Whenever a notable director, or one of our favorite actors or actresses is attached to a film, it’s more appealing. Well, here are three names to start looking for.

Andrew Stanton, Michael Schur and Adam McKay are brilliant and hilarious writers and directors.
Sometimes it’s important to remember just how important the story creators are. Photo by Matt Batchelor. Source Flickr

These are all guys who exist primarily behind the scenes. You’re probably not familiar with them by name, but you may be a fan of their work. They’re each powerhouse storytellers with several titles under their belt.

Andrew Stanton

Anderw Stanton
Andrew Stanton has penned numerous Pixar movies. Photo by Boungawa. Source Wikimedia

Andrew Stanton is Pixar royalty. He has dipped a toe into just about every project to come out of that studio as either a writer, director or producer. He began by working on the original story and screenplay of Toy Story and continued to write the rest of the franchise. Stanton wrote the original screenplay and co-directed A Bug’s Life. He did the screenplay for Monsters, Inc.

In each of the previously stated works Stanton shared his credits with other Pixar royalty like John Lasseter and Pete Docter, but then he started spearheading his own projects. For the most part, he single-handedly wrote and directed Finding Nemo, Finding Dory and WALL-E. Essentially, if you’re a fan of Pixar, you can direct a lot of that appreciation toward Andrew Stanton.

Still not convinced? Well, it’s not outside the realm of Pixar, but he’s also voiced some of the studios popular characters. No major roles, but memorable side characters like Crush the surfer dude sea turtle. He also voices the evil Emperor Zurg in Toy Story 2.

Michael Schur

Michael Schur
Michael Schur, 45 has created and run several hit sitcoms. Photo by Peabody Awards. Source Flickr

Michael Schur is a notable Television writer and producer. Maybe you’ve seen the production tag Fremulon after one of your favorite sitcoms? That’s his company. Michael Schur is the creator of many of my personal favorites, like Parks & Recreation, Brooklyn Nine Nine and The Good Place.

Schur got his start writing for Saturday Night Live, between the years 1997 and 2004. This means Schur wrote jokes for a couple generations of SNL greats. His seven season stint at SNL started with the 90s staff of Will Ferrell, Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon and Tim Meadows. Schur continued to write with the 2000s staff comprising greats like Tina Fey, Fred Armistead, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers. 

When he finally parted ways from SNL it was to write for a little-known program called The Office. Just kidding, obviously it was wildly successful. To this day, it’s one of the most re-watched series ever. Michael Schur made his only notable on-screen appearance on The Office. He was Mose, Dwight’s even more eccentric cousin and co-manager of Schrute Farms. Schur appears as Mose, the bizarre beat farmer, in 13 episodes in total.

Adam McKay

Adam McKay
Adam McKay attends the Ant Man World Premiere. Photo by Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV. Source Wikimedia

Adam McKay is much more than a money man, though he has countless executive producer credits. Starting with Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, he’s produced just about every one of Will Ferrell’s movies, some Sacha Baron Cohen films, and multiple other projects. But his talent is clear when you examine his writing and directing. 

McKay has branched as far as Marvel, writing the screenplay for Ant Man. But his bread and butter has been Will Ferrell movies. The ones that truly shine all have one thing in common, directed by Adam McKay, written by McKay and Ferrell; movies like Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers and The Other Guys.

Lately he’s proven his depth and skill as writer and director of Academy Award-winning films The Big Short and Vice. Both were star-studded intellectual works of historical infotainment. The performances are brilliant, and the stories are genius works of exposé. He makes his mark as a director using camera asides and fourth wall breaks in Big Short, and narration and montages of historical footage mashed with artistic jump cuts in Vice. 

So even if you don’t like Will Ferrell movies, I still highly recommend McKay’s most recent movies. And if you like sitcoms, I urge you to give Michael Schur’s shows a chance. And though it’s possible you don’t care for either the comedic styling of Schur or McKay, it’s hard to say anything negative about the wholesome family entertainment of Andrew Stanton’s work at Pixar.