Interview with Screenwriter Robert Benjamin (SERIAL)

1. What is your screenplay about?

Serial is about family, but in a slightly twisted way. Helmer Lundin, a 72 year old retiree and widower, finds his life thrust into great turmoil when he discovers that the notorious serial killer terrorizing his hometown of Riverside, California, may in fact be none other than his eldest son. Upon following the connections, Helmer sets out to prove his son’s innocence, but ends up on a dark, one-way path to terror and despair.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I would classify Serial as a dramatic thriller. Of course, there are moments of levity, but they never arise from silliness. I find the best humor comes from drama.

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

It’s quite different than anything I’ve ever written, and quite frankly, anything I’ve ever seen. With so much content out there, it’s not always easy to truly be engaged with a story, especially when you get the sense that you’ve seen it all before. I find that people are getting bored with the same old thing. I can guarantee that this is something you have never seen, but not just that; I’ve made sure that the story is thoroughly engaging and will keep you guessing until the very end. I don’t know that it would be possible to come away from a viewing and thinking it was a waste of time.

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

Brand new.

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

While I wish I could give you an obscure title as my answer, like Laurent Cantet’s “The Class” (never seen it, heard it was good), it would honestly probably be Goodfellas or Back to the Future.

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

I would say Serial took about a year to complete from initial idea to final draft.

7. How many stories have you written?

I started writing in 7th grade English class, so as far as ‘stories’ I would say countless, however if we’re talking screenplays, the number would be more like sixteen. Four if you only count the good ones.

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

This could easily change by the month, but for now I’ll say Don’t Worry Baby by the Beach Boys. It’s great for when I have to not worry. I listen to it often.

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

Hating myself. Feeling that I’ve lost it. Not knowing how I can ever make this idea any good.

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

I love my family, road tripping, music and watching movies.

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

FF has been absolutely great. It’s quick and easy, and Serial has done quite well, if I may be frank. It’s an excellent platform to not only get feedback about your work, but potentially network and help navigate yourself through this great big wide world of screenwriting. It also has helped with that #9 answer.

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

The name of this festival described Serial to a T, so I couldn’t pass it up. I’ve been ecstatic about the feedback, and I’m thoroughly happy with the enthusiasm shown towards my project.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

The peaceful life of a kind, old retiree is thrust into anguish and peril when it is disrupted by a present day serial killer. Following the connections, this otherwise trusting father can only suspect that the brutal killings have been at the hands of his own flesh and blood. His eldest son.


Narration: Steve Rizzo
Rebecca: Hannah Ehman
Helmer: Geoff Mays
Bradley: Bill Poulin

By matthewtoffolo

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

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: