Interview with Screenwriters Vicki Cargill, Adam Cargill (STEVE & OLIVIA)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Adam : The story is about what really makes a family. Two long-lost siblings are reunited when they are both at their lowest and find a connection they’ve never experienced before.

Vicki : It’s about finding roots and discovering your own definition of family. It’s about watching two middle-aged people who are already meant to know this, try to discover what family means to them, and how it’s very different from what society expects.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Adam : It’s a comedy with dramatic elements, strictly speaking. Really I think it’s counterprogramming for the MCU!

Vicki : It’s a pretty dark comedy, with a bunch of drama thrown in.

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

Adam : Steve and Olivia is a funny, sad, life-affirming, heartbreaking story. It tells a universal tale of redemption, acceptance and letting go. It’s a story I think people can connect with.

Vicki : It’s a story that has tremendous heart and a fierce humanity, which is something that can lacking in many big-budget action epics. The connections we all have are in our flaws, and these characters have a bunch of them on display. And I just want to see it, to be honest.

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

Adam : Love. Family.

Vicki : Finally written. Still polishing. Award Winning!

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

Adam : The Princess Bride.

Vicki : Withnail and I. Possibly Frozen given that we have young kids.

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

Adam : Since 2017.

Vicki : It was written in 2017, but it came about quickly once we began.

7. How many stories have you written?

Adam : Too many! We’ve completed about 7 feature scripts and our newest is in development with the British Film Institute.

Vicki : I have no idea. Don’t know when it started, or if it will ever end. It’s fun finding out, though.

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

Adam : At the moment, Hallelujah I Love Her So by Ray Charles – it was kind of the spirit of this screenplay.

Vicki : I’ll Be Seeing You, by Sarah Vaughan.

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

Adam : The characters were always there, but finding the spine of the story while allowing them the space to grow was a challenge. We knew the beginning, we knew the end, but as usual with us, Act II was a little trickier. But we got there eventually, I think.

Vicki : We always tend to write with a strong start and a good ending. We tend to have a midpoint lull trying to get them connected, and we lost a lot of sleep figuring it out.

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

Adam : Reading, art, family, food. All the good stuff!

Vicki : Our kids. Art. Music. Creativity. Food. Friends. Being in nature. All the good things in life, the stuff that makes you get up and get out.

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

Adam : It’s been a real boon for us – it’s easy to use, easy to update, and has really helped us increase our visibility and profile.

Vicki : It’s been pretty seamless, really.

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

Adam : We loved the idea of a festival that might actually table read the screenplay – and we were fortunate enough to have it happen! The feedback was very valuable – both with format and structure. Overall, we’ve been blown away by the level of support and promotion we have received.

Vicki : The feedback we received sent us over the moon! It was such a shot of positivity. Thanks!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

When his grand comeback falls flat, a Broadway legend finds himself out of favour and out of luck. Finding the sister he never knew he had leads him on a journey of separation, hope and redemption that answers the question: what is a family?

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Shawn Devlin
Steve: Colin Sandquist
Jonathan: Neil Bennett

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Interview with Screenwriter Patrick Langille (BEYOND THEIR YEARS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Patrick Langille: A young wannabe writer with no motivation in his life discovers he is being targeted by people believing him to be a reincarnation of a famous author that rubbed some the wrong way. He has to answer for a crime he doesn’t believe he committed in a life he believes he never lived.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy, drama with some fantasy elements.

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

I don’t think there are many revenge movies that involve reincarnation at least to this extent and it could be a lot of fun to have a movie as absurd as it is for people to see.

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

Artistic Obsession

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

Hot Fuzz was probably the most I watched in high school. It also helped me learn more about story and writing.

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

About a year.

7. How many stories have you written?

In scripts including shorts and full length, 20 or so.

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

That’s a tough one. Not exactly a favorite but when one of my sisters was obsessed with the movie Night at the Roxbury she would make me recreate the head bopping in the car to the song What is Love by Haddaway.

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

The flashback scenes. I needed to show the relationships these characters had and how they grew to be enemies. Their friendship had to be believable and that was tricky to do.

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

Very much filmmaking and photography.

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

For the most part it has been the easiest way submitting to festivals. I don’t recall any issues with payment and delivery.

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

When a story only fits in one particular genre or multiple genres it can be difficult for some festivals to judge so I’m glad festivals like this exist to give scripts that might get passed on by other festivals a chance. The feedback was very helpful and showed that I had improved from previous scripts I have tried writing.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Joshua, a high school senior is in danger of not graduating, must complete an assignment on a historical figure. While doing so he meets a mysterious girl claiming to be his wife from a past life; the wife of the historical figure he’s researching. To make things stranger his little school project seems to have attracted other oddballs believing him to be a reincarnation and wanting revenge for his past misdeeds.

CAST LIST:

Roger: Neil Bennett
Narration: Melie B Rondeau
Joshua: Colin Sandquist
Mr. Sinclair: Shawn Devlin

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Interview with Screenwriter Nick Perlman (A PORTRAIT)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Nick Perlman: A Portrait is about, Ian, a reclusive artist working at a plant nursery who struggles to find inspiration and Joseph who is a drifter searching for his estranged mother. When Joseph shows up at Ian’s door, both of their lives are irrevocably changed.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romance, Drama, Queer Cinema

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

We need more films featuring queer characters whose stories don’t solely revolve around their queerness, and who don’t fall into stereotyped tropes. With this film, I hope to do just that: tell a universal story about finding love and acceptance from a queer perspective without having the entire story hinge on their queerness while illustrating their three-dimensionality.

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

“You matter.”

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

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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

The initial pass was about a month long process but subsequent rewrites and fine-tuning have taken about a year.

7. How many stories have you written?

This is my third complete feature, but I’ve written and am writing numerous others which are at various stages of development.

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

This is an enormously difficult question. So I’ll tell you what I’ve been listening to while writing this story: All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun – Elizabeth Fraser and Jeff Buckley, Moon River – Frank Ocean, The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – The Walker Brothers, and The Exhibition – Kaki King

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

For me, it’s been knowing when to stop! Recieving feedback has allowed the story to grow in so many ways but the further in I get the less changes are needed – which should be a signal that it’s nearing completion. At this point I keep looking for things to “fix” but have to acknowledge that at this point, the story is what what it is and ask myself the important question of: “Did I succeed in my intent?” and “Is this the story?”

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

I’ve played music since a young age, but much more relavantly, like the character of Ian, I also paint and draw, myself. It’s a world I’m very intimately familiar with.

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

It’s been great! Easy to submit, make changes, and communicate with festivals!

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

I was absolutely touched by the initial feedback. The reader seemed to have a very personal connection with the material which is why I do what I do! 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Ian is a reclusive artist working at a plant nursery and struggling to find inspiration. Joseph is a drifter searching for his estranged mother. When Joseph shows up at Ian’s door, both of their lives are irrevocably changed.

CAST LIST:

Joseph: Neil Bennett
Narrator: Shawn Devlin
Elizabeth: Carina Cojeen
Ian: Colin Sandquist

Submit via FilmFreeway:

Interview with Screenwriter Jerry Nield (CATCH!)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Jerry Nield: A historical madcap comedy drama depicting family values, romance, morals, religion, gambling, corruption and revenge.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Historical, biographical, drama, action, comedy.

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

Because it’s an entertaining, must see, four quadrant movie. That brings back to life a forgotten part of history.

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

Page turner.

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

Alien.

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

I started doing the research almost 10 years ago.

7. How many stories have you written?

This is my first screenplay.

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

Three Little Birds

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

Learning how to write a screenplay.

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

Growing fruit and veg, fishing, travel and local history, especially the local myths and legends that abound where I live in Wales.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama

Synopsis: Could David really defeat Goliath?

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Bertha: Elizxabeth Rose Morriis
Martha: Ali Chappell
Edison: Scott McCulloch
Ogre: Peter-Mark Raphael
Rufus: Gabriel Darku

 

 

Interview with Screenwriter Mark Thiru (BLACK LIVES MATTER)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

I’m not going to choose black nor will I choose white because I’m a human being and that’s all that matters and all lives matter. The love I have for human progress is more than the hate I have for human hatred. I fight for all and not for one and I’d fight for one to save all. I’m not concerned about life because I considered fighting for lives and I am. Human progress for black lives is progress for all lives. The human race depends on all to progress and not some. Those who hate are dead to themselves but those who love are alive to themselves and others because the room for racist behaviourism has evacuated the heart and others are respected as humans beings rather than colored beings. The script ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ is about human progress and that for all rather than some! I don’t believe in black power! I believe in human power! I believe in human progress! I believe in progress for all and all should!

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller.

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

‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ should be made into a movie because it is in support of human progress for all rather than some. That is the right human call. Kindness and gentleness for all and without such the human race is dead alive.

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

Human progress.

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

‘LONG WALK TO FREEDOM’.

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

About a year.

7. How many stories have you written?

One.

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

‘GOOD LIFE’

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

I haven’t finished yet and so far I have no obstacles but one I’m trying to solve being human progress for all.

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

Writing is a strength of mine linked to the passion I have for film making.

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

I love the site. I’ve had no problem whatsoever. I don’t imagine problems in the future because of it’s professionalism.

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

The festival was always conspicuous to me but the professionalism I heard about it from others influenced me more. I had no bad feelings about the feedback I received. I was glad because I knew its professionalism.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Logline : “Los Angeles, 1992: An eminent police department commissioner resolves to purging his deputy commissioner after passion manifestation become inevitable between him and his deputy’s spouse.”

Genre : Thriller

CAST LIST:

Crystal King: Erica Levene
Daryl Gates: Isaiah Kolundzic
Narration: Esther Thibault
Dr. Ethan Harris: Charles Gordon
Rodney G. King: Gabriel Darku
Report Presenter: Julie Sheppard

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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: 

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. 🙂

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?

 
Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

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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