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Alumni Screenwriters ‘Binge’ing on Success

jordan vandina on binge set with director and star
Screenwriter Jordan VanDina ’10, center, on the set of The Binge with director Jeremy Garelick, left, and star Vince Vaughn.

By Jim Macak

On Friday, August 28, The Binge, the first comedy feature by Jordan VanDina ’10 gets its premier on Hulu.

The Binge is set in a time when all drugs and alcohol are illegal, and the only day anyone can let loose is on Binge Day. Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers) stars.

So how is VanDina going to celebrate his first feature premiere? A Binge Day all his own with family and friends? VanDina, who is also a producer on the feature, has actually downsized his premiere party to … well … one.

“I will be bingeing while socially distancing!” he said in an email exchange.

“Hulu is throwing a virtual premiere, where they send out food, alcohol, and beer helmets and beer pong kits. So it will be a classy event,” VanDina deadpanned. “It will be me, totally alone, watching my own movie with a beer helmet on.”

August 28 isn’t the only date VanDina has to look forward to.

He served as a staff writer on Animaniacs, Steven Spielberg’s updated version of the 1990s animated series that’s set to start streaming on Hulu on November 20.

And in February 2020, VanDina sold a comedy feature, Cocaine Hippos, to Netflix, with comedian Jermaine Fowler set to star.

“If we are ever allowed to shoot a movie again, that will be next,” he said.

VanDina’s other writing credits include What Would Diplo Do?, James Van Der Beek’s fictional version of the Grammy-winning DJ that aired on Viceland before moving to Hulu; and Super Mansion, the Sony Crackle animated series starring Bryan Cranston.

A photo of Stefani Robinson '14
Stefani Robinson ’14 while at Emerson.

Alum in the Spotlight

Stefani Robinson ’14 has an extraordinary story to tell in terms of her post-Emerson rapid rise from talent agency assistant to executive producer of the hit FX series, What We Do in the Shadows. And the past couple of weeks, she has had some great opportunities to share it.

Back in 2018, Robinson received two Writers Guild of America Awards and was nominated for a primetime Emmy for her work on FX’s dramedy Atlanta. This year, she’s up for two more Emmys. Shadows is nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, and she’s the writer on one of the three episodes nominated for comedy writing.

She also has a feature film produced by Searchlight in the works, and two more seasons of Atlanta waiting for COVID-19 production restrictions to ease up.

On Sunday, August 16, Robinson appeared in a 15-minute virtual panel sponsored by Deadline Hollywood. Contenders Television: The Nominees Event also featured Paul Simms, and other executive producer on Shadows, and actor Matt Berry, who plays a nobleman vampire on the show.

The following day, Deadline Hollywood profiled her and featured her in its 40-minute Crew Call podcast.

On August 19, she was the focus of a profile on The Wrap. And on Wednesday, August 26, Robinson shows up on the Sublime Primetime panel for Emmy nominees for Comedy and Variety Series Writing, sponsored by the Writers Guild and the Writers Guild Foundation. She appears with the other Shadow writers nominated for comedy writing. You can still buy tickets for the event.

One More…

A few weeks ago, another Emerson alum received a write-up in the trades. Kelly Edwards, MFA ’20, most recently served as HBO’s senior vice president for talent development while completing her graduate degree in Film and TV Writing at Emerson. Under a new HBO pact, Edwards will move on from her executive responsibilities and focus solely on writing and producing content for HBO, HBO Max, and Turner.

Jim Macak is an affiliated faculty member in the Visual and Media Arts Department.

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