Interview with Winning Screenwriter Meg Bowen (LOVERS IN PARADISE)

July 2018 1st Scene Screenplay Winner.

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Meg Bowen: At it’s simplest, Lovers in Paradise is about apprehensive bank robbers who are at the end of their rope. When a job goes badly, they’re finally given a choice: do you continue on the only path they’ve ever really known, or do you walk away and learn to rebuild yourself from the ground up?

Which, at least to me, in my late teens and into my early twenties, was a big question that I would ask myself pretty regularly.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I’d likely classify this script as Action/Romance.

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

I think that this screenplay should be made into a movie because, besides being fun and visually interesting, I had a lot to say with this movie. I think that, at face value, it will still be entertaining, with an added layer of what it means to work through abuse and oppression and come out as a survivor on the other side.

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

Found family.

And I know that generally, the point of describing something as concisely as with two words, is that you don’t add a caveat, but I’m going to add that caveat here anyway because you don’t get to really see in my opening sequence. I think that, to a lot of people, struggling who you are and who you want to be, without what you feel is a solid support system is really scary. And when you go out into the world and you find somebody with the same life experiences, it can be a very transcendent and significant relationship to explore and nurture.

And that’s what this script becomes about. Under strange and unlikely circumstances, sometimes you find gold in the people that you meet.

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

I’m a big rewatcher. So there are tons of movies that I’ve seen too many times to count. But it’s most likely Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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

The idea for the opening sequence had been knocking about in my head for maybe a little over a year, but I didn’t really start to flesh out what the rest of the story might look like until about six months ago.

7. How many stories have you written?

I spent most of my undergrad writing for our uni magazine and other publications, so I’ve written a lot of stories over my life.

In terms of screenwriting, this is my first finished product!

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

New Slang by The Shins. I heard it on the soundtrack of some pretentious movie, but I couldn’t let the song go.

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

Probably the easy answer here, but really just finding the time to physically sit down and write this thing out. I’ve been working in film and television for the last three years or so without very much time off between jobs, so I’ve found it really tough to find the time and motivation to write between long days on set and keeping myself emotionally happy enough to create art and stories that I’m proud of!

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

I really do enjoy finding new things that I can really care about and dedicate my time to, so I’ve really never been short on hobbies and passions. Beyond writing, what’s really stuck with me since I was a kid has been sports and music. I played pretty high-level sports growing up so staying strong and fit has always been something that I cared about doing.

I’ve also been playing the guitar since I was in high school, so I try to keep that up as much as possible. Music is a bit of a layman’s passion for me, in that it’s something that I really enjoy doing, even if I’m not particularly good at it. Which really helps keep the pressure and existentialism off something that should always remain fun.

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

I haven’t used to site too often, but it’s been really helpful in putting different contests and opportunities in front of me. It’s also very user-friendly and super easy to navigate.

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

Opening sequences have always been so important to my enjoyment of any movie or tv show. So I’ve always paid close attention to how my own stories open and draw readers in. I thought that this was a very interesting festival because it would, very immediately, tell me if I’d drawn people in.

Possibly hearing my own words table read was also very cool to me. I’ve sat through a lot of table reads at work and I remember sitting through one of the first ones thinking just how awesome and surreal it would be to hear my own words read by talented actors. It was definitely something that I put on my Writer’s Bucket List.

The feedback I received was wonderful. You spend so much time with your stories, it’s always so refreshing to have someone else hold up a mirror to them. The feedback I received definitely helped me through the re-reads that came after entering this festival, trying to bring the rest of the script up to a level that I really happy with and proud of.
 

Genre: Romance, Crime, Action

A bank robbery goes awry and our two criminals have to steal a getaway car. Except there’s a girl tied up in the trunk, who might just be their best chance at walk-away money.

CAST LIST:

Janine: Alicia Payne
Kip: Dorian Shine
Narrator: Val Cole
Brad: Jolly Amoako
Juliette: Amrit Kaur

Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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