Brandon's Corner: My Top 10 Favorite Screenwriters

Sometimes directors get too much credit.  Yes, directors are important - duh - same with the actors and a lot of others. That is why I wrote on them with two of my previous articles ( , Sometimes though, they are already working with an awesome story, so that is why their film or show is so dang good. Phenomenal storytelling, after all, is the reason many of us see visual narratives in the first place. It is these screen-writing talents that sometimes (a lot of the times) get overlooked. It is quite normal to not even have a favorite screenwriter. To be honest, a couple of the names I didn't even know before constructing the list, but research into my beloved films and television series proved that these were my favorite. Now they can get a little love.

I also would like to put out a reminder that this is all personal preference, so your favorites may not be in here. Also, before we go any further I need to address what I see as a screenwriter versus someone who writes but is widely seen as a director. To be considered a screenwriter on my list - whether this is a flawed opinion or not - I made it a requirement that they had to have wrote twice as many stories as they had directed. So sorry Brad Bird, James Cameron, Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, and many others. It's not because you can't write fantastic screenplays (you obviously can!); I view you guys as directors first and foremost though. So with that out of the way, let's see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

andrew-Stanton10. Andrew Stanton

Much like John Lasseter, all I need to say is the word Pixar. Stanton has been at the center of some of the greatest of their stories. There is a level of creativity in the universe(s) he has helped create that is unsurpassed by so many others. I don't know the guy as well as some of the others on the list, plus he's not always the sole contributor to these projects, so he's lower. That being said, he has been such an imperative part of my most beloved films, that I couldn't help but put him in here.

Top 3 Favorite Films:

1. Toy Story Trilogy;  2. Monsters Inc.; 3. Finding Nemo



s_dbd1e10a42da4b60995c500962b0343f9. Simon Kinberg

Simon Kinberg is not so much my favorite writer, as he is my most anticipated one. He is attached to some projects I am so freakin' excited for, whether it be the 2018 Star Wars Standalone Project or the Fantastic Four reboot. Not to say he hasn't some written some great things. X-Men Days of Future Past, and Sherlock Holmes are evidence of this as he shows a knack for brilliantly witty dialogue with intricate and entertaining plot lines. Part of me wants to put him higher. There just isn't enough of these stories for that to be the case.

Top 3 Favorite Films:

1. X-Men: Days of Future Past; 2. Sherlock Holmes; 3. Mr. and Mrs. Smith



20100414__20100416_D05_AE16SCGOLDMAN~p18. Jane Goldman

Here's a name I didn't know I loved until I put this list together. After research I was flabbergasted (ok, maybe flabbergasted is too strong of a word) to realize that she helped write my of all time most loved movies, X-Men: First Class, and Kick-Ass. Sure, there is a lot of other reasons why I like those films besides writing; but her presence in these is heavy enough for me not to ignore. Her ability to tag-team with Matthew Vaughn to write funny, clever, and human dialogue is about as good as it gets.

Top 3 Favorite Films:

1. X-Men: First Class; 2. Kick-Ass; 3. Stardust




"Great To Be Nominated" Screening Series Presents "Julia"7. Alvin Sargent

Here's another one of those names that I didn't know about till assembling the list. To be honest I have seen very little of his work. It's just the few things I have seen that he's been attached to that blows my mind. Whether it be the comedy gem What About Bob or the superhero masterpiece Spider-Man 2, Alvin Sargent just knows how to be part of projects I adore. His ability in humor and genuine emotion is fantastic to say the least.

Top 3 Favorite Films:

1. Spider-Man 2; 2. What About Bob?; 3. The Amazing Spider-Man




Gary-Ross-and-Jennifer-Lawrence-on-the-set-of-The-Hunger-Games-2012-Movie-Image-e13341117199816. Gary Ross

Gary Ross might be the best in the business when it comes to shedding a light on an outside, original perspective, and showing how that perspective provides a ripple effect to everyone it touches. It is this storytelling ability is put on display in Big, Pleasantville, and Seabiscuit, but particularly The Hunger Games - as his collaboration with Suzanne Collins make for some of the best scenes and dialogue put to screen. Of course, I can understand complaining with a few other things with The Hunger Games, but the writing in the film is the stuff of legends.

Top 3 Favorite Films:

1. The Hunger Games; 2. Big; 3. Seabiscuit 





The 76th Annual Academy Awards - Press Room5. Peter Jackson's Writing Crew (Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson)

This terrific trio has been part of of not only one of the greatest trilogies ever made, but obviously some other fantastic pieces of art as well. Of course we always want to just give praise to Peter Jackson, but it is this crew working behind the scenes that has really made the difference in creating epics. These three simply know how to create multiple character arcs and form them together into one cohesive puzzle with wildly grand scope (with a LITTLE help from J.R.R. Tolkien to be fair). Sure, their creative juices started to wane with the Hobbit Trilogy, but I don't blame them. It is time for something new.

Top 3 Favorite Films:

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy; 2. King Kong; 3. Dead Alive

10499405_770232199701455_445458118093048317_o4. Joss Whedon

"Yeah, but Joss Whedon is a director.", you might want to say. Actually the guy is a writer first.  His IMDb page is evidence of this. Of course this penchant for storytelling naturally extends itself to directing as we see with the Avengers, and Firefly, among other things. It is this devotion to Astounding stories with unbelievably clever and human dialogue that showcase how unbelievably impressive Whedon can be.

Top 3 Favorite Films:

1. The Avengers; 2. Speed; 3. Toy Story




christopher-nolan-jonathan-nolan3. The Nolan Brothers (Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan, and sometimes David Goyer)

Where do I start? This duo (sometimes trio) is responsible for some of the most mind-bending stories told on screen. A lot of people want to point to some of the Nolan's more well known films, The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception; but really anything these brothers have been apart of has been mind-blowing. I may not completely love everything they've done, but they are some of the absolute best at what they do. They just have that innate talent to dive deep into the most complicated ideas and fuse them with ridiculously in depth philosophical statements and ideas. Very few in Hollywood or anyone have this ability. That is why I applaud them for the work they do, regardless if I don't adore all of their work.

Top 3 Favorite Films:

1. Prestige; 2. The Dark Knight Rises; 3. Inception

Damon-Lindelof2. Damon Lindelof

I could put the guy as number one. A big part of me wants to. Damon Lindelof has been part of some of the most emotionally powerful and spiritually profound stories I have ever seen. He just masks them with action, mystery and suspense so you think otherwise. For me though, I see the brilliant mind. Damon Lindelof has squeezed more tears out of me from his stories than anyone else on any list. That is a lifetime accomplishment. The fact that essentially all other components are incredible almost becomes an afterthought. Lindelof is just so dang good. I may not always have faith that he knows how to pace everything, or give enough answers evidenced by Lost, but it doesn't matter too much. The guy is a bona fide genius.

Top 3 Favorite Visual Narratives:

1. The Leftovers; 2. Star Trek Into Darkness; 3. World War Z

Game-of-Thrones-Season-3-D-B-Weiss-David-Benioff1. David Benioff

I, of course, got to give credit to D.B. Weiss. Game of Thrones would not be the same without him. Though, it is David Benioff who stands tall above the rest. The man is a true storyteller. His work as a novelist before entering the hollywood scene, show how great he can be with works along the line of City of Thieves, one of my favorite books of all time. He then went on to write screenplays for 25th Hour and Brothers, but it is his triumphant achievement along with D.B. Weiss in translating George R.R. Martin's masterpiece to television that gets him this high. David Benioff has the knack for knowing exactly what to put in and take out to give the epic the right pace and emotional impact. All of this is made better with his innate ability to find scenes not within the source material to deepen its significance and flavor. For all of that I thank you. You too D.B. Weiss. . .

Top 3 Favorite Visual Narratives:

1. Game of Thrones; 2. 25th Hour; 3. Brothers


Honorable Mentions:

Simon Beaufoy

Vince Gilligan

Damien Chazelle

Steven Moffat

Frank Darabont