2015’s Hit-Makers: A Look Back at the Hit List Alums (2016)


We’re thrilled to announce that soon we will be releasing the 2016 Hit List! This coveted list is comprised of top spec of the year, as voted on by industry professionals. For many of these , 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 2014 Hit List, which included The Shallows’ Anthony Jaswinski and Richard Tanne who recently wrote Southside with YouToday, we present the latest updates from some of the who made the 2015 Hit List, and in early December, we’ll be releasing the 2016 Hit List!


and turned heads with their spec CHAPPAQUIDDICK, which recently wrapped . It stars Ed Helms, Jason Clarke, Bruce Dern, and Kate Mara. Outside of this, Logan is Head of Production at Austin-based company Arts+Labor and Allen works as an for the television series The Simpsons.

Following their 2014 placement for the spec Uncle Shelby, and  came out swinging in 2015, seeing their follow up spec, , sell in a multi- bidding war to Fox Searchlight with Reese Witherspoon attached to produce and star. They were also featured on the 2015 Young & Hungry List. Individually, they’ve worked in television for shows such as About a Boy and Teen Wolf.

After his film Cheap Thrills premiered at SXSW in 2013 where it won the Audience Award and Best First Feature, and was then released in 2014 by Drafthouse to rave reviews,  horror spec landed on the Hit List. It’s currently in with Bellevue Productions attached. Chirchirillo is about to make his directorial debut with Good Match, which he also wrote and recently wrapped on.

’s spec is described as Argo in tone and currently in with Mythology Entertainment. His pitch Bloody Mary was sold to Touchstone and then he wrote the screenplay to Lionsgate’s 2013 film The Haunting in Connecticut 2 starring Abigail Spencer, Katee Sackhoff, and Cicely Tyson. Most recently he has been a writer for MTV’s hit Scream and his spec Prey recently wrapped with Blumhouse. He is also penning the for director Joe Johnston’s Starfall.

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and Brendan O’Brien quickly became sought-after comedy after writing 2014’s hit, Neighbors, followed by this year’s sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. just wrapped with Andrew directing for New Line and Good Universe, with Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, and Alison Tolman starring. They also wrote this year’s hit comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and coming up they have The Best Thing About Pam Rooney, based on a pitch, starring Jonah Hill.

Actor turned writer landed on last year’s list with his spec , currently in at 20th Century Fox. Previously, wrote the screenplay for the film Capote, for which he received an Academy Award nomination, and Independent Spirit, Boston Society of Critics, and Critics Association awards. He received a second Academy Award nomination for co-writing the to Foxcatcher in 2014. Futterman is also known for several acting roles, including Val Goldman in the film The Birdcage. Coming up, he’s writing the pilot for Hulu’s The Looming Tower.

made a big splash on last year’s list with his sci-fi spec CRATER, about a boy who grows up on a lunar mining colony and goes to investigate a legendary crater with his four best friends. Previously, he won the Nicholl Fellowship with his spec Dream Before Waking, and then followed that up by selling his pitch, Romeo and Juliet: The War, to Lionsgate for 1821 to produce with Stan Lee.

Bradley Cooper is set to star in ’s THE VIRGINIAN, based on the life of George Washington and currently in at New Line Cinema. He also has another spec set up Participant Media and Tribeca Films, PRICE OF LIBERTY, with Robert de Niro producing. Most recently he’s been a writer and on ABC’s Designated Survivor.

from proved wondrous on last year’s list — so wondrous that it was picked up by  Anonymous Content and Warner Bros. and is set to come out this Christmas featuring an all-star cast of Will Smith, , Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, and Helen Mirren. Previously he wrote feature hits such as The Switch, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, and Rock of Ages. He has another film currently awaiting release as well: the romantic sci-fi drama The Space Between Us, plus several other currently in , including his spec Protection.

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’s , about Winston Churchill in World War II, is being directed by critically acclaimed visionary Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman, John Hurt, and Lily James. Previously, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his for The Theory of Everything and is currently writing a Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, for Fox and starring Rami Malek.

Logan and are the , directors, and of Touching Home and Sweetwater, the latter of which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Festival and starred Ed Harris, January Jones, and Jason Isaacs. Their memoir Either You’re In or You’re In the Way was a San Francisco Chronicle #1 Bestseller. Yann Demange is attached to direct for Studio 8, LBI, and Protozoa Pictures with John Lesher, Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin, Rick Yorn, and Julie Yorn producing. Matthew McConaughey was recently cast in the film.

is the filmmaker behind such acclaimed features as The Spectacular Now and The End of the Tour. He most recently adapted Dave Eggers’ novel , which he just finished filming with stars Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. Ponsoldt also serves as a director and executive on the critically acclaimed Netflix series Master of None. Coming up, he’s adapting the musical Pippin for Weinstein and directing and writing the feature Wild City for Disney. He’s also staying involved with television, directing three upcoming pilots: Black Gold for Starz, Red Moon for Fox, and The Legend of Master Legend for Amazon.

got his start writing on NBC’s Sean Saves the World. His spec REAGAN marks his first feature. However, he’s still staying involved with the world of television and has an untitled vigilante series set up at Fox. Rosolio is also an alumnus of the Second City Conservatory in Chicago as well as a writer/performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade.

An Emmy-nominated reality , made the leap to screenwriting after her pilot Grand Avenue garnered industry attention. Her spec sold in a preemptive deal to MGM last summer for Karen Rosenfelt and Chris Sparling, earning her a spot on the 2015 Blood List and the 2015 Young & Hungry List. She is also writing an untitled thriller for Columbia.

Mattson Tomlin burst onto the scene when his I Am Not Okay was named a 2014 Nicholl Fellowship Semi-Finalist. His spec BOY is currently set up at Automatik Entertainment and Motion Picture Capital with Noomi Rapace attached to star and Jonas Alexander Arnby directing Previously, he landed his first writing assignment, Survivor, for Automatik and 42, based on an idea by Arash Amel with Dean Israelite directing and sold an untitled sci-fi pitch to Pascal Pictures.

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from , a touching story about a terminally-ill teenager who discovers an animated alternate dimension, wowed judges to land on the 2015 Hit List. It was bought by Warner Bros., with Dan Lin producing. Van Waes is the writer and artist behind the semi-autobiographical webcomic Vexed Wisecracker, previously featured on Advocate.com and now found at VexedWisecracker.com and various social media. His feature Grave Hearts was a 2014 Academy Nicholl Fellowship Finalist and his feature The Shivers was a 2014 Tracking Board Launch Pad Feature Finalist and featured on the 2014 Hit List. Finally, Van Waes is also adapting Peeves for 20th Century Fox .

These are only some of the incredible that we’ve had the honor of featuring on the 2015 Hit List. Check back soon for the release of the 2016 Hit List!

Missed the previous recaps? Check the links below to read up on some of the highlights from previous years!



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