Interview with Poet Maurice Williams, Sr

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Interview with Filmmaker David Rawlings (SLASHED!)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

David Rawlings: I’m a huge fan of 80s horror. The cheesier, the better. I grew up on Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees, and always wanted to take a unique stab at that genre.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

The general pre-production and production took about 6 months. Post Production was initially another 3. However, I wanted to really make sure the audio was as correct as possible. It took longer than I was expecting, so the finished product probably took one whole year to complete.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Retro Arthritis

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The weather. We only had 2 full days to shoot everything and we got rained out for one half of those days. Considering 90% of the shoot was exterior shots, it certainly created a headache to the entire crew and cast. Not to mention that the public park – we were shooting in – closed their public bathrooms at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Really pleased. I was glad to see that audience members really enjoyed it and understood the direction. My favourite moments are when we flashback to the “80s” and it was great to see the audience to get a kick out of that. Thank you for all your kind words.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Being a fan of films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, I wanted to create my own serial slasher killer… but wanted to have fun with it. Taking the idea of an ax-murderer who has aged and not at the level that he used to be, gave me some great ideas for dialogue and scenes. I’m also a fan of the likes of Monty Python and wanted to inject some of that goofy humour and ridiculousness as well.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

It’s probably a tie between The Goonies and Jurassic Park.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It’s really rather simple. Once the film project has been uploaded, being able to simply and efficiently submit your film to a wealth of different festivals certainly makes things less stressful.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Bon Jovi – Livin on a Prayer

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I’m currently working in the UK as a video editor. I’ve got many ideas and scripts for other shorts, and I hope to be back into pre-production very soon.

Interview with Filmmaker Justin Zachary (NOW)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Justin Zachary: Necessity. These days as an actor if you’re not creating your own work then it feels like you’re behind in the game. I also love making movies.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

About 20 years ago I was doing theatre in Bakersfield, CA. A playwright by the name of Roger Mathey wrote a one act play called NOW. It was just two people in a room talking about memories of their relationship and the crazy twist in the end when you find out that she’s a robot. I loved the story but unfortunately the play was never produced. Cut to, 2011 when I was looking for a project to direct and remembered this story. I called my friend Roger and asked if he still had the script. He didn’t. So, I asked him with his permission could I re-tell the story with my own vision? He agreed and that’s when the initial screenplay began.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Daddy issues.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

I’d have to say the VFX. It was definitely the most costly and time consuming. We went through 3 different artists until I finally landed on one I loved. Lincoln Smith. A God sent.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Nervous. It’s always nerve-wracking hearing what people think of your work. Especially something that’s so personal to you. But, after I heard the positive feedback it was a relief that people actually got it!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I took my friend Roger’s original idea of two people sitting in a room talking about memories and the twist in the end then added some personal elements to give it a sense of myself. For example; The Father character is based on my ex Father-in Law. I always felt that I needed to impress him. Maybe it was my own insecurities but, I never felt that I was good enough. My character’s obsession with fixing things is another good example. I always feel that most problems (especially in relationships) can be fixed with a conversation. If you put the right words in a specific order anything can be solved. It’s an idealistic way of thinking that always gets proved wrong.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably, Caddyshack.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It’s great! Simple and easy to submit.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

“Every Breath You Take” by The Police


10. What is next for you? A new film?

I’m in the process of writing a few different things. An epic sci-fi post alien invasion film, and a supernatural western.

Interview with Filmmaker Vickie Rose Sampson (YOU DRIVE ME CRAZY)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Vickie Rose Sampson: The main reason is to explore what will be the eventual outcomes of society of the increase in reliance on technology to do even the simplest of things. And how we could become victims of our own inventions.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

I think it was about 6 months from idea to finished film.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Helluva ride.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Because we hadn’t done green screen before it created a HUGE issue with both color grading and visual fxs work. We had both green screen and live action driving with sometimes 4 cameras going – a canon 5d, 2 go pros and my iPhone! The green screen was too close to the actor’s face which created a “spill” which had to be cleaned up. I actually have some screen grabs of the “before” and “after” if you want me to send them! I just gave a demo to the Los Angeles Post Production Group about what we went through to get it to look the way it does!

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I loved that they enjoyed the ride!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

My producing partner and screenwriter, Wendy Fishman, and I were driving to a screening in Hollywood and my GPS told me to turn down this alleyway… Wendy said, “Just go up to Sunset and turn right!” I said, “No! I must obey the GPS!” So then we talked about taking it to its illogical conclusion about what would happen if we “disobeyed” her and that’s how You Drive Me Crazy was born.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

That’s a tough one! Do you mean a film I’ve seen over and over? All the ones I have done sound editing on because i HAVE to watch them over and over as I’m working on them but I don’t think you’re talking about those! Although, I could watch On Golden Pond (which I worked on) over and over still….Meet Me In St Louis, It’s a Wonderful Life, Citizen Kane,

I rarely watch films more than once because time is so valuable. (with the exception of animated films that my grandchildren want to watch over and over –

like Coco! or Frozen!)
PS I was a Supervising Sound editor for 40 years on feature films – like Return of the Jedi, Pirates of the Caribbean , Ordinary People, Sex and the City (movies) Donnie Darko etc.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It makes it very easy to keep track of submissions, acceptances, and lets me find all kinds of festivals I didn’t know about! Though it is a daunting task (and sometimes expensive) to submit and then not get in. We probably need to add about $1000 to a budget just for festival submissions, not to mention any travel costs to actually attend them. I would love to attend them because I get such a kick at seeing how audiences react to my films – that’s the whole reason we do these! But it’s so costly to go. For example, my film is in a festival in Mass. this coming weekend which sounds lovely – on the waterfront, with workshops and screenings but to get there would cost JUST ME about $1500! I could put that into the budget for the next film. Plus, if you do go, there’s never any guarantee that anyone will come see the film! Maybe we’re over-saturated with screenings in LA but sometimes the only people in the audience are the other filmmakers and their friends/cast/crew/family. So I don’t want to spend $1500 to go to a festival where no one shows up! And you can’t ask the festival if they are well-attended, right!? So besides the BIG festivals, you just don’t know if you’ll have an audience!

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Anything by Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, CSNY… yes I’m from that era! I can’t think of one particular song I’ve listened to over and over! Maybe Scarborough Faire? Suzanne? Suite Judy Blue Eyes

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Yes! Wendy and I are producing another short called REFLECTIONS – 1 woman – 1 room – 1 transformation. We are doing it as a “pilot” for a possible series. A young woman questions her identity just as she’s about to be married and how her decision affects the whole family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

you_drive_me_crazy

Interview with Reginald Johnson (BATMAN: Beyond the Cowl)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Reginald Johnson: Beyond the Cowl is about the role of class in crime and society’s inability to see the humanity in our poorest citizens.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Action/Fantasy/Drama

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

It presents a timely sociological view on law enforcement, the nature of crime, politics with, in my mind, a style and caliber of action closer to an East Asian Martial Arts film (The Raid 2, Ip Man, etc.). If only, WB…if only.

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

Don’t blink.

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

Probably “The Last Dragon” starring Taimak. It was one of three VHS tapes I had as very young kid.

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

Tough to quantify. Probably 4 months.

7. How many stories have you written?

Five.

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

Easy. Funkadelic’s “(Not Just) Knee Deep.”

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

Two young children, a full-time job. Learning story structure on the fly.

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

Family, music and people.

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

Awesome.

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

I wrote a story on what was in my head, which happened to be on a piece of studio IP. I liked it and wanted to see what someone else thought. As one might surmise, this was extremely affirming!

 

 

 

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Batman works to uncover a new sinister crime wave and realizes Bruce Wayne must rise to be the hero that Gotham needs.

CAST LIST:

Various: Val Cole
Sebastian Hady: Ron Boyd
Alfred: Wyatt Lamoreaux
Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Bruce Wayne/Batman: John Fray
Candace Collins: Weronika Sokalska
Lonnie Machin: Caleb Jacques

Interview with Screenwriter Scott Sawitz (FOR LOVE OR MUSIC)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Scott Sawitz: It’s about a woman trying to find herself while she’s under professional and personal stress.

To me that’s the core of “For Love or Music.” Ashley is an interesting woman on the cusp of musical stardom; she’s always been a singer but she could never find the artist side in her to come out.

When she finally finds it … it comes with a cost. How much of the cost will she bear … and how will it affect her?

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s a romantic comedy. More comedy than romantic, I think.

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

I’ve always thought of the romantic comedy as the greatest test of any story-teller out there. We know the beats, we know everything about what a romantic comedy could (and should) be, and we get annoyed when we can spot it.

A great romantic comedy does all these things and you don’t think about it along the way because you care about the characters, etc.

Call it personal bias but I like to this that this could be a great romantic comedy.

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

Funny and charming.

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

That’s a hard one… the one that made me love movies, really love movies, is “About Last Night.” The 80s version, not the remake with Kevin Hart (which is also a fantastic film).

It’s a great romantic drama, the sort of adult drama they don’t make anymore. As an artist that’s the sort of film I want to make; I love action films but small films like “Bandwagon” are the types that really get me into film. The artistry of character development, acting, et al, are what inspire me.

It’s also the most Chicago film made, too, but I’m a little biased being from the area.

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

It’s about a couple years now…. it started with a concept (a musician who can’t write a song without making someone’s heart break) and I developed the story around that.

Who was Ashley Powell and what made her click? Why would someone who’s a star fall in love with a failed actor? How would the people in her life react to her particular problem?

Those drove me to develop the film around it.

7. How many stories have you written?

A lot. I’ve had a script optioned in November 2017 and keep everything that’s worth a view up on my Script Revolution account.

https://www.scriptrevolution.com/profiles/scott-sawitz

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

I like to think of this as the sort of song that if you were in a professional fight, like a boxer or a cage fighter, would be the one you came to the ring or cage in. That one best summarized everything in your heart, your soul and in your brain walking into it.

“Lunatic Fringe” by Red Rider … I first listened to it in high school because it was on the “Vision Quest” soundtrack and it’s been the one that’s in my head when I write, when I work out and when I need to find some level of personal peace.

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

Like any screenwriter it’s always about time … working full-time and having a life, etc, make finding writing time difficult.

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

I’ve been a diehard combat sports fan since I was a kid and I love working out.

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

It’s been nothing but easy and elegant. The access to film festivals and contests throughout the world, and able to narrow it down is fantastic. It takes a lot of the grunt work that the fest circuit used to be in terms of research, et al, and turns it into something that makes it so much easier.

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

I’m always looking for the right place to submit, not just anyone that’ll take me … and a festival for comedy sounded amazing. I got great feedback and used it to better develop myself as a writer.
 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Ashley Powell is an ordinary bar singer when she rockets to fame overnight from a viral video. The song she was playing becomes a hit and she winds up on the fast track to musical stardom. She’s carrying a big secret though: she can only write music when she’s miserable after a break up.
With an album on the way she’s forced to write it the only way she knows how: breaking hearts.
When the great love of her life falls into her life, she’s forced to choose between happiness or success.

CAST LIST:

Skylar: David Rowan
Sara: Victoria Murdoch
Narration: Esther Thibault
Matt: Sebastian Biasucci
Ashley: Mojeane Sadr