Interview with Screenwriter Josh Miller (TIME TOURISTS)

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A dysfunctional time-traveling family must evade the authorities and find a way to return to the future or they’ll unintentionally trigger a “much bigger bang.”


Narration: Hannah Ehman
Valtero: Sean Ballantyne
Tomo: Geoff Mays
Computer Voice/Courier: Kyana Teresa

Get to know the screenwriter:

1. What is your screenplay about?

It’s about a dysfunctional family— a dad, mom and their teenage daughter– who hail from Earth’s distant and polluted future and are accidentally transported back in time to present day Earth. Once they figure out where they are and what has happened, they realize that this time period is the incubator of their environmentally trashed future, however if they don’t find a way to get back home in seven days, they will inadvertently cause an “even bigger bang,” i.e. the destruction of the universe. Another way to shorthand it might be to say it is National Lampoon’s Vacation meets Coneheads with a nod to Wall-E.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It is a sci fi comedy.

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

First and foremost, it’s funny. It has lots of goofy fish out of water jokes, malfunctioning language translator gags and character-based humor based on family dysfunction. It also has a clear and strong environmental message about our collective and individual responsibility to better care for our planet.

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

I like to say that the script “tastes great” and is also “nourishing”. By that I mean both entertaining and thought-provoking.

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

Probably the Back to the Future films. My kids fell in love with them when they were tykes, hence we probably watched them hundreds of times together.

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

I wrote some early drafts back in 2016, then set the project aside for several years as I pursued some other projects and opportunities. I came back to it around 2020/2021 and have been going hard on the project since then. It has garnered some welcome recognition from screenwriting festivals and contests, but no offers yet!

7. How many stories have you written?

Too numerous to count. I have had the good fortune to see my work produced for both film and television. I also created and show-ran a TV series that also had a time travel component (seeing a trend here!). Also, a book publisher called Brush Education published my non-fiction screenwriting how-to book entitled Stuck! Learn to Love Your Screenplay Again.

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

Probably a toss up between The Way it is by Bruce Hornsby and Squib Cakes by Tower of Power. My musical tastes lean toward R&B, funk and jazz.

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

Comedy is difficult to execute! Once the story structure and the characters were established, I probably did the most rewrites focusing solely on increasing the funniness quotient as much as possible.

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

Learning. Everything I do or get involved with has to have a learning component, so that I gain knowledge. The more esoteric the topic, the better.

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

Great! It is very convenient to have a centralized site which retains all my project details, which simplifies the festival/competition submission process.

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

No doubt it was the focus on environmental themes. That dovetailed nicely with the message of the screenplay. The feedback was incredible! The reader completely got the material, which was really heartening.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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