Interview with Screenwriter Ivana Strajin (THE TAKEOVER)

1. What is your screenplay about?

A newly appointed CEO of an occupational health company gets catfished… by her job. What she hopes will be her legacy gets bungled by fraud, coverups, and the death of an offshore oil rig worker.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s a dark comedy.

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

The series centers on occupational health and oil rigs, both of which are settings that are largely untapped yet intriguing. I got familiar with these industries when I was working at a company with an occupational health division. For the record, neither the story nor the characters are based on anything or anyone real. I think that’s important to state since the pilot starts with a death which is a result of medical fraud; it would have made the news if this was a real story. Okay, the legal disclaimer is out of the way.

In the pilot, the moral dilemma of accidental medical fraud conflicts with ego. The elephant in the room on top of this dilemma is the international conversation about climate change. I think audiences would enjoy seeing these characters grapple with this issue given their industry.

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

Dry & sardonic.

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

If Parasite had come out when I was a kid, this would be my answer. I’ve rewatched countless times and it’s only been a couple of years. I love the twists and turns in the film. It’s entertaining and smart.

If we’re going to include the span of my life so far, then my answer is probably either Office Space or Miss Congeniality. I think the theme is that I like films that feature outcasts because I always felt like one throughout my angsty childhood / teenage / early adulthood years.

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

I wrote the first draft of the pilot script in January. I sent it around to a few writers in my circle, gathered feedback, and made changes. I work on multiple scripts at a time but I’ve continued to come back to this script and make improvements. The scene recording helped me identify more opportunities for changes! All my scripts are always live documents until they’re filmed or killed.

7. How many stories have you written?

Dozens.

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

I have no idea. No one song comes to mind. If I pull up my Spotify Unwrapped from 2020, I’ve got everyone from Sigrid to Toto Cutugno to Lizzo to Taylor Swift to Prljavo Kazalište in there.

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

There are a lot of characters in this script. Some of them have similar, competing motivations, but a different angle or reason for the motivation. The greatest obstacle was trying to find a way to distinguish each of the characters.

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

Is it cheating to say I’m also passionate about directing? It’s film-related, but I love directing because it’s so collaborative. It’s also fun to see my vision come to life.

Outside of the film/TV world, I love cooking. It’s an activity that requires you to be in the present if you want to keep your fingers intact and not light your home on fire.

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

I submitted it via ISA. It was a seamless process!

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

I loved that the festival offered full feedback regardless of your placement. It’s always helpful to get notes from someone who has no context on what you’re trying to achieve. They simply comment on what they received from reading the material cold. And I figured it would be a bonus if I had the chance to have my work featured. Thank you for the opportunity!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A newly appointed CEO of an occupational health company gets catfished… by her job. What she hopes will be her legacy gets bungled by fraud, coverups, and the death of an offshore oil rig worker.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Larry: Allan Michael Brunet
Isabel: Kyana Teresa
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