Interview with Winning Screenwriter Clint Ford (A CHRISTMAS CHEER)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Clint Ford: It’s the continuing story of what happens to a redeemed Ebenezer Scrooge (and a doomed Jacob Marley) from Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Historical Fiction/Drama/Family

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

Since childhood, my favorite story/film has been A Christmas Carol — especially the George C. Scott version. But I always felt as though Jacob Marley — who had absolutely no obligation to intervene in Scrooge’s life, yet chose to do so and help him discover his own redemption — sort of got the shaft. At the end of the Dickens story, Scrooge dances merrily off to his redemption, yet poor Marley — still shackled and chained — is completely forgotten in his misery. That bothered me. So — I fixed it. In my opinion, Jacob Marley has been waiting over 150 years for someone to do the same for him as he did for Scrooge. That was my motivation, as I feel the character –indeed, the story — deserves and needs that closure, and I feel as though audiences would greatly enjoy seeing it.

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

“In Tribute”.

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

Boy, that’s a toss-up between two very non-Dickensian-type films: either Napoleon Dynamite or Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

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

Yikes. That depends on your perspective. I’ve been working on the screenplay itself for about 18 months. I tried writing it originally as a novel about 15 years ago, but it just wasn’t working (I tried to bring it into the modern era, but by “Stave 3,” I realized it totally did not work. But I’ve had the idea in my head since Junior High — around 1988.

7. How many stories have you written?

Countless. I started my career as a Disney staff writer, so I’ve been writing stories on a daily basis for over 20 years now.

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

There are so many, but I’ve always had a place in my heart for “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits.

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

I think my greatest challenge was humility. The arrogance — the sheer hubris of attempting to follow-up one of the greatest stories of all time, written by one of history’s greatest authors . . . not gonna lie, I struggled greatly with confidence. Every day I wrote, I pictured angry Dickens fans shoving a finger in my face, screaming “How DARE you think yourself good enough to follow Dickens?! Who do you think you are??!!” But I finally convinced myself that approaching this with the greatest levels of respect and affection should produce something people would enjoy.

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

Family time, travelling, craft beer and constantly improving.

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

It’s been a solid site. Have enjoyed the usefulness of it.

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

Honestly, I entered because I was enticed by the idea of the chance of hearing a scene from my script performed. I thought the feedback provided was helpful and offered a unique perspective on what I’d written.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Seven years after his redemption, old Ebenezer Scrooge passes away on Christmas Eve morning. When he learns the spirit of Jacob Marley – who helped to redeem him – still roams the earth shackled and chained, Scrooge chooses to put his own Eternal Reward at risk so to confront Marley’s Ghosts of Christmases Yet to Come, Present, and Past in an effort to return the favor to his friend.

CAST LIST:

Narrator; Allison Kampf
Cratchit: Shawn Devlin
Fred: Sean Ballantyne
Scrooge: Steve Rizzo

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