Interview with Screenwriter Andrew Cooper (COME ALIVE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Andrew Cooper: A middle-aged gay couple’s attempt to rekindle their relationship turns into an absurd, hormone-fueled quest to defeat heterosexist aliens and save a new LGBTQ society.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s a fast-paced adventure-comedy, with a touch of sci-fi for kicks.

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

A madcap quest led by middle-age characters that’s queer through and through is something people have rarely, if ever, seen—but are ready for. Come Alive will satisfy younger and older LGBTQ audiences as well as others looking for a story off the beaten path.

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

Absurd fun

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

A three-way tie: National Lampoon’s Vacation, Foul Play, and Seems Like Old Times. I watched them almost on a loop when I was a kid, so often that my parents had to make a rule that I could watch them only once a month. I grew out of it but still have a silly streak.

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

I finished drafting circa November 2019 and have been tinkering ever since.

7. How many stories have you written?

I really don’t know. I’ve published 30 or 40 prose stories but written reams more. Since I started screenwriting a couple of years ago, I’ve churned out about 15 scripts (shorts and features).

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

Possibly “A Strange Day” by The Cure. It’s full of goth-y goodness while still being uplifting.

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

Life might have tripped me up once or twice, but the real obstacles lay in the writing itself. Even though I wouldn’t describe the script as a gut-buster, it is comedic, which was new to me. It required developing and trusting a different ear for dialogue. It also called for a sense of pacing that, for this story, made me squish events into an unbelievably short timeline. Mostly for chuckles, we go from weird to weirder to totally WTF in not many minutes. I also needed to write a lot of sex and sexual situations, more new-ish territory for me. Some of it is intentionally puerile, but I want some of it to be… hot. Strategies for writing hotness were definitely an obstacle. I can only hope I succeeded.

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

Movies, of course! We work a lot, but my husband and I take our screen time seriously, likely playing more video games than people in our age demographic in addition to streaming lots of TV shows and movies. Our cat, about whom we are ridiculously passionate, doesn’t seem to mind. When the world is open, we also love brunching all around Los Angeles and traveling when possible, often beating our feet raw so we can take in maximum museums.

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

It’s great for finding competitions and keeping my entries organized. I have also used Coverfly. Its scoring system is intriguing, but I don’t fully understand it.

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

I went looking for a place to send Come Alive and thought (hoped) this festival would be a perfect fit. Though I’d love for many audiences to enjoy it, the story speaks mostly to LGBT audiences, who are most likely to relate to the characters, get the humor, and possibly even feel, um, titillated. The festival’s inclusion of feedback for all entries also spoke to me, as I entered new territory with this script and need(ed) professional eyes on it. I was thrilled to get feedback that responded enthusiastically to the characters, humor, and story! I felt like my venture into uncharted territory might have worked out. I am especially excited about the upcoming full reading, a prize I will cherish—and an opportunity to hear how the timing I worked on actually operates.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Summary: A hilarious comedy about two men, TIM and ALVY, as they explore their sexuality again in their relationship.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allison Kampf
Tim (M): Steve Rizzo (8)
Alvy (M): Geoff Mays (9)

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