Interview with Screenwriter Mark Spurlock (The Outlaw Josey From Wales)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Mark Spurlock: The travels of three misfits looking for a missing family member.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Western comedy

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

We need more comedy westerns.

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

Laughable parody.

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

The Big Lebowski

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

For a couple of years.

7. How many stories have you written?

Just two with a couple in the works.

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

Stairway to Heaven

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

Trying to find an ending.

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

My children.

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

Great. They let me know what’s going on in the festival world.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

After learning his brother is missing a Welch not so outlaw must leave his country and travel to America to find him. With the help of an Indian tracker and a gay sheep herder, the three leave an everlasting mark on American history.

CAST LIST:
Bison Bob: Sean Ballantyne
Man at Table: Allen Brunet
Narration: Isabel Kruse
Josey: Brandon Knox
Popeye: Aaron Williams

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Interview with William Opperman (NEW TO THIS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

William Opperman: A young man who is unsure of his sexuality is lucky enough to find, through a chance encounter on a subway train, a gentle, more experienced guide.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

LGBTQ, romcom

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

The story is simple, but universal. Who hasn’t needed help at some point in their lives?

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

Sexy, tender.

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

Before my time: All About Eve
In my prime: If…
Contemporary: Talk to Her, The Lives of Others, and Spotlight
(Note: All incredibly strong scripts!)

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

A little over a year. The basic storyline was excerpted from a novel I’m working on.

7. How many stories have you written?

More than a dozen, fewer than a score.

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

A dangerous question! I’m an opera lover, and a Wagnerite to boot. So Meistersinger is in many ways the best answer to the question. But there’s always “Hey, Jude” and about twenty Joni Mitchell songs.

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

Sex is a major element of the screenplay, and it was tricky to find the right balance of unapologetic frankness and good taste. I was also worried that it might be too Tea and Sympathetic, if that makes sense. I hope the eventual audience will enjoy the journey and fill in any blanks with their own memories.

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

My husband and my kids, movies, opera and other serious music, Jane Austen and Thornton Wilder, and maybe politics. I wish I were either totally uninterested in politics or consumed by them. Instead I swing between evangelistic zeal and total indifference.

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

The great thing about FilmFreeway is that it manages your scripts for you. You upload your work once and submit it to as many places as you want. Results are tracked for you as well.

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

The feedback was incredibly helpful. Encouragement is always nice, and heaven knows it can be hard to come by, but even better was the advice: Pull back on this element, emphasize that one; heighten the conflict; specify, make it move, let it breathe. I owe you guys a lot! Thanks.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A crowded subway car affords a young man a chance at self-discovery.

CAST LIST:

Dog Owner: Isabel Kruse
Barry: Neil Bennett
Narrator: Val Cole
Paul: Geoff Mays
Jack: Jarrod Terrill

Interview with Screenwriter Mark Allard-Will (Herculean Task)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Mark Allard-Will: Herculean Task is an attempt to Frankenstein Greek mythology with Black Comedy. The premise is simple: What if using terms of exaggeration could get us in to literal trouble, not just verbal discourse? The result is a bonkers script that, while needing a re-write, is an example of how something as rigid as mythology can be fused with irreverent styles of comedy.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

The one definitive genre would be comedy, but a good moniker for the screenplay might be ‘fusion’.

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

Wilder forms of comedy are gaining traction now, in Canada, in the USA, Britain and Europe and this screenplay is inventive in it’s own way – inventiveness seems to be what producers are seeking out now. It utilises the graveyard humour of French and German comedy and that, in and of itself, is still fairly fresh to American, Canadian and British audiences.

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

Out there

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

Super Troopers

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

I probably dedicated about six hours to it and knocked it out as one of my comedy soaps (short sketches) scripts and moved on to the next one. Admittedly, it would need some touching-up by myself if someone were to adapt it.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’m a published author of graphic novels, so if you include my graphic novels and screenplays we’re probably looking at eight stories

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

Raining Blood by Slayer

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

For sure, I’d say my own self-dismissal

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

I love mythology, regardless of whether it’s Norse, Greek, Mesopotamian, Aztec, Maya – it doesn’t matter, I love it all the same. I’m also a massive Metal Head and a huge fan of world cinema; to me, there’s nothing better than watching a German comedy movie or a Danish drama.

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

I love FilmFreeway. It’s easy to use and very intuitive, I’d recommend it to all budding film-makers and screenwriters

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

As a published author, I’m used to working with editors and I actually love the process of editing my manuscripts. What a good editor does is give you notes that help you make your work absolutely flawless; notes that give you ideas of how to improve your work in your own writer’s voice. So, you say feedback, I say notes that show me how this quickly banged-out script could be improved if a producer were ever to pick it up and ask for a re-write – to put it another way, I was happy with your notes, because they exposed the weaknesses in my script. As for why I entered the festival, every up-coming writer needs feedback from WildSound to channel their screenwriting in to being a better, stronger beast.  

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Comedy and mythology collide in Mark Allard-Will’s Short Screenplay, Herculean Task.

After climbing a Mountain with his girlfriend, Sheila, and claiming that he’s completed a ‘Herculean task’ in doing so, he mysteriously finds himself in Ancient Greece tasked with actually completing Herculean tasks (commonly known as The Twelve Labours of Hercules).

CAST LIST:

King: Allen Brunet
Narration: Isabel Kruse
Derick: Brandon Knox
Sheila: Kyana Theresa

Interview with Screenwriter Eric White (BLIND VAMPIRE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Eric White: The 15-minute Short is about a vampire who was blinded in an ambush. She learns to survive throughout the centuries by using the vision of animals and her ability to compel beings through thought. In the Short we see: (1) Healthy vampire Dreven, (2) Blinded Dreven and (3) Dreven overcoming her disability. It’s heartwarming in a horrible sort of way.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror, Action

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

Vampires typically don’t have a disability — they are either very strong and resilient or dead. In this case, the vampire Dreven adapts to her disability in a seemingly “normal” way by using a service dog that she has trained to detect danger, protect her and hunt for blood.

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

Pragmatic adaptation.

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

Fifth Element

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

1 month

7. How many stories have you written?

I have mature scripts for “Blind Vampire” and “Vapor”, a Sci-Fi Steampunk TV Pilot. And nascent scripts/stories for two more Pilots, “Unseen” and “Not So Charming” and one feature, “Dead Princess”.

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

Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

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

Targeting 15-minutes in length and I struggled with the ending. Some will feel it ends abruptly. I could have explored a relationship with the neighbor, making the script longer, but I preferred bloodlust over just plain lust and kept the script to 15 pp.

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

Beach, beagles, and irreverence.

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

It’s great. I feel like I’m not presenting work through a portal but, rather, sharing my accomplishments with a community.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival?

The festival struck me as welcoming, constructive and interested in my work, not just building a lengthy participant list to legitimize their festival – particularly new ones.

What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

The feedback — in particular the tone, not just the content — was far more helpful and encouraging than most all other reader responses I’ve received.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Centuries after a being ambushed, a blinded vampire survives thanks to her seeing eye dog.

CAST LIST:

Thug Leader: Daniel Jones
Boris: Steve Rizzo
Narrator: Carina Cojeen
Dreven: Caroline Concordia
Melanie: Emily Weir
Celia: Judy Thrush

Interview with Screenwriter Morgan Schefflin (L.A.’s Finest)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Morgan Schefflin: The backdrop of the script is about making a one hour TV procedural. However, the heart of the show is about relationships: friendship, love between current/old flames, and love of family.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It is a dramedy, so it falls under the drama and comedy genres.


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

TV and movies are supposed to be entertaining for an audience. I firmly believe that this script is extremely entertaining and scripts are eventually meant to be seen and not read.

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

Witty, heartfelt

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

Rocky

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

I’ve been working on this script on and off for about 10 years. The last year or so I’ve worked with network executives and managers to really show me how I needed to shape this to be what it is now.

7. How many stories have you written?

If we’re talking stories in general, not scripts, then probably 100s in various forms of short stories, scripts, plays, etc. I think I’ve written around 15 screenplays, and I think I have around 30 scripts in various stages of development.

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

My favorite song is Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley.

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

Oh man, what obstacles didn’t I face? For context purposes, I loved writing when I was in elementary school. I really started to get into writing scripts when I was in 7th-8th grade, but I could never find real training in how I should write a script until my mid 20’s. Up until that point, all of my writing techniques were self-taught. When I was looking for colleges I had a really hard time finding a program for screenwriting. I eventually found something at Full Sail University and I learned a lot about what I was missing in this particular script during that time. Last year, I found another program through RoadMap Writers where I can work with Network executives and Managers. That really got me to the point of where it is now. However, I had to work with many various executives and managers because screenplays are very subjective, obviously. Also, this particular script takes place in the world of TV, so it’s getting scrutinized even harder than a regular script would. I’ve been told this will never sell. I’ve been told to try something else. I’ve been told almost everything you can be told to discourage you from not continuing this script, but I’m very passionate about these characters and their stories.

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

I like watching my sports teams and playing sports. Unfortunately, all my teams are generally terrible, so watching them is very painful (Jets, Mets, Nets, Devils). I’m a big movie buff, so I love to watch movies. I don’t get as much time to play games as I was when I was younger, but right now I’m playing The Division 2 and revisiting some older games I didn’t get a chance to finish.

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

My experiences have been pretty good. It’s been easy to submit and if I had a question the people have been responsive.

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

I have entered the festival previous times, but unfortunately I had received a lot of conflicting feedback. Now that I had time to work with Managers and Network executives to fine tune my script, I wanted to see if it had paid off.

It turns out it has!

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Logline: A TV showrunner clashes with his head writer and network executive girlfriend to get his pilot made as promised to his niece before he gets ousted out of the TV business for good.

Genre: Drama, comedy

CAST LIST:

Steve (20s)– 4 – Steve Saet
Josh (50s) 11 – David Occhipinti
Narration Ella A
Ryan (30s)– 30 – Michael Ruhs
Jenny (20s-30s) – 19 – Barbara Bergeron

Interview with Screenwriter Louetta Jensen (Bittersweet Serenity)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

The screenplay, Bittersweet Serenity, is about an estranged wife who is desperate to put an end to her failed marriage from a maverick scientist, and joins forces with an endangered family who have been touched by the scientist’s evil. As a result, the wife becomes empowered, through necessity, in order to bring the scientist down and end his tortuous treatment of patients.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Psychological thriller, mystery, horror.

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

It’s the hook which is the specific method of treatments done by the scientist which is the use of holograms in a scientific approach, leaving patients wondering if their greatest fears are real, or a dream, and neither which they can escape mentally.

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

Fear monger.

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

The Witches of Eastwick, and Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds.

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

Many years. It has been adapted by myself and my co-writer from my published, award winning, novel by the same title name.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have personally written 4 novels, 3 screenplays, and many short stories, most of which are published.

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

The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.

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

No obstacles. The words fell onto the pages. No one will stop me from writing my heart out.

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

I’m also passionate about working as an animal advocate and have done this for many decades due to my deep love for animals.

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

Film Freeway is a great and streamlined way to enter submissions.

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

I’ve done so previously and was pleased with the final product.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Logline: In the remote mountains of Washington State, there lives an evil and monstrous legend: his name is Dr. Martin Braddock, and he devours souls for a living. The maverick scientist has a brilliant mind and advanced technology, yet he’s about to face his toughest opponent ever . . . his estranged wife, in what becomes a war between the bitter and the sweet.

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

CAST LIST:
Orenda – 10 – Carrie Schiffler
Narration – David Occhipinti
Krystyna (20s) – 21 – Ella A
Logan (20s) – 17 – Steve Saet

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Interview with Filmmakers Lucy Joan Barnes & Ali Causon (FOR WANT OF A NAIL)

FOR WANT OF A NAIL played to rave reviews at the April 2019 Female Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Lucy (director): The script and it’s message, it was not trying to “sugarcoat” what having OCD is really like.. it was showing how intense it can be for the person who suffers from it.

Ali (producer): Although I was not looking for a script that specifically focused on mental health, after reading FWOAN just a couple of times, it felt like a natural follow up to my previous short about PTSD.

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

Lucy: I believe it was about a year…

Ali: Writer Nick and I had been working together for a few months before mainly to find a director we wanted to work with. Lucy, Nick and I then ran a development workshop with volunteers from OCD Action and Actors to learn more about the condition.

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

Lucy: Frank and Eye Opening

Ali: Honest

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

Lucy:Finding Marty and a shower to film in 🙂

Ali:Definitely finding a shower! Our Actor Clark is quite tall

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

Lucy: I may not have agreed with all the feedback, but I can see where people came from, I learnt a lot , I will take on what has been said and it use it to evolve as a director

Ali: Excited! We had some really interesting feedback and although not everyone enjoyed the film, it certainly had them talking! For me that is the best result, the only way to raise awareness for mental health conditions, like OCD, is to talk about it. ‘For Want Of A Nail’ has been lucky enough to have full support and endorsement from OCD Action, the charity were very much involved in production from development to final film. It has always been important to me to show an honest portrayal of OCD.

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

Lucy: Nick had already written the script but the idea of adding animation was the first thing that came to mind when I read it..

Ali: Nick, our writer, suffers with OCD. He was inspired to write the script as a cathartic experience to try and get to grips with his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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

Lucy: Old Boy

Ali: Star Wars!

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

Lucy: I think it’s great

Ali: Very user friendly system.

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

Lucy: Oh that’s a hard one.. probably Bohemian Rhapsody

Ali: Same as Lu!

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

Lucy: I’m adapting a Shakespeare for a modern audience looking at the mental health of the character and hopefully get people to connect with Shakespeare more

Ali: I’m in the process of pitching the ‘For Want Of A Nail’ TV series and have just completed post for a feature film called ‘The Hidden Track’ which is due for release later this year.

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