Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?
Johnny Cruz: It’s about a father who has to re-enter the world and round up his
estranged children, so they can see their mother before she passes.
But what it’s really “about” is the different arguments and perspectives
around keeping families together. Some families are worth keeping
together and some are better off disbanded, and I tried to give
both kinds of families an argument in each of the characters in
the script. The protagonist, Walker, is the one who has to take these
arguments into account and, in the end, make the final verdict
as to whether his family is better off disbanded or together. Obviously,
that verdict can only be reached as a consequence of whether he can
change or not. Ultimately, he decides they are fortunate enough to
have a family worth keeping together.
2.) What genres does your screenplay fall under?
In its simplest description, it’s a Drama. But I think it could also fall under
Dramedy and Adventure.
3.) Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
I’d argue it should be made into a movie because there are themes that
I think it would resonate with a lot of people, and help them figure out
what to do with their own family if they’re in a complicated situation.
At least in my experience, some of the things said in this script are
things that have gone unspoken between family members, and I think
they’d be helpful if spoken. The script also highlights the generational divide
between parents and children. Ever since the second half of the 19th Century,
every generation has left the world in a better state than it was when they found it, not without creating some new problems along the way, of course.
Yet, put simply, the Young always think that the Old have screwed everything up,
and it’s up to the Young to fix it. And the Old think they’ve done a lot to make the world better, but the Young are going to screw it all up. Both the Young and the Old are right and wrong. And I think this script shines some light on that, which would help soothe generational conflict among families.
4.) How would you describe this script in two words?
Bittersweet. I know that’s one word but it’s basically two, haha.
5.) What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
6.) How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I’ve been writing it on and off with three other scripts since August 2019, so
almost a year. This is the second feature script I’ve written.
7.) How many stories have you written?
I started writing in January 2019, and I’ve written 5 Feature Scripts, 3 of which are still in early drafts, I’ve written 7 Short scripts, 4 of which I’ve filmed and put up on Youtube. My channel is JohnnyCruz1998. (Am I allowed to plug my shorts?) Anyway, so I guess 12 different stories in total.
8.) What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)
Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are-A Changin” and “Mr. Tambourine Man”
Most songs I listen to are ones I hear in movies. “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a favorite too.
9.) What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
How to make the script feel urgent because of the ticking clock surrounding Colleen, but also have it take it’s time and not feel rushed.
10.) Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Besides writing, I also read books and watch a movie a day. I made a list of
the most notable Movie Directors in history, and I go down the list and watch all of a Director’s movies in order, and then I move onto the next Director and do the same. Eventually, I’ll return to a Director and rewatch some of their movies, I have a big binder where I write mini-reviews for each of the Director’s movies and write essays on certain observations I make or things I’ve learned from the Directors. Other than reading, I don’t do much that doesn’t involve movies.
Also, most of the movies I watch, I get for free from the Library. Everyone should use the Library.
11.) You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your
experiences working with the submission platform site?
It’s been really easy and helpful to track a scripts progress, submissions,
announcements, etc. It’s set up great, and I’ve had no problems with it.
12.) What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings
on the initial feedback you received?
I saw that selected scripts got a scene from their script read on camera which sounded cool, which I can confirm is cool after watching it, and I wanted to get a sense as to the quality of the script, see what other people thought of it. And the feedback I received was definitely very helpful and encouraging.
Watch the Screenplay Reading:
After his wife falls ill, an aging man living in the Alaskan Wilderness has to re-enter the world to round up his estranged children so they can see their mother before she passes.
Narrator: Allison Kampf
FREIGHTHOPPER (M): Shawn Devlin
WALKER (M) Sean Ballantyne