Interview with Screenwriter Jessica L. Folk (KING)

1. What is your screenplay about?

“King” is about Ollie King, a freshly graduated law student who has just landed a job as a junior associate at the best law firm in D.C. Ollie is a drag king on the weekends and is proudly queer. Things have always seemed to come relatively easily for Ollie and that has caused tension with classmates and even her family. When Ollie lands the law firm job, she knows it’s time to finally grow up and put her big girl pants on. There’s a lot going on under the surface though. Ollie’s parents are fighting over what’s best for Ollie in her life and it seems like Ollie might not even be their biological daughter. Ollie’s new boss, Lyle Campion, also has a dark secret he’s trying to keep covered up. Perhaps these things are connected? Only time will tell.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I would say this is a dark tv drama.

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

Well this is a tv pilot script, so I’d prefer if it were made into a tv show. “King” has a lot of elements that I would have loved to see on tv shows when I was growing up. It has multiple queer characters, many women in roles of power, and an opportunity for truly diverse casting. No one in this show is without their faults and I think that is evident in this pilot episode. Ollie is human. She’s not perfect and you may not want to be her best friend, but I hope you want to watch her and see how her story unfolds.

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

Queer & Dark

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

The Princess Bride – without question. I saw it for the first time when I was 8 or 9 and I watched it as recently as a month ago. I just love that film. it has everything.

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

I started writing the first scenes of this story at the end of graduate school in 2014. Back then, Ollie was a male character. Then the partially written script sat in the proverbial pile for a while. I picked it back up about a year ago. I’ve been writing and revising it ever since.

7. How many stories have you written?

Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid. I used to spend my elementary school recess time writing stories instead of playing on the playground. I was compelled to write. At this point, I’ve written a number of short fiction stories, one full novel manuscript, a number of screenplays (short films, feature-length, tv specs and pilots), some short plays, and published a few poems and nonfiction stories.

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

That’s a tough one. In terms of what song have I listened to the most, it’s probably Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. I love when someone comes out with a cover of that song. There is so much you can do with it stylistically and it lends itself to a lot of different types of voices.

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

My own procrastination. That’s always my biggest hurdle. It’s like I’m afraid to finish the thing because I know I might fail. I’ve overcome that sort of procrastination many times now with various projects and you’d think I’d learn from that, but oh well, it’s just a part of who I am. Other obstacles included things like changing elements of the story over time, such as shifting Ollie’s identity. Ollie was a Black man in the original draft. I then decided Ollie should be a woman and queer, but she was still Black. And then, eventually, I decided to leave the casting (in terms of race) up to a Showrunner and casting director. I think it’s important put that aspect of how I imagined Ollie’s identity into the hands of a writers’ room that would hopefully be populated with more folx who align with that part of Ollie’s identity than I do. For now, Ollie’s race is not mentioned in the script at all and I think that’s for the best.

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

I love to watch tv shows and films, of course. I watch some truly horrendous reality tv, I won’t even lie. I also spend a lot of my time crafting – mostly cross stitching and crochet. I love to keep my hands busy. I also like to read and listen to podcasts.

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

I love FilmFreeway! It’s so convenient to have all of my entries in one place and to be able to track the status of them at any given time.

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

I came across this festival on FilmFreeway when I was entering the script in other festivals. It just seemed like the perfect fit. I wrote a story with multiple queer characters – what better way to showcase them than in an LGBTQ+ festival?

I thought the feedback was fair and encouraging. It was great to see that the reader was enjoying the story and the characters. There were a few small formatting or stylistic notes that I didn’t necessarily agree with, but there are differing opinions on these topics within the screenwriting world and that’s okay.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

After landing a coveted junior associate position at a prestigious law firm, a freshly minted lawyer must navigate the harsh reality of working for one of D.C.’s top firms, all while uncovering a dark family secret buried under decades of carefully cultivated deceit.


Narration: Elizabeth Rose Morris
Ollie: Kyana Teresa
Sage: Hannah Ehman


By matthewtoffolo

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

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