Interview with Screenwriter James Zeankowski (MIND FORCE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

James Zeankowski: Detective Robby Banks, in possession of a supernatural gift of self hypnotic telepathy, uses said gift to find missing persons and their captors.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Supernatural Crime Drama for Television

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

Two elements that the public enjoys: The Supernatural and crime suspense.

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

Truly mesmerizing.

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

There are so many to name. I have very eclectic tastes in this regard. All kinds of genres.

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

A few months. Altogether, I have spent nearly 5 years writing scripts.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve completed a total of 4, including Mind Force. One story I had to chuck because of too many rewrites and never getting any traction going on it.

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

Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You? by Stevie Nicks. My musical muse and metaphorical fairy godmother.

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

With all of my scripts, writing them has been the easy part. Getting them marketed correctly and breaking out to get any of them green lit by Hollywood is the biggest obstacle. Trying to find ways to get through the red tape.

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

All things sports, entertainment, and politics/current affairs. I’m a journalism student by trade, so I tend to be a bit of a news junkie. If it’s trending, I’m usually one of the first to know about it.

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

This is my first time with it, and I’m hoping it helps in getting me discovered.

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

I am a tad constructively critical of those doing the reading. However, I’m not a picky individual, so we’ll see if it leads to more.
 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Detective Robby Banks uses his self hypnotic telepathy powers to find missing persons and their captors.

CAST LIST:

Chief Mackenzie – 5 – PETER NELSON
Cop – 3 – KYANA TERESA
Narration – PAOLA SCATTOLON
Robby – 22 – NICK DOLAN
Marty – 21 – ADRIAN CARLOS CARTER

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Interview with Screenwriter Mark-Curtis Dunn (BOUDOIR CELL)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Mark-Curtis Dunn: BOUDOIR CELL is about an analyst for the US National Security Agency in Ft. Meade, MD, who becomes compromised by Russian agents and is turned to perform espionage against NSA to uncover super-secret technology that the foreign power desires.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Genre is spy thriller.

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

I believe the story will entertain and educate the audience about the inner workings and mission of NSA and the threats to national security that the agency defends against

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

Sexy thriller.

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

A Christmas Carol.

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

Two years.

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?)

My Favorite Things from Sound of Music.

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

Making time to write. I have a day job, a family and a household.

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

Maintaining a fair perspective on current affairs amid all the pressures and distortions that go on is a passion of mine.

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

Someone offered me a gratis entry of my logline into the Wildsound Festival. I took advantage of that and was awarded Best Logline for October or November. Then you invited me to submit a best scene for a discounted price. I’m always skeptical of the hype from a many of these script services, but I don’t turn down praise.

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Logline: When a team of crack Russian agents seduce an analyst at the NSA to reveal a super-secret intel program, it falls to the Director to hunt down the mole before the loss of critical technology.

CAST LIST:

Crandall – 4 – PETER NELSON
Narration – PAOLA SCATTOLON
Daniel – 7 – ADRIAN CARLOS CARTER
Lana – 5 – KYANA TERESA

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Interview with Screenwriter Steven Prowse (THE NIGHT WITCHES)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Steven Prowse: It’s a straight-forward action movie about a group of fearless pilots who would do anything to defend their country. There is no overlay of a love or family subplot, just an old-fashioned set-up-the-group-and-deliver war movie similar to The Dirty Dozen.

They just happened to be women.

Did anyone ever ask Lee Marvin if he was married or missed his kids? No, because it had nothing to do with the story and this aspect of his life.

WHO WERE THE NIGHT WITCHES?

They were a Soviet all-women night-bomber unit set up in WW2 by Marina Raskova, one of a group of three women to be the first women awarded Hero Of The Soviet Union. It took some time as initially only men were allowed at the front, but she leveraged her star status in the country (think Amelia Earhart x Greta Garbo) to make it happen.

Most of the women were aged between 17 and 25 who were desperate for revenge for lost ones. Some qualified women pilots had even stolen fighter planes earlier and flown them to the front in frustration.

With wood and canvas biplanes, no radio, no lights, no defenses and no parachutes, just bombs, these pilots terrorized the German front line night after night, up to eighteen sorties in one night.

The Germans called them the ‘night witches’ because when the pilot cut their engines to glide to the target, all that could be heard was an eerie whistling noise from the biplanes’ bracing wires.

The Night Witches became so successful that any German shooting one down was awarded an Iron Cross. In the end they made over 20,000 sorties, produced over 20 Heroes Of The Soviet Union (the average for a regiment was 2), and reached the outskirts of Berlin itself.

Marina Raskova, who had been training a group of heavy bombers, finally flew to the front line in Jan 1943. Her plane crashed in heavy snow with no survivors. She was given the first State Funeral of the war and her ashes were buried in the wall of the Kremlin.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

WW2, Action, Women, True story.

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

If one were to Google the top ten true stories that should be made into a movie, The Night Witches is regularly in them.

Frozen, The Hunger Games and Wonder Woman have shown that women action leads can dominate the box office, but one is a fairy tale and the other two are Sci-Fi. The Night Witches actually happened.

The fact that it has now won over 25 screenplay competitions that freckle the internet, more than any other out there, is another indicator.

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

Effing awesome. But that’s not my doing, it’s what these women did.


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

Either Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves or The Little Mermaid. I had young twins at the time and every Sunday morning for a LONG time I would give their mother a breather and take them to the cinema. They were obsessed with both films. Even though they are in their 30s now I have no doubt they could still recite both word perfect.

Sans twins, Diamonds Are Forever. It was the first Bond movie I’d ever seen and the first I went to the cinema alone. I had so much adrenaline at the end I ran the three miles home.

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

Two months research and planning, one month writing the first draft, and four years on and (mostly off) redrafting.

7. How many stories have you written?

Four others. A Sci Fi parody in the style of Mel Brooks (basically a love letter to Hollywood), an FBI procedural / political thriller, a Medieval horror story, and a micro-budget family movie with child leads. Each has won at least one screenwriting competition, and between them have been officially selected on over 75 occasions.

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

Instant Replay (12″ version) by Dan Hartman. I always have been, and always will be, a disco boy.

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

Finishing the first draft was easy. To be honest there was so much great material in real life I felt more like an editor than a screenwriter. The next two versions were harder as I tried to give each member of the ensemble cast distinct voices and personalities.

But after that it’s just been frustration. Yes, I’m one of the very lucky ones who’s had their screenplay optioned, funded and now looking for cast and crew, but I still haven’t found an agent or manager.

It’s got to the point I haven’t written anything in over three years (apart from rewrites for this screenplay). I’ve no energy anymore. Not writer’s block, just no energy, no passion, no engagement. Hopefully that will change if and when the movie is made.

It’s also been frustrating for the 1,500 people following and wonderfully supporting the project (www.thenightwitchesmovie.com), which is why I came to you to give them something in return in the meantime.

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

My wife, mathematics, and Sunday roast. The other ones? There’s no way you’d print them.

 

 

 

 

Watch the Best Scene Reading: 

With wood and canvas biplanes, no radio, no lights, no defenses and no parachutes, just bombs, these WW2 Soviet pilots terrorized the German front line night after night. They just happened to be women. A true story.

CAST LIST:

Nadya: Rachel Salsberg

Alexander: Rhys Harrison

Narrator: Sean Ballantyne

Zhukov: Jarrod Terrill

Marina: Nancy Kenny

 

Writer Biography – Steven John Prowse

Steve

Steven Prowse, British, has lived in England, Netherlands, Curaçao, USA and Gibraltar. Educated at Cambridge (scholarship), he is a CFO by trade and so one might think he has a lot of experience of writing fiction. He has also been an international bridge player.

His screenplays have received over 120 Officially Selections with 25 wins. One screenplay is optioned by a Hollywood studio in a mid six-figure deal.

Writer Statement

 

The screenplay has already won over 20 screenplay competitions.

 

 

Interview with Novelist Scott Meehan (DESERT ROCK)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Scott Meehan: In 2003, a female soldier approaches Major David Allan and gives him a crystal marble, telling him that he must keep it with him at all times. When he goes on Christmas Leave from Balad, Iraq, the C-5 Air Force jet is shot down in the wasteland of Iraq…and he is the only survivor.

After being in a three-month coma, David wakes up in a hospital bed at Walter Reed, his wife, Sherry, looking much younger than when he left for the war zone, at his side. Along with the television shows, news magazines, and general talk, David comes to realize that he is back in the year 1991.

History is on track just as David remembers it so he makes wiser decisions, but on the side, he takes on a fictitious name and bank account to gain wealth through investments and betting on Super Bowl and World Series winners at Vegas.
Life is flowing smoothly until he remembers that the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing is about to take place in 1995. Faced with the decision to save lives or change the course of history, David tries to warn the FBI without implicating himself of the upcoming disaster.

Later, when on a vacation in Aruba with Sherry, the mysterious girl appears with the crystal marble and gives it back to David…then walks out into the sea. When he tries to follow her, David discovers a new world as the unexpected takes hold of him in a reality beyond what is perceivable to his mind, body, and soul.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Science Fiction / Fantasy / Time Travel

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

Perceived reality

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

Star Wars or Back to the Future (first ones).

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

“Time Waits for No One” – Rolling Stones

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

“Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara

7. What motivated you to write this story?

After retiring from my 25 years in the military, I thought back many times, “What if…?” to the many paths I did not take at the crossroads.

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

Jesus Christ

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

My family, especially my grandchildren.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Broadened exposure.

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

If you love writing, don’t ever quit. Write because you want to…write because you like to.

Watch the Novel Performance Reading: 

BUY on Amazon

 

Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

In 2003, a female soldier approaches Major David Allan and gives him a crystal marble, telling him that he must keep it with him at all times. When he goes on Christmas Leave from Balad, Iraq, the C-5 Air Force jet is shot down in the wasteland of Iraq…and he is the only survivor.

Interview with Novelist Sharon Bennett Gandy (Catlips Incorporated)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Catlips Incorporated is about Argyle and Pap along with their friends met along the way, who join together to put a stop to the nip drug usage and the violent cat gangs who sell it.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

The genre is urban fantasy fiction (I think)

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

Entertaining and enthralling

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

There are a few movies: John Carpenters, The Thing, Scarface, Goodfellas, Color Purple

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

Prince music-especially his less radio, public music. It’s the best!!

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Stephen King’s It

7. What motivated you to write this story?

My cat (Pap in the story) got into a stashed away supply of catnip, I had put in the drawer. He had too much and his normally peaceful friendly attitude, turned much more aggressive under the catnip “high”. From that incident, the story formed in my mind and grew from there.

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

It’s 2 people actually: Maya Angelou and Stephen King

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

I’m also a real estate agent and passionate about buying and selling real estate.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I hope to get Catlips on audio file so this seemed like a good first step

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

Above all else, keep writing. We all bring something to this table we call life, so don’t deny your gift and share it with the world. 🙂
Check out my new fiction novel Catlips Incorporated
http://www.catlipsbook.com

Watch the Novel Transcript Reading: 

BUY on Amazon

 

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Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

Catlips Incorporated exemplifies the strength of friendship, perseverance and the unwavering sheer determination and courage to stand proud and do the right thing, despite the odds.

Though the feline and canine characters may be a bit unconventional for some, their struggles against the undesirables within their community is a familiar scenario to many.

Interview with Screenwriter Tara C. Hall (WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Tara C. Hall: Women & Children First is about a true crime writer who lives in constant fear after a random, brutal attack. Her worst fears are realized when three men break into her house intent on killing her and her children, then her thirteen year old daughter and ten year old son have to decide whether to use their survival instincts to escape or stay and save their mother.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller, Horror, and Drama.

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

There are plenty of home invasion thrillers out there. What I want to do with this film is draw attention to the reality that victims of violent crime are disporportionately women and children.

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

Fierce motherhood.

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

Harold and Maude.

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

About 9 or 10 months.

7. How many stories have you written?

Upward of 30.

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

This Will Be Our Year by The Zombies.

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

Work, kids, a lack of money. The usual life stuff.

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

Filmmaking and sketch comedy.

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

I love FilmFreeway. It’s user friendly and I’ve found some great film festivals and screenplay competitions.

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

I’ve entered the Female Film Festival before and appreciate the detailed and thoughtful feedback.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

After surviving a brutal, attack, a single mother raises her two children to be hyper-vigilant at the cost of their childhood and her sanity. But when three armed men break into their home with violent intentions, the children use their training to save their mother.

CAST LIST:

Rand: Kirk Gordon

Charlie: Jarrod Terrill

Desmond: Rhys Harrison

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss

Aubrey: Rachel Salsberg

Nora: Nancy Kenny

Alana: Gauri Prasad

A Film Freeway Preferred Festival:

Interview with Screenwriter Michael Aliotti (JIMMY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Michael Aliotti: This screenplay is about the bad karma that gangster Al Capone carried with him through his later years in prison.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

– Gangster/ Psychological-Horror

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

– Because of how many times we have seen Al Capone on screen, I feel that this is an original approach for the sake of genre, yet this script, itself, follows the ideology of our youth mirroring false idols.

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

– Traditionally Trippy

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

– Young Frankenstein

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

– For about several weeks.

7. How many stories have you written?

– About 10 feature screenplays, and dozens of short scripts.

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

– House of the Rising Sun, by Eric Burden and The Animals

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

– Let’s just say I had several exes from the hood.

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

– Photographing Big Sur, along with Monterey, County, in general.
I also enjoy canvassing for local politics in Monterey, CA. If I am not
working on anything, I am at the movies, or Del Monte Beach.

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

– For about a year and a half, I have experienced nothing but solid concise feedback from professionals, all over! This has implemented a hustle on my part, as it also coincides within my progression of growth, by becoming an established screenwriter.

From obtaining notable accolades from many festivals in, and out of The States, I am truly grateful, due to the learning lessons of what it takes to become a writer, is just like what Bryan Adams said in his song, Summer of ’69:
“played until my fingers bled”.

And this line is what I follow as a huge rule of mine towards being a writer. To keep writing.

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

– I was excited to potentially have the unique perspective to see my words come alive off of the tongues of actual actors, and a Narrator.

After already submitting a script, prior to this current story, Jimmy, I missed the mark for developing a solid short script. So, I decided to find a new script to focus on each, and every detailed critique from my last script, and applied those notes to Jimmy. Voila! 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Log Line: The story of Al Capone being haunted by a victim from the Saint Valentines Day Massacre, Jimmy, the ghost who torments the infamous gangster into insanity.

Writer: Michael Aliotti

Genres: BIOGRAPHICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL-THRILLER

Type: Short Screenplay

CAST LIST:

Prisoner #3: Rhys Harrison
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Alphonse: Jarrod Terrill
Jimmy: Kirk Gordon

A FilmFreeway preferred festival: