Interview with Winning Screenwriter Hazel Allan (THE RECEIPT)

October 2017 Winning Short Screenplay Writer.

What is your screenplay about?

It’s the story of Zak, a coffee shop customer who allows his ignorance to get the better of him.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama/tragedy.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Many years ago I witnessed a waitress having her hair pulled by a huge bully of a man. I chose to turn a blind eye and that decision has haunted me ever since. I want her to know I’m sorry and that I still think about her.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Harrowing. Chilling.

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

‘Barefoot in the Park’. It’s my “go to movie” whenever I need cheering up.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I scribbled the original at the breakfast table one morning and typed it up later that day. The re-write took about two days to get to a point where I was happy with it.

How many stories have you written?

Hundreds, possibly even thousands, since I was a little girl. I now have three published children’s novels and approximately twenty screenplays of varying lengths.

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

‘Let’s Go Crazy’ by Prince. I love the lyrics. And what about that guitar solo! He’s my musical hero.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The ending was the most difficult part to write. I have a tendency to write in shorter time than what appears on the screen. I desperately wanted to get across Zak’s desolation and regret but found this a challenge within the constraints of such a short piece.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

My family, books, animals, food, politics, music, coffee. Not necessarily in that order!

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

I wanted to try my hand at writing something short and snappy. I tend to get carried away and write too much so this felt like the ideal opportunity to practise a spot of self editing. I was most impressed with the initial feedback and found the comments very thorough, encouraging and constructive. I took on board the recommendations and felt they really helped me to reflect and develop my story and my style of writing.

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

My experience of Film Freeway has been a really positive one. I now look forward to their emails which have some great advice about festivals and competitions. At one point during the process of entering this competition I posted the wrong submission (duh!) and Film Freeway was extremely helpful and swift in replying to my call for help and sorting out my refund. Highly recommended.

Genre: Drama, Crime

A coffee shop customer allows his ignorance to get the better of him.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Carina Cojeen
Esme: Lindsay Gerro
Zak: Nick Baillie
Man: Dennis Barham
Police: Fabio Abreu

Advertisements

Interview with Screenplay Writer Dan Hass (THE UPSIDE OF OVER TV Pilot)

Winning LGBT TV PILOT Screenplay for October 2017.

1. What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

The Upside of Over is about a gay (possibly alcoholic?) twenty-something named Adam—whose fresh start is interrupted when the ex he ran away from forces his way back into his life.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

For me, Upside scratched an itch—it’s the kind of show I’m desperate to see more of on TV. Fast paced wit of Happy Endings, overt sexuality and honesty of Broad City, and all framed within a young gay narrative that’s still struggling to find a place on mainstream television. It’s a fun, gay ride with a cast of crazies. What’s not to like?

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

Hot mess

4. What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?

Right now, I’m all about Fleabag and Gravity Falls. Is that weird? Feels weird.

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

All in all, it took about 6 months to write (and 26 years to live).

6. How many stories have you written?

It’s hard to count the notches on my writer belt. But so far, I’ve written a handful pilots, a few commercials, a bunch of specs, a huge collection of half-finished (mostly illegible) short stories, and one original comedy musical—so let’s round up to 20?

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

Billy Joel’s “Vienna.”

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

It was a long rewrite process—because as much as I want this to be a hoot, I want it to have some real heart, too. So here’s hoping that comes across in the read!

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

Into the gay usuals like gymming and brunching—but also love a good long camping trip away from the city. With brunch still, though. Because I mean, come on, we’re not animals.

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

I saw a real opportunity to connect with like-minded creators who were passionate about getting more gay stuff out there—and I’m blown away that they responded so strongly to this (sometimes verging on trashy) comedy. Honestly, the whole process has been pretty inspiring.

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

Only good things! It’s packed with opportunities and it’s really easy to use (which, thank god, because keeping track of submissions is impossible otherwise).

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

Work with your friends. That’s helped me more than anything. You’ve got an amazing system of support, ideas, feedback—whatever you need—at your disposal. And if you’re lucky, they want to make it as writers or directors or artists or actors just as badly as you do. So reach out and get working.

Watch the Winning TV Reading: 

Genre: Comedy, Romance

A gay (possibly alcoholic?) twenty-something’s fresh start is interrupted when the ex he ran away from forces his way back into his life.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Carina Cojeen
Adam: Fabio Abreu
Blake: Dennis Barham
Nathan: Nick Baillie
Jason: David Occhipinti
Megan: Norma Dunphy
Zoey: Lindsay Gerro

Interview with Filmmaker Chang Hyun Park (BRIDGING COLOR)

BRIDGING COLOR played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

 What motivated you to make this film?

I got a couple of friend who got born color blind. Especially My class mate from New York film academy, Jun, didn’t have a car. so I always picked him up to go to school.

When I stopped traffic signal, He always asked me that Chang that was red? or Green? when i got the question for the first time, I really didn’t understand the question and thought that How you could not distinguish between red and green.

My friend said that he have never see the red color through my view so He doesn’t know how red color is. He just see the red color with his own view. When I heard that I’m so embarrassed and surprised. It was so shameful that I answered like that. who is right color? where is right color? is there absolutely color? My story was from there.

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

Since I wrote this story It took 6 month to complete it. For 3month to prepare pre-production, 8days shooting, 2month for post-prodution.

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

Actually I had no idea about art, especially painting. I’m sooo poor at drawing and artistic authentic of paint. so I meet many artists and art students to get some comment and recommendation. all art works in my film, are created by art student.

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

I was so glad to hear all comment for my film. All comments are so useful and helpful to improve my film career. Especially the host mentioned about the wardrobe of main character I’m so happy with that.

I really did it intentionally that his wardrobe’s color being changed gradually following his condition.
.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I prefer to watch drama and thriller genre. I know that these twos are totally different style and the reason why I like to watch two different genre films.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It is really convenience and trustful to submit my film into film festival. I don’t have to search each film festival but I can see most film festival on one page.

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

sorry I don’t usually listen music. Haha. I usually listen music when I work out. Just random music.

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes I’m preparing next film which is my first debut feature film. It is about Korean Immigrant living in LA korea town.

I almost finish the script and production book. I have plan to pitch to get investment soon. Thnaks!

 

Interview with Filmmaker Vasili Manikas (ANTICA)

Vasili’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 HORROR FEEDBACK Film Festival.

: Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Vasili Manikas: Me and my production team really wanted to work on a film where everything was stripped down to a very basic feeling. No real plot, no tremendous character development, no dialogue, just an attempt to create a sense of dread and anxiety in audience.

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

The idea had been floating around for about a year. But it was about three months between the script being written to the editing being done.

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

Spooky, Scary.

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

It was difficult trying to figure how much information to give the audience. We wanted the film to have structure and direction, while still communicating the same confusion that the character is experiencing.

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

It was very exciting. This was the first feedback that we’ve gotten from complete strangers, so it was great to see that people really enjoyed the film, and that film successfully communicated a state of anxiety.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It started off with the location. We knew we could shoot there for free, and we created a story to match the environment.

I suppose that’s sort of backwards, but it worked out quite well, and as young filmakers we have to always contend with the economic realities and try to stretch every dollar as much as we can.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I used to watch Space Jam religiously as a child.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you
feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s
perspective?

Pretty great. Very inviting and easy to use.

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

I’ve been bumping to Mozart’s Serenade No 10 in B flat Major almost every week at the club.

What is next for you? A new film?

Working on a few projects for the summer. Me and my brother are still in school, so we only really get a chance to film in the summertime. We’re hoping to complete at least two projects in 2018.

Interview with Filmmaker Paul Scheufler (TASTE OF LOVE)

Paul’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival. “TASTE OF LOVE” was the winner of BEST Cinematography at the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Paul Scheufler: To tell the story about the various forms love can take on, to tell the story about and invite forms of sexual passions and the importance of a colorful and diverse world.

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

Four months in total, but we were all in high school at this moment and just graduated. So we spent every second on our free time to producing the film. We even flew to Berlin in Germany to record the right voice. A lot of effort went into it.

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

INTENSIVE COLORFUL

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

The melting and stinky fruits under the hot lighting equipment next to our actress…

No, the biggest obstacles was the camera department. We shot everything with a Macro lens so everything was really close, all lights, the actors, and the camera on a special, very heavy 3 axis tripod. That was new to us and it took us two days to improve the workflow.

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

Oh at this point I want to thank the audience for such a great feedback! – It’s absolutely fantastic and such a great full feeling when the audience feel with the story and take the main though out of the cinema!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Love and food are really important things in life or… (laughing). The thought at looking for the right sexual desires made me crazy. I did a lot of research on sexuality and “unusual” passions. After a talk with a good friend of mine, I knew I wanted to do a movie about polysexuality and tastes as a reverence where everybody can connect with.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Let me see… as a child a was obsessed with the TV show “Barbarbar’s” but thats a long time ago. Now I’m trying to watch a short film every day and see sometimes recommended features, but I do not really have a favorite film.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It’s super easy to reach festivals all over the world and present it to a real audience. Movies are made to be seen and these platforms helping new comers, filmmakers and the audience to see new and exciting films!

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

I really don’t have any favorite song. My mood decides if I hear classics, house, electronics or what ever combination of genres. But I wanna give a shout out to “Glass Animas” , “alt-j”, “Portugal The Man” and to “Gudrun von Laxenburg” (Austrian guys).

What is next for you? A new film?

At the moment I’m living in New York City, I’m working for the Austrian American Film Festival in New York and doing commercials and writing for next short movies. I’m planning to go back to Vienna, Austria in Summer 2018 and preparing for applications for Film Academies in Austria or Germany. But you know… everything can change so quickly. I’m not the guy who is planning my next 5 years. My passion of telling stories and connecting with people and issues is driving me, and I will see where this passion is going to take me.

Interview with Winning Screenwriters Janine Cobain & Gary McElkerney (VOLUNTEER)

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

Volunteer is based on the novel of the same name written by me (Gary McElkerney).

What starts as a humanitarian mission, for a university student from Belfast, descends into a fight for survival after his search for adventure takes him off the beaten track to the frontline of the Ethiopian conflict. Chris Johnston faces his fears, and battles with his own darkness, on this emotive journey, which will leave you with a question; if faced with such horrors, what are you capable of doing in order to survive?

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It falls into Action/Adventure most comfortably, but also has elements of drama, and even thriller.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

There has never been a film about humanitarians in conflict zones: we have the soldiers’ stories, and the victims’ stories, but never the volunteers. In times of war and tragedy, I always say to people ‘look out for the helpers’; the people lifting others to safety, and giving hope that people care. It is an insight into a closed community – we don’t often talk about it and in turn are left to deal with our own emotional trauma – but what are the humanitarian’s stories, their backgrounds, in a time when the world seems to be falling apart, who are the people holding it together?

I hope Volunteer show even in the worst times there is always a hand to pick you up, and people who risk their lives – and often lose them – to save others.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Beautifully horrifying

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

For me it’s Forrest Gump, for Janine it’s a tough call between The Holiday and Cocktail.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

2 years to complete the novel and further 2 on the script, so far.

How many stories have you written?

For me it’s a novel, a couple of short stories, this feature script and around 5 short films, for Janine also a novel (How Will You Remember Me?) and the screenplay adaptation of it, Volunteer’s script, and numerous scripts for short films, TV drama, and comedy; she won the Northern Ireland Comedy Writers programme last year.

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

For me, Foo Fighters – Best of You (U2 – With or Without You would be up there too), Janine struggled to pick one but Iris – Goo Goo Dolls would be up there or anything by Walking on Cars.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Initially, learning how to write a screenplay! After completing the novel, and looking in to getting the script written for us, Janine decided to take it upon herself, and has spent hours and hours learning all she could about the craft. After laying down a first draft, we took the time to re-write it based on new learnings and notes, and on feedback received. Learning the importance of reshaping the screenplay to make it flow better, it’s hard to have scenes cut out and stripped back when in real life they were personal moments in history but it is necessary otherwise I’d talk forever.

For me, while writing the novel and the screenplay was therapeutic, you have to relive the experiences and it would often trigger my PTSD.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Well I suppose I have to say Lighting Design since it’s my full time job, in truth anything creative – music, film, art, writing, acting. For Janine it’s film production.

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

So simple, being able to search for competitions and store projects makes the process very easy.

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

Janine chose the festival based on its Action/Adventure specification and because of the opportunity of feedback. The report we received was excellent – it was great to actually be assured that someone had taken the time to read and provide good quality notes that we could work on. After a revision, a local producer commented on the quality of the script, which the notes received undoubtedly influenced.

What starts as a humanitarian mission, for a university student from Belfast, descends into a fight for survival after his search for adventure takes him off the beaten track to the frontline of the Ethiopian conflict. Chris Johnston faces his fears and battles with his own darkness on this emotive journey, which will leave you asking yourself, if faced the horrors of war, what would you do?

Genre: Action, Drama, Biography

 

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Laura Kyswaty
Michael: Cory Bertrand
Chris: Jim Canale
Odette: Regan Brown

Interview with Director Steve Hally (TWISTED SOBRIETY)

Steve Hally’s short film was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the September 2017 THRILLER FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Steve Hally: We wanted to make something thought provoking something that stirred. Something that pushed people into an uncomfortable environment and asked them, if the world continues in the way it’s going what will happen? People get poorer and poorer without concern and people get richer and richer to the point of futility. When will this break the human condition and the human spirit, will it? Capitalism is a great system it’s done beautiful, amazing things but it’s being devastatingly and needlessly abused.

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

We took around a year to get the final product. We went through several processes and as an indie short you need to be patient to get the quality you desire. We first cast talent and then searched for crew for around two months to get the right pros for the job. We then shot over a hectic eight days, over various locations in London. Because of the complexities of our future scape and VFX post-production was the most patient part of our film. Waiting for rotoscoping, matte designs and computer designs was totally rewarding but very time consuming however to get quality of this standard takes patience. Our editor is Rebecca Lloyd who was the first editor ever to win the Break Through Brit award at the 2016 BAFTA awards. To ensure we had this power talent of editing a great amount of respect and understanding needed to be placed. Editing is the most important part of post-production, for the emotion and the direction. This can never be, taken for granted or ignored for speed or lesser abilities. You must have an editor that understands film emotion and not just the technical learning. Editing is a post production pillar that should always be the strongest. We then went on to colour grading which was done at the world renowned and respected colour studio Molinare. Again favours and patience played its massive part in this success. Film making is tough but if it was easy no one or everyone would do it. Only the mad few continue on.

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

Bold provocateur

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

Time, you always want things to move as fast as possible but as indie film makers patience and waiting can be a difficult game, you must learn this game. You’re on your own and things are never handed to you. You have to work hard and fight for it and be willing to wait.

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

I loved that people had something to say. Positive or negative, critical or complimentary an opinion was being made. That is a truly beautiful thing. Everyone has the right to an opinion and it should be embraced at all times. The worst thing would be no opinion at all, from anyone. As that means nothing has effected, nothing has played a part, nothing can grow or progress. I love positive and negative opinions as it means it has made an impact. I love at the end of an auditorium performance having the whole theatre chatting, that buzz of communication that used to fill the end of every film performance, that’s missing in places. People that chat about film in great praise or bad criticism is what drives film and makes film last and improves it. No one has the answers to film but everyone has an opinion, they are all most welcomed, everyone.

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video: 

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

There is a cumbrous unbalance of wealth in this world. It’s becoming very hollow.

I wanted to show that in general we treat the homeless, the poor, the down trodden, the less wealthy, the less financially fortunate with such nothingness, with such an obtuse view that I started to think, what if they fought back. What if enough was enough and they were no longer sitting back taking the disregarded, blind-eye, blinkered abuse.

What if the very people the world dismisses and forgets turned and stole the very thing the world doesn’t allow them to have.

We wouldn’t see it coming.

 What film have you seen the most in your life?

That’s a big question, what genre? Lol

I watch a lot of films. I don’t repeat watch that much anymore as there are too many titles that I have not seen to fit into my life time.

12 Angry men is the best film I have ever seen. I could watch it on repeat.

 You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It’s actually the best one. I have never missed a notification or been left hanging. I promote it highly.

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

Another big question. I go through phases of genres then jump around music. The last song on my iPod was Victor Ganna – Mibanga but I’m heavily pulling on my classic Aphex Twin and Richie Hawtin tapes. But usually I push shuffle and see what pops up.

  What is next for you? A new film?

We are in discussion about either another short or perhaps a feature. But I’m still waiting for that gut reaction to kick in, so I can follow it.
twisted_sobriety_4