Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?
Seda Anbarci: Hidden Blood is about an ordinary girl who finds out on her 18th birthday that she carries the blood of three warring supernatural species who secretly live among us; sirens, shapeshifters, and fairies. But this is a world where sirens rule and under their rule, interbreeding is forbidden.
Angela, a combination of three major species, was not supposed to exist. Now, siren council wants to destroy her, but the Shapeshifter King wants to recruit her for a war to take over the throne from the Siren Queen. This TV show is about Angela and her diverse friends going on a journey to discover the truth about Angela’s biological parents, learn more about this hidden supernatural world, protect the minor supernatural communities, and ultimately, find out their true identity. In the meantime, bad guys always come after Angela because she’s the first person to possess the power of three major species who are on the verge of a war. I created this concept because I wanted to explore the themes of discrimination including racism and sexism in a supernatural world and show the audience how innocent people suffer in the process.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
It’s an hourlong fantasy and drama TV show. The subgenres would be Coming-of-Age and Female Driven.
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
I think that the world needs Hidden Blood right now especially during these times of “Black Lives Matter” and “Women’s Rights” movements. Hidden Blood will be there to show the audience how innocent people are affected from discrimination. When Angela learns that she’s a combination of three major species who hate each other, she experiences a widescale racism from all kinds of people that she doesn’t even know. The world of Hidden Blood reflects the real world in its supernatural world dynamics. In this world, the main characters are the ones who start the movement for equality, coexistence and peace. So, Hidden Blood is written to inspire people about equality and peace movements of the real world, and we need this now more than ever.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
I would say the pilot episode is about Discovery and Hidden. So, discovery of the hidden which means Angela, the hidden blood.
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
I’ve seen Get Out many, many times. It inspired me a lot as a screenwriter because I realized that media can be used as a way to inspire people and influence lives. After Get Out, I dedicated myself and my stories to encourage people to think outside the box, break stereotypes, embrace differences, and be kind to one another.
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
For two years now. I believe in the process of rewriting and revising. I’ve gotten so many feedbacks on this pilot and the series bible that helped me a lot during this process.
7. How many stories have you written?
I’ve written three feature films, two TV shows, a web series pilot and two short films. Hidden Blood is my passion project. I actually studied Chemical and Biological Engineering before I did my MFA in Screenwriting. I had a dream about a supernatural world where a forbidden hybrid was born, and I knew I wanted to turn this into a TV show to explore discrimination, coming-ofage, equality and many other themes that might influence the world to be better. My genres as
a writer are science fiction and fantasy, and I always implement the societal problems we have in real world into my scripts.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
My favorite song is Brave by Sara Bareilles. My thesis teacher during my MFA years was the dean, who played this song in our last class telling us to be brave and say what we want to say in our stories. I still listen to it every day before I write.
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
In the beginning, my world and the supernatural species was not established at all. I had to research a lot about mythologies to be able to find something that would fit the ideology of the project. Hence, I thought about sirens who are represented as “mermaids” in modern media. But in Greek mythology, sirens are beautiful creatures with wings, and they look like birds. I wanted to take sirens directly from their mythology and use them in my project. Shapeshifters and fairies came next, and they are not represented as much as werewolves and witches in the media. This was a big challenge. Creating a world that doesn’t exist anywhere. If this was a world of vampires, witches and werewolves, I’m sure I wouldn’t have had difficulty creating the world. But because I was creating the world from scratch, that was the biggest obstacle I faced in the beginning of this process. I’m very glad how it turned out because I created different societies and rules for all these species and all of them serve the purpose of the story and support the theme.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about producing. My boyfriend is a hard-working filmmaker. He was writing a short film about how internet might create a cult that might take over the world in future. It was a sci-fi/experimental short film, and he asked my help for the script. So, we co-wrote the film and called it “Spotted.” When he started working on shooting, I realized that he’s so focused on the producing part that he doesn’t have enough time to focus on the art of directing. I decided to take over and became the producer of the film. This helped him a lot because he was now able to focus on his art rather than getting permits, signing contracts, scheduling, etc. I fell in love with producing because I realized how much I’m helping artists and taking the pressure off them. And
as a result, our film “Spotted” was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, and it won Best Experimental Film in Top Shorts. Now, I produce projects when they have a great theme that would inspire people.
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
FilmFreeway is super easy to navigate. I used FilmFreeway for my short film Spotted as well.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
When I saw the title “Fantasy/Sci-fi Festival,” I thought this is great because sometimes I feel like these genres don’t get the attention they deserve in other screenwriting competitions. I wanted to apply for my fantasy TV show right away. I was very proud of my project when I received the initial feedback. It had small story and formatting notes that helped me a lot during the process of rewriting Hidden Blood one more time.
Watch the Screenplay Reading:
When an ordinary girl gains magical powers on her 18th birthday, Angela is thrust into a secretive underground world of myths and monsters, where her mysterious parentage puts a target on her back.
Narrator: Allison Kampf
Azai/Joseph: Shawn Devlin
Caleb: Sean Ballantyne
Shelia: Alicia Ryan