Interview with Screenwriter Simon J. Gallagher (ON TRACK)

1. What is your screenplay about?

On Track is about struggling with the feelings of being stuck in a rut, and what it takes to not just get out of a rut but to feel you’ve gotten out of that rut.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama, Comedy, and an early twenties coming of age story.

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

On Track has a down to earth, heartfelt story that is relatable to people of all ages. The feelings of entrapment and worry that you aren’t going where you’d dreamed of being are things we all deal with. It also takes an intimate look at rural, country living that I feel has been overlooked in these types of stories.

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

Intimate and hopeful

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

This one took a lot of thinking because I’ve gone through waves of movies I’ve watched many times over the years, but the film I’ve been coming back to for some time now has been Whip It. It’s a great film about growing up and finding yourself, and it’s all wrapped in a unique sports movie.

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

The idea had been sitting there for a few years before I got the chance to actually put it to the page. Towards the end of February, beginning of March 2020, I had just finished writing another script and had this week between wrapping it and a job I was taking on that would take up all of my time. I challenged myself to outline then write the first draft in that week, and I did it. I wrote like crazy, but I had a script in a week. Then that job didn’t pan out because of the Covid shut downs, so I took that time to write. Over the next couple months between this and a few other projects I did some restructuring, added more scenes introducing one of the characters, and polished it for presentation.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written eight feature scripts, a handful of TV episodes, and just a bunch of shorts.

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

I Don’t Need a Soul by Relient K. It’s about finding joy in sadness and celebrating the act of feeling.

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

The biggest obstacle I faced was creating the family dynamic around this business that their grandfather had co-founded without making the story all about explaining the history of the factory. I wanted the story to be lived in without creating this obvious audience surrogate that everything would be explained to.

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

I love nature photography. I like to take tight closeups of natural textures and shapes in my environment. Also my cats (cats are nature right?).

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

I like it. It’s an easy and painless process. They do a great job of curating festivals, making It your one stop shop for script competitions.

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

I was looking at festivals in Toronto, and it’s been one of those ones that keeps coming up. The promise of feedback gave it an edge that made me keep coming back to it. The feedback was great. It helped me feel confident in some aspects of my writing that I was nervous about, and it reinforced the things that I was looking to work on.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Narrator: Julie Sheppard
Howard: Allan Michael Brunet
Curtis: Steve Rizzo


By matthewtoffolo

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

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