Interview with Screenwriter Laurent Auclair (ACCEPTANCE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Laurent Auclair: ‘Acceptance’ is about finding the strength and necessary support to move on when you are stuck in a tough time of your life. Michael meets Eve and it’s more than a Boy Meets Girl situation, as their relationship doesn’t evolve into a romance, but more into a reciprocal mentor/mentee relationship, where each of them helps the other one grow and move on with their life.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

‘Acceptance’ is a Drama Road-Movie with LGBT themes and a love for cinema that impacted my own life.

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

I love relationship drama and the intrication of happy encounters in someone’s life. I also like it when a film and its characters resonate with my own life. Writing ‘Acceptance’, I wasn’t in a good place emotionally (after a break-up, of course) and I couldn’t find the proper guidance I was looking for. I think this film could of course entertain audience, but also help some people dealing with their own issues, or realising that there can be a silver lining however down you’re feeling.

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

Emotional Fun.

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

Luc Besson’s ‘The Big Blue’. A story about dreaming big and the possibility (or not) of love in the hero’s life. But I admit that ‘Basic Instinct’ and ‘Showgirls’ (both by Paul Verhoeven) follow closely on the list.

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

I started developing this story during a road trip across the USA over the Summer of 2014. I had broken up with my partner (surprise, surprise!) and was not in a good place. I was on my way to the Cleveland Gay Games and decided to cross the country to see the real places where some of my favourite films were made. All the emotions that I felt during this trip heavily influenced my writing, and I also had a few very happy encounters with people that helped me move on, just like Michael meets Eve in ‘Acceptance’.

7. How many stories have you written?

Hard to count as there’s always a new story I would scribble in a notebook or on the computer. I self-published two novels for Young Readers, I wrote 50 episodes for animated TV series and developed stories for more than 150 episodes on those series, I have around 10 finished scripts (early to late drafts) in my drawers -where ‘Acceptance’ stayed for more than a year before I dared send it to WILDsound-, and I probably have 50 stories in progress on my computer, who knows where some of those will go!

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

It’s a French song called ‘Message Personnel’ sung by Francoise Hardy and written by Michel Berger, from the early 80s. Francoise Hardy also sung it in English, but I prefer the French version (being of French background myself). It’s about impossible love, a desperate cry to be loved (Feel like there’s a theme, here!)

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

Self-doubt is the worst. I had a few fights with my characters, too, and I didn’t win all of them!

It was also very hard to find the right pace and events for my second act, as I had quite a precise beginning and ending in mind as soon as I started to develop the script. I got rid of many scenes I loved, I got rid of many side characters that I wanted to include, but I am sure they’ll resurrect in another story, in another script.

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

I love to watch movies and read books. I also love long walks in nature, which Sydney, Australia, where I live, offers by the dozen. I’m the occasional singer (great for stress release) and volleyball player (not so great for my knees and ankles). I’m also passionate about my friends. I have few of them, but I cherish my time with them and I couldn’t be without them. ‘Acceptance’ wouldn’t be finished without them!

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

I think FilmFreeway was the trigger for me to take all those scripts out of the drawer and out in the open. I had no idea there would be so many Screenplay Competitions and Festivals around the world. It was easy to use, free to register to and then it’s my constant choice which Festival I want to enter or not. They’re also great at updating the notifications, and there is no better joy than to wake up with an email from them saying that my script has been selected to a festival!!!!

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

I chose to enter WILDsound mostly because it offered feedback on my work. The current script is the fifth draft I completed on ‘Acceptance’ and I know I am still a few drafts away from finishing. But it is at that stage (or so I think) where it could attract production interest and where producers and investors could see the potential of it, even with its flaws.

The feedback I received was indeed invaluable and I am currently rewriting the script, as some of the points made opened my eyes on problems I knew I had with story and characters, but couldn’t pinpoint on my own. Writing is a solitary exercice and I am a true believer of a collaborative process to make it better. That’s exactly what WILDsound provided, giving me the positive boost I needed by selecting my screenplay and showing interest, and by providing spot on feedback to allow me to move on to the next (and hopefully better) draft.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

In the USA after a bad break-up, Sydneysider Michael meets Eve and agrees to join her in a road trip across the States to see the locations where his favourite movies have been filmed. The cathartic journey will allow them both to face their troubled past and to move on to a better future.

CAST LIST:

Backpacker – Marcus Bernacci
Backpacker – Rebecca MacDonald
NARRATION – Neil Bennett
Michael – David Jackson
Eve – Krista Barzso