Jason Hellerman graduated from Penn State University in Film Production & English and holds an MFA in Screenwriting & Film Theory from Boston University. Jason has worked as a Story Editor for several A-list clients and continues to do story consulting.
In 2013, his screenplay, Shovel Buddies, made the top ten of the annual Black List. Shovel Buddies was purchased and produced by AwesomenessTV and debuted at the SXSW film festival in 2016.
Outside of Hollywood, Jason has collaborated on commercials for Nintendo, Ford, Universal, and SyFy.
Jason is constantly writing and developing new ideas for companies across the globe.
I don't think "sucks" is the right conclusion. Movies are a business - lots of times the original draft is great, but they want to sell to a different market, or the idea the studio wants is different than what's on the page. Also, now lots of movies are rushed into production without a solid script being ready, because they have to make a release date seen as most favorable by the marketing department. So script doctors are brought in to help speed through changes.
Good question - basically I was working as an assistant making contacts when the Black List website sent Shovel Buddies out as their very first "script of the week." Since a lot of my assistant friends were on the receiving end of that email, my script went to the top of their stacks. Once it was read, I got agents and managers. After I got those agents and managers, they sent Shovel Buddies around - which got me a ton of general meetings. When the annual Black List came out, the script was on it, and that in turn led to more generals. While none of my generals then led to immediate work, they did open doors for me to come in on pitches etc, and after Shovel Buddies eventually sold to AwesomenessTV, and I had a few other specs under my belt, I was able to book some smaller assignments. I'll say this, I truly don't feel like I've broken all the way in yet. Even with reps, I still hold a side job (writing for this website!) and I'm also moonlighting as a copywriter. I do a lot of pitches, and I've been in writers rooms on a few live TV shows, pitching jokes and games. I also have done a fair amount of punch-ups and rewrites - but all this stuff happened because I was able to get into those generals Shovel Buddies got me, and then kept writing specs people liked afterward. Some of which are being packaged right now (fingers crossed) but continued to keep me in people's minds as Shovel Buddies faded away.
Who else has some coming of age tropes they like to explore?
Exactly - and it takes incredible screenwriting to make us understand those stakes.