Interview with Screenwriter Rodgers Wilson (ELLA, WITNESSING)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Rodgers Wilson: My screenplay is about the life of the first Black female physician in Louisiana. She faces racism and discrimination. My story is based on true events.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

This is a drama with periods of sadness and happiness.

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

This is story is about a woman(person) in the early 20th century that had to face incredible obstacles in a time when life was not easy for black women. This is a hero’s journey for a person that had to use her own emotional and professional skills to survive in a cruel world. Somehow, she endures and prevails.

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

Female Courage

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

“Dune” and “Pride and Prejudice”

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

One year.

7. How many stories have you written?

Seven

8. What is your favorite song?

“I Wlll Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

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

Time.

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

Creole cooking and spending time with my friends.

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

It has been very positive.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival?

It is efficient method to market your work.

What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

It was useful.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

The story is inspired by truth events. The first Black female physician completed training in 1905 and starts to practice in a small town in Louisiana. She combats racism,gender discrimination, family struggles and love. By the end of her life, she achieves resolution.

CAST LIST:

Narration – Sydney Addison-Rudat
Dean Francois – Russell Batcher
Ella – Vanessa Burns

FilmFreeway exclusive Festival:

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Interview with Screenwriter John Renney (THE CULTISTS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay is about betrayal and redemption, Jenny is betrayed by her parents and given to a cult to be sacrificed, while Detective Johns is in search of personal and religious redemption. He feels he has failed in his job and life and now must succeed in rescuing Jenny from the cult, if he is ever to be free of his personal demons. This is Johns last chance.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

My screenplay is in the Horror genre.

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

The Cultists is firmly footed in the horror genre and offers some great horrific, spooky, mysterious and scary imagery. I think that visually The Cultists could be a unique and unsettling horror movie, and offers grounded and flawed protagonists that an audience can relate to and feel empathy for. I think an audience could invest themselves in the character arcs and themes of betrayal and redemption, while also seeing some new and exciting visuals from my imagination.

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

Mysterious and unique.

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

It’s hard to say one movie I have watched more than any other in my life, I think I could safely say that in the Horror genre there are four I have watched the most usually back to back. Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls, George A Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, David Lynch’s Eraserhead and John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness.

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

I have been writing The Cultists screenplay for around a year, but the inception of the idea is from a recurring nightmare I’ve had since childhood. Possibly to do with the fact I was kicked out of the house at a very young age, through I’m no Freud lol

7. How many stories have you written?

The Cultists is my third feature length screenplay and my first in the horror genre. I have also produced, written, scored and directed a feature film ‘Recovery’ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8714414/?ref_=nm_knf_t1. I have also Directed two horror shorts, The Freedom Room https://vimeo.com/153504302 which won a merit award at the Depth of field international film festival, and Forgive Me. https://vimeo.com/286132461 https://vimeo.com/153504302

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

My Favourite song is ‘Summer (The First time)’ By Bobby Goldsboro.

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

The biggest obstacles I faced while writing The Cultists was trying to keep the characters in sync with the horror genre. I had feed back which told me my characters, the drunk cop on the edge, the lost gothic girl and
the drunken Irish priest were stereotypes, but in all my pre-script research I found that most characters in the horror genre have these traits and archetypes. So against the feed back I stuck to my findings and tried to keep the characters as close as possible to the common traits I had found in the genre.

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

Apart from writing I am very passionate about music, I score all my own projects and am an avid follower of John Carpenter as a musician as well as a filmmaker. I perform live as often as I can, and have a wide selection of music available online from acoustic ballads to electronic synth scores, drones and soundscapes. I also work as a music film director recently having finished three videos for the interactive app release of Asympt man’s latest work: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbsuT6-ZC_t4Kq3-PtOsDpg

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

Film freeway is a great platform to enter the film festival world, it is easy to navigate and offers perks and a great interface to advertise your work. Without them I would not have been able to get feed back and creative learning which has helped me shape and organize my work and projects.

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

 What projects need more than anything in the development stage is feed back, your festival had great user reviews and comments stating that you were great to work with, your communication was fantastic, and the feed back was always well constructed and gave a break down of the scripts entered. After reading the reviews and doing the online research I decided your festival was for me and entered without hesitation and waited for your response. When the feed back arrived I was thrilled with the response and quickly got to work on the next draft of the screenplay, the feed back was everything I had hoped for and more and I was very pleased with the careful consideration and time that my screenplay has been given by your festival.

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A girl is betrayed by her parents and given to a demonic cult to be sacrificed, a detective must wrestle with his own past and demons to save the girl. This case could be his last chance at salvation.

CAST LIST:

Maurice – 1 – Alex Clay
Woman – 1 – Vanessa Burns
Narration – Pip Dwyer
Detective Johns – 13 – Russell Batcher
Officer Davis – 15 – Luke Robinson
Child – 1 – Sydney Addison-Rudat

Submit via FilmFreeway, the exclusive way our festival accepts submissions.:

Interview with Screenwriter Isaac Sweeney (SHOOTING)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Isaac Sweeney: It’s a short about a young man with hoop dreams who has to make a decision between life on the streets and a real future.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

urban drama

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

It’s hard-hitting and character-driven; emotional but fun.

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

street decisions

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

I’ve probably watched Die Hard the most times in my life, and I even wrote something about it here: https://www.amazon.com/Daddy-Die-Hard-Isaac-Sweeney-ebook/dp/B005IELY2G . It’s one of those movies I can quote as it’s playing. Other movies that have had an influence on who I am are The Karate Kid, Rocky, Top Gun, Real Genius, The Breakfast Club, and the list goes on. One of the best movies I’ve seen recently is A Quiet Place.

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

I wrote this short first as a one-act play. I was a teacher in Petersburg, Va., teaching 8th and 9th graders in a creative writing class in 2016. We wrote a play together. I revised that play many times until it became Shooting. Early in 2018, I adapted it into a screenplay format.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written more stories than I can remember. I’ve wanted to be a writer since middle school, when we were asked to write a short story. You can search my name and find some of my stuff “out there.” I’ve published short stories (check Amazon), poems, a memoir-of-sorts, essays, and much more.

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

Tough to answer because I love music in all formats. My mother liked old country music, so anytime something by Conway Twitty gets played, I’m there. His version of “The Rose” is great. I discovered my love for music in the Garth Brooks era; I love “The Dance.” I don’t get tired of “Penny Lane” or “Eleanor Rigby.” I like the guitar solo in Led Zepplin’s “Heartbreaker.” I dig 80s metal and some 90s alternative. I like some pop stuff now and then. I didn’t listen to a lot of hip hop growing up, but I’ve recently discovered an affinity for that, and I’m trying to catch up. Eminem. Tupac. Love the old Motown sound, like early Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. I could keep going on this forever.

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

I wasn’t sure how to end it. I’m still not sure if the ending is “there” yet. Is a screenplay ever really finished? Is anything that’s written?

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

When people ask about me, I tell them I’m a father, husband, writer, and educator … in that order. I love my family. I love education; I’ve been at the helm of a classroom since 2007. I just like words. I think it’s cool that you used “apart” correctly. I like the irony of “apart” meaning separate, but then when you separate “a” and “part,” you get “a part,” which can mean a thing is connected to something else (like “a part of” something). Movies and music. I love animals. I can juggle. I know one magic trick with a deck of cards. I think the key to a better world is perspective. I think “literacy” is much more than just the ability to read. ….

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

A big old handful of super awesomeness!

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

I just want to get stuff out there. Everyone I’ve come in contact with has been amazing and I can’t wait to see what else comes down the pipeline.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Logline: In Shooting, will Angel choose the future he wants or the revenge his family deserves? An urban drama set in the gritty reality of the streets.

Genre: Urban drama

Type: Short screenplay

CAST LIST:

Rico: Scott McCullogh

Butter: Nick Hendrik

Narrator: Matt Barnes

Angel: Gabriel Darku

Keesha: Olivia Barret

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Interview with Screenwriter Peter Lloyd (STREET LAW)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Peter Lloyd: It’s Episode 1 of Street Law, a TV series set in a multi-ethnic law
practice in Singapore.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Crime/drama.

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

We think the series should be commissioned because a fast-paced,
English-language law firm drama has never been done before in Asia.

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

Gritty, realistic.

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

Probably ‘Southern Comfort’.

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

A year on creating and plotting the TV series and writing the Episode
1 screenplay.

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?)

‘Broke My Neck’ by Echo and the Bunnymen.

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

Time – and ensuring many of the series-long plot issues raised in
Episode 1 continue throughout the series to the finale.

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

Music. Travel.

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

Brilliant. Very easy to use.

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

We liked the festival. The initial feedback on the screenplay was
constructive and excellent.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Street Law is a fast-paced, multi-ethnic English-language law firm drama, wrapped in a murder mystery.

CAST LIST:

Mike – Alex Clay
Narration – Pip Dwyer
Ricky – Russell Batcher
Christina – Vanessa Burns

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Producer: Matthew

Interview with Screenwriter Michael Head (LIGHTKEEPERS)

LIGHTKEEPERS was a HORROR screenplay winner for October 2018.

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Loosely inspired by the real-life Eilean Mor lighthouse mystery, three
lighthouse keepers are overwhelmed by a tremendous storm that destroys
their stores of food and water. When a shipwrecked castaway washes up,
their hunger pushes their morality to its limits. As the storm builds
in strength, the lightkeepers must decide if saving their own lives is
worth losing their souls.

2. What genres does you screenplay fall under?

Horror, Psychological Thriller, Supernatural Thriller.

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

A stormy lighthouse is about as cinematic — and claustrophobic — as
it gets! The setting and period let me explore the three major types
of conflict: man against man, man against nature, and man against God.
We screenwriters are taught to torture our characters, and I’m happy
to say I put mine through hell.

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

Wrath and mercy.

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

I wish I had a cool answer but honestly it’s probably “My Cousin
Vinny.” It was on all the time when I was a kid, so it had a big head
start on other films. I grew up in rural Florida (and kind of hated
it) so Joe Pesci’s struggles in the South really struck a chord with
me. I keep revisiting it as I get older because it’s still one of the
best worlds-colliding films ever, has great courtroom scenes, and
Marisa Tomei’s Oscar-winning performance holds up. I changed my mind,
“My Cousin Vinny” is a pretty cool answer!

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

I started in early 2016. I was on a semester in London for my MFA
program (with Florida State University) and wanted to write something
set in the U.K. I owe a ton to the input from the other emerging
writers in my class and mentoring from some amazing faculty, so thanks
all!

7. How many stories have you written?

Too many to count. I come from a long line of librarians and was
raised around books, so I’ve been writing stories since I learned the
alphabet. I even began my writing career as a fiction author with
dreams of being the next Great American Novelist, but since switching
focus to screenwriting I have fifteen projects across many genres for
film and television that I’m confident enough with to let people read.

8. What is your favorite song?

Anything by the band Tool, but if pressed I would say their song
“Lateralus.” I’ve seen them on tour a few times and it always brings
down the house.

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

Definitely the amount of research I had to do on the setting and
period. And it wasn’t even cracking the books so much as knowing when
to close them. It’s easy to go way too far down the history
rabbit-hole until you start missing the trees you can actually chop
down and build with and only see the forest writ large.

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

I love watching films. I sit in the very front row and get furious if
someone talks during the movie. I especially love film festivals,
midnight showings, sneak previews, anything that gives me a chance to
watch a movie before anyone else. In fact, one of the main reasons I
got into screenwriting is to get screeners I can watch at home.

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

I really dig FilmFreeway. It’s a one-stop shop to find film fests and
writing competitions, which is great as it takes no time at all as
opposed to searching them out on my own and going through a lengthy
application process every time. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker or
screenwriter, you’re hurting yourself if you don’t use it. I also
trust them enough now to wait for email notifications instead of
sneaking a peak every five minutes to see if any results have been
announced.

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

Horror festivals can be a challenge because there are a ton of them,
but many are looking for specific sub-genres like slashers or ghost
stories so it was a little tricky finding a home for “Lightkeepers.” I
think any input is valuable input so it was great that you guys took
some time to really evaluate my script instead of just grading it. And
I was super excited to see your actors perform my scene! The most
important thing a writer can do is hear their words out loud and it’s
really difficult to find actors who will take the time to perform it
seriously, so thanks so much for that opportunity.

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

In 1910 Scotland, three lighthouse keepers fight for their lives as a terrible storm batters their small island and their psyches.

CAST LIST:

Narration – Russell Batcher

Fergus – Sean Ballantyne

Duncan – Luke Robinson

Submit via FilmFreeway, the exclusive way our festival accepts submissions.:

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Interview with Screenwriter Holly Scarabosio (EMERGENCY PSYCHIATRIST SERVICE)

EMERGENCY PSYCHIATRIST SERVICE was the winner of best TV PILOT at the October 2018 Television Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Holly Scarabosio: It is about a young psychiatric nurse Helena, who just started working at Emergency Psychiatric Service, a locked mental health ward. She has a history of having strange thing happen when she gets too involved. Both the staff and patients very from homeless millionaires,second chance psychopath and staff with murdering tendencies.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

TV Series 1 hour drama.

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

Compelling and Relivent!

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

It’s a Wonderful Life.

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

1 year.

6. How many stories have you written?

5

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

What a Wonderful World.

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

I had to learn how to write a script by learning Final Draft 10. I had to find industry professionals to help me, join industry organizations like WGA,Ink Tip,Black List enter contests for exposure and copy write my work. But the biggest obstacle was to over come my fear and write the truth, relive my past experience as a psychiatric nurse then let go of the out come.

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

I have been a register nurse for 30 years, 15 of which I worked in mental health. I am passionate about care for and educating people. I volunteer at an elementary school help children with social interaction and reading.

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

So far, I have won a gold award, 2 quarterfinalist and currently am in the running as a semi finalist for Script Writer Contest. I think Film Freeway is a great avenue for writers.

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

I thought the festival sounded reputable. I was truly shocked that I won a Table Read. Also the feedback was very kind, generous and supportive.

 

Watch the Winning Screenplay Reading: 

Psychiatric nurse Helena moves from Milwaukee to San Francisco to take a new job — accompanied by her fiancé Jake. They plan to start a new life together — she as a psychiatric nurse at a prominent EPS—Emergency Psychiatric Services; he as a computer tech and would-be writer.  Plans don’t always work out.

CAST LIST: 

Gayton: Peter Mark Raphael

Samantha: Monica Knox

Jake: Isaiah Kolundzic

Narrator: Esther Thibault

Helena: Victoria Urquart

Pearl: Norma Dunphy

Murphy: Dan Cristofori

Submit your TV Show/Pilot via FilmFreeway:

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