible upbringing, which included fleeing the country after his father was imprisoned by the Marxist regime, into a multifaceted examination of Ethiopia today.
Alice Winocour – Augustine, Disorder, Mustang
A scriptwriter who almost disdains dialogue, Winocour instead seeks to showcase her voice through movement and body language – leading to the almost silent movie nature of her two self-directed works, Augustine and Disorder. That’s not to say she’s exclusively focused on these things though, as her range of work clearly demonstrates, including her exceptional work on Mustang, France’s entry to the 2016 Oscars.