Interview with Screenwriter Neal Doran (CHANGES)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Neil Doran: It’s about Toby, a 12-year-old boy, just on the verge of awkwardness, who falls for a girl on his Tube journey home from school and must overcome shyness, cockier rivals, and an over-protective parent to go on his first date.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Almost-coming-of-age drama.

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

I think it deals with a time of life we all go through that usually doesn’t get that much attention. Battling through adolescence to adulthood, sure. But that point where we go from kid to teenager, when we first start seeing the potential for our own identity? I think that could use more films.

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

Awkward. Hopeful.

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


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

The idea first popped up around seven years ago and Toby’s father, who isn’t even in the final script, was the main character. While it knocked around in my head for a few years, I’d say I spent 6-9 months in 2018 putting it together as it is now.

7. How many stories have you written?

Two novels, half a failed narrative series, one short script, and two features, with another in the works.

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

Rosalita by Bruce Springsteen when feeling particularly cheerful, and Goodbye to Love by Carpenters when feeling particularly melancholic. It varies for all points in between.

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

The thought: who cares? It’s such a small story; Toby’s just a kid. He’s not a boy-wizard, or terminally ill, or especially gifted in any way. And although it had an emotional punch for me, it was difficult to imagine anyone else connecting with it.

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

The triumvirate of passions would be writing, running, and family. There’s only one of those that I don’t also actively attempt to avoid.

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

All good. Easy to use, clear, and showing up opportunities I would otherwise have missed.

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

The idea of the table-read was really appealing – to hear how the script might (or might not) flow was a great opportunity. And the cast did a great job!

When the initial feedback came in I was obviously delighted and relieved that a story about a young boy’s London Underground journey home had connected in some way with someone (presumably) a little older and in a different country.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Toby is a typical gamer kid approaching the woes of puberty. The after school routine with his bookish friend Nic is spent navigating the London tube line trying to figure the most efficient route to make the infamous 1609 train. However, when one of the popular kids start riding the tube with them they become increasingly involved with a group of girls from another school travelling the same way.


Various: Sean Ballantyne
Clare: Leanne Hoffman
Nik: Caleb Jaques
Chris: Ross Cummings
Narration: Carina Cojeen
Toby: Aaron Williams
Jen: Victoria Murdoch
Mandy/Smiley: Natalie Morgan


By matthewtoffolo

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


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