Interview with Screenwriter Joel Stern (THE WAITING ROOM)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Joel Stern: 64-year-old Bill Egan, a crusty Alcatraz corrections officer, suffers a heart attack following the escape of famed prisoner Frank Morris. Shortly after, Egan finds himself in a waiting room along with a one-armed Medal of Honor award winner-turned hitman, a ditzy bank teller and a Bronx street hood.

From different time periods, together they piece together the events that brought them there.

Little do they know… they are about to face the ultimate judgement.

“The Waiting Room” was inspired by several real-life events.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Suspense, comedy

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

The Waiting Room provides a humorous look into the gray zone between life and death

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

Scary funny

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

“Office Space”

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

App. seven months

7. How many stories have you written?

Four (“Trickle Down”; “Word Games”; “The Seer”; “The Waiting Room”)

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

Rod Stewart’s “Have I Told You Lately”

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

Creating suspense and tension in a setting that — with the exception of flashbacks — is experienced by my characters in just two sterile rooms.

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

Movies; sports; travel; world and American history; science

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

I find it easy to choose which festivals I want to enter and to submit my work

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

“Word Games” was my first entry and I not only received valuable feedback, but it won “Best Screenplay” for September 2017. The entire script was table read by actors and placed on YouTube. It provided me with a valuable tool to see it performed as well as to promote it.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

In this suspense/comedy, Bill Egan, a crusty Alcatraz corrections officer, suddenly finds himself in a waiting room along with a one-armed Medal of Honor award winner-turned hitman, a ditzy bank teller and a Bronx street hoodlum. From different time periods, they try to piece together the events that brought them there.
Little do they know they are about to face the ultimate judgement.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller

CAST LIST:

Linda: Cassandra Guthrie
Chuck: John Marcucci
Narrator: Kat Smiley
Bill: Shawn Devlin
Oscar: Sean Ballantyne
Reggie: Sam Fazli

Submit exclusively via Film Freeway:

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