Interview with Screenwriter Steve Sterling (THE YOUNGEST DOUGHBOY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Steve Sterling: A 12-year-old boy schemes to become a soldier and succeeds. Passing as an adult, he is shipped to France to fight in WWI. The film follows Ernest Wrentmore’s real-life journey and is based on his memoir.

Barely trained, hardly equipped, and ineptly led due to lack of experienced officers, the American doughboy nonetheless adapted and became a feared combatant, often fighting in the open and hand to hand. This is the context of The Youngest Doughboy.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

War, history, coming of age

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

The Youngest Doughboy is a unique story that has never been told on film

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

Altruistic courage

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

Lawrence of Arabia and the Best Years of Our Lives

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

15 months

7. How many stories have you written?

I have a published non-fiction book to my credit, an unpublished novel, and short stories. A former journalist, I currently make my living as a business writer.

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

Currently: LA Woman by the Doors.

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

My biggest hurdle was teaching myself the language and mechanics of film writing. Once I got the hang of the style, it was an enjoyable, if long process.

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

My family, our cats and dog, history, and film.

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

Film Freeway is seamless. It is a terrific platform that is easy to use and extremely helpful in terms of keeping track of submissions, both wins and losses. It is easy to create laurels of which The Youngest Doughboy now has nine.

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

Action Feedback was a no brainer to enter as The Youngest Doughboy is an action picture. The script has a better opportunity for being recognized when it is compared to films in the same genre.

The feedback I received, “One of the best screenplay spec scripts in the world today,” was a real morale booster.


Watch the Screenplay Reading:


Ernest Wrentmore is dressed to kill with twin .45 automatics on his hips, two trench daggers across his chest, and enough ammunition to take out an enemy platoon. At age 12, Ernest is the youngest American solider in World War I France. He’s about to become a hero. Based on a true story.


Narrator: Allison Kampf
PAUL (M): Bill Poulin
ERNEST (M): Steve Rizzo

By matthewtoffolo

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

1 comment

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: