Interview with Filmmaker David Rawlings (SLASHED!)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

David Rawlings: I’m a huge fan of 80s horror. The cheesier, the better. I grew up on Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees, and always wanted to take a unique stab at that genre.

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

The general pre-production and production took about 6 months. Post Production was initially another 3. However, I wanted to really make sure the audio was as correct as possible. It took longer than I was expecting, so the finished product probably took one whole year to complete.

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

Retro Arthritis

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

The weather. We only had 2 full days to shoot everything and we got rained out for one half of those days. Considering 90% of the shoot was exterior shots, it certainly created a headache to the entire crew and cast. Not to mention that the public park – we were shooting in – closed their public bathrooms at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

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

Really pleased. I was glad to see that audience members really enjoyed it and understood the direction. My favourite moments are when we flashback to the “80s” and it was great to see the audience to get a kick out of that. Thank you for all your kind words.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Being a fan of films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, I wanted to create my own serial slasher killer… but wanted to have fun with it. Taking the idea of an ax-murderer who has aged and not at the level that he used to be, gave me some great ideas for dialogue and scenes. I’m also a fan of the likes of Monty Python and wanted to inject some of that goofy humour and ridiculousness as well.

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

It’s probably a tie between The Goonies and Jurassic Park.

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

It’s really rather simple. Once the film project has been uploaded, being able to simply and efficiently submit your film to a wealth of different festivals certainly makes things less stressful.

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

Bon Jovi – Livin on a Prayer

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

I’m currently working in the UK as a video editor. I’ve got many ideas and scripts for other shorts, and I hope to be back into pre-production very soon.

Interview with Filmmaker Justin Zachary (NOW)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Justin Zachary: Necessity. These days as an actor if you’re not creating your own work then it feels like you’re behind in the game. I also love making movies.

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

About 20 years ago I was doing theatre in Bakersfield, CA. A playwright by the name of Roger Mathey wrote a one act play called NOW. It was just two people in a room talking about memories of their relationship and the crazy twist in the end when you find out that she’s a robot. I loved the story but unfortunately the play was never produced. Cut to, 2011 when I was looking for a project to direct and remembered this story. I called my friend Roger and asked if he still had the script. He didn’t. So, I asked him with his permission could I re-tell the story with my own vision? He agreed and that’s when the initial screenplay began.

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

Daddy issues.

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

I’d have to say the VFX. It was definitely the most costly and time consuming. We went through 3 different artists until I finally landed on one I loved. Lincoln Smith. A God sent.

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

Nervous. It’s always nerve-wracking hearing what people think of your work. Especially something that’s so personal to you. But, after I heard the positive feedback it was a relief that people actually got it!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I took my friend Roger’s original idea of two people sitting in a room talking about memories and the twist in the end then added some personal elements to give it a sense of myself. For example; The Father character is based on my ex Father-in Law. I always felt that I needed to impress him. Maybe it was my own insecurities but, I never felt that I was good enough. My character’s obsession with fixing things is another good example. I always feel that most problems (especially in relationships) can be fixed with a conversation. If you put the right words in a specific order anything can be solved. It’s an idealistic way of thinking that always gets proved wrong.

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

Probably, Caddyshack.

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

It’s great! Simple and easy to submit.

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

“Every Breath You Take” by The Police


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

I’m in the process of writing a few different things. An epic sci-fi post alien invasion film, and a supernatural western.

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 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