Interview with Screenwriter Jaye Blohm (Turn This Spaceship Around!)

WATCH the winning screenplay reading.

1. What is your screenplay about?

On the surface, Turn This Spaceship Around! follows Relia, an alien teenager who is bullied, and while on a family vacation to Earth, she uses her powers of mimicry to switch places with Sophie, an Earthing teenager looking to escape her own problems. Unbeknownst to Relia, she’s being tracked by alien hunters. So even though she’s managed to run away from hometown bullies, she now has to face bullies of galactic proportions.

It’s deeper meaning is about feeling like you can’t fit in and discovering your self-worth and core-confidence.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Turn This Spaceship Around! an action/comedy animati0on.

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

This screenplay has a story for everyone. Relia is a young girl who is misunderstood by her parents and teachers. She’s the kid that gets in trouble for the problems that other people cause. She feels unseen by everyone except her bullies. But she’s smart and has a heart of gold and she’s just trying to find her place. Her counterpart, Sophie, has a pretty good life, but she’s lost in different ways. Injustice and intolerance annoy her, and as good as her life is, she still feels held back. She’s unappreciative and lacks agency.

Turn This Spaceship Around! Follows these girls on their own journeys about identity and the value that comes in standing up to your fears instead of running from them. The story is entertaining and has a powerful message for both children and parents.

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

Timeless and empathetic

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

For a while, I couldn’t stop watching Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. 2020 was a rough year for me. It was for everyone, but in January, before Covid hit, my boyfriend of ten years broke up with me. 2020 was a time of isolation and healing. I learned a lot about my own agency, my own self-worth, and my own core confidence. That was the year I saw Eurovision, and it spoke to me on so many levels. It was a humorous distraction, but I could also relate with Lars, Will Ferrell’s character, his dreams, his internal struggles, ambition and defeat. I could also relate to Sigrit, Rachel McAdam’s character… her boldness to stand tall and keep going, even when she’d been beaten and abandoned because she is an artist. I related to Alexander, Dan Stevens’s character, who finally accepted himself for who he truly was. And that movie would have never been made without a script, at least not to that level. That movie is about dreams, love, healing, and art. It came to me at the right time, and I watched it on repeat for months.

Also probably Breakfast Club because I was one angsty, misfit teenager.

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

It took me about six months to write Turn This Spaceship Around!

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written a short, and five screenplays, in the middle of six and seven… and I just completed a pilot with two writing partners.

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

That’s really hard to say. I’ve played a million songs over and over.

Top Five in no particular order:
You Will Leave A Mark by A Silent Film
Fell in Love with a Girl by The White Stripes
Sunshine (Adagio in D Minor) by John Murphy
Anything, Anything by Dramarama
Subdivisions by Rush

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

I struggled with how to defeat the villain that would be family-friendly, tense yet humorous, while also being fulfilling and empowering. There are two places where this had to happen, but the challenges and the massaging that took place to get it there were worth it.

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

I’m interested in politics, human rights, advocacy, continuous learning. I love animals and the ocean. And of course I love movies.

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

Film Freeway is fairly new to me. But the more I use the platform, I realize how much I love it. It’s crazy easy to navigate. I like that I can put certain festivals and competitions in my watchlist. They have TONS of choices and I can easily narrow my searches according to genre (or other criteria). They’re always sending out discount codes. They keep track of my submissions… It’s not the first platform I’ve used for entering contests, but it’s quickly becoming my favorite.

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

Getting back to search criteria… I was looking specifically for animation festival. Other platforms had a few competitions, but it was kind of slim pickings. There were some contests that had animation categories, but I wanted specific animation contests. A friend of mine had entered an animation competition and I couldn’t find it anywhere. He said he entered through Film Freeway. So I checked it out, and I was very excited with all the selections. Feedback Animation was one of the contests that especially caught my eye.

As far as the feedback I received, I’ve actually grown to be less feedback dependent. Feedback can be very costly to get and a lot of times it reveals that the reader wasn’t paying very close attention or the suggestions contradict what another reader gave. Honestly, I didn’t enter the contest for the feedback. I would have been okay without it. Having said that… I liked the feedback I received. It was to the point and didn’t feel like its greater objective was to fulfill a word count. It had some actionable notes. There were some specific comments that I wish I could have responded to, mostly related to formatting, but I was happy. And I like that it was included in the price of the contest.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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