Interview with Screenwriter Sayde Hampton (SUGAR)

1. What is your screenplay about?

Sugar is a coming-of-age story for both Alexa and Emmy, as their relationship is tested by forces beyond their control. The story centers around a road trip that the sisters take to see their aunt in the summer before Alexa is set to leave for college. Underneath that are deeper themes of responsibility, acceptance and what it means to love someone unconditionally.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I didn’t really write with a genre in mind, but if I had to pick, I’d say it’s a balance of drama and comedy, with a splash of suspense to keep you on your toes.

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

Because it slaps. Next question!
Just kidding 😛
Beyond fulfilling a dream of mine to see the stories that exist in my head come to life, I want to see more transgender stories being told. While there has been an increasing number of films that enables the trans experience to be told to a wider audience, there’s still a long way to go. And it’s not just the film industry, but society as well. The story of Sugar is one of Person vs. Society, as Alexa finds herself navigating the rough waters of having to care for a transgender child, while Emmy struggles to even exist in a very unaccepting world. It’s my belief that a greater social understanding of what it means to be transgender can be achieved through intimate stories in film, as well as other artistic mediums.

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

Bitter sweet

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

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m a huge fan of the movie, books, and BBC series.

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

In terms of actually writing the script, it’s been a little over a year between the initial draft and rewrites. If you count time conceptualizing the story before I started writing, it’s probably something in the ballpark of 3-5 years.

7. How many stories have you written?

This is my fourth full-length script (and the one I’m most proud of). I’ve also penned a modest number of short scripts.

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

All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers.

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

The biggest obstacle I faced was getting started. I struggled early on to figure out how to open this story. I would write something, hate it, and start from scratch over and over. Once I decided to structure the story by starting when Alexa and Emmy were already on the road, everything else fell into place.

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

Beyond writing, I also direct and edit movies. I’m a massive animation buff, in defiance of the fact that I am absolutely terrible at drawing. My dad is a fantastic tennis player and he instilled in me a love of both watching and playing the sport. I can also destroy anyone in monopoly (though none of my friends or family will play it with me anymore).

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

I was introduced to FilmFreeway by one of my professors when I was at the University of Iowa, though I only recently decided to start using it more actively. The site is incredibly easy to navigate and has introduced me to several festivals, including this one. I look forward to using the site for any future screenplay and short film submissions.

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

A combination of the festival’s history, along with its willingness to offer feedback, were big factors in choosing to submit to the LGBT Toronto Film Festival. And the feedback I received couldn’t have been more helpful. I’ve already made some revisions based on the notes I received.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

In the summer before college, Alexa takes her young sister, Emmy, on a road trip across the country.

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Alexas: Kyana Teresa

Emmy: Hannah Ehman


By matthewtoffolo

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

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: