Interview with Screenwriter Jay Anne Dixon (PRELUDE)

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

In 1945, two RAF Officers prepare for an ill-fated operation.


Narrator: Val Cole
Williams: Steve Rizzo
Teddy Geoff Mays

1. What is your screenplay about?

’The Prelude’ is about two fictional RAF Officers preparing for an allied operation in 1945. The allies suffered heavy losses in the operation, with survivors referring to it as “Black Friday’, and ’The Prelude’ reflects on the relationship between the two men and the nature of their sacrifice with the knowledge that they were likely flying to their deaths.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

’The Prelude’ falls under the genres of war and drama.

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

The Black Friday operation took place on the 9th of February 1945 with the aim of taking out a German Destroyer ship being stored in Forde Fjord, Norway. Amongst the men who flew on the day was my Grandfather, Stanley Butler, who survived the operation. The allies suffered heavy losses: fourteen aircrew were killed and four taken prisoner. ‘The Prelude’ realises the humanity of the men who flew on the mission through these two fictional characters, and as a produced film would help the audience to understand the enormity of the task that these young men were charged with, and the sacrifice that they made. ’The Prelude’ is unusual in that it is not an action film, but instead focuses on the events before and after the ill-fated mission, and I believe that this would make the film fresh and appealing to audiences.

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

Understated; poignant.

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

Dunkirk – an excellent and emotive film.

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

About six months.

7. How many stories have you written?

‘The Prelude’ is the third story I’ve written, coming after a sitcom and a drama about the plight of refugees, with another two in progress.

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

‘Are You even Real?’ By Weval – it’s a very unique song.

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

Unfortunately I suffer from severe chronic illness and have actually been unable to leave my room for the past two years, so writing the screenplay was extremely challenging as I could only write for very short periods punctuated by long breaks. My passion for the project, however, made sure I completed it despite this challenge.

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

Before I became ill I was a keen photographer and enjoyed competitive triathlon, and look forward to being able to do these things again. At the moment I enjoy drawing and am teaching myself about filmmaking.

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

FilmFreeway is an excellent platform, quick and easy to use. My experiences are very positive and I’d highly recommend it.

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

I entered the festival because it was tailored for very short scripts and offered feedback, which is rare for festivals. The feedback I received was thoughtful, detailed and helpful, with a discussion of the script and notes for improvement, and I found it invaluable.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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