This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for! The Tracking Board is proud to announce our 2016 mentors for both our Launch Pad Manuscript Competition and our Launch Pad Feature Competition.
For our inaugural Manuscript Competition, we wanted to find writers who are not only best-selling authors, but those who have experienced exactly what we’re aiming to do with this competition—which is to give writers the crossover potential to capture the publishing and entertainment worlds alike. We knew we needed three very special mentors to continue the success of our previous year’s program. Writers who were not only bestselling authors, but those who have also seen their work picked up by producers, productions companies, studios, and networks.
With our mentors, we feel we’ve captured exactly that. From a writer whose work can be seen via Pixar, who sold his book pitch in a bidding war to Fox and HarperCollins, to a writer who preemptively sold her 40 page book proposal to Sony before the publishing bidding war even began, to a writer who brought his love of science to kids across the world on his way to selling his Inkshares book to Legendary, these are the mentors who’ve lived it, seen it, done it, and now are here to help you prepare for what’s next.
For this year’s Feature Competition we wanted to cultivate a group of mentors who not only bring years of experience but are in demand by studios. Collectively our mentors have written for nearly every major studio including Warner Bros., Disney, Sony, Fox, Lionsgate, and more.
From the blockbuster writing team who’ve seen critical and commercial success at the box office time and time again with the biggest names in Hollywood, to the up-and-comer who proved himself straight out of the gate and is now working with stars like Ryan Gosling, Jeremy Renner, and Jared Leto, as well as the most sought after directors in the industry, to the writer who broke onto the scene with a massive spec sale to Warner Bros. and immediately followed it up by being brought on to craft two more huge movies for the studio, our feature mentors have all the know-how and experience to get you ready for your new career.
Joining Ridley Scott, Inkshares and Energy Entertainment for our 2016 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition Are…
Alexandra Monir burst onto the scene with the release of her chart-topping YA debut novel, Timeless, which landed on the Barnes & Nobles Bestsellers chart, and was named one of Amazon’s “Best Books of the Year” before it was even released. In 2013, Alexandra followed her success with a sequel, Timekeeper. Both have been featured several times in a variety of media, from USA Today to teen magazines and across numerous websites. Suspicion in 2014 marked her first novel outside of the Timeless series, as well as her first foray into the mystery genre, and during the spring of 2016, Sony acquired Alexandra’s The Final Six in a pre-emptive deal. Based on a partial manuscript, the studio has already attached Josh Bratman (Captain Phillips, Dawn of the Dead) at Immersive Pictures as a producer.
Alexandra currently resides in Los Angeles, California. She has been invited to speak at major events like Comic-Con, Bouchercon, the Iranian-American Women’s Leadership Conference, and New York Public Library’s annual Teen Author Festival, as well as middle schools and high schools across the country.
As both an author and a renowned STEM educator, Mike Mongo works as a public speaker, blogger, and “astronaut teacher”, encouraging primary, middle, and high school students to pursue careers in space and science-related fields. Mongo embodies everything the 2016 Launchpad Manuscript Competition aims to achieve. His debut book, The Astronaut Instruction Manual, was discovered and published via Inkshares, and in July of 2016, Legendary Television acquired the rights to adapt it into a television series with Matt Tolmach Productions (The Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man:Homecoming, Jumanji remake, Rock That Body), and Brooklyn Weaver (Run All Night, Out of the Furnance) on board to produce. Mongo’s book pioneered the Inkshares book to screen model and established a track record for success. In addition to grabbing the attention of Hollywood, Mongo’s book has received rave reviews and has been endorsed by teachers, scientists, and Congressmen.
Mike is a strong proponent of deep space science and exploration, chief brand and culture officer for Icarus Interstellar, and strategic director of the deep space science summit Starship Congress. He is also cofounder of the Space is for Everybody and Build A Starship initiatives, and is based out of Key West, FL, where he lives with his wife.
Born on Chicago’s North Side, Armand S. Baltazar was keen on drawing and painting at an early age, leading him to study at the Art Institute and receive BFAs from both Northern Illinois University as well as California’s Art Center College of Design. An animator and author, Armand then began his illustrious film career with DreamWorks SKG Animation before working with Walt Disney Feature Animation and ImageMovers Digital. Currently he serves as Senior Designer for Pixar Animation Studios. Having worked with all of the top brands in animation, his credits include such worldwide critical and commercial hits as: Inside Out, Cars 2, The Princess and the Frog, Brave, The Prince of Egypt, Shark Tale, and many more.
Now branching out into writing, Armand’s book series Timeless is set to be published by HarperCollins and was acquired by Fox with Ridley Scott of Scott Free, Steve Tzirlin, and Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment attached to produce. Renowned animation director Carlos Saldanha (Ice Age, Rio) is set to direct. The quick ascent of Timeless from book to major studio adaptation serves as proof of Hollywood’s demand for the next great manuscript and unique voice.
Joining Roy Lee, Jeremy Garelick, ESA and Bellevue for our 2016 Launch Pad Feature Competition Are…
Marianne Wibberley & Cormac Wibberley
Marianne & Cormac Wibberley are a married writing team best known for their work on Jon Turteltaub’s blockbuster National Treasure franchise, starring Nicolas Cage. Both Marianne and Cormac grew up in Southern California and attended the University of California, Los Angeles. The Wibberleys currently teach screenwriting at UCLA’s Graduate School of Theater, Film and Television, where they were the 2014 recipients of the Hunter/Zakin Chair Holder Screenwriting Award.
Longtime fixtures in the film world, they sold their first spec script to Disney in 1993, and had their motion picture debut with The 6th Day, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Their impressive list of credits also includes: I Spy, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Bad Boys II, The Shaggy Dog, G-Force, and the USA Network television series Common Law. This long run of successes has made them the go-to franchise writers in Hollywood, and they’ve recently penned the adaptation of the hit PlayStation game franchise Uncharted as well as the Fantastic Voyage remake. As educators and longtime supporters of the Tracking Board, The Wibberleys are eager to share their decades of expertise and cultivate up-and-coming screenwriters.
One of the hottest on-the-rise screenwriters, and named by IndieWire as one of the Top 5 screenwriters to watch, Andrew Baldwin has built up an impressive resume in a short amount of time. He wrote the 2016 film Bastille Day starring Idris Elba and Richard Madden for Studio Canal and Focus Features, and has been hired to write the upcoming The Bourne Legacy sequel for Jeremy Renner as well as the Logan’s Run remake for Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling. The Cornell and AFI grad’s first script, a western called The West is Dead, landed him on the Black List in 2008, and in 2010 he penned the script Red Asphalt for Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov and Lionsgate. His script The Outsider then earned a spot on both the 2011 Hit List and Black List, with Waypoint Entertainment and Linson Company set to produce and Jared Leto attached to star.
Gary Graham broke onto the scene in 2014 with his sci-fi thriller spec Garden At The End Of The World. The script quickly built a lot of heat around town and ultimately led to a pre-emptive sale at Warner Bros. The studio responded to the spec so strongly they decided to revamp it as an I Am Legend reboot with Weed Road Picture’s Akiva Goldsman, Overbrook Entertainment’s James Lassiter, Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee, and Energy Entertainment’s Brooklyn Weaver on board to produce. Graham finished off the year with his spec earning him a spot on all three major annual best of lists: The Hit List, The Black List and the Young & Hungry List.
Graham has quickly cemented himself as a coveted studio writer, and in 2015, Warner Bros. hired Graham to adapt Philip Reeve’s Railhead with Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman attached to direct and produce alongside David Bartis, Denise Di Novi, and Alison Greenspan.