10 Screenwriters to Watch (2012)

November 29th, 2012 by

For the last 14 years, Variety has put an annual spotlight on 10 screenwriters to watch. Here are this year’s writers:

Patrick Aison

Reid Carolin

Derek Connolly

Katie Dippold

Bill Dubuque

Rajiv Joseph & Scott Rothman

Kelly Marcel

Ted Melfi

Chris Terrio

Ken Scott

For the other annual Variety lists I’ve covered since GITS started:





Movie Trailer: “Safety Not Guaranteed”

March 30th, 2012 by

Could someone who saw this movie at Sundance confirm that it is as excellent as it looks?

From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine – When an unusual classified ad inspires three cynical Seattle magazine employees to look for the story behind it, they discover a mysterious eccentric named Kenneth, a likable but paranoid supermarket clerk, who believes hes solved the riddle of time travel and intends to depart again soon. Together, they embark on a hilarious, smart, and unexpectedly heartfelt journey that reveals how far believing can take you.

Official Site


Director: Colin Trevorrow

Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni

Writers: Derek Connolly

Connolly won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

From the movie’s production notes:

The genesis of SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED derives from this mysteriously simple ad above, which appeared in the survivalist magazine, Backwoods Home in the mid-‐90’s. The ad was re‐discovered by someone and posted online where it became an internet sensation. In 2007, when writer Derek Connolly stumbled across it, he immediately imagined the characters, story line, general set-‐up, and title for a film. He initially envisioned a male-‐bonding story. However, when he saw FUNNY PEOPLE with Aubrey Plaza, it all clicked – he was going to write a character specifically for Plaza, whom he didn’t yet know but hoped he could interest in the story.

By the time Connolly saw the ad there were many jokes, parody songs and videos circulating online. “My first thought was what if the guy who placed the ad was sincere and really wants to go back in time, yet everyone is making fun of him,” recalls Connolly. “There was something really sad about it all. What if he is really lamenting something from his past that he wants to go back and fix. That’s what drew my attention. The title was perfect, tying the whole idea together.”

Connolly and director Colin Trevorrow had been writing partners for a number of years, having met while both were studying at N.Y.U. and interning at Saturday Night Live. Connolly gave Trevorrow a first draft of the script, which they then developed together. “I thought it was a really inventive way to approach a time travel movie and the emotional needs that would cause someone to want to time travel, so we decided to try to track down the author of the ad to hopefully get the rights to use it,” says Trevorrow. They found the ad’s author, a writer living in the mountains of Oregon, and after gaining his trust over a period of years, he
granted the filmmakers the rights to use his ad.

“Derek is a true writer. He looks at a blank page and gets excited. Although I too am a writer, I look at a blank page and am filled with dread. That’s what makes us a good team – we have a different, yet complimentary set of skills,” says Trevorrow. With script in hand, the duo got it to Plaza, and she immediately accepted the role of ‘Darius.’ She remembers, “I was sent the script and told it was written specifically for me. I didn’t know the writer or director but I really liked the story so said OK. The transformation that my character goes through is what
really spoke to me.”

Find a strange ad from the back of an obscure magazine. Track down the eccentric author of the ad, slowly gain his trust, and secure the rights. Write an offbeat drama-comedy especially for a talented, but largely unknown actress.

There you have it: A surefire path to filmmaking success!

Again somebody please tell me this movie is as great as it looks. Because I really want to love Safety Not Guaranteed.