2014’s Hit-Makers: A Look Back At The Hit List Alums

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We’re thrilled to announce that TODAY we will be releasing the 2015 Hit List! This coveted list is comprised of top spec scripts of the year, as voted on by industry professionals. For many of these writers, earning a spot on a The Hit List is the culmination of years worth of hard work, dedication and–of course–writing, rewriting, and more writing. But before we announce this year’s Hit Listers, we want to take a moment to revisit some of our favorite success stories from the Hit Lists of years past.

Yesterday, we revisited the 2013 Hit List, which included Suicide Squad director David Ayer and current Launch Pad mentor Ian Schorr. Today, we present the latest updates from some of the writers who made the 2014 Hit List, and in a few short hours, we’ll be releasing the 2015 Hit List!

HERE ARE A FEW STAND-OUT HONOREES FROM THE 2014 HIT LIST

After landing on the 2014 Hit List with ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, Adam Aresty and Annie Hendy continued to turn heads in their solo projects. Arest sold Stung to XYZ Films and Rat Pack Films where it was directed by Benni Diez and stars Matt O’Leary and Jessica Cook. Meanwhile, Hendy wrote set up 50 Days In 50 States to Heroes and Villains Entertainment, attached Garry Marshall as a producer on Catholic Girl’s Guide To Losing Your Virginit, and sold Dork Diaries to Lionsgate and Sunswept Entertainment with Mark Waters attached to produce.

Anthony Jaswinski landed on the list with two amazing spec scripts: MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES and IN THE DEEP, with the former selling to The Pictures Company and Voltage Pictures. Jaswinski wrote and directed Killing Time for Studio Next, Emerging Pictures, Anarchist Movies, and Rocketship Nations Films. The film starred Jack Thyme and Walker Richards. His spec Kristy sold to The Weinstein Company, David Kirschner Productions, and Electric City Entertainment and was directed by Olly Blackburn. He continued the partnership with Kirschner, setting up Garden District at the company and doing a rewrite on Undone for them and Disney. Jaswinski is currently in development with Prospect Park on the TV pilot A Midsummer’s Nightmare for Lifetime.

Brad Ingelsby has landed on multiple Hit Lists, with his 2014 entry A BETTER PLACE going on to sell to Scott Free. His previous Hit List spec All-Nighter, became Run All Night, Warner Bros.’ action-thriller starring Liam Neeson which was produced by Roy Lee and Brooklyn Weaver. Ingelsby’s Out of the Furnace was produced by Relativity Media, Appian Way, and Scott Free, and starred Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, and Forest Whitaker. Ingelsby sold his pitch for The Signal to Paramount and Indian Paintbrush, and Merry Men to DreamWorks. His specs The Burning Woman, A Better Place, and Claire have all sold to Scott Free, withBurning Woman currently in production with Fox and Claire being financed by Erika Olde. Ingelsby is also working on a draft of Narco Sub for Fox and Scott Free.

After making a name for himself with the comedy Your Bridemaid’s A Bitch, Brian Duffield set up his 2014 Hit List spec THE BABYSITTER at Wonderland Sound & Vision, which McG is currently filming for New Line. Duffield has not defined his with the genre, writing the western Jane Got A Gun which also landed on several lists and landing Natalie Portman as its star. He also wrote the Young Adult actioner Insurgent for Lionsgate which brought in nearly $300 million at the world wide box office.  His most recent spec, Underwater, an aquatic thriller, was picked up by Chernin Entertainment and set up at 20th Century Fox. No stranger to the Hit List, Duffield has appeared on the list 4 times in 5 years.

Daniel Kunka made the list with his sci-fi thriller YELLOWSTONE FALLS, which is set up at Cover Media and Misher Films with Gerard Johnstone slated to direct. He is perhaps best known for the action thriller 12 Rounds, produced by Fox Digital Studio and starring WWE star John Cena. He was previously Hit Listed in 2013 for his action spec The Bermuda Triangle, which is in development at Warner Bros. Kunka has also been tapped to pen Warner Bros.’ adaptation of the classic video game Space Invaders.

After MOONFALL rocketed onto the 2014 Hit List, David Weil quickly set the spec up at End Cue and Ram Bergman Productions. He followed up with working on an Untitled Arabian Nights Project for Warner Bros. and is taking out a new spec, Half Heard In Stillness, that garnered industry attention as it landed on a few lists.

Dwain Worrell has moved into digital territory with his spec THE WALL after selling the project to Amazon Studios. Next up, he worked on the adaptation Mindcorp for Warner Bros. Pictures and Hollywood Gang Productions. Jose Padilha is attached to direct. Worrell also sold his pitch, Dante’s Inferno, to Warner Bros. Pictures with Hollywood Gang Productions and Weed Road Pictures.

Elijah Bynum hit the market with two specs in 2013, and sold both of them: Hot Summer Nights to Flashlight Films, and Mississippi Mud to Darko Entertainment. Both scripts landed on the Hit List that year, the former of which took top honors. In 2014, he was recognized for his script IN THE MORNING BLOOD which he is also set to direct.

Fred Seton and Peter Hoare grabbed readers’ attention with KID LEVIATHAN, beginning their run as some of the best feature comedy writers in the business. They sold Pierre Pierre to Escape Artists and Category 5 Entertainment, attaching Larry Charles to direct while Russell Brand is in discussions to star. Universal picked up their Untitled Cannistraci Comedy Pitch and Erase Rewind. Everyman Pictures is attached to produce Cannistraci and Jay Roach has been discussed as a possible director. Bluegrass Films and Mary Parent are also attached to produced Erase Rewind. Lastly, Red Hour Films picked up The Return Of King Doug with Closed On Mondays Entertainment with Ben Stiller set to star.

Scott Frazier‘s Autobahn landed on 2013 The Hit List shortly before his spec BERLINER went on to sell for a mid-six figures and land on the 2014 Hit List. He’s currently rewriting Asteroids for Universal and Di Bonaventura Pictures, and adapting Metro 2033 for MGM. Collide, for which he wrote the script, is awaiting release starring Nicholas Holt and Felicity Jones for 42 and Silver Pictures.

Prior to penning the Hit List script MENA, Gary Spinelli wrote Stash House which was made into the 2012 film starring Dolph Lundgren and Briana Evigan from After Dark Films. Mena was recently wrapped at Universal from Quadrant Pictures, , and Rhea Films. It starred Tom Cruise and Domhnall Gleeson, and was directed by Doug Liman.

Hernany Perla made a name for himself in the development world prior to landing on the Young & Hungry List, after which he soon found his scripts Revelation and his 2014 Hit List script BLINK moving into development as well. Perla continues to build his resume as a producer, on films like The Last Stand with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nightingale with David Oyelowo. Perla’s script Torture Man, which he adapted from the book by Warren Adler, is currently in development with Grey Eagle Films.

Ian Shorr received more Hit List love for his script RE-UP. His previous Hit List scripts Capsule and Spring Falls have also done well for the writer: Capsule has since sold to Fox with Hutch Parker Entertainment producing and Matthew Hoene set to direct, while Splinter landed at Bellevue Productions with John Zaozirny producing. Prior to 2013, Shorr’s script Splinter was made by Indion Film and Kish Productions and was released in 2008. 2015 saw his TV movie Always Watching: A Marble Hornet’s Story released from Gravitas Ventures and director James Moran.

Kristina Lauren Anderson won many fans with her spec CATHERINE THE GREAT, and enough votes to find the script on the 2014 Hit List. Catherine is currently set up at Gil Netter Productions. Next up, Anderson went to work on the adaptation of Life And Death In Eden for StudioCanal and Grand Electric Entertainment and Invisibility for Warner Bros. Pictures. She then wrote Holy Takedown! for Wayne/Lauren Film Company which has attached Trent Cooper to direct and Michael Rosenbaum to star.

Michael Starrbury‘s sci-fi spec ARES was quickly set up at Paramount with Mark Gordon producing. Starrbury first turned heads when he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his first screenplay, The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Pete, which was directed by George Tillman, Jr. and starring Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks and Anthony Mackie. He was tapped to write of draft of Tupac, an upcoming biopic about the late rapper with Morgan Creek and Open Road producing. New Line picked him to adapt The Great Unknown while Warner Bros. and Silver Pictures hired him to rewrite the action comedy Fully Automatic. Starrbury is also working on the current draft of Ed Terrestrial, a family adventure on the Disney slate. 

Randall Green splashed onto the Hit List with his teen comedy THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE, about a teen who launches a “swimsuit issue” at his school as a way of making quick cash. The spec is set up at Apostle, who is also developing Green’s family comedy Cartoon Girl. Green was also tapped to write a draft of Warner Bros. Scooby-Doo remake, to be directed by Tony Cervone.

Writing duo Richard Tanne & Travis Baker rocketed onto the Hit List with their spec RUN & GUN. After collaborating on Lionsgate’s Halloween horror Mischief Night, starring Brooke Anne Smith and Malcolm McDowell, the two have mix and matched combined and solo projects. They teamed to write The Roman, a Julius Caesar origin story, for Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson at Closest to the Hole Productions, who also picked up their mystery spec Midnight.  Tanne & Baker were also tapped for a rewrite assignment on Dominion, a supernatural thriller in development at Paramount starring Zoe Saldana. Tanne recently wrapped on Southside With You, which he wrote and directed, a romantic drama about Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date.

Sascha Penn is perhaps best known for her work as a producer, most notably on Starz’s Power and Disney Channel’s Imagination Movers. Yet she has transitioned into writing in big way, having no less than seven projects currently in development. Her 2014 Hit List script APRIL 29, 1992 is in development at Lionsgate with Will Packer producing and Donovan Marsh to direct. Real life father and son Ice Cube and O’Shea Jackson, Jr. are attached to play a father and son who struggle to survive during the 1992 L.A. riots. Will Smith is on board to lead Penn’s actioner Bounty, which is set up at Paramount. She is also working on a draft of The Idolmaker, MGM’s period piece about fifties rock producer Bob Marcucci, with Justin Timberlake set to star.

Tyler Burton Smith landed on the 2014 list with his spec SPOOKED, which is in development at Lin Pictures. Earlier this year, Smith was tabbed to pen the adaptation of the cult video game Five Nights At Freddy’s. The story follows four animatronics that haunt the night security guard at a pizza joint. The project is in development at Warner Bros. with Vertigo and KatzSmitch producing. Gil Kenan (Poltergeist remake) is attached to direct.

These are only some of the incredible writers that we’ve had the honor of featuring on the 2014 Hit List. In case you missed our previous revisits, you can check them out below.

AND STAY TUNED FOR THE RELEASE OF THE 2015 HIT LIST TODAY AT 2 PM!!!

2010 Hit-Makers: A Look Back At The Hit List Alums
2011 Hit-Makers: A Look Back At The Hit List Alums
2012 Hit-Makers: A Look Back At The Hit List Alums
2013 Hit-Makers: A Look Back At The Hit List Alums

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