Interview with Screenwriter Kevin Goss (TOTAH)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Kevin Goss: The screenplay is about Dennis Cleveland, the author of a popular gay book series, who returns to his hometown on the edge of the Navajo Nation when his grandmother passes away suddenly. A break-in at his grandmother’s house starts Dennis on a suspenseful search for a turquoise ankle bracelet that may tie into his parent’s death when Dennis was a child. Three people–a gorgeous cop who was his teenage crush, a delivery driver who moonlights as a drag queen, and a Native American woman who runs a local museum—attract Dennis’s attention and may have clues that he needs to solve the mystery of his past.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Suspense, thriller, mystery, romance.

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

In the words of some of TOTAH’s reviewers: “Already one of the best specs out there.” “This is truly a very well-developed crime thriller with an added layer of culture and mystery to it.”

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

Six toes.

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

GREASE (We had it on VHS when I was a kid, and teenage girls would watch it again and again while babysitting me). As an adult, it is probably a tie between BIG EDEN and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

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

I worked on this screenplay for a little more than a year. I am currently making it into a novel.

7. How many stories have you written?

Four. TOTAH is my first feature-length film screenplay. I also wrote DR. WANKER’S SHORT ADVENTURES, a six-episode series on YouTube; IN THE GUTTER, a short film that has been produced and selected by film festivals in Arizona, Kansas, and Massachusetts (USA) as of August, 2020; and a short screenplay called SHUTTLED.

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

“These Are Days” by 10,000 Maniacs.

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

Challenges in trying to write a film that can be produced on a low budget yet still have an engaging story and interesting visuals; two hospitalizations due to complications of Crohn’s disease.

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

Acting–I’m involved with my local community theater and feel very fortunate to have been cast in movies, web series, and television commercials. I’m also passionate about the environment, and do what I can to reduce my negative impact on the ecosystem and support worthy, larger-scale sustainability efforts.

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

Film Freeway makes it easy to submit projects for consideration, and to keep track of my different projects’ status.

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

This is the first screenplay I’ve submitted to festivals. The feedback is valuable, because I can combine it with feedback I get from other festivals to determine the commonalities among those who read it. If one person has certain feedback that nobody else does, I may take it with a grain of salt. But when multiple people say the same thing, then what they’re saying probably deserves greater attention.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Dennis Cleveland, the author of a popular gay book series, returns to his hometown of Farmington, New Mexico, when his grandmother passes away suddenly. A break-in at his grandmother’s house starts Dennis on a search for a turquoise ankle bracelet that may tie into his parent’s death when Dennis was a child.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allison Kampf
Dennis: Geoff Mays
Lindsey: Kyana Teresa

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