Interview with Screenwriter Isaac Sweeney (SHOOTING)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Isaac Sweeney: It’s a short about a young man with hoop dreams who has to make a decision between life on the streets and a real future.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

urban drama

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

It’s hard-hitting and character-driven; emotional but fun.

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

street decisions

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

I’ve probably watched Die Hard the most times in my life, and I even wrote something about it here: . It’s one of those movies I can quote as it’s playing. Other movies that have had an influence on who I am are The Karate Kid, Rocky, Top Gun, Real Genius, The Breakfast Club, and the list goes on. One of the best movies I’ve seen recently is A Quiet Place.

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

I wrote this short first as a one-act play. I was a teacher in Petersburg, Va., teaching 8th and 9th graders in a creative writing class in 2016. We wrote a play together. I revised that play many times until it became Shooting. Early in 2018, I adapted it into a screenplay format.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written more stories than I can remember. I’ve wanted to be a writer since middle school, when we were asked to write a short story. You can search my name and find some of my stuff “out there.” I’ve published short stories (check Amazon), poems, a memoir-of-sorts, essays, and much more.

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

Tough to answer because I love music in all formats. My mother liked old country music, so anytime something by Conway Twitty gets played, I’m there. His version of “The Rose” is great. I discovered my love for music in the Garth Brooks era; I love “The Dance.” I don’t get tired of “Penny Lane” or “Eleanor Rigby.” I like the guitar solo in Led Zepplin’s “Heartbreaker.” I dig 80s metal and some 90s alternative. I like some pop stuff now and then. I didn’t listen to a lot of hip hop growing up, but I’ve recently discovered an affinity for that, and I’m trying to catch up. Eminem. Tupac. Love the old Motown sound, like early Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. I could keep going on this forever.

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

I wasn’t sure how to end it. I’m still not sure if the ending is “there” yet. Is a screenplay ever really finished? Is anything that’s written?

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

When people ask about me, I tell them I’m a father, husband, writer, and educator … in that order. I love my family. I love education; I’ve been at the helm of a classroom since 2007. I just like words. I think it’s cool that you used “apart” correctly. I like the irony of “apart” meaning separate, but then when you separate “a” and “part,” you get “a part,” which can mean a thing is connected to something else (like “a part of” something). Movies and music. I love animals. I can juggle. I know one magic trick with a deck of cards. I think the key to a better world is perspective. I think “literacy” is much more than just the ability to read. ….

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

A big old handful of super awesomeness!

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

I just want to get stuff out there. Everyone I’ve come in contact with has been amazing and I can’t wait to see what else comes down the pipeline.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Logline: In Shooting, will Angel choose the future he wants or the revenge his family deserves? An urban drama set in the gritty reality of the streets.

Genre: Urban drama

Type: Short screenplay


Rico: Scott McCullogh

Butter: Nick Hendrik

Narrator: Matt Barnes

Angel: Gabriel Darku

Keesha: Olivia Barret


By matthewtoffolo

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

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