4 Film/TV Insiders that Comedy Writers Should Know About

by Ken Miyamoto on February 25, 2020

Who are some of the current movers and shakers in the comedy genre for film and television?

When you're trying to break into comedy as a screenwriter, it helps to know the industry insiders that have been successful within the genre.

Here we feature four seasoned individuals that have made their mark as development executives or producers with some of the best studios and production companies.

ScreenCraft is thrilled to have these four industry insiders as judges for ScreenCraft's Comedy Screenplay Competition!

Joseph Garner — Film Producer and Development Executive with WB Production Company Joint Effort

Joseph first delved into the comedy genre as an assistant to writer/director Todd Phillips for the comedy hit The Hangover. He would go on to become an associate producer for that film's two successful sequels, as well as Due Date, and War Dogs. He also delved into more serious fare with 2019's Joker.

He is now a development executive for Joint Effort, a production company run by Todd Phillips and Bradley Cooper.

An interesting side project for Joseph was born during the production of The Hangover — one that would lead him on a cross-country journey.

The country was suffering an economic downturn in 2008.

"The country was falling apart around me, people losing their homes, people just out on their own. So I got to thinking: If I lost everything, what would happen? I'd probably be OK because I have great friends and family. But what if I didn't?" He told ABC News. 

With that idea in mind, along with the budding social interaction of social media and technology, he conceived the idea of a documentary that would follow him over the course of a month of travel across the United States, supporting himself solely by contacting people on Craigslist. For a whole month, Joseph was without any form of currency. He also stipulated that he could not connect with anyone that he already knew, relying only on the "kindness and generosity" of Craigslist users.

With a cameraman following him, and The Hangover comedy legend Zach Galifianakis attached to produce, Joseph created a compelling and inspiring documentary.

Mitchell Hurwitz — Writer/Producer and Creator of Arrested Development

Mitchell is a prolific writer, producer, and actor in the comedy genre. He cut his comedy teeth working on iconic sitcoms like The Golden Girls, The John Larroquette Show, and The Ellen Show — along with many pilots and mid-season replacement shows.

But it was Arrested Development that showcased his comedy chops the best. While the show wasn't a ratings hit, it was celebrated by critics and grew a cult following after being canceled after a three-year run. The cult status was strong enough to draw interest from Netflix years later, which brought back the original cast and writers for a fourth and fifth season.

Altogether, the series was nominated for twenty-five Emmys and won six.

Mitchell himself has been nominated for six Emmys and has won three.

He's still developing, writing, and producing pilots.

Mitchell has summed up his love for comedy by saying, "If I had the luxury of choice, and didn't have to worry about making a living, I would definitely want to get into whatever field it was that allowed me to push further and further comedically. Because that's the joy of it."

Judit Maull — Development Executive at Happy Madison Productions

Judit is the Head of Development at Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions. She has worked with the company as a development executive since 2000.

Sandler chose the company name by combining his first two starring roles in the hit comedies Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison.  In 1998, his star-status blew up with box-office comedy smashes The Waterboy and The Wedding Singer. His third straight box-office hit Big Daddy (1999) led the way to what would be one of the most impressive and most consistent comedy careers in the history of Hollywood.

Happy Madison Productions was created in 1999 after the success of Big Daddy — and has been based out of Sony Studios in Culver City, CA with its corporate and parent company offices based out of Manchester, New Hampshire and run by Scott Sandler, Adam's brother.

Judit has been a staple of the company, working her way up from development executive to Head of Development. During her time there, she has developed and overseen such Happy Madison Productions hits as Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo (starring Sandler's longtime friend and collaborator Rob Schneider), Joe Dirt (starring another friend and collaborator David Spade), Mr. Deeds, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, Click, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Paul Blart: Mall Cop (starring Kevin James), Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2, Jack and Jill, Blended, Pixels, etc.

Her tenure has also overseen the highly successful ABC comedy The Goldbergs.

Alex McAtee — Creative Executive at Point Grey Pictures

Alex works as the Head of Development and EVP at Point Grey Pictures, the production company created by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen.

When she moved to Los Angeles from Dallas, TX, in 2004, Alex learned the business through production assistant work, eventually becoming an Assistant Production Coordinator for comedies like The Green Hornet and The Muppets.

She first met Golberg and Rogen while working on The Green Hornet and later became their full-time assistant when the duo developed Point Grey Pictures in 2011. She's been with them ever since.

When Alex began to learn more about development, creative producing, and how production companies worked, she knew that was the avenue she wanted to work in. She worked her way up at Point Grey Pictures, eventually taking on a creative executive role and attaining producing credits for comedy hits like The Interview, Sausage Party, The Disaster Artist, and Long Shot.

Now welcoming features, pilots, and shorts in our Comedy Screenwriting Competition!

Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.  He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies

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