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 Screenwriter & Executive Producer Mark Renshaw (THE SURVIVOR)

THE SURVIVOR was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the February 2018 Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Mark Renshaw: The landscape of the near future (based on humanity’s current actions) does not bode well for us, or this planet. That’s why I came up with the concept of the Nearscape to reflect this. The Survivor film was something the team wanted to make to demonstrate what life could be like unless we take drastic action.

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

It took about 8 months in total. I wrote the first draft in December 2016. We shot the film in March 2017, post-production took a few months and it was then released in August.

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

Dystopian sci-fi.

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

Time. As I was financing production, we really were working on a shoestring budget. Everyone involved was passionate about the project, with folks working for minimum wage or even offering services for free. We just had to fit the production into everyone’s busy schedule and juggle around certain elements, which is why post-production took such a long time.

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

It was wonderful. As a writer, I like to add subtle elements which I hope the audience will pick up on but worry that I’ve been too subtle. It’s obvious from the reactions I saw that they did indeed pick up on these and also spotted that certain elements where hinting at a much bigger story.

Watch Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The Survivor started life as a different script called The Outcast. It was about a boy in his early teens who ran away from home to escape an abusive stepfather. He uses his imagination to help him cope with life on the streets and envisions himself as one of the few survivors living in a dystopian city.

I showed the script to the director, Christopher Carson Emmons, and he was fascinated by these dystopian visions. He asked me if we could focus more on the sci-fi elements, and thus The Survivor was born.

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

Star Wars: A New Hope. I remember as a teen watching this every day during the summer holidays.

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

I like how FilmFreeway makes it easy and convenient for me to submit my projects to festivals and competitions all over the world. There are issues of course. One of the cons is it can make the whole process feel impersonal sometimes. Some festivals (I’m pleased to say yours is not one of them) use FilmFreeway simply as a mechanism to reject/accept submissions with a generic email and don’t connect with the creators at all.

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

The Bare Necessities from the animated version of the Jungle Book. That’s my go to song for when I need cheering up.

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

I’m developing Survivor into a TV show called The Nearscape. I’ve written a one-hour pilot called ‘The Survivors’ which expands on the short film and introduces new characters. I’ve entered the pilot into all the big screenplay festivals in the hope that it gains some traction so I can plug it to production companies and TV networks. It is doing quite well so far, it made it to the semi-finals of Cinequest and the quarter-finals of the Fresh-Voices Competition.