Interview with Novelist Jerry L. Harvey Jr. (SPACE TANGENTS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Jerry L. Harvey: Four rednecks are abducted by aliens while playing golf in Kansas. They are drawn into rescuing a princess as they try to return to earth.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Science Fiction

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Mindblowingly Ludicrous

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

That’s a toss up between Tequila Sunrise and The Fifth Element.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

One Week, By: Bare Naked Ladies.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

No, but Douglas Adams, Robert Aspirin, Harry Harrison, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and Terry brooks are all favorites.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

A recurring image of a one-legged Gautemalan pigmy hooker.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would
that be?

Isaac Asimov or Kurt Vonnegut come to mind, I forgot to mention them earlier.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I do a fair amount of hiking in the Smokies.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I just thought it would be good to have it performed by a different perspective than the writer’s.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Keep trying, keep writing, write because you have things in your heart and soul to share with the world.

Performed by Kat Smiley

Buy on Amazon

Four Rednecks from Kansas are abducted by aliens and have an unbelievable adventure as they travel to several planets, fight Kelvekians, battle the Elvi, rescue a damsel in distress, party with Elvis and then, there is the incident on Herpe.

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Interview with Novelist Chynna Laird (PASSING LOOP)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Chynna Laird: The novel is about three generations of very strong women, each set in their ways, who are brought together in a time of tragedy. It was not an easy transition for any of them, to say the least. And on top of their personal hurdles they’re trying to overcome, they are thrown other unexpected curve balls to deal with. They teach one another that no one way is the ‘right’ way and through it all, despite how hopeless things may seem, together they are a force to be reckoned with.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

This story is clean and can be read by anyone anywhere but the main genre it targets is NA/YA.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Finding peace.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

I really love old movies. I’d have to say the black and whites are some of my favorites. But the movie I’ve seen over and over without wanting to blow DVD up has to be ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Blackbird by the Beatles. This song has tremendous meaning for me for a multitude of reasons.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

That is such a hard question. I should really show a picture of my ever-growing, over-stuffed bookshelves. lol I am an avid reader, which is important in becoming a good writer. I’m not sure I could narrow all of the books I’ve read down to one specific all-time favorite. I do have a certain kind of book that draws my attention. I like a strong main character who is going through or facing tough times and dealing with it in the most positive way he or she can under their given circumstances. Books, like good movies, need to make you think, open a new door (or view an opened door in a new way), draw you in, surface emotions and have moments of laughter because that is what real life is made up of.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

You know, it’s funny because I am usually more comfortable showing a story through a male main character’s perspective than a female one. But this story not only has a very strong female main character, but also revolves around her mother and grandmother. What motivated me to write this novel were the words my own grandmother said to me many years ago, “Life is a passing loop with many trains going in different directions and with different end destinations. As fast as they go, it’s the sudden or unplanned stops made along the way to that end place that you learn from the most. Just always make sure to keep your back to where you’re leaving from, and face where you’re heading.”

There are sprinkles from my own experiences mixed in there but all in all, it’s my way of thanking my grandmother for all of her pearls of wisdom, even when she didn’t think I was listening to her.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

There are several people I’d love to have this opportunity with for different reasons. Not just for what they do, but to be enlightened by their unique view of the world. If I had to pick one person of all of those I highly respect (dead or alive, famous or not), I’d have to say Alan Alda. I have admired him and his work for many years. He’s not just a superior actor and director, he sees things with the most profound wisdom and undying curiosity. I love that!

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about giving a voice to issues or causes that aren’t discussed or dealt with as strongly as they should be. Giving those a voice whose own aren’t always strong enough to be heard over what other people believe or think, is so inspiring. The most important things in my life are my four children. They are my reason to keep going, the daily reminder of why I’m still here and the motivation to trudge ahead through each day I wake up to.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I won’t speak for every other author, but I spend endless months hearing my stories in my head. I see the characters, hear their voices and experience the story right alongside them. But it’s a beautiful thing to hear your words being read by another person. It brings to mind a quote I came across recently by Maya Angelou who said, “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

After reading that, I considered it my sign to enter the story and see what happens.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Keep writing. Even on days when you think you don’t have anything useful to put down, keep that writing craft active. There will be days where ideas may not come as easily and trust me, I know how frustrating that can be. But don’t stop. If you need to, get away from your writing space for a while and surround yourself with all that life has going on around you. It won’t be long before your inner idea jar will overflow again.

So, keep writing, don’t give up, hold strong to what you believe in and absorb the advice from those you aspire to be. That will always keep you motivated.

Watch the Novel Reading: 

Performed by Kat Smiley

BUY Author’s Novel on Amazon

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Interview with Writer Wilson Jackson (DO MY EYES DECEIVE ME)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your short story about?

A young man abducted by aliens.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Science Fiction

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Mind boggling

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

I can’t really say, but I own and never miss ENTER THE DRAGON. Big Bruce Lee fan

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Don’t have a favorite song, A CHANGE IS GOING TO COME by Sam Cooke because to me it’s telling bad times don’t last forever.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

No, but the one that inspired me to write SAPO by Robert Beatty

7. What motivated you to write this story?

It was a site that challenges you to pick a unique topic to write about.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Jennifer Beals and Jane Russell

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Collecting and reading comics and retro toys

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

You dream as a writer to see your words come to life on the screen

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

I’d rather try and fail than fail to try. Never stop writing despite rejections and write what you are passionate about. Don’t let anyone tell you what to write. Believe in yourself.

Watch Story Reading: 

Performed by Kat Smiley

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Interview with Screenwriter Louric Rankine (SQUAD)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Louric Rankine: My screenplay traces the lives of young students of color in New York City as they navigate through their under-funded school. This scene, in particular, focuses on one of the protagonists, Louis, who realizes his embarrassing bus altercation has been publicized on social media, causing pariah between him and his peers. It’s comical, but helps reflect on the negative effects of social media.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s a teen comedy/drama. However, I like to liken it to shows like Insecure or Atlanta.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I mean no matter what medium it is in, I think the representation matters. I feel New York City students of color don’t see proper representation of themselves, only limited through the lens of a typical white protagonist.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

New York.

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Spirited Away and Mulholland Drive- I know I’m weird for a 19-year-old.

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Since junior year of my high school. One of my friends felt young queer students of color do not get the right treatment, or rather their story arc is limited to a special episode.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have this thing, where I write a different story each month and store it in my private notebook. It’s like a narrative registry for me so I can develop and evolve the narrative later.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

“Old Age”- Masego ft. SiR & “A Long Walk” by Jill Scott.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I think fleshing out issues concerning youth of color without being too obvious or preachy.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Filmmaking, Anything artistic really

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your
experiences working with the submission platform site?

It was a long one. I was skeptical at first because this is my first submission and I didn’t know the logistics and mechanics around this. However, I am so glad to have this platform because it allows me to be unapologetic about my art.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings
on the initial feedback you received?

I was in this program in high school for alternative school youths over the summer and my film teacher told me that in order for your art to be successful, you have to show it first. I am really hesitant and insecure about showing my work, but since publicizing, the reception has been well-received. I hope to grow and mature as a filmmaker, auteur, and writer and being able to tell narratives with cultural competency and narrative consideration.

Screenplay Writing: 

Teens of color deal with their disorganized high school and personal problems by talking in a group chat- which happens to concretize in a virtual white room.

CAST LIST:

Louis: John Marcucci

Jamal: Sam Fazli

Narrator: Kat Smiley

Libretta: Cassandra Guthrie

Amatou: Zena Driver

Submit exclusively via Film Freeway:

Interview with Screenwriter Nicholas Julius (MYTHATANIA)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Nicholas Julius: MYTHATANIA – The Adventures of Erin, Owen and the Mythfitz:

Feature script/Books:Scottish siblings, Erin and Owen Macdonald, are swallowed by The Loch Ness Monster and brought to the magical land of Mythatania where all creatures heard of in Myth and Folklore have gone to escape the outside world. There they meet THE MYTHFITZ, a group of mythical youngsters, Unee the Unicorn, Pegora the Pegasus, Frost the Yeti, and Salandra the Sasquatch, and embark on a wonderful adventure.

(Animation/live action script with merchandising potential, 6 children’s books, and a full length novel. Best Animated feature script – The International family Film Festival, BEST SCRIPT – The Beverly Hills Film Festival. WINNER – KIDSFIRST ! Film Festival 99/100 rating. Quarterfinalist in Nicholls 2014, Best Family script – American Screenwriting Awards – Winner, The Nashville FF – Best animated script – Winner – Best Animation script, the Oaxaca FF)

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Animation, family. 4 quadrant entertainment.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Because different kids will identify with different characters. They will also learn friendship, trust, embracing individuality and teamwork to solve a problem.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Sheer entertainment.

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Casablanca.

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

1st draft was 3 years ago, novel completed this year, 1st children’s book published 2 months ago, 1st short film completed last December.

7. How many stories have you written?

8 feature scripts, 2 TV pilots, one sitcom pilot, 12 short scripts, 2 novels, 12 children’s books, 5 short films. My latest live action film starring Michael Kenneth Williams THE DEVIL GOES DOWN has made 92 FF’s, won 29 awards (you can check imdb) my latest animated film ERIN, OWEN AND THE LOCH NESS MONSTER, 14 FF’s, 8 awards.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

THE DEVIL WENT DOWN TO GEORGIA, for obvious reasons.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Trimming it down.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Acting, working on film sets.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

They are amazing, I have become mostly exclusive to them for submitting my films and scripts.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

The feedback was great, and the staged reading hit a lot of fine notes. INFERNO THE PHOENIX particularly.

Screenplay Reading: 

Scottish siblings, Erin and Owen Macdonald, are swallowed by The Loch Ness Monster and brought to the magical land of Mythatania where all creatures heard of in Myth and Folklore have gone to escape the outside world. There they meet THE MYTHFITZ, a group of mythical youngsters and embark on a wonderful adventure.

CAST LIST:

Owen: John Marcucci
Erin: Zena Driver
Inferno: Shawn Devlin
Narrator: Kat Smiley
Cassandra: Corinne Sutton-Smith
Salandra: Cassandra Guthrie
Unee: Sam Fazli

Submit exclusively via Film Freeway:

Interview with Screenwriter Stephen Witty (Whittaker, Alger, and Dick)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Stephen Witty: The confluence of three political characters in the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1940s — Whittaker Chambers, Alger Hiss, and Richard Nixon–and the difficulty ever sorting out lies and getting to the bottom of the truth.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama mixed with comic interludes.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Because it’s a good story and relevant to these fraught times.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?
Fascinating deception.

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Citizen Kane

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Including research, at least four years.

7. How many stories have you written?

A number of short stories, many poems, a novel, a couple of screenplays.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

Quiet Girl (I believe that’s the title), the melody by Leonard Bernstein — not sure who wrote the lyrics.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

My own impatience, feelings of dissatisfaction, and tendency.
to lose faith.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Horses. My wife and daughter, Jazz. Painting. Experiencing great art, in many forms.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your
experiences working with the submission platform site?

Very positive, friendly and responsive to any questions that came up.

12. What influenced you to enter and your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I wanted to get my screenplay made, well-made, and have the satisfaction of sharing the feelings underlying the story.

Watch Screenplay Reading: 

An interconnected story about Whittaker Chambers, Alger Hiss, and Richard Nixon against the background of the hysteria of the post-war 1940s.

CAST LIST:

Esther: Norma Dunphy
Narrator: Esther Thibault
Bagley: Isaiah Kolundzic
Chambers: Dan Cristofori

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Interview with Screenwriter Marc Gatschner (OF THE SEA)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Marc Gatschner: In the twilight of his life, an aging surfer reflects on his past..

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romance. I know some shun that word for fear of being categorized into a genre they think somehow is beneath them, but they shouldn’t, we live life to love– which is not just bound to another person. We love life, we love moments, we love songs and weather, and that’s what this screenplay is about, love.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Our world has changed, there’s a pressure on people now to think only about the future, to prepare for a life that may be, but sometimes we need to slow
down a little and take a moment to appreciate the life we are living.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Unabashed love.

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Jaws.

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

On and off for about seven years. Every summer I’d go back and change a little.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written over thirty short scripts and about a half dozen feature length scripts.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

There is no one song I can pinpoint, but well writing this particular script, I listened to the album Riceboy Sleeps by Jonsi and Alex.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

This script was about emotion, and trying to pass that feeling onto someone through visual moments and brief conversations is tough. There will be some that
go with it and others that won’t.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Waking up each morning and living life. It’s a damn fine world out there, you just got to find your place in it.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your
experiences working with the submission platform site?

Fantastic. There are a lot of wonderful writers out there that just want their stories to be heard and sights like FilmFreeway provide us with
those willing ears we so desperately crave.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings
on the initial feedback you received?

I love telling stories, and Wildsound was willing to listen. As for the feedback– I’ve sent this particular script in about three times, and everytime I received feedback I could use, both positive and negative. It’s scary as hell having someone judge your story, but it is just that, your story, and no one can take that away from you with a simple criticism, so I say take the chance and send it out, let the world see what you can do.

Screenplay Reading: 

 

An aging surfer reflects on his past while facing an uncertain future.

CAST LIST:

Mark: Peter Mark Raphael
Gonzo: : Isaiah Kolundzic
Narrator: Esther Thibault
Sarah: Monica Knox
Rev: Dan Cristofori

You can also submit via FilmFreeway: