Talent Guide

Thomas Dean Donnelly

  • Discipline:Director
  • Program Year:Directing Lab 2006


Thomas Dean Donnelly is the writer of numerous feature films, including Sahara, A Sound of Thunder, and Thoughtcrimes, who will make his directorial debut with Bridge and Tunnel. Tom was born and raised in Sayreville, New Jersey (home of Jon Bon Jovi) until he successfully escaped the state in a daring midnight balloon flight when he was eighteen. Having worked as a P.A. and script reader for Emmy-Award-Winning producer Frank Doelger since age 16, Tom went on to earn a B.A. in English and Film from Vassar College, and a M.F.A. from the University of Southern California in the Production Program of the Cinema School, graduating #1 in his class.

Tom’s first job out of film school was as an editor of the 1994 Emmy Awards. Within a year he was the Montage Editor of the 66th Academy Awards, as well as countless other award shows. In addition, Tom has edited several pilots for new TV series. A year later, a bidding war broke out for the first feature script Tom ever wrote: Thoughtcrimes. The script was bought by Turner Pictures and Warner Brothers.

Over the last decade, Tom’s been working continuously as a screenwriter for Fox 2000, Warner Brothers, Universal, Columbia, Paramount, Miramax, and MGM. Tom was the writer, creator, and executive producer of Thoughtcrimes, a 2-hour pilot for the USA Network. Intended as a series, he also acted as showrunner, overseeing and producing six scripts for the series. Tom also wrote A Sound of Thunder for Warner Brothers, based on a famous Ray Bradbury short story and starring Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack, and Ben Kingsley. Lastly, Tom wrote Sahara, a Paramount release starring Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, Penelope Cruz, William H. Macy, and Delroy Lindo. Sahara opened #1 at the Box Office in North America, as well as hundreds of foreign territories, and its worldwide grosses are well over a hundred million dollars and counting. DVD sales have been equally strong. Currently, Tom is writing Cowboys and Aliens for Sony, Airborn for director Steven Sommers at Universal, and will be rewriting Skiptracer starring The Rock at Columbia.

Current Project

Bridge and Tunnel (Narrative Feature)


Banished to the bowels of his New Jersey homeland, a wanna-be New Yorker must survive psychotic driving instructors, lesbian mothers, overzealous cops, and quite possibly, a soulmate who can't stand him, all in the hopes of returning triumphantly to the City of his dreams.