Interview with Screenwriter Alex Alvarez (WILL)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Alex Alvarez: It’s about a middle aged gay man struggling to balance his love life with the full time responsibility of being a caregiver.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama.

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

I think WILL poses interesting questions. What led up to this moment? What was Will’s young adulthood like? What happens now? I think there is a movie leading up to the moments we experience in WILL. On the flip side, I think that it can also be a very powerful first act in the story of a man who finds the will to live and love again. It’s a personal story for me. One that I’ve closely observed. I’ve seen the gift of caregiving and the cost of it.

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

Love lost.

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

I don’t know that I know the answer to this question, but I do know that my Junior or Senior year of High School I watched FARGO every single day.

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

This was a labor of love. It poured out of me. But I got very helpful feedback from Pat Rushin (THE ZERO THEOREM) who teaches at University of Central Florida.

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?)

Favorite song? But I LOVE so many!

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

I struggled with how to end it. I saw examples of men and women who found it challenging to have a romantic relationship while caring for their parent(s). But I was hopeful that there was a way to do it. Still, I wanted to document the truth of what I saw.

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

I’m an actor based in South Florida and a dubbing artist. I can send you my bio if you like. 🙂

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

It’s a quick and easy way to get your work read.

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

I felt like this was a unique protagonist, one that we don’t see frequently represented in LGBTQ+ films. I was excited by the feedback. People want to know more about Will. What are his dreams? What are his demons? What’s keeping him from letting someone like Charles in?

 
Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A middle aged gay man struggles with sex and love while taking care of his elderly mother.

CAST LIST:

Lydia: Avelyn Grey
Narration: Carina Cojeen
Will: Allen Brunet
Charles: Ron Boyd

Submit via FilmFreeway:

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Interview with Screenwriter Michael Gavino (The Adorables)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Michael Gavino: When a young ocelot and a young anacoda go on an unauthorized journey to a big city, they find out that the human world is filled with wonder, humor, and danger.

2. What genres does your screenplay under?

Animation

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

This screenplay will make you laugh and it will move you. You can’t help but fall in love with the characters.

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

Fun, Wonder

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

Citizen Kane

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

Many years.

7. How many stories have you written?

Dozens

8. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

In a time of such turmoil, it is time for a little laughter and wonder.

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

There are huge time pressures. Like so many I have too much to do in too few hours.

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

I am passionate about acting, teaching, and helping others

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

In the end, if you have a story, stick with it and let it motivate you.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

CAST LIST:

Oscar Sr – 5 – Brian Carleton
Oscar Jr – 5 – Jolly Amaoko
NARRATION – Bree Ali
Ofelia – 11 – Stephanie Herrera
Carlos – 14 – Russell Batcher

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Interview with Screenwriter Paige Brien (Burden of the Blood Moon)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Paige Brien: Burden of the Blood Moon is a contained horror film with a strong female lead and supporting roles. Based in the 70’s with 3-4 locations.

Logline:

Bartender, JOE (30’s), establishes herself in a small town to start a new life in the 1970’s. When MARA (20’s) shows up at Joe’s bar during the blood moon, she brings all the demons from Joe’s past with her.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller/Horror

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

I began outlining this story during the ‘Me Too’ movement and the Kavanaugh trials. Witch hunts have been occurring for hundreds of years and still continue to this very day. This movie should be made as a reminder of how society continues to quiet women and the sacrifices we make to keep our sisterhood safe. This film has a very strong female cast, which is rare and much needed.

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

Poignant & Daring

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

ET

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

1 Year

7. How many stories have you written?

Too many to count, I have been writing all my life.

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

‘Painted Black’ By. The Rolling Stones

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

Describing The Monster in this film was the biggest challenge, I still feel I didn’t do it justice in words. I think when my FX person begins to build it from my imagination, that is when I can find the exact words.

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

Storytelling in all mediums; film making, painting, animation and music videos.

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

Excellent! I prefer them to the previous hub ‘Without a Box’.

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

I have entered before and had a great reading from another film.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

CAST LIST:

Lynn: Carina Cojeen
Max: Amber Copeland
Narration: Shawn Devlin
Joe: Anne McMaster
Mara: Avelyn Grey

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Interview with Screenwriter Susie Schecter (REAR-ENDED)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Susie Schecter: Wade Banks, like his two other roommates is a freeloader and slacker. He’s a recent college graduate with no well-defined aim in life. He lives off his parents who plan to severe funds on his twenty-fifth birthday, so when he’s rear-ended by a stretch limo, it’s just in the nick of time or so he thinks.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romantic Comedy

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

This comedy has a well defined structure. A beginning, middle and end. It has clarity, believable characters and good timing. Rear-Ended makes good use of surprise, conflict and reversals. I believe comedy is just like drama only in disguise.

Oh, it’s funny.

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

Coming of age.

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

La La Land, Wedding Crashers and Trainwreck.

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

One year.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written a novel, “Lifetimes Ago – A Love Story Inspired from Past Life Memories.” Three screenplays, Fantasy Drama, Romantic Comedy and finishing up on a Fantasy Drama/Psychological Thriller.

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

I love most all types of music and couldn’t narrow it down to one song.

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

The psychological obstacle of thinking I’m writing this for nothing and just because everybody that’s heard it thinks it’s funny – that’s not good enough. I’m in a highly competitive field.
The writing flowed.

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

Love, animals and the environment.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

This scene takes place at a comedy club in Irvine California.
Wade is with his friends for a night of laughs. Recently at a friend’s party, Danny, dyslexic, met a comedian Scarlet, who brushed him off when he tried to talk and dance with her. Scarlet is performing tonight. She’s an insult comedian.

CAST LIST:

Caitlyn – 3 – Bree Ali
Danny – 10 – Jolly Amaoko
NARRATION – Stephanie Herrera
Scarlet – 13 – Sarah Bedford
Dave – 5 – Russell Batcher
MC – 2 – Brian Carleton

Interview with Poet Michael Villalobos (WINE AND DINE AT 9)

1) What is the theme of your poem?

About how a lady should be admired an treated on a date immensely !!!!

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

It’s what i do 24/7 !

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

10 years plus

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

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a Professional actor?

“Poet-ing” for a way in this industry as a ghost writer/rhymer !!!!!!
6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?
yes I do as in ” I write as in rhyme every night with a ice cold bud light an even more precise when the full moon is bright !!!!!!!!

7) What is your passion in life?

to continue in life as a inventor / poet ghost rhymer Etc Ect Ect..!!!!! In

Watch Poetry Reading:

Performed by Anne McMaster

Interview with Filmmaker Erika Kramer (SHE’S MARRYING STEVE)

SHE’S MARRYING STEVE was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES & MUSIC at the February 2019 LGBT Film Festival in February.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Erika Kramer: I’ve always wanted to make films that shine light on lesbian characters and on the lesbian experience – I feel that visibility in film/tv is one of the most important methods for progress and acceptance. For this film specifically, I was processing a breakup and trying to understand if I could remain friends with my ex or not. I wanted to explore the larger question of if you can stay friends after a breakup and if being queer adds any complexity to that.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

I wrote the script very quickly. Then spent a good amount of time cleaning it up and getting smart editors to take a look at it for me. The pre-production was a few weeks then we shot over 5 days – 4 in Connecticut and 1 half day in New York City. I started editing right away and finished that within a few weeks. It was a quick rush to get it out into the world!

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

It’s about love and relationships and how we earn closure on relationships. It’s also about understanding that the world isn’t black and white – there’s a lot that’s gray!

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Filmmaking is a constant challenge – there’s never enough time, money, people, etc. I think the hardest thing for me, as a first-time director, was remaining confident and in control. I think I did a great job of this, but it was a new experience and it takes a special level of faith in yourself to run a crew. I’m eager to do it again though, so it can’t have been all that tough! 🙂

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It’s terrifying and humbling and exciting. I just want as many people to see the film as possible. To hear that people not only watched it but were invested in the story and had smart and enthusiastic responses was sooo rewarding. I’m very grateful.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I broke up with my first serious girlfriend and it felt like everyone i knew was settling down and getting married. I really just wanted to explore those feelings and that specific time in life.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Such a tough question! There are soooo many. I love Sarah Polley’s work – Take this Waltz is an incredible film. As is Stories We Tell. I might have to say Clueless. Amy Heckerling is a genius and that was such a formative film. That’s a nearly perfect film!

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

FilmFreeway is wonderful!

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

I think Sound & Color by the Alabama Shakes – It’s a perfect album and the song’s beautiful.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Working on a feature film! In the writing phase now. Hope to be back at the festival soon 😀 

 

 

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Interview with Screenwriter Thomas Clary (The Switch)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Thomas Clary: Well, the official logline is: “After an unexplained global event, where everyone on Earth has switched bodies, an FBI agent must recapture every serial killer he’s ever put in jail after they’ve “escaped” into other people. They look nothing like they did before; they have different DNA and fingerprints… But one thing hasn’t changed — their desire to kill.”

That’s the story, but at its heart it’s “about” the question of “Who are we really?” You think you know who you are… But are you 100% sure? And, would you stay that way if everything you thought you knew about yourself just “switched” one day? Our hero FBI agent, Cooper Langford, suddenly finds himself in the body of literally the richest man in the world after going to sleep living a life of a miserable failure. When he starts to discover that he could very well be at the center of why the world has been turned upside-down, he must decide whether he’s going to help get to the bottom of it all — or compromise everything he thought he believed in to keep from changing back.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s a Sci-Fi Suspense/Horror series inspired by those suspenseful, cinematic serial killer movies like “Silence Of The Lambs”, “Manhunter”, and “Seven” — and the larger “mythology” science fiction T.V. shows like “The X-Files” and “Westworld”.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a TV SHOW?

Well, because I think it’s pretty awesome!!!

Seriously, though… I think there is a real fun and watchable “monster of the week” aspect to it as Cooper and his crew attempt to re-find all of these dangerous serial killers and hunt them down all over again. But on top of that, there is a deeper story about why everyone has suddenly changed bodies — and is there a way that they can ever change back? I think that’s going to be the story that really hooks everyone and keeps them coming back week after week to see what happens.

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

Fun read.

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

I think for everyone my age, our answer is going to be a very boring one. When I was seven years-old, the original Star Wars was my babysitter. My mom used to drop me off at the Sherman Oaks General Cinema (here in the San Fernando Valley) with enough money for a ticket and a couple of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from the concession stand. While she would run errands in the morning — I would go to Tatooine and the Death Star. It was a different time and it wasn’t an issue for a 7 year old to be alone in a movie theater (hard to believe, I know), so I ended up seeing it about 50-70 times. Little did I realize, it was one of my first masterclasses in filmmaking and is still a deep influence on my storytelling even now, forty years later.

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

I started writing it about seven or eight years ago, got to about page twenty and then put it on the shelf for a while. Then, about a year ago, I decided to blow off the dust and cobwebs from it and had it done in about two months. It all flowed pretty quick at that point.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written quite a few stories. I’ve written about four or five full length screenplays. I wrote a spec script for the “X-Files” as a writing sample. But, nothing has been produced or published.

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

The Power Of The Heart sung by Peter Gabriel. It was originally a Lou Reed song that he wrote to propose to Laurie Anderson. Gabriel’s version of it is achingly gorgeous and just puts me in the mood every time I sit down to write my next full-length screenplay. Someday, my dream is to create something so beautiful.

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

I’m the father of 6 year-old twins with a full-time day job as a Visual Effects Producer for film and TV. Finding the time to write with all the plates I was spinning was quite the adventure. But now I’ve been able to set up more of a routine that makes that less of an issue.

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

I love photography. There is something about telling a story with a single visual image that excites me and (I hope) helps me to be economical and efficient in my writing. I’m also trying to teach myself the guitar — but that’s more of a sadistic passion rather than a “passion” passion.

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

I think it’s a wonderful site. Anything that makes it easier to enter festivals — and toot your own horn, as well — I certainly endorse.

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

I actually owe quite a bit to a colleague at work for urging me to enter, if not specifically this festival, science-fiction based festivals in general. I had mentioned to him that I was doing well in other festivals, but I couldn’t seem to break the top 20 or 10. He suggested that maybe I should enter festivals that were specifically for the genre(s) my screenplay was in. His thinking was that other festivals may be making the mistake of not taking this type off work as seriously as they should — instead rewarding more traditionally “important” pieces. It was excellent advice. And now, here we are!

The feedback was very good and helped me to put the last bit of detail work into the script I needed to really “dot my i’s and cross my t’s.” I was confident in the work prior to getting the notes, but it really helped to hear things that would take it over the top.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

After an unexplained global event, where everyone on Earth has switched bodies, FBI Agent Cooper Langford must recapture every serial killer he’s ever put in jail after they’ve “escaped” into other people. They look nothing like they did before; they have different DNA and fingerprints… But one thing hasn’t changed — their desire to kill.

CAST LIST:
Mille: Regan Brown
Bertie: Peter Nelson
Wentworth: Kevin Gabel
Narration: Laura Kyswaty
Cooper: Kevin Robinson
Waters: Patrice Henry
Trillium: Emily Weir

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