1. What is your screenplay about?
False Positive is about Mary, an asexual crime writer, who goes through an identity crisis both as an asexual and as a writer. Her best friend, Damien, and his boyfriend, John, stand by her in different ways, sometimes helpful, sometimes not, while also bonding together as a couple. All three get to know themselves and each other better and discover where they end up at the other end of this process: together or apart?
It’s a story about how doubt can eat away at the fabric of our lives, making it easier for them to unravel at the pull of a thread.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
It’s a light-hearted drama. I would characterize it as a romance too, in the sense that it‟s about people overcoming difficulties to be together, whether as friends or as partners. I even included some romance conventions in the story of John and Damien and built their story around archetypal romance scenes: The Lovers Meet, The Confession of Love, The First Intimate Moment, The Break Up, The Lovers Reunite. I tinkered with them, of course, but they’re all there.
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
Although I am against the “Here is One movie/series/book with someone vaguely like you in it, so shut up now!” approach to representation, I think this screenplay provides a view on asexuality that is both positive and complex. It‟s also airy and light-hearted even though it deals with some pretty heavy issues, such as „closets‟ of various shapes and sizes, oppression and marginalization even within oppressed and marginalized communities, and what I think of as the incessant siren call of heteronormativity. Plus, it’s cheap and easy to make.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
Doubt vs. Confidence (that’s three words, if you count vs., so please don’t).
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
I hardly ever revisit movies and when I do, it‟s mostly for research. For example, to research False Positive I rewatched Linklater‟s Before… trilogy. My next screenplay is an erotic thriller along the lines of 80s and 90s neo-noir , so I‟m rewatching a lot of the films I enjoyed then as a regular viewer, like Basic Instinct and The Last Seduction, only this time I approach them with a writer‟s eye and a contemporary feminist sensibility.
Television is a different story. There are episodes of Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal that I’ve watched 7-8 times. But even that is not so common now. Too little time, I guess.
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I came up with the idea in 2016 when I was going through a similar period of doubt as Mary. Unfortunately, I don’t write full-time and I was in the middle of another screenplay at the time, so I only got round to writing a very rough first draft in the summer of 2019. Most of the work, though, was done in the summer of 2020. Throughout this time, I never stopped researching, mulling over it, daydreaming, and taking notes.
7. How many stories have you written?
This is my third feature length script and I have written several TV episodes, some original, some specs, all unproduced. I have also written a few short films. False Positive is the first feature screenplay I have written in English.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
Hutterite Mile by 16 Horsepower when I want to wallow in depression and self-hatred (which is more often than you‟d think or than I’d like). Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man when I want to wake up and face the world. Or when I have to vacuum (I’d rather face the world, to be honest).
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Time is always an obstacle for me as I try not to think of writing as a hobby (no hobby should be this hard), but at the same time I have to prioritize my actual, bill-paying job (I am an English tutor and translator). For False Positive in particular, I also had to fight an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and uselessness. What’s the point of writing a story about something so small, so minor, when the world is on fire?
It was only when I decided to give my characters a happy ending that I found a purpose. I wanted to write something that would delight the reader and make them feel less alone, just like this story did for me during this long, lonely summer of social isolation.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I love reading and I read widely, from non-fiction to romance. I also love contemporary dance and I try to watch as many performances as possible. I find that the visual language of dance provides an excellent counterbalance to my word-oriented mind.
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experience working with the submission platform site?
It was easy to work with. I had no problems with it.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I found the festival through https://www.networkisa.org/ . I was drawn to the fact that it is an LGBT festival and hence the readers would be more familiar with the LGBT issues that my screenplay touches on. I had just received an evaluation from another platform in which the reader summarized Mary as “a straight woman claiming to be asexual”, which made me realize I needed to get the script in the hands of people who are a little more sensitive to the realities and nuances of being LGBT. I also found the price very reasonable considering that it included feedback. The feedback itself was very helpful, because not only was it detailed, positive and encouraging, it also provided practical advice on how to improve the script as it moves towards its final form.
Watch the Screenplay Reading:
When an asexual writer gets challenged out of her small life by her larger-than-life best friend, she explores how far she is willing to go for a bit of respect and a chance to belong.
Narrator: Val Cole
Mary: Kyana Teresa
John: Allan Michael Brunet
Damien: Steve Rizzo