Interview with Novelist Larry Landgraf (Into Spring – The Next Generation)

1. What is your novel about?

Sean and Robbie leave home for the first time. There are no women for them in Peaceful Valley. They head to Corpus Christi to find some. They are dressed for war it appears as they head out. They seem to be prepared for anything but that turns out to not be the case. They are captured by Sandra Hawkins, the dictator there, and their hell begins. There are a lot of twists and turns in this gritty action/adventure story. Can Robbie escape the clutches of Sandra? What will happen to Sean? You can only find out in Into Spring. Start with their adventure or begin the four-book series with book one, Into Autumn.

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

Action/adventure but there is so much more… romance, suspense, mystery, and more.

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

Beautifully shocking!

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

Independence Day

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

It’s funny you should ask. I have been writing and producing music inspired by my Four Seasons Series. “City Gal” inspired by book one, Into Autumn, came out beautifully and I listen to it a lot. You can listen to it on my website intoautumn.com

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

Not really. Even though I’m the author, I love my own books, especially the Four Seasons Series. Maybe that’s because I never planned on writing the books. I woke up from a dream in the middle of the night and just started writing. The dreams continued until I finished the series and I continue to wake up in the middle of the night with new stories.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

I never planned on becoming an author. It all started with a dream. I have a great writer’s muse who takes me on nightly trips.

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

I have always loved music and that one person has been Carrie Underwood ever since she won American Idol many years ago.

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

Maintaining my acreage, garden, and orchard with fishing trips in between. Oh, did I mention I live on a river?

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

This is the second time I’ve done this. You guys do a great job and it’s a great way to help market my books. Who knows, maybe one day there will be a movie. I’ve had a few producers looking at the screenplays I’ve also written for the series.

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

Listen to your dreams. You never know where they will take you. It’s been a fun ride for me.

Watch NOVEL Transcript Reading:

Interview with Writer Reverie Fey (CITY OF ALICE)

1. What is your short story about?

City of Alice is a cautionary tale of a British teenager who wakes up in Los Angeles, finding herself broke, homeless and pursuing an acting career in the midst of ending an abusive relationship. A modern take on Alice in Wonderland, explore this semi-autobiographical tale and follow Alice down the rabbit hole through the labyrinth of LA.

2. What genre(s) would you say this story is in?

“City of Alice” is a Young Adult book with mature subject matter. It is a gritty tale of a young girl struggling to make it in acting while trying to become an adult. It is also semi-autobiographical yet based upon the Alice in Wonderland books.

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

Modern Alice

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

I really love “Raising Arizona,” “Brazil” and “The Shining.” I think that shows my fairly eclectic tastes.

5. Do you remember the time in your life when you realized that you wanted to write?

My mother bought a ‘cutting edge’ typewriter to study for secretarial work. I took it into my bedroom when I was eight and she never got it back.

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

I love the work of HP Lovecraft, George Orwell, Natsuo Karino, Milan Kundera and Chuck Palanuik. Again, that’s several different genres: horror, classics, feminist Japanese literature, european philosophy and minimalist modern insanity. I brilliantly love them all.

7. What is your favorite meal?

I love Indian food. It reminds me of years of living abroad, appreciating the fine dining experience and the culture.

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

Once again, HP Lovecraft, George Orwell, Natsuo Karino, Milan Kundera and Chuck Palanuik.

I’d love to visit a graveyard with Lovecraft, grab a drink with Orwell, have dinner with Karino, travel over eastern europe with Kundera and go to a dark night club with Palanuik.

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

I run a theatre company for school kids performing assemblies. I also have a Patreon page with all my character readings that promote literacy for all ages. http://www.patreon.com/feylandproductions

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

As Edgar Allan Poe says in my Patreon production of Tea with Edgar Allan Poe “Read. Read all you can.” If you want to write memoirs: read memoirs, YA books, read YA. You can’t be a writer if you don’t read. Don’t be so attached to your material. Hire a good editor. Don’t expect that your first draft is publishable. Every work of art goes through an editing process. Embrace it and trust your editor. Also, don’t just have your friends read it. They will tell you to keep every word. Join a writer’s group with peers that are at your level or better than you. Have book clubs read your work and take good notes.

Watch the Short Story Reading:

Interview with Screenwriter Nicola Green (THE SPLIT)

1. What is your screenplay about?

THE SPLIT is a story about a true life champion, a speedway rider from 1950/1960’s London UK. After having a bad accident (came close to losing a leg) which ruined his racing career, he turned to a life of crime, working with some of the biggest names from the London underworld. It’s also a story about love, loss and redemption. About how the actions of yesteryear affect people decades later. The story is based on my infamous uncle, Squire ‘Split’ Waterman.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Many genres! Hard to choose! Biopic, drama, action & adventure, true crime, heist, romance, even historical.

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

My story should be made into a film, because it’s rare for a biopic to be so incredible, so utterly fantastical. Squire was one of a kind. The motorbike racing scenes alone are amazing!

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

Outstanding. Original.

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

Withnail & I. Watched it again the other evening. Perfection.

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

It took me about fourteen months to write, with an additional couple of months of edits.

7. How many stories have you written?

This is my first piece of writing that I’m proud of. The story and the dialogue just ‘flowed’. I’m currently working on a sequel to THE SPLIT, it’s entitled THE REUNION. Squire’s life of crime did not end where THE SPLIT ends, which of course is brilliant for my story writing!

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

‘It’s A Kind Of Peace’ by Faithless, featuring Cat Power.

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

Grief and Ill health were obstacles to my finishing the screenplay. Losing my mother and rheumatoid arthritis suck.

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

My children and their wellbeing. Family is everything.

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

Film Freeway is an amazing gateway to increasing a writer’s reach. Writing the screenplay is the easy part, compared to getting it optioned; getting it seen and selling it is by far the hardest part!

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

You gave brilliant feedback, thank you! Your paraphrasing of THE SPLIT’s synopsis was impressive and it showed me that you’d really read it. You ‘got it’.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Interview with Screenwriter Peter Noel (BLACK MO)

1. What is your screenplay about?

It’s about slavery. It’s about human oppression and discrimination that should never have happened, and that still exists in many places in the world today. The script is about the fact that it is always our duty to stand up for freedom, because it is not the colour of our skin that makes us different. It’s about an African girl in the 1800’s who is made a slave but she can still stay human in the midst of the loss of humanity.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama, Adventures, Biography, History.

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

Let me quote a feedback, because I think it’s more credible if I don’t write good things about the script. 🙂 „With a revitalization of the Black Lives Matter movement in recent year due to police brutality and the COVID-19 Pandemic stories about black history feel more relevant and needed than ever before. The particular strength that comes from this specific narrative is that despite the incredible suffering and loss that Mo’s experiences, she still manages to build an amazing life and legacy for herself. This tale of survival and prosperity in the face of immense hate and degradation is a much-needed reminder for so many out there that they can overcome systems of oppression, despite obstacles. The script is definitely for a studio-produced big-budget picture given the period setting and extensive length. The writing shows enough talent and competence to be made that give the script a future of promising commercial viability. The vitality of the current Black Lives Matter movement across not only the United States but the entire world at the given moment is an important consideration to make when examining a script such as this one. Learning from our past changes how we may perceive the present. White people will hopefully be inspired by the actions of characters like Cameron to try and do their best to end systemic racism still prevalent in these modern times. The script does not fetishize the violence and humiliation and approaches these horrific injustices consistently from the perspective of the oppressed, not the oppressors, an important distinction to be made that potential future audiences will likely be appreciative about regardless of skin color. This is especially considering the numerous sexual assaults that occur. Those who have suffered this kind of violation will hopefully find these scenes to not be egregiously traumatic but rather authentic representations of these indignities that have been enacted upon women for centuries, including in modern-day. The script has strong production value not only because of its vital and relevant subject matter but also its elaborative settings from African jungles, to the harrowing seas of the Atlantic and even the stuffy plantations of Georgia. The audience’s appetite for visual spectacle will no doubt be satisfied by these striking locales that the characters travel to throughout their journey.

Overall, this draft is a relatively impactful piece on slavery and how one woman can thrive despite brutality and intolerance.”

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

Beautiful monster.

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

The Shawshank Redemption… I think… 

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

I wrote this script in three weeks. I was born with the gift of writing fast luckily.

7. How many stories have you written?

I currently have 26 feature film scripts written. I have won 51 international awards in screenwriting competitions. 13 of these are first prizes.

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

I like many songs. I can’t choose one. Sorry… 

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

I did a lot of historical research to make the story believable. So, when I’m writing a historical script, like Black Mo, reading into it inevitable. Before I start to write, I do research.

To anybody preparing to write a historical screenplay, I advise them to do this. Preparation beforehand is very important, to make sure you’re writing facts, to be sure all the dates, technological inventions, every detail of the era, that is to say the historical background is in order. And I always ask to myself one question… How can we give new life, a new point of view, how can we present historical eras from different perspectives? The most important thing is to believe it’s not impossible. The writer has to find a basis that hasn’t been discovered yet. In my case with „Black Mo”, the story is about the love of a British soldier who denies slavery principles and a black girl, Mo, who are both the beacons of light and humanity in the darkness while the war – history – plays out in the background. This made a very interesting mix since we see character drama alongside the action-packed and historically correct tale. Nobody has ever put slavery in a light like I had. So I think we can and must dare to tell stories historical stories over and over again. It’s simply just our duty to present them from a new perspective. So, when I’m writing a historical screenplay, I need to do very thorough research. All the facts need to be in there. I think the only ethics involved are that we must never lie about an era, to stay authentic every moment of the way whether we’re writing about human relationships or historical backgrounds. Because of this, I thought two things to be very important… I have to have the courage to speak about war crimes and a British soldier who doesn’t believe in slavery principles. An enormous number of white people didn’t agree with the horrors of the time. And that’s how I think the story is authentic.

I need to show people that kindness of heart and humanity are independent of where we are born, what color our skin is and what our nationality is. The friendship of the British soldier, Cameron and the African girl, Mo, and finally their love tells the beautiful tale that human nature has heartwarming sides even in the darkest of times. And their developing relationship, their love for each other touches everyone because they have to stay human and survive in hell. The most important thing is to respect the memories of the survivors so we must be careful to be as accurate as possible when telling the story of what happened to them.

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

Playing guitar, singing, and working as a director. My first feature film, which I wrote and directed, will be released in cinemas next year, called ‘129’. Sci-fi drama.

http://www.129movie.com

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

It works well. It has helped me a lot in my career.

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

I submitted the script for festivals where I can get feedback from people whose ancestors were involved in slavery. Only they can tell how authentically I’ve written this story. Because I’m a white man, it is very important to me to hear what people whose ancestors were enslaved have to say about this story. Because if they feel ’Black Mo’ is
authentic, then I wrote it well. My hunch was that I had written a strong script, but obviously I needed validation. ‘Black Mo’ has won three Grand Prize awards so far, so it confirmed to me that maybe I was on the right track and maybe I had become a good writer.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Interview with POET Tommy Anderson (A RESCUES SONG)

1) What is the theme of your poem?

The theme is the plight of animals in shelters that need a forever home and of those individuals who need those animals to save them.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

In 2002 I saw an article online about a less than one year old female dalmatian who had been abused and neglected. She had been rescued by the sheriff and they were looking for a good home for her. I had PTSD and was going through a rough patch and went and took her.

She was scared of men but became my constant companion for 14 years. She really saved me and I know I saved her.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

I am a writer mainly of novels and screenplays, however I have dabbled in poetry and have written about a dozen poems with this being my first.

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

My father, I still need is wisdom.

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

A fellow film producer I have worked with knew of my poem and convinced me to submit it.

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

I have two best selling novels and several multi award winning screenplays.

7) What is your passion in life?

Being a creator.

Watch the POETRY Reading:

Interview with Poet Ryan Christiansen (OF VIRTUE, LOVE AND WAR

1) What is the theme of your poem?

The theme of the poem is love. Specifically, that it is real, that that fact must be remembered always, and that it must be fought for. The Poem pictures Romantic love but Romantic love (eros) can be an expression of the higher, unconditional love, (“Agape Love”) and serves as a metaphor for that equally well in this case. This poem and the collection of poems it comes from (“Of Virtue, Love and War”) explore various permutations of this theme

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

There’s a quote; “When in the darkness, remember what you learned in the light”. I wrote this poem to communicate that idea, specifically about love. I wrote it as well as several other poems to reach people who have drifted into darkness and must be reminded of the light… that it is real, even if it can’t be seen at the moment. In that sense I wrote it for myself as well to serve that same purpose; sort of the way Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote the “Meditations”, to remind himself of the good that life had taught him.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

Oh, boy… since high school…. so a long time:)

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

That’s really hard. I couldn’t narrow it to one but a short list would be; Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Lincoln, James Madison and Jesus.

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

Like I was saying, I wanted to reach people in dark, hopeless places. I thought having it read would help and because I’ve heard readings of some of my favorite poems, like “If”, by Rudyard Kipling and found them beautiful.

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

Yes, I write screenplays (both film and tv as well as a webisode I’m working on) and want to make one of my fantasy screenplays into a trilogy of novels

7) What is your passion in life?

It may sound sappy but seeking truth; in art, philosophy, history, faith, science.

Watch the POETRY Reading:

Interview with Filmmaker Neil Williman (INNSBRUCK. POWDER. PEOPLE.)

INNSBRUCK. POWDER. PEOPLE. was the winner of BEST FILM at the October 2021 SPORTS Feedback Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My love for the people and mountains around Innsbruck

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

Approximately 1.5 years

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

Fun skiing

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

Lack of budget and avalanche risk

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

It felt really really good

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

When I saw ski films as a kid

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

Focused by Teton Gravity Research

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

It’s good but it seems to take a big cut

9. What is your favorite meal?

Some kind of tasty vegetarian wrap served on the top of a mountain

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

Learning how being a dad works

Interview with Filmmaker Josiah Lydon (STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE)

STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the October 2021 CHICAGO Feedback Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I wanted to quit being a pathetic loser so I got the idea to make a film about pathetic losers.

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

The film took 9 months, with some considerable lulls in between, due in part to the fact that my home town of Cedar Rapids where the film was made suffered a land hurricane.

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

Unsettlingly quaint.

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

Chris Kroeger was a child every step of the way throughout production, but we can just assume it was for method’s sake 😉

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

“Wow, somebody cared enough to take the time and talk about this?”–It was very honoring and surprising to hear such positive reviews!

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I started making films when I was around 9 or 10. Knew I wanted to be a filmmaker when I was 11 after watching the “making of” for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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

The aforementioned Lord of the Rings trilogy.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Exposure/bridge building is what I imagine helps anyone in the industry achieve success, so whatever that would mean for a festival would be hugely instrumental. The podcast seems a wonderful way of doing that.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Favorite meal at the moment, cause I go through phases, would probably be tofu and rice served with stir fry. A staple of every days sustenance.

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

Currently working on a very personal short film titled “Hate Yourself” and a documentary (potentially a feature) about a 90 year old woman writer living in Chicago named Bones’, who was the first female ‘copy boy’ at the Chicago Tribune.

Interview with Filmmaker Gabriel Tizón (IMPORTANT THINGS DON’T MATTER)

IMPORTANT THINGS DON’T MATTER was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the October 2021 WILDsound Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this movie?

I have been traveling for many years to countries and societies where people cannot live, giving visibility to these situations is a driving force, and of course, learning from unknown people who maintain this world with their daily struggle. Also recently the woman I loved most passed away, she accompanied me to do documentary work in many countries, I feel that it is like keeping her alive.

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

The total of the documentary is a summary of 5 years of recordings and editing of photographs and texts.

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

Admirable people.

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

Without a doubt, the sentimental one, it is hard to meet so many people and then separate yourself from them.
5. What were your initial reactions to seeing the audience speak? about your movie in the comment video?
pride in my partner and the people who are the protagonists of the documentary

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make movies?

It was something that appeared to be able to reflect my feelings, to complete the previous work as a photographer

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

Various and different, but recently I have seen For Sama several times, but I also see different genres, everything is interesting and educational.

8. What other elements of the festival can we and other implemented festivals experience to satisfy you and help you advance your filmmaking career?

Personally, I feel more than satisfied with your work, it is very important to give prominence to lesser-known jobs and people, there are very good jobs that are not commercial and if they are very necessary in this ephemeral world. But I don’t consider myself a person to give advice.

9. What is your favorite food?

Food from Galicia and Lebanon

10. What’s next for you? A new movie?

It is possible, I am working silently on another project, but I need to recover from these last months, but yes, it is very possible that I will make a new film, although I prefer to do the work first and then show it.

Interview with Filmmaker Brittany Peterson (THE LONGEST RACE)

THE LONGEST RACE played to rave reviews at the October 2021 DOCUMENTARY Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The pandemic was starting, but I was determined to make my first independent documentary that year anyways. A marathon runner and triathlete myself, I was drawn to the narrative of an athlete who was navigating the challenges presented by Covid…questions like where to scale back, and where to focus in. When I learned of Chris and Tamari’s stories, DC ultramarathon runners who don’t know each other, I noticed their interweaving narratives. Their goals were ambitious, yet they would not relinquish them when the pandemic struck. They became incredibly flexible in how they approached them, adjusting, but not quitting, revamping their plans and redefining what success would look like that year. I think I just wanted to soak up that positivity in an otherwise dark time. The project, and following their journeys gave me something to look forward to in an otherwise lonely time.

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

A little over a year. Production was largely over 2 months, then I sat on the footage for 6 months until my Executive Producer came on board and motivated me to begin editing.

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

Relentless spirit

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

It was the lockdown during the start of the pandemic. All non-essential travel was discouraged. So I asked my subjects to document their journeys with cell phones, and I joined them for a few key runs during which I also filmed. I sent them gimbals, lav mics, weekly shot lists, and conducted interviews virtually. I embraced the fact that this wasn’t going to be the film I had imagined as my first. But it turned into something more, and working on it was a path out of the pandemic funk that hovered over me.

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

It was uncomfortable. I hate getting feedback, but it’s a good thing. They were generous and said nice things so it wasn’t too painful. Are they encouraged to say possible things? Probably. But I’ll take it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

One of the highlights of my career as a video journalist was working as a shooter/producer/editor on a couple of docu-series. I enjoyed mapping out narrative arcs and the puzzle-piecing that went with assembling an episode. It was like shaping a piece of pottery from a slab of clay, and that was thrilling to me.

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

Cool Runnings or Moana. Epic sports journey and warrior princess who needs to believe in herself to save her village? I could watch those two non-stop.

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

Love FilmFreeway. It saves filmmakers tons of time so we can focus on other things.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Does pie with Greek yogurt count as a meal?

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

A break while I adjust to my new day job and new city. Rest is essential, and I feel strongly that we (I) don’t do enough of it. Once I’ve legit chilled, then I’ll reach out to the person who I know I want to feature for my next short doc.