Interview with Winning Screenwriter Michael Zielinski (CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Michael Zielinski: My romantic screenplay CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT centers on three couples at Christmastime encountering connection obstacles, the most compelling pairing a body-shaming victim with her one-time bully.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romance.

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

The search for love is universal and my screenplay is heartwarming in demonstrating that serious potholes in that journey, like past scars, disparity in professions and ambition, can be overcome — especially with some help from the magic of Christmas.

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

Feel good.

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

Heaven Can Wait by Warren Beatty.

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

Eight months

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written this screenplay, published two novels, and written two full-length plays and six one-act plays (one of the full-length plays and five of the one-acts have been produced at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in New York City, with the other full-length and one-act scheduled for 2019 productions at Manhattan Repertory). I also am a newspaper columnist.

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

Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers.

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

I usually write comedies and this script was meant to be more romance than romantic comedy — an adjustment for me.

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

Sports.

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

Extremely positive and educational. FilmFreeway gives me access and exposure to industry professionals I otherwise would not have. And the feedback has been quite helpful. FilmFreeway is a portal to the possibility of opportunity.

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

The feedback was my primary motivation. And the feedback from the Los Angeles Feedback Film & Screenplay Festival was exceptionally helpful in pointing out issues of exposition, character motivation and story/structure context in my screenplay.

Watch Screenplay Reading: 

The primary couple for the romantic screenplay CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT are CHAD MORGAN and WHITNEY PAXTON. They see each other at the ski lodge at Christmastime for the first time since high school 15 years ago. He was the star quarterback, she was overweight and had a hopeless crush on him. He body shamed her at a Christmas dance their senior year, an incident that transformed both their lives.

CAST LIST:

Narrator:  Allen Michael Brunet

Chad:  Kevin Gabel
Whitney: Ariel Brooker

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