Interview with Screenwriter Paul Mortsolf (Innocence of a Guilty Mind)

1. What is your screenplay about?

The screenplay is about a true crime novelist that is driven by her career and wanting to stand out in a very saturated market. In her push to dig deeper she discovers something more about the case than she bargained for and the desire to get to the ultimate truth overshadows her work. Unfortunately it makes her a subject of the story instead of the observer of the story that changes her entire life.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It would fall into the horror/thriller genre.

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

It would be amazing to see this screenplay be produced into a feature film. I think that every writer imagines their work on the screen. I try to write movies that I would like to see and it reminds me of the movies that I couldn’t wait to get too on a Friday night. I feel that Innocence is the type of movie that will stick with an audience once it is over.

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

Graphic and disturbing

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

That’s a tough one, there are a lot. Star Wars is the first thing that comes to mind. I watched it a lot as a kid. Once I got into horror in the mid 80s, I was drawn into the slasher craze and my favorite was Friday the 13th and would watch them whenever I could. My all time favorite horror film is Hellraiser and I have watched that movie more than I can even put a number on it.

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

The original idea popped up in 2016 and I started doing the research on hypnosis. I originally planned on Innocence to be a short film that I could film myself and the idea kept growing. The outline kept growing the more I dug into the idea. The first draft of the screenplay ended up being almost 130 pages. So, not quite a short after that. I was able to get some great notes and continue to work on it, trim pages, and tighten the story into something I was very happy with.

7. How many stories have you written?

Counting features, pilots, and shorts. About 10. I know that I have forgotten some in there but I have other ideas that are still in the outline phase or in process of the first draft.

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

That one is incredibly tough. I grew up with a family that loved music, it was playing all the time. I got into thrash metal in the 80s and it was my escape and a way for me to unplug from the world when I needed to. I would have to say that I listened to Metallica more than any other band back then..

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

The rewriting process was a lot of work. It was the easiest first draft that I have ever written, I just loved the story so much that I couldn’t help but to jump into it every day and finish it. The first draft only took about six weeks. I got some notes and the toughest note was about the original ending. I loved it but the person that read it didn’t, so I changed it and never felt comfortable with the new ending but I felt that the person that I received the note from was more experienced so I left it. It didn’t sit well with me so after several drafts, I put the original ending back on because I liked it better.

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

Filmmaking and music. I was lucky enough to adapt and direct a short film called “Rest Stop” in 2018. It was adapted from the Stephen King short story of the same name and being part of that process and seeing it play in festivals was a dream come true.

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

The submission process at Filmfreeway is very easy and user friendly. I have used it to submit screenplays and short film with ease.

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

When I read the overview of the festival, I knew it was for me. I entered two screen plays into the festival and received great notes on both. The notes were well thought out and you can tell that the person really took their time reading the script and giving notes to help the writer make a more compelling story.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A true crime novelist teams up with a former FBI profiler to prove the existence of a serial killer that uses hypnosis to get others to confess to his crimes before and innocent man is executed.


Narrator: Hannah Ehman
Rebecca: Kyana Teresa
Victor: Steve Rizzo
Brad: Geoff Mays


By matthewtoffolo

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

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