I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter........
I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter
when I realized that I had no patience for novel writing, because everything I
wrote unfolded like the plot of a movie.
I know I've succeeded........
I know I’ve succeeded either when a
film I’ve written is actually bought and produced by someone other than me or,
if I’m aiming really high, when I get to work with Kevin Williamson…whichever
My inspiration to write FRIVOLITY.......
My inspiration to write “Frivolity”
was when my mom and I were joking around one night about what hilarious things
might happen if a gay guy and a straight guy were to swap identities for a
What inspired you to write?
Jake Helgren: I think the biggest part of the human condition
is that we’re constantly trying to connect with others…writing helps
me do that, especially if I can make them laugh or scream!
FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?
Jake Helgren: I took an informal night class at UT back in 2002
and then just got on my computer and went to it.
FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?
Jake Helgren: This was actually my eighth feature-length
script, but I’d say it’s only my sixth good script...two of my first
scripts were just terrible! It took about four months to write, which
is a normal timeframe for me.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
No way…no time for anything like that. I write when I can, whenever I
can…with a full-time job, Kris, Riley, my family, friends, a social
life and school years prior, I’ve learned to write anywhere during
anything…the airport, the pool, even while watching another movie…I
believe a truly dedicated writer finds the time no matter how busy
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring
screenwriters and why?
Jake Helgren: I think they are important for screenwriters,
because friends and family can only be so objective in validating your
talent…submitting to a contest where your script is in the hands of
strangers is a true testament as to whether or not your script is any
good…mind you, just because you don’t advance in any particular
contest doesn’t mean your script isn’t great, but when you do advance
it certainly does help to validate all your hard work! I can say
having placed in contests has certainly helped my query letter look
better, as in the past some independent producers only requested
particular scripts of mine that placed in competitions. I’ve also
heard placing in a contest can help you get an agent, too…but I can’t
tell if you that’s true until I move to LA and start querying agents
FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the
FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards?
Jake Helgren: It’s number one on Google Search engine! And, of
course, it has a good reputation in online screenwriting communities.
FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
Jake Helgren: You Can Count on Me” by Kenneth Lonergan. It is
an exceptional screenplay…it’s well-structured, you can’t beat the
character development and conflicts, and plus it’s just a darn good
FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?
Jake Helgren: I am passionate about the people I love…they are
each a muse to my life and my writing, and collectively I don’t think
I could’ve asked for a greater support system.
FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter
Jake Helgren: It has to be a toss-up between John Hughes and
Kevin Williamson…they both have this amazing ability to connect to
youth, which not only helped me through my tumultuous teen years, but
was also an inspiration for me to want to do the same with my work.
FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?
Wes Craven…because I think he’s the
most wickedly talented horror director of all time.
Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Drew Barrymore…I have followed her
work since she spouted, “Alligators in the sewer…” on E.T., and I
haven’t stopped loving her work.
FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?
Jake Helgren: Don’t wait. You have a choice every day when you
wake up to pursue your passion today.
FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?
Jake Helgren: I just optioned my first screenplay, a teen
horror script with the working title of "The Mascot," with producer
Camron Carrier and director Zac Adams of C. Wesley Pictures, and I am
absolutely thrilled to be working with
such talented filmmakers. The screenplay is a gory rollercoaster ride
with really fun characters and an old school edge. Be on the lookout
for a teaser trailer for the film coming soon!
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?
Hopefully making enough money to
write screenplays full-time.