Interview with Winning Screenwriter Sean Elwood (WHERE THE BAD KIDS GO)

 July 2018 Winning 1st Scene HORROR Screenplay.

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Sean Elwood: It’s been sixteen years since Jesse was taken away from his abusive, alcoholic mother after she had tried to kill him. When he hears of the news that she committed suicide, he returns to his childhood house for preparation to sell it, as well as confront his dark past once and for all. He soon discovers that something evil lurks within the depths of the house, and after all these years, it’s been waiting for him to return.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror, Drama

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

“Where the Bad Kids Go” begins with a bang and doesn’t let go. Imagine “The Babadook” meets “Hereditary,” both successful horror movies that were also truly terrifying. This script is filled with dread and a foreboding atmosphere from the very start, and ends with a powerful finale meant to both make you scared and cry. The story delves into the mind of a man whose past comes back to haunt him, literally. With moments of true terror, a wide character dynamic, and a haunting message, I feel that “Where the Bad Kids Go” would be the next big success if given the opportunity to be made into a movie.

Furthermore, “Where the Bad Kids Go” can be made on a low budget, apart from the big finale, and is the perfect character piece for up-and-coming actors. It contains only 1 main location (6 locations total), and 3 main characters (plus about 8 small roles), so it would also be easily manageable.

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

Super spooky

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

This is tough, as I watch a lot of the same movies multiple times. It would have to be a tie between the “Dawn of the Dead” remake, or “Final Destination” (the plane explosion scene scares the absolute shit out of me, but I watch it anyway). Or, “Stay” with Ryan Gosling, Ewan McGregor, and Naomi Watts, a little known movie that is great in every way.

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

This screenplay has actually been in the works even before I thought of turning it into a script. It started off as a short story that I wrote back in 2015 that I later adapted into a feature script in January 2018. I’ve continued to work on this screenplay and have started on creating a storyboard for it (as I write this, I am currently at 165 shots, or 17 pages in). I plan to approach investors/production companies with this project and want to show storyboarding, character designs, creatures designs, and even a layout/blueprint of The House to give them as much of a picture as possible with what I envision for “Where the Bad Kids Go.”

7. How many stories have you written?

As far as I can count, 26, both short stories and screenplays.

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

Right now, my favorite song probably has to be “Somebody Else” by The 1975.

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

My biggest obstacle was keeping the page count as short as possible without removing too much of the emotion, message, and detail that I wanted to include in the screenplay. There is a lot involved within the short story that was difficult to put into a script, but I had to remember that audiences are smart and will notice signs, symbolism, and meaning without actually saying it or showing it. The first draft was heavy with voiceover that described a lot of things and made it too obvious to the reader. The second draft had an ending that was too long after the climax/resolution. So, with shortening everything down and reducing the page count, the script now reads smoothly, quickly, and almost effortlessly.

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

Writing is probably my main passion, but beyond that, I have a strong passion for the “Alien” films and collect anything and everything surrounding the franchise. I’ve collected action figures since I was a kid, and I’ve collected life-sized replicas of the heads of the aliens from the four original films (Alien thru Alien Resurrection). The franchise is my favorite and the collectibles are my pride and joy.

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

So far, FilmFreeway has made submitting scripts into festivals very easy and efficient. The platform is clean and easy to maneuver around in, and even though I’ve just started using it this year, I’ve had a better experience with FilmFreeway more so than WithoutABox, which is what I used before I stumbled upon FilmFreeway. The site is clean and I enjoy the updates that I receive from the site regarding festivals, whether new or existing, and they keep me in the loop of festivals from all around the world.

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

The idea of possibly having my script read/performed by actors was a major influencing factor as not very many festivals provide that as a perk to the officially selected script. I believe that reading the script by actors shines a spotlight on the script and gives it the recognition it deserves. It is also an amazing opportunity to promote the screenplay if the screenwriter wants to market it to investors or production companies by giving them something to watch/read along to. My thoughts and feelings regarding the initial feedback that I received was nothing but a positive experience. The feedback was wonderful and touched on many aspects of the screenplay that really had the gears in my head turning, and made me think more about the story or certain parts of the screenplay. It was nothing but positive suggestions to help make the script better, and was very professional and interesting to read from a screenwriter’s point of view.

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama

When Jesse returns to his childhood home after hearing about his abusive mother’s suicide, he soon discovers that something evil lurks within the depths of the house, and it’s been waiting for him to return after all these years.


Narrator: Val Cole
Jesse: Jolly Amoako
Helen: Alicia Payne

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 for more information and to submit your work to the festival.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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