Interview with Screenwriter Don Stroud (Misfortune Cookies)

1. What is your screenplay about?

A high school girl from a small Southern town, desperate for money, coerces her small circle of semi-friends into robbing the local Chinese restaurant. But the robbery goes wrong, and Pansy accidentally shoots the elderly owner dead. In the days that follow, Pansy’s cohorts begin dying in ways that echo the fortunes they received in the cookies they took as trophies. “Misfortune Cookies” is my homage to the classic slasher movies of the 80s. It’s violent, it’s vulgar, and it’s all sorts of awesome.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s slasher horror, but there’s a heavy humor component to the dialog. Like if Dante and Randal from “Clerks” were being stalked by a Chinese ghost.

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

“Misfortune Cookies” is the kind of movie that no one’s making anymore. Horror these days is all PG-13 jump scares and beautiful teen kids. This is a hard R movie, with practical gore makeup and nudity and tons of swearing and regular-looking kids being torn limb from limb. It’s the perfect “four quadrant” movie… if all four quadrants are filled with socially immature weirdos like me.

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

“Redneck ravaging.”

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

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”. When I worked at my friend’s comic book store (Parts Unknown in Greensboro, NC), I put that movie on every night. I watched it three times a week for about two years. It’s not my favorite movie of all time, but even after all that viewing, it’s still fun to watch.

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

I had the initial idea several years ago. It took me a while to expand my simple idea into an actual story. And I stepped away from writing for a while to try to get an editing career going. So from initial idea to finished script was several years. But when I actually sat down and started writing, it only took a couple of months.

7. How many stories have you written?

To date I’ve got eight completed scripts under my belt, with a ninth about two weeks away from being finished.

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

My favorite song is “Shine” by Liberty Horses. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it. But it’s a fantastic slice of indie Brit pop.

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

Like I said earlier, I was trying to make a living! So I put every screenplay I was working on aside for quite a while. Once I got back into it, the story came relatively easily. But definitely the dialog was the hardest part to craft. To me, dialog is the hardest part of any script. In this screenplay, there were times when I had six people with distinctly different personalities talking in the same scene. That was a challenge!

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

I love cats. I love sushi. I love comic books. I love my long-suffering wife Suzie. And I looooove music. In fact, I found an outlet to combine my love of both writing and music. I have a semi-regular column over at the pop culture website Trouble City. Here’s the article I wrote about my favorite song from above:

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

FilmFreeway makes it SO. DAMN. EASY. to enter festivals. Once you get everything set up, it’s just a couple of clicks. And their interface is pretty clean and intuitive.

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

I target festivals based on genre. Horror Festival/Festival For Horror got good ratings, and based on their prior winners, it seemed like a good fit for my off-beat horror stories. As for feedback, finding out I was a winner was all I needed to hear! Finally, one in the win column!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

After killing an elderly Chinese chef during a botched robbery, a desperate teenager and her redneck cohorts struggle to stay alive when the chef’s spirit returns from the grave, brutally picking them off one-by-one with fortune cookie-themed deaths.

Narration: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
RUDY RAY: Steve Rizzo
DELMER: Geoff Mays
GARNELL: Allan Michael Brunet
PANSY: Kyana Teresa


By matthewtoffolo

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

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