Last year, I was staring at a blinking cursor on my screen and at a crossroads. I had written a screenplay with a great plot, but the feedback I kept getting was that it didn't have a soul.

I distinctly remember a friend asking me, "What makes this a Jason Hellerman script?"

At the time, I answered, "Because my name is on it."

It was a clever retort, but I was wrong.

Sure, it was on the title page, but the issue I was having was that I was not putting enough of myself into the writing. I thought the plot and the characters would compensate for it. But because I was not imbuing the page with a piece of me, it still felt hollow.

That can only get you so far.

And it wasn't going to get my movie made.

How Yo You Put Soul Into Your Story?

How Yo You Put Soul Into Your Story?



Look, this is not science, it's art. So, anything I type here is just going to be what works for me. I hope it helps you find the way to do this too.

For me, I had to sit down and make a list of the things I believe in and what I wanted to say with the screenplay.

I put it all in writing as plain as day.

Then I sat with it.

I asked myself how these beats were reflected in the story, and then I wrote down some life experiences that helped assert my view.

Those experiences became part of the rewrite. I was putting in scenes that were pieces of me. They had that realism feel that pulled the bits of dialogue and even set pieces to the surface.

Of course, I was exaggerating portions of the sake of the story, but I was telling my personal truth with them as well.

After polishing, I sent that script back to my friend, who received it in a much more positive light, and then passed it around. And now I'm talking to real producers at the top of the year.

And in those meetings, I'm able to connect with them as well. Because I didn't just hand in a plot, I handed in something I've felt deeply. And, I have to admit, it can be hard to know people have read the script, because it's a window into who I am and all my anxieties and issues.

But it's also a way to connect on another level and stick out on their minds. It's a way to find out more about them personally and to see if they're a good match to actually make this project happen.

And all it took was baring my soul on the page and not trying to just write words that compensate for that.

Of course, I think many people will point out that lots of movies and TV shows are made without soul, and I have to assume they lose that at some point on the way. but the only way I know how to break into Hollywood is to be highly personal with my work and hope that those words help connect me to the next steps.

Let me know what you think in the comments.