Theatre arts major Aris Hines looks to make a splash as a screenwriter for popular network
When serving as orientation leaders at Towson University, students need to come up with a fun fact to share with incoming freshmen and their families.
When it was time for senior Aris Hines to introduce himself, his fun fact usually draws a lot of “oohs” from the crowd: he works as a freelance screenwriter for MTV.
“Currently it’s a lot of me reading a script and giving my opinion or editing things,” Hines said. “And a lot of it is me creating my own ideas, trying to build up my repertoire. So, when I actually do make it, I can have some ideas that I want to pitch.”
Hines got involved with MTV through his sister, who used to work in the marketing departments of Showtime and Viacom (MTV’s parent company). When she heard about the job, she dropped Aris’ name into conversation. He has since worked on four different projects developed for MTV.
The process starts when Hines receives an e-mail from producers and gets assigned a project for the week. Because he is a full-time student at TU, Hines isn’t part of every project that comes across the floor. He’s usually busiest in the fall, when the network goes through new ideas.
Hines will then pitch suggestions and give his opinion on the script to the writers of the show, usually serving as a second or third eye on the script.
“I try to think from the perspective of a person watching a show for the first time,” Hines said explaining his process. “How would I approach it and would I actually watch the show? When I read a script, I say to myself, ‘Do I like this? Do I like how this is going? Does the language sound nice and does the character development sound nice?’
“From there I usually suggest things like ‘Oh, this doesn’t seem like it connected here.’ My goal is to find points in the plot that could use work.”
A theatre arts major, Hines got into writing for the same reason many aspiring actors do: he wasn’t getting cast into roles. When he graduates from TU, Hines wants to continue his focus on writing, start his own production company, and continue to act.
For now, Hines is working on script ideas for the fall he hopes to pitch. The next step after that is a lot of hoping and praying.
“I just have to work in the bureaucracy of the business,” Hines said. “My hope is to find another writer to read it and for them to tell me it looks good and they want to help me.”
Hines’ own story didn’t start at Towson University. He transferred to TU after earning an associate degree from the Community College of Baltimore County. An admitted introvert, Hines described his first TU semester as a rocky one, focusing on “going to class, going to work, and then coming home.”
But Hines knew that wasn’t the college experience he wanted. He got more involved on campus, becoming an orientation leader and joining the Homecoming Committee. He’s even started using many resources around TU’s campus to help him with his writing—including the Towson University Writing Center—and sharing his work and receiving feedback from his “freaking awesome” professors.
By getting out of his comfort zone, Hines believes he’s discovered his place at Towson University.
“Ever since got I more involved, it’s been amazing,” Hines said. “I’ve met a lot of great people, who are open-minded and accept you for who you are. And at the same time, they know who they are and what they want do with their life. That really impacts you when you get to experience that.”