Interview with Screenwriter Anna Patterson (FAMILY CRISIS LIVE-IN)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Anna Patterson: This screenplay is about something I have seen with my own eyes lately. People are trying to take the huge house they raised their family in, and trade down. I just took it from there and thought what if the family caused a problem with this. So that is what I wrote about.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

This is definitely a comedy, but it is family fun also. I also like that it focuses on an older married couple.

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

I think this is such a timely piece. People want realism, and yet they like to laugh at things. I think it strikes a note people will like to see and hear.

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

Endearingly funny.

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

Arthur

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

A couple of months.

7. How many stories have you written?

I currently have over sixty books published on Amazon and Smashwords. But I have never written a screenplay. (You saw that for yourselves.) I am over seventy years old, I kind of thought it is now or never.

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

Your So Vain.

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

Everything! I could not believe how hard it was to put together. I had written books, but a screenplay. I had to overcome a lot of doubts.

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

My husband and I paint pictures, but haven’t done this for some time. I also like newspapers. I love to read the news.

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

This has just been great.

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

I can’t remember who suggested I try this, but I worried about it being comedy. I write romance and I write horror, but comedy? Nonetheless, I decided to try.

 
Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Grandma gets thrown out of the nursing home, reclaims her home from son and family and seeks to regain control of her extended family although she hates them.

CAST LIST:

Granny – Norma Dunphy
Real Estate Lady – Laura Afelskie
NARRATION – Sean Ballantyne
Mike – Trevor Howes
Ginny – Andrea Irwin
Policeman – Adrian Carter

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Interview with Screenwriter James Zeankowski (Every Purpose Under Heaven)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

James Zeankowski: Reporter Vera Reynolds of WBN News is investigating a sudden occurrence of immortality and makes a shocking discovery in the process that alters the course of humanity forever.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Supernatural Disaster, Faith based drama, Thriller

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

It is a story surrounding the theme of life and death that has never been told before.

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

Extremely unique.

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

Too many to name, but everything from the Disney and Star Wars franchises more than anything else.

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

5 years.

7. How many stories have you written?

4 scripts overall. 2 that I have the most faith in getting produced.

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

I’m very eclectic in my music tastes, but “Rooms on Fire” by Stevie Nicks definitely stands out.

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

No obstacles in finishing my writing, just getting the right people in the industry to read them and love them as much as I do.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
\
I’m a pop culture guru as well as a news/current affairs/politics junkie. And since 2018, I’ve become more serious about my overall health to the point of regular fitness and better dieting. Though as a foodie, the latter part is difficult at times.

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

A few lingering hiccups, but overall am grateful for the opportunities given to showcase my work.

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

I was sought out by some LinkedIn connections, and the feedback has been positive overall. Once I have all materials I’m waiting for in my possession, I can better market myself to agents and producers.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

CAST LIST:

Red Team Producer – 1 – Sean Ballantyne
Susie – 4 – Andrea Irwin
NARRATION – Adrian Carter
Mayor Tibley – 11 – Sean Ballantyne
Doctor – 2 – Trevor Howes
Green Team Producer – 2 – Laura Afelskie

Interview with Screenwriter Thom Holland (The Last Breath Of Winter)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Thom Holland: A huntsman battles a brutal winter and the spirits that in habit the forest around his family’s home.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Fantasy, and horror to some extent

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

It’s a tight, short tale that offers a rich visual narrative wrapped up in the mythos of traditional fables and fantasy. We don’t see those nearly enough anymore!

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

Rather tragic.

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

Alien.

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

The first draft was written in a single weekend when the idea came to me, almost fully formed. It’s since had several redrafts over about four years until I landed on wanting to do it as an animated short and from then on it’s been pretty much locked.

7. How many stories have you written?

Dozens!

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

I’m completely all over the place, musically. I’m currently listening to a lot of ELO and Thom Yorke but tomorrow it might be Earth, Wind & Fire with David Bowie or Talking Heads and some vaporwave/electronica mixed in.

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

Remembering that I designed it to be entirely without dialogue so needed to keep my focus on action!

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

Filmmaking, animation, illustration, design, psychology and sci-fi.

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

It’s been great! Very easy to use. Wish it had been as prevalent 10 years ago, it would have helped motivate me to get more work out there!

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

I did a number of searches on fantasy/horror/sci-fi festivals and this one came up well recommended – the opportunity to have a recorded table read made it very appealing above festivals that simply offered laurels and small cash prizes too!

Watch the Screenplay Readings: 

A huntsman battles a brutal winter and the spirits that inhabit the forest around his family’s home.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole

Interview with Screenwriter Bethany Maines (BLUE CHRISTMAS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Bethany Maines: Blue Jones just stole Jake Garner’s dog. And his heart. But technically the French Bulldog belongs to Jake’s ex. And now they’re both being chased across Seattle by Jake’s ex-girlfriend for a dog collar’s worth of smuggled diamonds. For Blue, Christmas has never been quite so dangerous. For Jake, Christmas has never been quite so Blue.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romance, Comedy, Action

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

Blue Christmas should be made into a movie because we need more stories about couples finding love, the bad guys getting arrested, and Uber drivers who finally have their dream of being in a car chase come true.

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

Romantic Fun

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

Die Hard and Clue, probably followed by The Princess Bride.

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

One year or three months, depending on if you count the time I spent working on the novella that the screenplay is based on.

7. How many stories have you written?

Uh… In my lifetime? Published? How are we counting this? Can we call it a lot? I’ve been writing since grade school. My first short story was published when I was nineteen and my first novel was published in 2010. Writing stories is one of my passions. However, this is my first screenplay. I’m excited to write more.

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

That is an extremely difficult question. I use music to set the mood for what I’m writing and I’ll listen to a pretty wide variety of stuff, so picking an absolute number one is practically impossible! Top five, in no particular order:
Have a Good Time by Paul Simon
Got Your Money by Ol’ Dirty Bastard
It’s a Fire by Portishead
Rock DJ by Robbie Williams
The De Guello, the theme from the John Wayne / Howard Hawks movie Rio Bravo

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

Well, I first had to learn how to write screenplays and that was a bit of an obstacle. Also, being a parent presents many challenges in regards to scheduling time to be creative.

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

I’m a graphic designer and I’m passionate about good design. I love when I can synchronize a clients story with visuals.

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

FilmFreeway has been extremely useful and easy. I like that I can sort my submissions, track contests and surf for new opportunities all in one location.

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

I entered because I really wanted to get feedback and it felt like a festival that matched my screenplay. The feedback was incredibly helpful and adorably Canadian since they used the word “whilst”. I got feedback, not just about industry standards for some of my first-timer formatting mistakes, but also about content and how to strengthen my script. I used the feedback to make changes that I’m very happy about (and secretly wish I could go back and add them to the novella).

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Drunken TV news cameraman Jake Garner thought he was tackling an intruder. But no, Jake just took out the fantastically attractive dog sitter. Mortified, Jake does what any man would who has just been dumped right before Christmas would do—give the offended party all his ex’s things. Meanwhile, Blue Jones is determined to do whatever it takes to get her grandmother the best cancer treatment possible, even if that means some high-rise burglary from one of her worst dog-sitting clients, the failure to walk, feed or book a pet-sitter for a three day weekend, Grace Lorra. But Blue didn’t count on Grace’s ex, Jake, showing up and drunkenly handing over all of Grace’s belongings— including her adorable French Bulldog, Jacques. It takes no time at all for Blue to fall in love with Jacques, but Blue also finds herself wondering if it would be so bad to return to the scene of the crime to reconnect with Jake. But as Christmas draws closer, Grace pressures Jake to return the dog and Blue is targeted by mysterious assailants. Can Jake find Blue and Jacques before her stalkers do? And can Jake and Blue stop these mystery men without also getting Blue arrested for theft? For Blue, Christmas has never been quite so dangerous. For Jake, Christmas has never been quite so Blue.

CAST LIST:

Grace: Victoria Murdoch
Jake: David Rowan
Narration: Esther Thibault
Blue: Mojeane Sadr
Cindy: Julie Sheppard

Interview with Screenwriter Elizabeth Searle (A FOUR SIDED BED)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Elizabeth Searle: It’s a menage a trois love story- with an emphasis on ‘love.’ The themes are sisters and marriages of different kinds, and a love that falls between the blurred lines, ‘all ways.’

Here is our offical ‘summary’: “An impassioned three-way affair between a man and two women, one of them transgender, re-ignites years later. The man’s conventional marriage is upended when the threesome rediscovers a love like no other. This intimate tale stretches the boundaries of love, friendship, gender and marriage.”

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama, Erotic Drama, Romance, LGBTQ

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

It’s a unique love story with love and sex scenes that have the potential to appeal to audience members from all sides of the gender and sexual spectrums. While set in the ’80s, and giving a frank account of a transgender character in that era, this story touches on timely themes of sexuality, gender identity, prejudice and love without bounderies.

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

All Ways

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

Casablanca

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

Always! Actually, many years, because the screenplay started with my novel A Four-Sided Bed, which took me about four years to write. I started trying to make it into a screenplay in 2011- worked on it on and off from then til now!

7. How many stories have you written?

Wow, that is a hard one. I have had over 30 short stories published in magazines. I also have three novels which are of course long stories. I co-wrote the script for one short film. And I wrote the script/libretto for an opera and for a rock opera. But this is my first Feature Screenplay.

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

Soul Love by David Bowie

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

Many! This is my first screenplay so I had to learn all about screenwriting from scratch. I went through countless drafts over many years (see above). It also took time to find the right team to help me. The recent draft of this script was much improved because I worked closely with two producers, David Ball and Amy Carpenter Scott, as well as with the director attached to our feature film project, Vittoria Colonna, and (giving me vital help in shaping the character of Kin) with actress/producer and transgender activist Rain Valdez. All of them helped me overcome all obstacles.


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

My son; my whole family; Democratic Party politics, reading, films, theater- and riding my bike.

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

Love it! It is very easy to use and very helpful. This year, my script has drawn attention in over a dozen film festivals and contests so Film Freeway has helped our project a lot.

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

I entered since our story is an LGBTQ story. I was excited to be given the opportunity to have a Best Scene read! THANKS to all at the festival and big THANKS to the whole cast and team for a terrific reading!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A Four-Sided Bed is a ‘ménage a trois’ love story— with the emphasis on ‘love.’ An impassioned three- way affair between a man and two women, one of them transgender, re-ignites years later. The man’s conventional marriage is upended when the threesome rediscovers a love like no other.

CAST LIST:

JJ (m 20s) – 6 – Adrian Carter
NARRATION – Andrea Irwin
Kin (Trans female) – 19 – Norma Dunphy
Bird (f 19) – 8 – Laura Afelskie

Interview with Screenwriter Billy Smith (The Stafford Multiplex Theater)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Billy Smith: My screenplay, The Stafford Multiplex Theater, is about an outdated eight-screen movie theater in a small town. A new Megaplex has opened up about twenty minutes from them and a lot of people have forgotten about the Stafford. They’ve gained an unfortunate reputation as “that other theater”. On top of that, because of an industry mandate, they now must convert to digital projection by the end of the year or they will no longer receive movies. Between the new Megaplex and the digital mandate, the Stafford is trying to fend off death, just trying to survive.

It’s during this time, when all seems hopeless, that everything gets even worse. There is an outbreak of a zombie virus in their town. The Stafford’s moviegoers start to drop dead and come back as zombies. The employees of the Stafford love it and would defend it with everything they have, so that’s what they do. They set out to defend their theater and make sure that it’s still standing for something even during their town’s most horrific time. Their theater isn’t dead yet.


2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

The Stafford Multiplex Theater definitely falls under the horror/comedy genre. I would liken it to films like Burying the Ex, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and The Final Girls. The zombie threat is very real in the story and the characters take what’s at stake very seriously, but I felt like there had to be a healthy dose of comedy involved, too, and that really came from the characters. Once I started writing and experimenting with them, the comedy felt right to me.

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

The Stafford Multiplex Theater should be made into a movie for a few reasons. The first and most simple reason is that it’s just a lot of fun. Audiences would have a lot of fun watching it and I imagine that it would be a lot of fun to make, too. The horror blends well with the comedy, the characters are a blast and there are interesting twists. It would be an entertaining experience. Also, it touches a bit on the change that’s happening in movie theaters and what’s happening to theaters that used to have character. It’s a unique horror story because, yes, there are zombies and there’s blood and gore, but that’s all in the background, in a way. Ultimately, this story is about the theater and the characters. It’s not just a zombie movie just for the sake of being a zombie movie. The zombies are there for a good reason. They’re a manifestation of a real problem and that’s a very interesting horror story to explore because, for the characters, the real horror would be the end of their theater. They’ll deal with the zombies.

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

Fun. Clever.

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

I’ve been asked this question before and I always give the same answer: John Carpenter’s Halloween. I am forever in awe of its simplicity and impressed by every technical aspect of it, as well. The way the dread and the suspense builds and the way the music enhances it – it’s all so well done. It’s the kind of horror film that, if I could ever be a director myself, I would like to make. Something simple that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats and doesn’t go overboard. That film has always been a huge influence on me.

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

I have been working on this screenplay for roughly a few years. I’ve written and rewritten it many times at this point. I am constantly working to improve it because I believe in this story and I believe that it has a lot of potential as a movie. I have other things that I have worked on, but this is my passion project. This is the one that I have to see through. I have to see it succeed. I like being able to always go back to it and improve on it, especially because I am always improving as a writer. Every time I take another pass at it, it gets better. I’m very proud of it and the work I have put into it.

7. How many stories have you written?

Including The Stafford Multiplex Theater, I have written three. The other two started out as short stories, but I always had intended to develop them as screenplays, which is what I’m doing right now. I love coming up with a simple idea and then expanding on it. I find that to be such a thrill. Taking something and trying to make it the best it can possibly be. I have a lot of ideas in my head and I look forward to writing them in the very near future. My first script is just the beginning.

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

“Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. Just kidding. It’s hard to pick a favorite song, but if I had to pick just one, it would be “New Low” by Middle Class Rut. Aside from just being a cool and fun song, it has really spoken to me ever since the first time I heard it eight years ago. I can identify with the words and see myself in the situation the song describes. It’s probably my favorite because it’s always a reminder to me that I’m still not where I want to be and, while this may be hard to believe, it motivates me to get to where I want to be.

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

The Stafford Multiplex Theater screenplay was very challenging for me to finish for multiple reasons. Firstly, it was my first screenplay. So, aside from the normal challenges of writing a story and getting over all of the hurdles that come with that, I had to learn how to actually write a screenplay. Learning the formatting, learning the structure, the things you shouldn’t do and the things you should do. Then, reading screenwriting articles and being told that you shouldn’t do the things that you thought you should do and that you should do the things that you thought you shouldn’t do. Apart from that, I think horror and comedy are very hard to write. It’s challenging to scare or surprise an audience and it’s a challenge to also make them laugh. It was a challenge that I truly enjoyed, though, and I think I succeeded, at least in the pages of a script. I think the real challenge would be to see if it works as an actual movie.

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

Besides being passionate about writing movies, I’m passionate about movies in general. I’ve been like that since I was very young. I love watching them, I love talking about them and I would love making them, too, if that ever became a reality. I love being able to get lost in another world for a little while and getting away from all of the stresses of my life. My love of movies is what led me to work at three different movie theaters and it is what has led me to pursue what would hopefully be a career being involved with movies in some way. I definitely eat, sleep and breathe movies.

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

So far, this is the only festival I have actually entered on FilmFreeway, but I’ve had a great experience with the site. It was how I found this festival. The website provided all of the information I needed and submitting the screenplay was very easy. I am on the site a lot, searching through all of the festivals, trying to find where I should submit my screenplay next. I have a feeling that I will definitely be using FilmFreeway a lot in the future.

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

After working on my screenplay for so long, I was lost on how to go about doing anything with it. I’ve written this story and I am proud of the work I’ve done, but what do I do with it next? That’s actually when I found the Festival for Horror. It was almost like it was meant to be. Sure, I felt good about my screenplay and thought it had potential, but it would be nice to see if others felt that way, especially if they were others who know what they were talking about. I had to know if what I’d written actually had something to it or if I was just being crazy.

I was thrilled with the initial feedback I received on The Stafford Multiplex Theater. The feedback was very much what I had expected. I knew that whoever read it would find it to be fun and I knew that the script had some strong elements and that was the feedback I received. I knew going in that I still had a lot of work to do on it. I never expected to win or even place or anything like that. That wasn’t my goal. My goal was to see if I’m knocking on the right door and it seems that I am. The tips I received on how to make the script better were very valuable to me and have helped me tremendously. I’m glad that I chose to enter the festival. It was absolutely a great decision. From the feedback on the full script and then the best scene reading now being posted online, I have had a great experience with the festival.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Interview with Writer Mike Arsuaga (Twitter Short Story)

Matthew Toffolo: What gave you the idea to write this very short story?

Mike Arsuaga : It’s two chapters from my novel COME FIND ME. The full-length novel is at https://www.iheartbookpublishing.com/come-find-me.html

2) How many stories/screenplays have you written?

Sixteen books published. Maybe six short stories. Two feature-length screenplays and a pilot for a TV series.

3) What movie have you watched the most times in your life?

Terminator, Lifeforce, Me Before You.

4) What’s your favorite thing about twitter? What’s your least favorite thing about twitter?

Favorite: Expanded character allowance. Least fave: Ad pop-ups.

5) Who would you really like to have dinner with? (dead or alive)

HG Wells

Watch Twitter Story:

Performed by Carina Cojeen

ABOUT WEENA by Mike Arsuaga

Another time traveler crosses eight hundred thousand years to discover that Weena survived the forest fire. She is the only Eloi patient enough to learn fire-making and defeat the Morlocks. World rebuilding isn’t so simple. He takes her home to get help.
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