Casey Sherman brings the business of Hollywood to Nichols College

March 11, 2024

DUDLEY, Mass. – Nichols College hosted acclaimed New York Times bestselling author, screenwriter and executive producer Casey Sherman on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, to discuss opportunities for students in the booming film and television industry in Massachusetts.

Sherman is the creative mind behind two Massachusetts-made blockbusters, Disney’s “The Finest Hours,” starring Chris Pine and Oscar winner Casey Affleck, and “Patriots Day,” starring Mark Wahlberg, as well as other notable productions. His latest book, “A Murder in Hollywood: The Untold Story of Tinseltown’s Most Shocking Crime,” was released in 2024 and is USA Today’s No. 1 best-selling true crime thriller. The book re-examines the story of Lana Turner and the death of her gangster boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato.

Sherman, a former journalist and current-day cinematic writer and producer, described how he was able to “make it” in Hollywood and bring his best-selling novels to life in film and TV adaptations, divulging insider information on the process and career advice along the way.

Hollywood is no different than any other career in that perseverance is paramount, said Sherman. For his co-written novel “The Finest Hours,” which details the true story of the most daring rescue mission ever conducted at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard, Sherman noted how he never let ‘no’ stop him from getting the film adaptation made. In so doing, he learned about the inner workings of Hollywood—and the outsized role luck can play.

“I took my book [The Finest Hours] everywhere that I went, whether it was to get a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee or to fill up my gas tank, because I believed that I would find somebody and meet the right person who would help me get this film made. And sure enough, I did.”

A broken elevator brought Sherman his well-earned big break. At the end of one of his many pitch meetings, he pitched one last key executive as they walked down a flight of stairs; fast forward and the book was picked up by Disney and made into a film starring Pine and future Oscar winner Affleck. “You get ‘no’ a lot in any business. Don’t take it. Just move on, go to the next person,” said Sherman.

Following up this success, Sherman would go on to co-write “Boston Strong,” a book on the Boston Marathon bombings and main source for the movie “Patriot’s Day,” starring Mark Wahlberg. Since then, he also wrote and produced the stage production, “Hunting Whitey,” starring Neal McDonough (Yellowstone), and he will serve as executive producer for Amazon Studio’s upcoming television series, “Helltown,” adapted from Sherman’s so-named 2022 national true crime bestseller, with Team Downey (Robert Downey Jr.’s production company) as co-producer. “Helltown” is also expected to be filmed in Massachusetts.

Sherman discussed how the film and TV industry has shifted much of its business and productions to Massachusetts and New England, making it an exciting time for both business students and those looking for creative careers to land jobs on major Hollywood projects. He cited other acclaimed films and commercially successful movie and TV productions that have been made in the state, including “Maestro,” “The Holdovers,” “Boston Strangler,” “American Horror Story,” and others. The film industry tax credits enacted by the state has created many jobs and opportunities to get involved, he said.

“We have a vibrant film community here in Massachusetts,” said Sherman, who is also founder of Fort Point Media, a film, television and theater production company headquartered in Boston. “You’ve got the biggest directors and creative people in Hollywood right now, all coming here. So if you want a job in Hollywood, you don’t have to go to Hollywood” to find your career path.

Audience members also asked about his writing craft, the benefits of improv, and his public speaking tactics, responding positively to the presentation.

Claire Curry ’24, a marketing major and public relations minor, found the presentation eye-opening and helpful. “Before this, I just watched movies and shows and didn’t necessarily think about the ‘behind the scenes’ and how much time it all takes. I really enjoyed learning about that aspect,” said Curry.

“I also loved how he said he failed before he succeeded, because I think a lot of people forget about that. It’s great to know that the opportunities are there.”

(Pictured above: Casey Sherman gives a talk on the film and television industry in Massachusetts.)

About Nichols College  

Nichols College has earned business accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools and the largest business education network connecting learners, educators, and businesses worldwide. Founded in 1815, Nichols College transforms today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders through a dynamic, career-focused business and professional education. Nichols offers real-world learning focused on professional depth – combined with vibrant living, competitive athletics, and an unmatched alumni advantage – equipping students to exceed their own expectations. To learn more about Nichols College, visit  

Media Contact:  

Denise Kelley  

Marketing and Communications Writer/Editor