Interview with Screenwriter Daniel Fishbayn (Adventure Time)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Daniel Fishbayn: My screenplay is a spec script for the beloved Cartoon Network show, Adventure Time. I chose to spec Adventure Time as I was looking for an animated series I connected with not just creatively, but also on a more emotional/personal level. Plus, I’ve been a fan since the show began over a decade ago as an online YouTube short, and this felt like the ultimate tribute.

The story follows Finn and Jake as they are investigate a series of mysterious kidnappings in the Candy Kingdom, only to get kidnapped themselves. The captor turns out to be their old nemesis, the evil scientist Doctor Gross, who claims to have changed her ways and seems to be beloved by the kidnapped creatures. Dr. Gross tries to recruit Finn and Jake as “Creativitists” in her dream project of repopulating the Land of Oo with her own genetically engineered animals, using her gleaming Crystal Sword as a reward for Finn for helping her. Initially, Finn and Jake are skeptical at the notion of a “job,” but Finn quickly realizes that using his creativity for a higher purpose might not be such a bad thing.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Adventure Time is an animated series that appeals to a really wide age range. Lots of kids and teens love the show for its hilarious antics, but lots of adults enjoy it too for the same reasons. There are some pretty dark themes explored, particularly in the later seasons, that I think add a depth to the show not present in a lot of other cartoons.

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

Not sure if this one applies for my script since Adventure Time has now wrapped up, but it would be amazingly cool to see it as a real episode!

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

Ridiculous. Fun.

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

Probably The Matrix. Although Rat Race is up there too, since there was a DVD player in my mom’s car and my brothers and I all thought it was the funniest thing ever. So we watched it there on repeat for a good chunk of my childhood.

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

I started work on it around May or June of 2018. So it was about 6 months of working on it, on and off, to get to this polished draft.

7. How many stories have you written?

I lost count a long time ago! I’ve been writing short stories since I was a little kid. The fun fact I always tell people is that I actually wrote my own sequel to the Harry Potter series when I was eight years old. I’ve been making up stories ever since, in one medium or another.

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

In the past couple of years, it’s probably “Sleep Sound” by Jamie xx. It’s this low-key incredible piece of electronic music that just soothes my soul.


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

I definitely hit some writer’s block at a couple of points. This was actually one of the first pieces of writing I’ve done specifically with younger viewers in mind. I had been writing a lot of adult comedy at that point, so it was an interesting challenge to sort of adapt my voice for a different audience.

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

Lots of things! I’ve been quite active in the Toronto improv community for a few years now, and I’m definitely passionate about improv, especially narrative improv, as an artform. I also love playing guitar, and I used to play in bands many eons ago. I’m one of those people that has lots of hobbies, and can never pick just one.

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

I’ve had a good experience using FilmFreeway. It’s conveniently designed in a way that makes submitting to festivals very quick and easy. It’s also helpful for organizing the different pieces of promo material that make up a single project’s “package.”

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

I had heard about FEEDBACK many times, and knew that it was part of a wider network of festivals that have been showcasing filmmakers’ work for years. When I realized there was also a screenwriting component to the festival, I felt like it was a great opportunity to, at the very least, get some helpful feedback on my script. I felt unsure whether it was working as a whole, and whether it was ready to be sent out as a portfolio piece. When I found out that the programmers loved my piece and wished to arrange a professional cold read, I was thrilled and gained a lot of confidence in the script.

The coverage report was also very helpful as it addressed several aspects of my screenplay in a coherent, organized fashion. As constructive feedback, I would just say that while I was glad to hear the reader found very few issues with it, it would have been interesting to hear more about which specific aspects of the script the reader felt were working best and which could be improved. That said, to hear that the FEEDBACK team considered it to be one of the strongest spec scripts they had read was extremely validating and encouraging to say the least.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:Β 

When creatures begin disappearing from the Candy Kingdom overnight, Princess Bubblegum tasks Finn and Jake with solving the mystery.

CAST LIST:

Science Cat: Emily Weir
Starchy: Peter Nelson
Dr. Gross: Regan Brown
Narration: Laura Kyswaty
Finn: Kevin Gabel
Jake: Kevin Robinson
Toffee Girl: Patrice Henry

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Interview with Screenwriter Alex Alvarez (WILL)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Alex Alvarez: It’s about a middle aged gay man struggling to balance his love life with the full time responsibility of being a caregiver.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama.

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

I think WILL poses interesting questions. What led up to this moment? What was Will’s young adulthood like? What happens now? I think there is a movie leading up to the moments we experience in WILL. On the flip side, I think that it can also be a very powerful first act in the story of a man who finds the will to live and love again. It’s a personal story for me. One that I’ve closely observed. I’ve seen the gift of caregiving and the cost of it.

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

Love lost.

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

I don’t know that I know the answer to this question, but I do know that my Junior or Senior year of High School I watched FARGO every single day.

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

This was a labor of love. It poured out of me. But I got very helpful feedback from Pat Rushin (THE ZERO THEOREM) who teaches at University of Central Florida.

7. How many stories have you written?

Many.

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

Favorite song? But I LOVE so many!

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

I struggled with how to end it. I saw examples of men and women who found it challenging to have a romantic relationship while caring for their parent(s). But I was hopeful that there was a way to do it. Still, I wanted to document the truth of what I saw.

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

I’m an actor based in South Florida and a dubbing artist. I can send you my bio if you like. πŸ™‚

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

It’s a quick and easy way to get your work read.

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

I felt like this was a unique protagonist, one that we don’t see frequently represented in LGBTQ+ films. I was excited by the feedback. People want to know more about Will. What are his dreams? What are his demons? What’s keeping him from letting someone like Charles in?

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Watch the Screenplay Reading:Β 

A middle aged gay man struggles with sex and love while taking care of his elderly mother.

CAST LIST:

Lydia: Avelyn Grey
Narration: Carina Cojeen
Will: Allen Brunet
Charles: Ron Boyd

Submit via FilmFreeway:

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Interview with Screenwriter Michael Gavino (The Adorables)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Michael Gavino: When a young ocelot and a young anacoda go on an unauthorized journey to a big city, they find out that the human world is filled with wonder, humor, and danger.

2. What genres does your screenplay under?

Animation

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

This screenplay will make you laugh and it will move you. You can’t help but fall in love with the characters.

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

Fun, Wonder

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

Citizen Kane

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

Many years.

7. How many stories have you written?

Dozens

8. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

In a time of such turmoil, it is time for a little laughter and wonder.

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

There are huge time pressures. Like so many I have too much to do in too few hours.

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

I am passionate about acting, teaching, and helping others

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

In the end, if you have a story, stick with it and let it motivate you.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:Β 

CAST LIST:

Oscar Sr – 5 – Brian Carleton
Oscar Jr – 5 – Jolly Amaoko
NARRATION – Bree Ali
Ofelia – 11 – Stephanie Herrera
Carlos – 14 – Russell Batcher

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Interview with Screenwriter Paige Brien (Burden of the Blood Moon)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Paige Brien: Burden of the Blood Moon is a contained horror film with a strong female lead and supporting roles. Based in the 70’s with 3-4 locations.

Logline:

Bartender, JOE (30’s), establishes herself in a small town to start a new life in the 1970’s. When MARA (20’s) shows up at Joe’s bar during the blood moon, she brings all the demons from Joe’s past with her.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller/Horror

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

I began outlining this story during the ‘Me Too’ movement and the Kavanaugh trials. Witch hunts have been occurring for hundreds of years and still continue to this very day. This movie should be made as a reminder of how society continues to quiet women and the sacrifices we make to keep our sisterhood safe. This film has a very strong female cast, which is rare and much needed.

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

Poignant & Daring

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

ET

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

1 Year

7. How many stories have you written?

Too many to count, I have been writing all my life.

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

‘Painted Black’ By. The Rolling Stones

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

Describing The Monster in this film was the biggest challenge, I still feel I didn’t do it justice in words. I think when my FX person begins to build it from my imagination, that is when I can find the exact words.

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

Storytelling in all mediums; film making, painting, animation and music videos.

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

Excellent! I prefer them to the previous hub ‘Without a Box’.

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

I have entered before and had a great reading from another film.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:Β 

CAST LIST:

Lynn: Carina Cojeen
Max: Amber Copeland
Narration: Shawn Devlin
Joe: Anne McMaster
Mara: Avelyn Grey

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Interview with Screenwriter Susie Schecter (REAR-ENDED)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Susie Schecter: Wade Banks, like his two other roommates is a freeloader and slacker. He’s a recent college graduate with no well-defined aim in life. He lives off his parents who plan to severe funds on his twenty-fifth birthday, so when he’s rear-ended by a stretch limo, it’s just in the nick of time or so he thinks.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romantic Comedy

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

This comedy has a well defined structure. A beginning, middle and end. It has clarity, believable characters and good timing. Rear-Ended makes good use of surprise, conflict and reversals. I believe comedy is just like drama only in disguise.

Oh, it’s funny.

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

Coming of age.

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

La La Land, Wedding Crashers and Trainwreck.

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

One year.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written a novel, “Lifetimes Ago – A Love Story Inspired from Past Life Memories.” Three screenplays, Fantasy Drama, Romantic Comedy and finishing up on a Fantasy Drama/Psychological Thriller.

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

I love most all types of music and couldn’t narrow it down to one song.

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

The psychological obstacle of thinking I’m writing this for nothing and just because everybody that’s heard it thinks it’s funny – that’s not good enough. I’m in a highly competitive field.
The writing flowed.

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

Love, animals and the environment.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:Β 

This scene takes place at a comedy club in Irvine California.
Wade is with his friends for a night of laughs. Recently at a friend’s party, Danny, dyslexic, met a comedian Scarlet, who brushed him off when he tried to talk and dance with her. Scarlet is performing tonight. She’s an insult comedian.

CAST LIST:

Caitlyn – 3 – Bree Ali
Danny – 10 – Jolly Amaoko
NARRATION – Stephanie Herrera
Scarlet – 13 – Sarah Bedford
Dave – 5 – Russell Batcher
MC – 2 – Brian Carleton

Interview with Poet Michael Villalobos (WINE AND DINE AT 9)

1) What is the theme of your poem?

About how a lady should be admired an treated on a date immensely !!!!

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

It’s what i do 24/7 !

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

10 years plus

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a Professional actor?

“Poet-ing” for a way in this industry as a ghost writer/rhymer !!!!!!
6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?
yes I do as in ” I write as in rhyme every night with a ice cold bud light an even more precise when the full moon is bright !!!!!!!!

7) What is your passion in life?

to continue in life as a inventor / poet ghost rhymer Etc Ect Ect..!!!!! In

Watch Poetry Reading:

Performed by Anne McMaster

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Interview with Filmmaker Roisin Kearney (THE FAMILY WAY)

THE FAMILY WAY was the winner of BEST FILM at the January 2019 Female Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Roisin Kearney: I had produced two short films after having a break from film making. I had found it difficult to work in the industry after the birth of my 3 children. The impact of parenthood on your life is very dramatic and it is a subject not often looked at. I had been on a screenwriting course and one of our assignments was on the subject of an unplanned pregnancy and it went from there, I went on to develop the idea with Nuno Bernardo. Abortion was illegal at the time in Ireland and being hotly debated, a woman had died of sepsis during a miscarriage because a heart beat was detected and the 8th amendment to the constitution (equal right to life of mother and fetus) meant that doctors could not intervene until there was proof that the Mother would die if they did not intervene, unfortunately it was too late by the time they did.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

It took about six months from the time the first draft was written.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Heart v Head

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Money (of course) as we didn’t have any and locations. People were great and allowed us use their premises for free but it was a lot of work getting them all and keeping to a small budget and timeframe.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was delighted they could identify with the characters, Mother Daughter relationships are universal, and although set in Ireland it was great to see the audience could empathize with the situation and enjoy the comedy as well as the drama.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

While doing a course with Mary Kate O Flanagan.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

The Rocky Horror Show (I worked in a cinema where it played for years) and The Green Mile (on a lot and always worth a watch)

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It is the only platform I use. Simple and easy to track what you are entering.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Kate Bush Withering Heights


10. What is next for you? A new film?

I have 3 other films currently touring
Prodigy ( written and directed by Naomi Sheridan)
Algorithms ( Written and directed by me)
No Dogs ( Written and directed by me)

I am also looking at making my first feature film.Β 

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