Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?
Scott Sawitz: It’s about a woman trying to find herself while she’s under professional and personal stress.
To me that’s the core of “For Love or Music.” Ashley is an interesting woman on the cusp of musical stardom; she’s always been a singer but she could never find the artist side in her to come out.
When she finally finds it … it comes with a cost. How much of the cost will she bear … and how will it affect her?
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
It’s a romantic comedy. More comedy than romantic, I think.
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
I’ve always thought of the romantic comedy as the greatest test of any story-teller out there. We know the beats, we know everything about what a romantic comedy could (and should) be, and we get annoyed when we can spot it.
A great romantic comedy does all these things and you don’t think about it along the way because you care about the characters, etc.
Call it personal bias but I like to this that this could be a great romantic comedy.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
Funny and charming.
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
That’s a hard one… the one that made me love movies, really love movies, is “About Last Night.” The 80s version, not the remake with Kevin Hart (which is also a fantastic film).
It’s a great romantic drama, the sort of adult drama they don’t make anymore. As an artist that’s the sort of film I want to make; I love action films but small films like “Bandwagon” are the types that really get me into film. The artistry of character development, acting, et al, are what inspire me.
It’s also the most Chicago film made, too, but I’m a little biased being from the area.
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
It’s about a couple years now…. it started with a concept (a musician who can’t write a song without making someone’s heart break) and I developed the story around that.
Who was Ashley Powell and what made her click? Why would someone who’s a star fall in love with a failed actor? How would the people in her life react to her particular problem?
Those drove me to develop the film around it.
7. How many stories have you written?
A lot. I’ve had a script optioned in November 2017 and keep everything that’s worth a view up on my Script Revolution account.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
I like to think of this as the sort of song that if you were in a professional fight, like a boxer or a cage fighter, would be the one you came to the ring or cage in. That one best summarized everything in your heart, your soul and in your brain walking into it.
“Lunatic Fringe” by Red Rider … I first listened to it in high school because it was on the “Vision Quest” soundtrack and it’s been the one that’s in my head when I write, when I work out and when I need to find some level of personal peace.
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Like any screenwriter it’s always about time … working full-time and having a life, etc, make finding writing time difficult.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I’ve been a diehard combat sports fan since I was a kid and I love working out.
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
It’s been nothing but easy and elegant. The access to film festivals and contests throughout the world, and able to narrow it down is fantastic. It takes a lot of the grunt work that the fest circuit used to be in terms of research, et al, and turns it into something that makes it so much easier.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I’m always looking for the right place to submit, not just anyone that’ll take me … and a festival for comedy sounded amazing. I got great feedback and used it to better develop myself as a writer.
Watch the Screenplay Reading:
Ashley Powell is an ordinary bar singer when she rockets to fame overnight from a viral video. The song she was playing becomes a hit and she winds up on the fast track to musical stardom. She’s carrying a big secret though: she can only write music when she’s miserable after a break up.
With an album on the way she’s forced to write it the only way she knows how: breaking hearts.
When the great love of her life falls into her life, she’s forced to choose between happiness or success.
Skylar: David Rowan
Sara: Victoria Murdoch
Narration: Esther Thibault
Matt: Sebastian Biasucci
Ashley: Mojeane Sadr