Interview with Winning Screenwriter Margaret Dane (A SHORT DROP AND A SUDDEN STOP)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

Peter is having a typical, banal mid-life crisis, and cannot see a way out of the mess he has made of his life. He can only see one way out, and has decided to go for the rope and hang himself. Enter Carmine, an angel of dubious origins, probably The Bronx, who is much more gumbah than guardian. He has zero love for his charge. Peter has a mission…to end it all and Carmine has a mission…let him do it! Heaven and earth collide, and the afterlife will either begin or end in a grotty warehouse..

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy/Short

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

A Short Drop and an A Sudden Stop is a light story, that will resonate with many people. The Idea of a guardian angel, being responsible for our actions is an universal experience. People always like a twist on an old theme and this story does that with the most unlikely defender of good deeds! Brooklyn is not where you would imagine an angel to come from, especially one with the foulest mouth on this side of the Atlantic! It is funny and surprising, but with just a splash of redemption!

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

Smart comedy

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

It’s A Wonderful Life (no sursprise!)

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

On and off for about a year

7. How many stories have you written?

10+

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

Baker’s Street, Gerry Rafferty

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

Myself getting in my own way, mainly

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

Teaching and writing about Yoga, family, volunteering with people with addictions

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

It is really amazing. Clear, concise, easy to use, great at notifications.

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

I love the idea that you give a filmmaker the opportunity to see their work performed in real time. This is such a boost to the future career of a filmmaker. The feedback was honest, on point and very helpful. The reader had a very good grasp on the essence of the work without shying away from constructive criticism.

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Genre: Fantasy, Drama

Peter is having a typical, banal mid-life crisis, and cannot see a way out of the mess he has made of his life. He can only see one way out, and has decided to go for the rope and hang himself.

CAST LIST:

Ariel: Alicia Payne
Narrator: Hugh Ritchie
Carmine: Rais Moui
Peter: Tim Paul McCarthy

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Kaitlyn Kowalski (THE SEEKER)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

The Seeker is a story about a young girl who struggles to find the balance between helping her family and actually doing the right thing.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I would consider The Seeker to be a drama.

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

Personally, I think this story is just flat out entertaining. I love a story with a smart twist and The Seeker definitely has one. It is filled with tender visuals and I think it would be a fun movie to direct. It would be challenging, but rewarding.

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

Terrifyingly relatable

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

Hmm… wow that’s a tough one. It’s probably a toss up between The Never Ending Story and No Country For Old Men… don’t judge!!

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

Funny enough, I’ve been working on this script since I was a sophomore in college, 2011. I’d forgotten that I’d written it, but found an old PDF and fell in love with the idea again. It was cool to see how I’ve progressed as a writer from one of the first screenplays I’d ever written.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written probably 50 short films & sketches since 2011 when I started and I’ve gotten to 1/2 of a feature!

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

I used to have a big crush on a guy who was seriously into Gerry Raferty so I’ve probably listened to “Right Down The Line” over 1,000 times. Ha!

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

I had a certain story in my head and when I thought it was finished, I got critiques from a couple of people wanting more. I still get them. It’s hard to get suggestions from other people and still stay true to the story you want to tell. Overall, I think the changes I made based on their suggestions made for a stronger story. It’s always good to get a fresh set of eyes.

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

I love working with children. They are so unafraid to express how they feel, but may not always know how to articulate it. They taught me how to be a better instructor and a better director.

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

Working via Film Freeway makes submitting to festivals extremely easy!! There are so many festivals to submit to right at your fingertips.

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

I read the title of the festival and knew I needed feedback on The Seeker and thought, could this get anymore perfect? The Seeker is a troubling story about a family, and it’s so hard to get friends to read anything so it just seemed like fate was saying “Enter this one Kaitlyn!”. It was an entry fee well spent!
I felt like the feedback was incredibly insightful. I really felt like the feedback giver was invested in the success of my story and did what they could to have made it stronger. I thank you for that!

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Genre: Drama

A young girl struggles between helping her family, and doing the right thing.

CAST LIST:

Jasmine: Alicia Payne
Dale: Scott McCulloch
Harry: Rais Moui
Narrator: Hugh Ritchie
Gretchen: Lara Amersey
Maria: Georgia Grant
Bridget: Jane Smythe

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Mark Renshaw (THE BROKEN KINGDOM)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

Influence by Brexit and V for Vendetta, ‘The Broken Kingdom’ is set in an alternate timeline in which Guy Fawkes was successful in blowing up the houses of parliament and overthrowing the English monarchy in 1605. However, the script is set in 2018 and the story follows a French-American on a business trip in London. Here he is made to feel a stranger in a very strange land. The English landscape is a familiar one but bleak with an intolerant, isolated population. It isn’t long before our ‘hero’ finds himself in deep trouble as he accidentally commits heresy; becoming republic enemy number one. His only hope is a couple of eccentric, Scottish freedom fighters, but will Scotland prove to be any better?

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Dark comedy.

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

The story is entertaining and full of subtext, while the budget is quite reasonable. I believe people would be entertained by an adaptation of this while also recognising the comparisons with how the world is shifting in today’s weird political and social climate.

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

Political satire.

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

Probably Star Wars: A New Hope.

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

The first draft was written in two weeks as part of a challenge I took part in on a writer’s forum. Since then I tweak it as and when I get feedback.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’m a storyteller, so I’m always tinkering with stories either in my mind or on the page. I started off writing spoof stories in the 1990’s at work starring the people I work with and I haven’t stopped since.

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

I don’t really have any particular favourite, or one that has been listened to more times than others. I listen to a whole range of music, but when writing I tend to listen to orchestral soundtrack music to inspire my mews. In particular, anything by Two Steps From Hell.

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

Creating the alternate timeline. I had two weeks, one week for the backstory creation and a week for writing the script. Creating alternate history from 1605 to the present, then trying to apply that as subtly as possible to the script was incredibly difficult but such a rewarding and creative exercise.

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

I love films and TV, and not just watching them. I’ve produced several of my own scripts and I’m developing a TV series called The Nearscape.

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

Filmfreeway is a very easy to use portal to the film and screenplay competition world. They are constantly updating it to make it easier to use, more functionality etc. I think it is great. It isn’t perfect of course. Their automated process makes it a bit impersonal at times and easier for scam festivals to operate.

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

I’ve entered this festival before with a Doctor Who TV script and a short story. I was extremely pleased the subsequent table reads. The feedback is honest and constructive, which is exactly how I prefer it.

 

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Genre: Comedy, Fantasy

In an alternate timeline in which Guy Fawkes blew up parliament and overthrew the English monarchy, on its anniversary half a century later, a French-American businessman finds himself on the run with Scottish Freedom Fighters after he inadvertently commits an act of heresy.

CAST LIST:

Female Reporter: Alicia Payne
Tramp/Angus: Scott McCulloch
Emilia: Lara Amersey
Narrator: Hugh Ritchie
Felix: Tim Paul McCarthy
Renee: Jane Smythe
Soldier: Rais Moui

Interview with Winning Screenwriter R. Harris Smith (MIRRORS)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

‘Mirrors’ is about the fear of your reflection watching you as you sleep – almost an extension of fear of the dark, I suppose.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror.

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

As a short film, it is simple to make but can be particularly frightening at the same time.

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

Quite scary.

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

Probably ‘Shaun of The Dead’ or ‘Hot Fuzz’.

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

This screenplay took me a couple of hours, mainly just small fixes needing doing after the main idea was finished.

7. How many stories have you written?

‘Chloe’, ‘Mirrors’, ‘Out of Time’ and ‘Lucid Visionary’ so far.

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

At the moment, I’m mainly listening to Royal Blood and Manic Street Preachers.

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

Luckily, I had no obstacles as it was such a short script.

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

I’m also a director and producer, plus a lecturer.

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

I have found FilmFreeway pretty useful so far.

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

I liked the idea of a festival purely for scripts and films under 5 minutes so I had a look. I was happy with the feedback I received about my script, as it was mainly positive with a couple of suggestions on how to improve it.

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Genre: Horror, Thriller

Young Rachel is getting ready for bed, but as she sleeps, she worries her reflection might be watching her. Once her eyes are closed, her bedroom mirror reflection gets off the bed and presses itself against the mirror. Tapping to get out

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Hugh Ritchie
Rachel: Georgia Grant
 

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Carla Miles (WAVERLY RIDING)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

‘Waverly Riding’ is about a woman who has tried hard to always do the right thing but she reaches her breaking point when she gets an eviction notice and her ex-husband says he’s going to try to get custody of their three kids. Waverly needs money now and devises a plan to rob the supermarket she works in. It’s a story about right and wrong, and how far a person will go for the people they love.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

This is a comedy script with many dramatic undertones. Or vice-versa.

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

I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this story – the financial hardships, single parenting, and a lousy job. And It’s ultimately a feel-good story.

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

Life’s hard.

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

Norma Rae.

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

I first thought of the story 20 years ago when I worked in a supermarket while raising six kids. So…

7. How many stories have you written?

At least 15 screenplays and 20 short stories.

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

Changes by David Bowie.

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

Working overtime as a police dispatcher, putting kids through college, babysitting grandkids, laundry, cooking, housecleaning…

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

Music and law enforcement.

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

I only recently discovered Film Freeway and my first submission was selected so I’m pretty psyched about it. I have had a couple of passes on other stories since but it helps me see which of my stories have potential, and the site is super easy to use and search for festivals.

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

I was drawn to this festival because of the word FEMALE. We really are underappreciated and underproduced in the film industry. There needs to be more great roles for women in film and more opportunities for female writers.
The feedback I received was phenomenal, very detailed and well thought out. I know my screenplay was read and carefully considered and this was all I wanted. I applied all of the suggestions to my script!

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Genre: Drama, Crime

A single mother in a financial crisis engineers a robbery at the supermarket she works in.

CAST LIST:

April: Lara Amersey
Narrator: Hugh Ritchie
Kat: Georgia Grant
Waverly: Jane Smythe

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Stephanie Barnes (THE PAPER PRINCESS)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

The Paper Princess is about a courageous, young princess called Paige who goes on a journey to save her home, after a cruel sorcerer transforms her into paper. Accompanied by her two friends, a grouchy hermit and a brave sprout, Paige learns that her paper doesn’t have to be a curse, it can be a source of power.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Animation, Fantasy and Adventure.

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

It’s a fun, epic adventure which embodies several positive themes: a princess who doesn’t need a prince to break her curse – she breaks it herself; change is always possible, as a person and in society; and, true strength comes from within.

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

Paper wins!

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

Moulin Rouge

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

About one year.

7. How many stories have you written?

At least twenty (three film scripts, a collection of dark fairy tale short stories, other short stories and one book).

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

Daryl Hall & John Oates – You Make My Dreams Come True

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

I faced quite a few obstacles writing The Paper Princess. The main male protagonist Aeren went through many changes during the early drafts. Because of his complex character, some readers found it hard to relate to him. In the end, I decided to completely redraft the character and I’m really happy with the end result. When I finished the script, I fell into a bad habit of redrafting and editing the first ten minutes of the script again and again because I felt it wasn’t right. Eventually I realised I was just being overly pedantic and had to take a step back.

Finding time to write while balancing my home and work life was very difficult too.

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

I love reading, especially fantasy, and visiting new places. I gained a lot of inspiration for The Paper Princess when I went travelling in Japan.

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

It was really easy and had no problems.

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

I entered the festival because I’m eager to get more feedback on my script and improve its chances of being made one day. The feedback I received was really thorough and gave me some really good things to think about. My only concern about my feedback was there were some points that conflicted with other feedback I’d received in the past, leaving me feeling unsure on how to move forward. But, overall, I’d recommend this festival for anyone looking for industry feedback.

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Genre: Animation, Family, Fantasy

When a courageous princess is transformed into paper, she goes on an epic journey to save her home from an evil sorcerer, learning that true strength comes from within.

CAST LIST:

King Jasper: Tim Paul McCarthy
Aeren: Scott McCulloch
Narrator: Hugh Ritchie
Tania: Alicia Payne
Paige: Lara Amersey
Chancellor: Rais Moui