Interview with Screenwriter Jessica Hilscher (HOW TO CARE FOR CRICKETS)

What is your screenplay about?

How to Care for Crickets is, at it core, about forgiveness. Forgiveness of oneself, those who surround them, those they’ve wronged, and those you maybe don’t deserve it. It’s also about surviving the things life throws at you and the incredibly difficult task it can be to allow others to help you. As my mom used to tell me, “who you are now is a choice, what happened to you is not.”

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Crickets is a drama based on true events.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Movies are about reaching people, making them feel heard and seen. The silent children of domestic abuse should be able to feel seen and heard without having to rewatch on screen what they’ve already witnessed in their life. Sometimes, I believe, it’s better to show the effects of the action, not the action itself.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Helping and Healing.

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

Probably A Knight’s Tale? I have a list of go-tos but this never fails to hit the spot.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Crickets started in June of 2020. I had to put it down for a few months, but I finished it in October. So, roughly six months.

How many stories have you written?

I’ve written two screenplays and am halfway through my third.

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

I’m a fan of anything by Brandi Carllie and Matchbox 20, but my ultimate, can’t live without song is Old Pine by Ben Howard.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I put Crickets down after only a month of working on it because it was hard to relive the experiences I had and also write them with respect. Learning to discuss these parts of my life with an, at the time invisible audience, was the biggest obstacle.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

My wife. My dogs. My day job – civil engineering. Making sure that the generation of women coming up in this world have the resources and contacts they need to succeed.

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

Outstanding. It’s easy to track things and (as you’ll see in the next question) the feedback is wonderful.

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

The feedback I received was actually some of the best in terms of actionable items I could work on to make this script everything it needs to be. There were a couple of comments no other reviewer had mentioned that actually made all of the feedback I’ve received make so much more sense. Once I was able to have things pinpointed for me, my script took a turn for the better.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Through a string of family events, an emotionally estranged woman comes face to face with her step-father’s abuse. The confrontation threatens to unravel her facade and reveal the dark secrets she keeps in the guise of protecting the family she’s avoided for fifteen years.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Spencer: Hannah Ehman
Mel: Kyana Teresa
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