Elan Mastai, Jonathan Topper Teamed Up at Variety’s 10 Screenwriters to Watch Event

Whistler Film Fest: Variety Screenwriters Event
Courtesy of Greg Yaitanes/Caitlin Cronenberg

Canadian screenwriter Elan Mastai (“What If”) couldn’t have predicted that a chance meeting with scribe Jonathan Tropper at the Whistler Film Festival would result in a $1.25 million sale for his debut sci-fi novel, “All Our Wrongs Today,” and a movie deal with Amy Pascal’s new shingle. But that’s exactly what happened.

Mastai and Tropper were in Whistler in 2013 to take part in Variety’s annual 10 Screenwriters to Watch event. A friendship bloomed and Tropper not only introduced Mastai to his lit agent, whom they now share, but also gave invaluable career advice.

“We don’t get out much, we writers,” jokes Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”), who attended Whistler as part of last year’s 10. When it comes to sharing writing insights, she equates scribes to superstitious baseball players.

“It’s as if you let that information into the ether, it somehow saps your power to do it.”

But, like Mastai, Nagy appreciated a chance to commiserate with fellow scribes, as well as Whistler’s laid-back, calming vibe. “It didn’t feel like anyone was competing with anyone,” she recalls.

“The reality for feature film writers is that you rarely get to spend time with other writers,” Mastai says. “Being able to actually get together with the whole group was a really eye-opening, fascinating, and fun experience.

“I feel very grateful to have been part of it because even now, two years later, this is something that continues to pay dividends for me personally and as a screenwriter.”

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