1. What is your screenplay about?
A Girl, A Cat, and a Spider the Size of a Dog is a film about a young girl (Hope) who finds her voice, both literally and figuratively, while staying at her estranged grandmother’s house (Madam Wintergreen). Dumped there by her parents while they attempt to save their crumbling marriage, Hope finds herself reconnecting with her eccentric grandmother and the chatty house cat (Xavier). Xavier convinces Hope to go on an adventure that involves a creepy basement filled with spiders, one of which may be the size of a dog. Zany exploits ensue!
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
This is a comedy/family-friendly/horror film. I wanted the stakes to feel real. So, when the horror elements of the story arise, things can get pretty dark and scary. Some of the movies that stuck with me the most as a child were the ones that played that line (Gremlins, The Adventures of Ichabod Crane). There are a lot of fun, silly moments in this film, but there are hopefully just as many moments that will make you check under your bed before you go to sleep at night.
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
At the heart of this screenplay is a kid who has lost their voice. Hope’s parents are going through a divorce, and her parents, her world, are casting Hope aside. She feels useless and disconnected with her loved ones. This makes Hope decide to stop talking altogether. She goes mute, her silence a representation of the uncertainty of her own mini universe. It is the love and sense of family that Madam Wintergreen brings and the feeling of worth and purpose that Xavier brings that puts Hope back on the right track. The adventures in this screenplay are fun and scary and exciting but it is the message and the themes that will make this story stick with you long after the credits roll.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
A few years, off and on.
7. How many stories have you written?
I have been writing and creating most my life, so it is hard to say. I have a few scripts that I am currently working on, though.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
My current favorite song is Colossus by IDLES. It is edgy and hard but has a fun energy and the lyrics are introspective while also being humorous. A perfect blend.
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
I think “tone” is very important, especially when dealing with multiple genres like comedy and horror. My roots are in horror, so I kept having to keep that balance so all ages could enjoy the story, even when it got scary. The fact that my main protagonist doesn’t speak through most the film also had its challenges.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Music is definitely my second passion. I also enjoy the outdoors, hiking and kayaking, and my wife and I have a dog, Salem, who is a rescue that we’ve invested a lot of love and energy into. So, just to be safe, let’s say my passions are 01. Wife 02. Dog(s) 03. Music 04. Outdoorsy crap. But movies (going to, watching, writing, critiquing) is my true passion.
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
FilmFreeway is great. I also direct shorts and music videos and FilmFreeway has made the submission process so easy for all my projects! I love that I have my own profile page and my scripts and videos are uploaded already, just waiting to find that perfect festival or competition.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
Feedback Animation Film and Screenplay Festival was one of my first picks because I loved that, if selected, the fest will have professional actors perform a section of your script. This “read-through” video is such a great tool and allows the writer to hear the dialogue and narration and not just imagine it. That is so helpful when doing rewrites. The feedback they sent was also helpful. With mine, they highlighted aspects of the script they felt really worked and really took a positive approach to their criticism and notes. Sometimes feedback can be so negative that it actually hurts your confidence and momentum as a writer. These judges do the opposite by inspiring me to keep going!
Watch the Screenplay Reading:
Eight-year-old Hope is sent to her estranged grandmother’s house while her parents tend to their crumbling marriage. Can this eccentric old lady and her talking cat named Xavier help Hope find the strength and courage she needs to get her through these difficult times? Probably, but a spider the size of a dog mucks things up pretty bad.
Narrator: Steve Rizzo
Madam Wintergreen: Val Cole
Peter: Allan Michael Brunet