Interview with Screenwriter Annika Freese (The Detour)

What is your screenplay about?

The Detour is about a woman’s search for herself as she embarks on a cross-country road trip. Specifically, it’s about Accaila MacLochlann, a twenty-four-year-old go-getter, who’s sent into a tailspin after her boyfriend proposes and Accaila realizes she has no idea what she wants from her life. When the opportunity presents itself for Accaila to drive her parents’ truck and trailer across the country to a buyer in San Francisco, she takes it in the hopes that the journey might provide some answers.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I would describe The Detour as a dramedy that leans closer to the comedic end.

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

Growing up, the only road trip movie I knew of was centered around women was Thelma & Louise. In fact, I was always told as a little girl that those kinds of adventures weren’t safe for me. I so desperately wanted to see a woman just take off in a truck and find herself along the way; I so desperately wanted to be that woman. So, in a lot of ways, I wrote this script for my younger self, for the me that needed this movie when I was little. But I think everyone can relate to what Accaila goes through in some way or another. She finds herself at a turning point in her life: she can either continue on the path she’s on or she can decide to change. I love that she takes control of her life and finds empowerment in the fact that she has no idea what she’s doing. There’s something incredibly comforting about admitting that everyone is just making it up as they go.

I think this screenplay should be made into a movie because: it allows the audience to live in the realm of total and complete possibility, a realm in which the world opens up for you; it chips away at the idea that women are only allowed to live certain kinds of lives; and it serves as a reminder that it ain’t over till it’s over. Nothing is set in stone and it’s never too late to change your life.

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

Chaotic fun.

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

Probably The Breakfast Club. Or Pride and Prejudice (2005). I’m a sucker for emotional endings.

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

I initially had the idea for this script in 2017 and had written bits and pieces of it, but didn’t sit down and really give it a go until the summer of 2019. I worked on it consistently, rewriting and revising, and the script was completed in May of 2020. I submitted it to WILDSound shortly thereafter.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written more stories than I can count, but The Detour is my first feature-length screenplay. I’ve also written a spec script for Pen15. Now, I’m working on my second and third feature screenplays, a mini-series, and I’ve been trying my hand at short stories – they help offset the length of feature scripts.

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

The song I’m loving the most right now is “Universal Sound” by Tyler Childers, but I always have The 1975, Mac Miller, and Janelle Monáe on.

9. What obstacles did you face in finishing this screenplay?

The hardest part for me was balancing Accaila’s emotional journey with her physical one. They are linked, of course, but it was difficult choosing the right obstacles to throw at her in her reality that would spark a natural internal change within her.

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

I’m a huge feminist and care deeply about gender equality; I try to bring that to my storytelling and stay knowledgeable about what other feminist philosophers and filmmakers are working on. I’m also invested in sustainable living and eco-friendly practices. I’ve been a vegetarian for two years for environmental reasons and continue to approach my daily life with a consideration for our planet.

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

I’ve loved my experience with FilmFreeway thus far. Submitting to a festival can seem like such an overwhelming feat, but FilmFreeway makes it so easy to find festivals that resonate with you and fit with what you are hoping to gain from the process.

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

WILDSound was actually the first festival I ever submitted to and I feel completely blessed and exhilarated to have had my piece selected. What drew me to the festival was the feedback aspect – I wanted to put out feelers for my work and know what areas still needed improvement. The feedback I received was so insightful; I could tell someone had really taken the time to sit down and read my script. I especially appreciated that.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

When her boyfriend unexpectedly proposes, Accaila MacLochlann realizes she has no idea what she wants from her life. So, when the opportunity to drive across country to sell her parents’ truck and trailer in San Francisco arises, Accaila takes it.

Narration: Allison Kampf
SPENCER : Allan Michael Brunet
ACCAILA : Hannah Ehman

By matthewtoffolo

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

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