Interview with Screenwriter J.J. Hillard (MY STARDUST)

1. What is your screenplay about?

It depicts how a widow, when presented with an unexpected opportunity, seizes on it to fulfill an interrupted quest she once shared with her beloved late husband/astronaut.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s a science fiction thriller/love story.

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

The science fiction genre could use more depictions of adventuresome seniors, especially women.

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

Mission accomplished.

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

“Alien” (and “Aliens”).

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

Intermittently for about five years, while I worked on other scripts.

7. How many stories have you written?

Six short and three feature-length screenplays and a few short stories.

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

Lately it’s been “Head Over Heels” (1985) by Tears for Fears, and Queen’s “Who Wants To Live Forever” (1986). Guess I’m partial to 80s music!

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

Procrastination and distraction, for which I ‘blame’ the Internet! I also received notes and suggestions on this script a few years ago from a writing coach that I needed to find ways to incorporate.

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

Ecology, travel, gardening, reading books and watching films.

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

I find FilmFreeway to be the most trouble-free submission platform of the three I’ve used. They partner with thousands of festivals and contests worldwide. And using their Film Freeway Gold benefit has saved me a significant amount in terms of entry fees.

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

I believe some types of scripts have a better chance of being noticed if submitted to genre contests such as the Fantasy/Sci-Fi Film & Writing Festival. The detailed notes I received from their reader were excellent suggestions on ways to enhance future versions of this script.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

An astronaut’s reclusive widow, in her apartment watching TV news of an unmanned test flight to Mars, uncovers clues she may have a key role to play in the mission.


Narration: Allison Kampf
Meghan: Julie Sheppard
Ares: Geoff Mays
Male/Techie/Male Reporter: Shawn Devlin
News Crews/Female Techie/Female Exec: Hannah Ehman
Older Male Techie/Tran: Steve Rizzo

By matthewtoffolo

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

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