Aspiring screenwriter Jordan Bellowos was recently selected as the latest promising talent from northern Ontario to earn a full-tuition bursary to Toronto Film School.
The Sudbury native, who now lives in Noëlville, Ontario, was chosen as winner of the bursary from amongst the participants of the Northern Ontario Summer Screenwriting Workshop – a free online writing seminar presented by TFS and Cultural Industries Ontario North (CION).
“I was surprised because I didn’t find out I’d won the bursary until about a week and a half after we’d finished the workshop. But it shored up my plans for the next two years, for sure,” said Bellowos, who now plans to enroll in TFS’s 24-month Online Writing for Film & Television program this fall.
“Even if I hadn’t won, I thought maybe I’d still join the program because writing is where my passion lies and I really did enjoy the workshop.”
Led by TFS instructors Colin Aussant and Arthur Laduceur, the workshop took place over two weekdays in July, during which Bellowos and his fellow participants learned about character development, dialogue writing, scene construction and the classic three-act structure.
After the first day of instruction, participants were tasked with writing a short, five-minute film script over the course of a weeklong break, during which they were offered a chance to consult one-on-one with Aussant and Laduceur to discuss their screenplay.
On the second workshop day, participants conducted industry-style table-reads of one another’s scripts – receiving feedback from the instructors and classmates, and polishing their scripts into tight portfolio pieces ready to be produced.
Bellowos won the bursary on the merits of his script about a down-on-his-luck father who must struggle with a moral dilemma in order to put food on the table for his young child.
“Not only did Jordan start with a strong story, but he also did the best at addressing the notes from the roundtable read,” Aussant said of Bellowos’ winning screenplay.
“This suggests an openness and thoughtfulness to collaboration, which is important to succeeding as a screenwriter and often doesn’t manifest for a couple of semesters for new writers. He also appears to want it the most and seems very serious about his direction with screenwriting.”
A former musician who toured with the band Blonde Elvis, Bellowos is a self-professed ‘comedy nerd’ who never felt like a career in film and television was a viable option for him until taking a sketch writing course at The Second City Toronto.
“I really learned how big of a passion I have for writing through that experience,” he said, noting that he’d love to write for a sketch comedy TV series along the lines of his favourites – I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, Tim and Eric or Mr. Show – one day.
“I still sometimes question if it’s a feasible route, but if you love doing it and it’s something you’re passionate about, you have to just go for it.
“And now, through this bursary, I really do see it as a pathway I can take – especially with so much money being poured into film in northern Ontario ”