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Online Writing Student Wins Screenwriting Fellowship for Comedy Pilot About Time-Travelling Hustlers

If Andrew Hopps could jump in a time machine and travel back into his past, the Hamilton-based aspiring screenwriter admits he likely wouldn’t change much.


After all, he’s currently riding the high of his most recent achievement towards the pursuit of his passion – being announced as one of just 10 winners of the Inroads Screenwriting Fellowship for his sci-fi comedy pilot, Time Hustlers.


“I guess if I could go back, I would just pad my pockets with some sound advice and tidbits of information, just to make life a little bit easier,” laughed Hopps, a Second City alum who’s currently in his third term of Toronto Film School’s Online Writing for Film & TV program.


A burgeoning screenwriter since the eighth grade, Hopps said he wrote the pilot for Time Hustlers within the span of just a week, following a random run-in with a stray shopping cart and a perplexing x-ray machine back in November 2019.



“The original concept came to me when I was with my friend walking behind his apartment,” he said of the inspiring encounter. “The two of them together looked, to me, like a time machine – so that’s when the idea just kind of popped into my head.”


Described as a kind of Back to the Future meets Breaking Bad, Hopps said the basic premise of the show follows two street hustlers as they create a time machine and attempt to change their fate by travelling back in time to correct all the past misfortunes.


“I love it, it’s just so fun. I like these wild type of characters,” Hopps said, likening the relationship between the pair to that of the Walter WhiteJesse Pinkman dynamic on Breaking Bad.


“I always tend to write comedy, so it’s definitely in my wheelhouse. I wrote the pilot in about a week, and it just got better and better.”


Clearly the judging panel at the Inroads Screenwriting Fellowship agreed with Hopps’ assessment of Time Hustlers – choosing the screenplay over 1,200 others to be named one of just 10 finalists for the honour.



“When I got the notification that Time Hustlers had won one of the 10 slots, I was kind of surprised and happy and excited,” Hopps said, noting that his winning phone notification woke him up to tell him the good news.


“I couldn’t fall back to sleep, so I just lay in bed thinking about the show, thinking about how long the series could be, and how it would end. It’s exciting.”


Hopps said he’s now hopeful the networking opportunities and industry exposure that come with being named an Inroads fellow will ultimately translate into opportunities to bring Time Hustlers to the small screen.


“I would love to get some kind of development deal and to connect with someone who has more experience than me who can kind of help get it to the next level,” he said, noting that, in addition to the Time Hustlers pilot, he’s already written four or five more breakdowns for future episodes.


“I know how the series would go after the pilot, and I know the certain way I want one of the main characters’ story to come to an end…and I think it’s a fun, wild ride.”


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