Interview with Winning Screenwriter Elisa Herrman (THE GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE BENTLEY GIRLS)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

“The Great Adventure of the Bentley Girls” is set in England in the early 1800s, and tells the story of the Bentleys, a family composed of Aunt Lucy, the matriarch, and her three orphan nieces, Eliza, Julia, and Mary. Aunt Lucy’s goal in life is to arrange good marriages to her nieces, fulfilling a promise she made to her sister in her deathbed, sister who had been disowned by their father. Aunt Lucy, however, is unable to get married, because if she does, all the fortune that was left to her by her father would be given to her future husband. Therefore, Aunt Lucy decides to remain unmarried so that she can have control over her inheritance, and provide decent dowries to her nieces. Her task is a difficult one as certain things come into play, such as love, reputation, betrayal, and greed.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

This screenplay is a historical drama.

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

I strongly believe that there’s a public for it. Period pieces are always of interest to many people, and I am sure that the legion of Jeanettes (Jane Austen’s fans) would love to see another movie inspired by this amazing author. Furthermore, I think that a film led by a strong female ensamble cast is what we need right now. I hope that my film can inspired women to be the masters of their own lives, even if they are facing the harshest of realities. Though my characters live in a male-centric society, where a good marriage is the highest ambition a woman could have, I show how they find ways to bend that society’s rules and live their lives as they believe they should.

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

It’s hard to describe it with only two words, so I’m going to bend the rules here and go with “Unapologetic Feminist Jane Austen Fan Fiction”.

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

Probably the Harry Potter series. Have I mentioned that I am also a Potterhead?

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

I had the original idea for this screenplay about 15 years ago, when I first feel in love with Jane Austen and the world she created in her novels. However, I did not get to write it until recently; I don’t think I was mature enough to develop this story until now, so I saved it for when the moment was right, which was about two years ago. From there, it took me about one and a half years to do extensive research, which included a trip to the English countryside to see the actual location of my film, and then to finally write a first draft. I have been working on rewrites ever since.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have written several stories, but this is my first feature screenplay.

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

Drops of Jupiter, by Train. I totally identify with the girl he’s describing in the song.

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

Probably time to write and research. I am a film professor with a very busy schedule, so finding the time to do research to make sure I got the time period right was a great challenge. And then, of course, writing demands time, inspiration, and concentration, things that are hard to come by when you have another full time job.

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

Watching and making films, of course. Traveling comes right after, wanderlust runs in my veins.

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

Film Freeway is an excellent platform. I love how easy it is to navigate and find out the best festival for your film/screenplay.

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

When I read the description for this festival, I immediately knew that my screenplay and the fan fiction film festival were a match made in heaven. This is a great festival, with a very original idea of how to award the winners, and the feedback was very appropriate and valuable. I could tell that whoever read my screenplay, did so with much attention to detail and with an open mind. Thank you for this opportunity!

 

******

Genre: Historical Drama

Set in England in the early 1800s, and tells the story of the Bentleys, a family composed of Aunt Lucy, the matriarch, and her three orphan nieces, Eliza, Julia, and Mary. Aunt Lucy’s goal in life is to arrange good marriages to her nieces, fulfilling a promise she made to her sister in her deathbed, sister who had been disowned by their father.

CAST LIST:

Mr. Ridley: Nick Wicht
Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Lucy: Val Cole
Mr. Johnson: John Fray
 

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3 thoughts on “Interview with Winning Screenwriter Elisa Herrman (THE GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE BENTLEY GIRLS)

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