Interview with Screenwriter Eric William Carlson (REACH FOR THE SKY)

1. What is your screenplay about?

At its core Reach For The Sky is a story about Faith and Tenacity. In 1964 a young idealistic Missouri Industrial Arts teacher – Bill Ghan – accepts a teaching position at a high school in a small economically disadvantaged town. He discovers the teachers and administration have given up on the poor performing students. Despite the apathetic attitude of the students, Bill decides to ditch the usual Industrial Arts curriculum and instead challenges his students to build an airplane – one that he promises to fly. In essence, he tells his students he has enough faith in them that he will put his life in their hands by flying the plane they build. There were many obstacles in their path, and many false starts, and they almost failed, but they kept up their task until they finished.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Family-friendly inspirational drama would best describe my screenplay.

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

There are many inspirational films out there, but what sets his story apart? Bill Ghan had enough faith that he literally put his life in the hands of his students – students considered to be failures by the system – by promising to fly their airplane when they finished building it. How many teachers can put that on their resumes? At the end of the film, when he climbs into the airplane and takes off as his students watch, I guarantee there won’t be a dry eye in the theater.

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

Tenacity wins.

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

To Kill a Mockingbird – I believe a film with the most powerful message about truth ever released.

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

Including research, I have been developing this story for over six years.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have written about 30 screenplays.

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

I believe I Saw Her Standing There is the best Rock Song ever written.

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

Getting Bill’s journey complete. I wanted to make sure it reflected his true character – his true humility and his true success as an inspirational educator. He almost failed, but he never quit.

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

Music! I am a drummer and love to play!

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

I have never had any difficulties with Film Freeway. An excellent entry portal for contests.

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

The feedback was fantastic – the best I have ever received. I immediately started editing based on your notes! That’s one reason why I entered. The other was the opportunity to have a few scenes read – to hear my words come to life.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

In 1964, a young idealistic industrial arts teacher accepts a teaching job at an economically disadvantaged rural high school. There he defies the bureaucracy – and risks his career – by ignoring the approved curriculum and instead challenges a group of poor performing students to build an airplane that he promises to fly.


Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Young Bill: Steve Rizzo
Mother: Kyana Teresa
Stepfather: Allan Michael


By matthewtoffolo

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

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