Interview with Screenwriter Karla S. Bryant (NOT MY SECRET TO TELL)

WATCH the Screenplay Reading.

1. What is your screenplay about?

“Not My Secret to Tell”, at its core, is about the need we have to avoid shame at all costs. I believe most secrets and deceptions are conceived to protect ourselves from shame. The irony is that keeping secrets also imprisons a part of us. Once the truth rises to the top, which it always does, it frees us.

More pragmatically, the script is about a middle-aged couple who have been together since they were in their teens. When they were first dating, an accident occurred which led to a cover-up on their part. Hiding from the incident led to another terrible incident, which the wife hid from her husband for decades. One evening, a person from their past re-enters their lives and everything is exposed. Still, in the end, justice is served to the antagonist.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller, suspense, drama

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

While the #MeToo movement has been stretched a bit thin in what it encompasses, one of the overriding themes in the script is that a victim of sexual assault decades ago had no recourse. Today, it’s a bit better, but it’s my hope that in the future more women will be not only heard, but believed. I hope this screenplay, as a film, would encourage that discussion.

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

Hidden shame.

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

Either The Godfather II or the original Jaws.

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

On and off for about 4 years. I regret that other projects kept pushing it to the side. It’s also gone through several major rewrites.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve had a short story published in a literary quarterly, Dappled Things, and recently my essay, “Like a Phoenix” was published in the anthology, “Midlife on Fire”. I’ve also had 7 short films I’ve either written or co-written produced as films.

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

The first one that comes to mind, since it still means something different every time I hear it, is “In My Life”.

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

Really, my own emotional obstacles. While “Not My Secret to Tell” is not based on a true story, elements in it happened in my own life and I realized I had real reluctance to revisit those memories,

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

Genealogy. My mother had been adopted as an infant in Chicago. I began searching for her birth family shortly after she died in 1983 and never found anything. In 2007, a series of unlikely coincidences led me to the maternal side of her birth family. I’m still trying to find out who my grandfather was!

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

I really appreciate how easy they make it to submit screenplays and films. It’s also wonderful that you can research each festival a bit to determine if you want to submit your work there or not.

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

I felt “Not My Secret to Tell” was a good fit for the festival. It’s a project that’s been very important to me for personal reasons and I’ve been extremely careful about where I’ve submitted it to. I’ve submitted it to only three film festivals. I was thrilled by the feedback I received and surprised at how detailed it was. The Thriller/Suspense Film Festival’s genuine love of films comes through in the care they’ve shown for the project.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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