Interview with Screenwriter Jessie Garcia (THE PROFESSOR)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Jesse Garcia: My story centers on a lonely, middle-aged professor at a small college in Iowa. The professor falls for one of his students, but when the chair of the psychology department appears to be murdered, the professor’s world begins to unravel.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?


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

I love movies with unexpected twists that leave the audience thinking back on various clues and scenes. I feel that “The Professor” offers just that. There’s nothing more fun than a movie that gets your heart beating and your brain churning at the same time, then leaves you with a show-stopping end so that you can’t wait to dissect it with a friend.

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

Unexpected turns

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

This is a funny one because the answer is probably “Grease.” As a young teenager, I think I saw that movie 15 or 20 times. It was playing at our local theater and I would save all of my babysitting money and allowance and beg my parents to drop me and and friend off day after day. Of course, having a crush on John Travolta probably helped motivate me! As an adult, I loved “Cinema Paradiso” and I can still watch it again and again— and cry every time.

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

I wrote it in a couple of months. I work in a university setting so I would think about when I was at work and then write at night.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have three published books: “My Life with the Green and Gold” (Wisconsin Historical Society Press; a memoir about my years as a female sportscaster, sideline reporter for the Green Bay Packers and host of NFL coach’s shows), “No Stone Unturned” (LuLu Press; a look at Olympic gold medalist Casey FitzRandolph’s rise to fame and his sister’s subsequent battle with cancer) and “Going for Wisconsin Gold” (Wisconsin Historical Society Press; a history of the Olympics and Olympians from the state of Wisconsin). I just completed my first three novels and am turning one into an audio book. “The Professor” is my first screenplay. I also write short stories on the side.

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

This is tough. I would have to say something by the Beatles or Bob Dylan. I really appreciate songs that not only have a catchy beat but also tell a story and use words in such clever and memorable ways.

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

After the first draft I had multiple readers take a look at it. Everyone had different opinions so I had to really think about the story I wanted to tell.

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

My kids would say nothing!! I can’t cook, sew, sing, do art or dance but I love writing and find true delight in it. When I’m not writing, I’m listening to podcasts about writing 🙂 But to further answer your question, I’m passionate about storytelling in general. As a former journalist and now journalism instructor, I feel the world is filled with endless stories and I wish I could tell them all. I also love reading, staying up at night talking with my two teenage sons, taking strolls with my husband and dog and dreaming about my next travel destination.

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

It was great. Easy to use and I’m very glad I decided to take a leap of faith and enter my screenplay.

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

I went looking for screenplay agents and it appeared that they were hard to come by, but there seemed to be a number of contests for screenplays so I decided to go that route. The feedback I received was excellent and spot-on. I made some changes immediately based on the professional feedback and I’m grateful– thank you.

A middle-aged professor is down on his life until a beautiful young co-ed takes an interest in him, but she is not at all who she seems to be.


Narration – Sean Ballantyne
Female Detective – Norma Dawn Dunphy
The Professor – Shawn Devlin

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.

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