Interview with Screenwriter Seth Nesenholtz (Intergalactic Io)

1. What is your screenplay about?

“Intergalactic Io” is about a thief who steals a gem and accidentally sparks an interstellar war in the process. The journey of Io, our dirt-bag protagonist, is deciding if getting what she wants is worth screwing-over half the galaxy.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Sci-fi comedy, or more specifically, a queer space opera.

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

Most sci-fi these days is cynical, in theme and humor. I think sci-fi fans everywhere are ready for something that is genuinely upbeat, even if it is a little campy and retro. Plus, sci-fi is severely lacking in queerness.

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

“Camp overload”

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

“Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope.” I was an 80s kid and I can’t even imagine how many times I watched our pirated VHS copy. It created a love of sci-fi that’s lasted my whole life.

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

Technically, since April 2021. Aspects of “Intergalactic Io” were floating around in incomplete projects, but things came together in a flash of inspiration in April. I dropped everything to get it written ASAP.

7. How many stories have you written?

Six feature scripts and three pilot scripts.

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

I get inspiration from songs, so each script I write has a song that’s intimately tied to it. For “Intergalactic Io,” that song is “Space Girl” by Frances Forever. When I wrote the script, I listened to “Space Girl” and two other songs on repeat. Hearing it immediately puts me in the protagonist’s frame of mind and gets me psyched-up to write.

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

This was my first true comedic script, so the humor was definitely the hardest! It’s not quite parody and not quite spoof—it’s camp, which is in a special niche of its own. (I spent a good chunk of my college years analyzing camp movies, so I’ll spare you the academic babble!) The story takes place in a campy sci-fi universe but only the protagonist recognizes the camp. Most of the gags are Io interacting with aliens who have no idea how ridiculous they are. Contemporary comedies derive humor from banter, and I had to go in the opposite direction—nobody in the movie gets Io’s jokes, and most of the time they don’t even recognize she’s making fun of them. It’s one comedian and twelve straight-men (no pun intended)! It was a challenge, but still loads of fun.

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

Shows and movies, new and old. This is an easy one because to be a screenwriter, you have to submerge yourself in as many movies as possible. Aside from that, cats! Cats are a huge part of my life. I’ve devoted years to volunteering with sick cats to help them feel loved while they recover.

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

I adore FilmFreeway! It’s an excellent platform for finding festivals that are perfect for your films. My only complaint is that the submission process is so effortless, it makes me enter way more contests than I plan too.

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

Intergalactic Io is first and foremost a science fiction comedy. However it was important to me to enter LGBTIA+ contests, and not just because basically everyone in the script is queer. As much as I hate to say it, readers from other contests don’t always understand camp. This contest’s excellent ratings on FilmFreeway led me to believe the judges would be savvy enough to understand what I was going for without it being explained to them.

Feedback was superb! It helped me refine the script toward a state where it’ll be more attractive to movie producers. Fingers crossed!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Space thief Io finds herself caught in a galactic war while attempting to sell a stolen crystal. Now the most wanted person in the galaxy, she races against the clock to save her alien dog and face responsibility for the war she inadvertently started.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allan Michael Brunet
DOMINATRIA: Val Cole
NIRYAT: Julie Sheppard
——-

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By matthewtoffolo

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

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