Interview with Reginald Johnson (BATMAN: Beyond the Cowl)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Reginald Johnson: Beyond the Cowl is about the role of class in crime and society’s inability to see the humanity in our poorest citizens.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Action/Fantasy/Drama

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

It presents a timely sociological view on law enforcement, the nature of crime, politics with, in my mind, a style and caliber of action closer to an East Asian Martial Arts film (The Raid 2, Ip Man, etc.). If only, WB…if only.

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

Don’t blink.

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

Probably “The Last Dragon” starring Taimak. It was one of three VHS tapes I had as very young kid.

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

Tough to quantify. Probably 4 months.

7. How many stories have you written?

Five.

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

Easy. Funkadelic’s “(Not Just) Knee Deep.”

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

Two young children, a full-time job. Learning story structure on the fly.

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

Family, music and people.

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

Awesome.

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

I wrote a story on what was in my head, which happened to be on a piece of studio IP. I liked it and wanted to see what someone else thought. As one might surmise, this was extremely affirming!

 

 

 

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Batman works to uncover a new sinister crime wave and realizes Bruce Wayne must rise to be the hero that Gotham needs.

CAST LIST:

Various: Val Cole
Sebastian Hady: Ron Boyd
Alfred: Wyatt Lamoreaux
Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Bruce Wayne/Batman: John Fray
Candace Collins: Weronika Sokalska
Lonnie Machin: Caleb Jacques

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Interview with Screenwriter Scott Sawitz (FOR LOVE OR MUSIC)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Scott Sawitz: It’s about a woman trying to find herself while she’s under professional and personal stress.

To me that’s the core of “For Love or Music.” Ashley is an interesting woman on the cusp of musical stardom; she’s always been a singer but she could never find the artist side in her to come out.

When she finally finds it … it comes with a cost. How much of the cost will she bear … and how will it affect her?

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s a romantic comedy. More comedy than romantic, I think.

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

I’ve always thought of the romantic comedy as the greatest test of any story-teller out there. We know the beats, we know everything about what a romantic comedy could (and should) be, and we get annoyed when we can spot it.

A great romantic comedy does all these things and you don’t think about it along the way because you care about the characters, etc.

Call it personal bias but I like to this that this could be a great romantic comedy.

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

Funny and charming.

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

That’s a hard one… the one that made me love movies, really love movies, is “About Last Night.” The 80s version, not the remake with Kevin Hart (which is also a fantastic film).

It’s a great romantic drama, the sort of adult drama they don’t make anymore. As an artist that’s the sort of film I want to make; I love action films but small films like “Bandwagon” are the types that really get me into film. The artistry of character development, acting, et al, are what inspire me.

It’s also the most Chicago film made, too, but I’m a little biased being from the area.

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

It’s about a couple years now…. it started with a concept (a musician who can’t write a song without making someone’s heart break) and I developed the story around that.

Who was Ashley Powell and what made her click? Why would someone who’s a star fall in love with a failed actor? How would the people in her life react to her particular problem?

Those drove me to develop the film around it.

7. How many stories have you written?

A lot. I’ve had a script optioned in November 2017 and keep everything that’s worth a view up on my Script Revolution account.

https://www.scriptrevolution.com/profiles/scott-sawitz

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

I like to think of this as the sort of song that if you were in a professional fight, like a boxer or a cage fighter, would be the one you came to the ring or cage in. That one best summarized everything in your heart, your soul and in your brain walking into it.

“Lunatic Fringe” by Red Rider … I first listened to it in high school because it was on the “Vision Quest” soundtrack and it’s been the one that’s in my head when I write, when I work out and when I need to find some level of personal peace.

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

Like any screenwriter it’s always about time … working full-time and having a life, etc, make finding writing time difficult.

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

I’ve been a diehard combat sports fan since I was a kid and I love working out.

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

It’s been nothing but easy and elegant. The access to film festivals and contests throughout the world, and able to narrow it down is fantastic. It takes a lot of the grunt work that the fest circuit used to be in terms of research, et al, and turns it into something that makes it so much easier.

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

I’m always looking for the right place to submit, not just anyone that’ll take me … and a festival for comedy sounded amazing. I got great feedback and used it to better develop myself as a writer.
 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Ashley Powell is an ordinary bar singer when she rockets to fame overnight from a viral video. The song she was playing becomes a hit and she winds up on the fast track to musical stardom. She’s carrying a big secret though: she can only write music when she’s miserable after a break up.
With an album on the way she’s forced to write it the only way she knows how: breaking hearts.
When the great love of her life falls into her life, she’s forced to choose between happiness or success.

CAST LIST:

Skylar: David Rowan
Sara: Victoria Murdoch
Narration: Esther Thibault
Matt: Sebastian Biasucci
Ashley: Mojeane Sadr

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

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