Interview with Screenwriter Kate Whitehead (SKATE NIGHT)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Kate Whitehead: It is about an edgy, agoraphobic, nerd-girl who tries to make the transition from virtual to in-person dating while keeping her bodacious personality intact.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy, Romance.

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

This is a script that was written to be fun and inexpensive to shoot. On a shoestring budget, the car scene could be adapted to bicycles or speed walking and the whole thing could probably be shot in two locations. There are no expensive props, costumes, or special effects.

It also gives a lot of leeway to the production team as every character can easily be played by any gender without having to change the script apart from pronouns.

It’s short, funny, and leaves the audience feeling good. It’s a small reprieve from an ever darkening world, as far as I’m concerned.

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

Nerd Love.

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

Napoleon Dynamite.

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

About a year (off and on).

7. How many stories have you written?

About 30.

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

I’d have to say Master of Puppets by Metallica. My friend is a DJ and spun at my birthday party. After the party was over he said, “ You know, that’s the first time I have ever played MOP all the way through. Usually I throw it on for maybe a minute for the rockers in the crowd, but tonight there were people on the dancefloor seriously head banging for 8 straight minutes. I was afraid to turn it off. Afraid for my life, really.”

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

I don’t usually write comedies. One time I got ‘romantic comedy’ in a themed writing competition and I almost barfed/dropped out. But I persevered and, although the story I wrote for that competition is not the inspiration for this screenplay, it did illustrate to me that there is a genre of comedy/romance that I can enjoy. Nerd Love.

My partner, who is plagued with worry about the creep-fests I usually produce, was ecstatic when I wrote Skate Night. “Now THAT’s a good story!” they said. I think they were relieved that there were moments of my life that were not spent with my toe dipped into a puddle of dark hell.

So I would have to say that my greatest challenge writing this screenplay was stopping myself from having any of the characters meet a sudden, unexpected demise. I managed to keep it light! Go me!


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

Apart from rocking on forever? Trying to live in a way that includes everyone, even the people I would like to tell to go stuff it. I am also passionate about nature and letting it be.

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

It’s a great tool for finding places to submit that you might otherwise never have known about. I found this festival by cruising the site (even though I actually live in Toronto and might have been expected to have already have discovered it). It saves a lot of headaches about multiple forms and downloads. In the end I think that I submit to more places because of the site.

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

I entered the festival because it was local (I am from Toronto) and inclusive. Things are changing but I feel like whenever you write something that features diversity in gender or sexuality, readers pigeon hole you as “being political” as opposed to focusing on the story. I felt that a lot of that could be skipped by having my script read by folks who wouldn’t spend the whole time wondering what the characters did in bed. I guess that’s a bad sign for a romantic comedy but, like I said, I am writing out of genre here. Also everything I write is sideways political so I should probably just accept that.

The feedback was great. The reader obviously took the time to read and understand my story. The commentary showed me that I needed another scene and so I wrote it and the screenplay got a lot better. The risk of writing alone in your room is that the characters are alive in your head but you don’t really know how much of them are alive on the page until a total stranger meets them and tells you all about it.

Watch the Winning Short Script:

Genre: Comedy

Agoraphobic skateboarder Cindy has a life that is rich in avatars but poor in human interaction. When she decides to make the leap to dating live people, everything turns out to be just as chaotic as she had feared.

CAST LIST:

DJ Strangelove: Neil Bennett
Genie: Kevin P. Gabel
Narrator: Charles Gordon
Jolene: Carina Cojeen
Cindy: Amber Copeland
Police Officer: Ryan Singh

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