EW Staff
August 02, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Maggie Carey, Filmmaker
Female-centric teenage sex comedies don’t come along often, but Carey made an outrageously witty one, The To Do List, as her debut. The Secret to Hollywood Success ”Go somewhere far away and figure out who you are. Then move to L.A. and sleep on a friend’s couch with confidence.” The Future Carey, 38, who’s married to SNL‘s Bill Hader, is writing her next movie: ”It’s top secret, but it’s safe to assume it’s a comedy.”

Hunter Hayes, Singer
An undeniable songwriting talent, the ”Wanted” crooner, 21, also played every instrument on his debut album. On the Road ”I had them gut one side of the bus in the back and put in a ministudio. It’s my free-and-wild experimental laboratory.” The Future After opening for Taylor Swift in 2011, Hayes will set out on his first headlining tour of theaters this fall. But he’s already dreaming big. ”I want to headline stadiums, dude.”

Quvenzhané Wallis, Actress
Her fiercely naturalistic debut in Beasts of the Southern Wild, in which she played the indomitable Hushpuppy, earned the Louisiana native a Best Actress nom. Best Advice ”Kerry Washington told me to stay grounded and be with God.” The Future Wallis, 9, appears in this fall’s 12 Years a Slave (with Benedict Cumberbatch) and will play the lead in next year’s Annie. ”I love to sing, I love to dance, I love to act,” she says of her long-term goals. ”I just want to be myself and have fun.”

Beau Williams, Showrunner
The first-time executive producer, 36, gets our vote for penning the deliciously bingeable political drama House of Cards for Netflix. His Unexpected Career Path ”I’ve done everything from detailing cars, working for the Estonian government, being a barista. One time I served an espresso to Sam Shepard, one of my heroes. He was not pleased with the espresso.” The Future While working on season 2, he’ll also be heading to the Emmys, where Cards is up for nine awards.

Maria Semple, Author
The former TV writer (Arrested Development) broke through with the wildly inventive Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Her TV Roots ”In my years of writing TV, I became a story machine. I think of my Hollywood years as a fabulous, well-paid, 15-year internship!” The Future Semple, 49, and her longtime boyfriend, Simpsons writer George Meyer, are dreaming up a big-screen comedy. She’s also planning her next novel, which she promises will be ”unhinged and with heart.”

John Green, Author
Only Green, 35, could write a hilarious, uplifting love story about two teens…with cancer. Since The Fault in Our Stars came out, he’s toured the world and sold out Carnegie Hall. Foreign Fans With a huge fan base in Germany, ”I was essentially followed on my travels by German press. When you write books, you don’t think of that as part of the job.” The Future Green admits, ”I’ll probably abandon six or seven novels before settling on the next one.”

Megan Ellison, Producer
A believer in auteur-driven cinema, the daughter of billionaire Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison finances bold films like The Master and Zero Dark Thirty. Power to the People ”Ellison, 27, “is bringing back autonomy to directors, so I think you’ll see a resurgence of individualistic filmmaking,” says Cate Blanchett, an admirer. The Future Upcoming films include Spike Jonze’s Her and David O. Russell’s American Hustle.

Aubrey Plaza, Actress
The deadpan Parks and Recreation star, 29, pushes the awkward-comedy envelope in this summer’s The To Do List. Career Bucket List”A movie with Nicolas Cage. I don’t care what the movie is — I just want me and Nicolas Cage on a f—ing poster. I want to do a well-respected play. And I want to play Catwoman. Don’t laugh — I can do it.” The Future Parks returns this fall, and Plaza is shooting the zombie comedy Life After Beth.

Ryan Coogler, Filmmaker
With Fruitvale Station, the former college receiver, 27, scored a touchdown, displaying a deft, dauntless voice. Filmmaking Is Like Football ”Each person has different skills, but you all merge together for one common goal.” The Future He may direct the Rocky spin-off Creed, and the self-proclaimed ”jock-geek” could move into sci-fi: ”Some of my favorite directors walk that fine line between reality and genre — Neill Blomkamp, Stanley Kubrick, Christopher Nolan.”

Alex Timbers, Writer-Director
He’s shown an impressive versatility with his acclaimed stage productions Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Here Lies Love, and the Tony-winning Peter and the Starcatcher. Moving to Movies? Timbers, 34, is developing a film with Disney but remains true to his first love: ”Everything is going well for me in theater, which makes me happy.” The Future He has the Jeff Buckley tribute The Last Goodbye, Rocky on Broadway, and maybe a Muppet musical.

Benh Zeitlin, Filmmaker
His first film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, was an enchanting post-Katrina fable that landed him a Best Director nod. But he ran right back to Louisiana, where he lives among a group of artists. Avoiding Studios ”I’ve never been drawn to fame and celebrity,” says Zeitlin, 30. ”It’s hard to blend a process like ours with big-time industrial filmmaking.” The Future He’s writing and developing a new feature…about? ”I’m keeping it a secret,” he says.

Adam Driver, Actor
The ex-Marine, 29, exudes thoughtful hipster machismo as the id-driven Adam on HBO’s Girls and the awkwardly charming Lev in Frances Ha. The Secret to Success ”I haven’t really made a lot of decisions. There have just been a lot of no-brainers, like: ‘Do you want to audition for a Coen brothers movie?’ ‘Uh, yeah, of course.”’ The Future He’s in the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis in December, and the upcoming This Is Where I Leave You and Tracks.

Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, Actor-Filmmakers
The duo who won Oscars for co-writing The Descendants fuse a DIY indie sensibility with mainstream storytelling. See: this summer’s The Way, Way Back. Why So Many Hats? ”It’s not so much a gluttonous ‘I want to do it all’ as time is of the essence for all of us,” says Rash, 43. The Future Their writing projects include a dark action comedy for Kristen Wiig. ”We also have a fragrance coming out,” jokes Faxon, 38.

Chloë Grace Moretz, Actress
The dynamo, 16, excels at drama (Hugo), comedy (30 Rock, Dark Shadows), and action: She’s back as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass 2 on Aug. 16. Career Bucket List ”I’d love to be a part of Star Wars. I want to do one of those big, cool franchises.” The Future She stars in October’s Carrie remake and is shooting The Equalizer with Denzel Washington. ”I’m working with Denzel,” she says. ”What more could you ask for?”

Hannibal Buress, Comedian
The 30-year-old stand-up stalwart — who co-hosts The Eric Andre Show and has written for SNL and 30 Rock — just signed a Comedy Central deal for more of his sharply observed surrealism. Where He’ll Be in Five Years ”I’ll be opening a frozen-yogurt place. Maybe a food cart. People will look back fondly on my YouTube videos.” The Future Later this year he’ll tape a new stand-up special and tour with Dave Chappelle.

Hit-Boy, Producer
Even if you don’t know the 26-year-old, you know him: His credits include Jay Z and Kanye’s ”Ni**as in Paris” and A$AP Rocky’s ”Goldie.” His Industry Idols ”I’ve always looked up to people with ownership: Baby [a.k.a. Birdman] with Cash Money, Master P with No Limits…. All these bosses make good music and good decisions.” The Future You’ll be hearing his beats on new albums from Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, and M.I.A.

Jenn Rogien, Costume Designer
The craziest thing about the clothes on HBO’s Girls and Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black? They’re not crazy at all, thanks to Rogien’s refreshingly real designs. Her Orange Inspirations ”We looked at real inmates. For the flashbacks, we did a lot of Sears catalogs.” The Future More Girls. ”I just want to keep working,” says Rogien, 35. ”I’m afraid to admit that it might be all coming together, because the minute I do that, it will all fall apart.”

Ester Dean, Songwriter
The Pitch Perfect star, 31, is a go-to songsmith for Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. And if you can’t get Selena Gomez’s ”Come & Get It” out of your head, you can blame her for that, too. Career Bucket List ”I want three No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 in a year; to create the highest-grossing animated franchise; to develop an entertainment company that covers music, film, and TV; and to change at least one person’s life for the better.” The Future She’s writing, and developing the new artist Jasmine V.

Chris Terrio, Screenwriter
Argo could’ve been a forgettable political thriller, but Terrio, 36, had more on his mind, turning his first feature screenplay into a whip-smart nail-biter — which won him an Oscar. The Power of Reinvention ”As soon as you become the writer who can write Argo, you have to kill that writer and move on and write the next thing,” he says. The Future Terrio is reteaming with Argo director Ben Affleck to adapt author Nathaniel Philbrick’s historical epic Bunker Hill.

Stephen Amell, Actor
In an era of super-emos, Amell, 32, brings steely intensity to his ab-fab vigilante on The CW’s Arrow. The Role That Got Away ”It was down to me and Liam McIntyre for Spartacus when they had to recast. I was in New Zealand shooting pretty intense scenes. I left thinking I got it, and I didn’t. It all worked out…but that was not the way [it felt] at the time.” The Future He’s shooting Arrow‘s season 2 and taking ”lots of meetings” — including one for Fifty Shades of Grey.

Ava DuVernay, Filmmaker
A former studio publicist, DuVernay, 40, displayed a powerful cinematic voice of her own with 2012’s drama Middle of Nowhere, which she wrote, directed, and produced. Her company also helped reinvent distribution for black indie filmmakers. The Big Picture ”I want to continue making films consistently. You look at black women filmmakers, and you see one film. It’s hard to get the second and third.” The Future She’s directing an episode of ABC’s Scandal and then the MLK drama Selma.

Philipp Meyer, Author
His latest novel, The Son, has earned him comparisons to Cormac McCarthy and is destined for year-end best lists. His Most Unexpected Inspiration ”People are surprised that I really love Virginia Woolf because I think I come across as a chest-thumping man some of the time [laughs]…. She wouldn’t have liked me as a person, but her work is amazing.” The Future He’s back at the keyboard: The 39-year-old is adapting The Son for the big screen.

Natalie Dormer, Actress
She plays the part of a cunning royal (first on Showtime’s The Tudors, now on HBO’s Game of Thrones) with such precision, she’s seduced kings and viewers. Her Dream Role ”I’d like to do something that strips me bare of the costumes and the makeup and leaves me exposed.” The Future Beyond filming season 4 of Thrones, Dormer, 31, has Ron Howard’s Formula One biopic Rush and Ridley Scott’s thriller The Counselor later this year.

Liz Meriwether, Showrunner
The 31-year-old’s refreshing take on romance and roomies has made New Girl one of Fox’s top-rated shows. Her Secret Weapon ”There’s a room in one of the soundstages that not many people know about where I can take a nap. It’s saved me many times. I probably have about half a year before [someone] figures out where it is.” The Future Season 3 of New Girl, and, if she can find the time, the Off Broadway vet ”would love to write another play.”

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