Interview with Screenwriter Tim Gale (PARTY OVER COUNTRY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Tim Gale: A Republican candidate is sworn in as president of the united states, but he’s way more into partying than he is into doing his job or serving his globalist master. It’s pretty much White House meets Animal House.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy. But it does have some intrigue to it. How about a political comedy thriller? I’m good with that.

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

I’d actually like to have this green lit to be its own tv series because I have so much story to tell with these characters that a movie wouldn’t be able to encapsulate it properly. There’s plenty of character and plot development that I have written down and I truly believe that it would be a series that would not only make people laugh, but also get them to think a bit.

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

Irresponsible behavior.

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

I can’t even begin to fathom how many times I’ve watched Naked Gun.

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

I probably came up with the idea around May 2018. When I have a new plan for a script or a project, I always take a lot of notes detailing story lines, characters, jokes and ideas. This process does tend to take a while since I reflect on it for a while before I start the actual writing of the script. Any screenwriter will tell you that sometimes the hardest thing about writing is just starting it. Overall it probably took me around 3-4 months to write it since I would do rewrites. The second episode however didn’t take as long as I had a better understanding of my characters and environment.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written one feature script, one short film script, two episodes of this series, and am almost finished work on a spec script I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. I have a bunch of other projects waiting in the wings that I’m excited to get started on.

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

Bring Da Ruckus by Wu-Tang Clan is definitely my most played song ever. But what’s my favorite song? Tough call. There’s too many to name a definitive favorite, but I will say that Echoes by Pink Floyd is undeniably an incredible song.

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

Prior commitments and self doubt were probably the biggest challenges that I faced. I try not to have my friends or family read my work, so I feel super vulnerable during the process when it comes time to actually share it with professionals. It’s easy to doubt yourself while you’re working on a script, but you just gotta have faith in yourself and keep it pushing.

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

I’m really into music. Like really into it. I can’t play an instrument at all, but I can appreciate it all the same. I can literally talk about it non stop all day.

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

So far FilmFreeway has been a good resource for me to discover festivals and competitions that geared towards my specialty. It’s been very valuable for me and I’m going to continue to use it going forward for sure.

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

Since it was a festival that was specific to comedy, I felt that it was appropriate for myself to enter since I always felt like my strengths were in the comedy territory. I felt that if I got the approval from this festival, that I was truly on the right path. I’m constantly trying to be funny with my friends and make them laugh, so if I can do that for strangers, that’s even better.

Watch the Winning Screenplay Reading: 

An intolerable Republican candidate is voted in as President of the United States, but he seems more interested in partying than running the country, or taking orders from his ominous overlord.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION – SARAH DESOUZA-COELHO
Buzz – 5 – SEAN BALLANTYNE
Hope – 6 – JULIE C. SHEPPARD
Carson – 5 – GENE ABELA
Bryan – 3 – THOMAS FOURMIER
Val – 3 – DIANA FRANZ

Interview with Screenwriter Eliza Frakes (REMEMBRANCE DAY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Eliza Frakes: REMEMBRANCE DAY takes place in a near-future, radicalized America wherein Roe V. Wade has been overturned. It follows two female friends, Maggie and Bix, on their escape to seek out an illegal abortion from a doomsday prepper in Joshua Tree.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I would classify REMEMBRANCE DAY as a dramedy or dark comedy, with elements of sci-fi.

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

I believe in this work because it is timely and poignant. I have tried to engage in a conversation about women’s rights and the direction we’re headed currently in this country through the lens of two very human characters, in the hope that their nuanced relationship provides a viewpoint into the deeper issues our nation faces.

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

War cry.

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

Silence of the Lambs

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

I have been working on this pilot for a year.

7. How many stories have you written?

Far too many, and never enough.

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

Oof, really hard to say. I will say I’m teaching myself how to play the banjo at the moment, so I’ve been on a big Kingston Trio kick.

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

As a writer, I find it much easier to start than to finish. The beginning of a story is captivating, full of opportunity and exploration. The end of the story takes craft, confidence, and commitment- elements I find harder to pin down. I struggled with finding an ending that was also a launch pad into the rest of the season. I also struggled with world building and specification of place. The pilot’s been through rounds of edits, and I’m sure there are many more it will see. It’s exciting to learn something in the process each time. I’m not sure it is finished yet, really, or if I’ll ever feel like it is.

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

In addition to writing, I love acting and theatre making, in particular, devising or collaborating in the performing arts. I also try to romp around outside as much as possible, hiking, swimming, getting lost.

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

FilmFreeway has been a great way for me to hear about competitions and fellowships to apply to. I’m grateful I found it so early in my career.

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

I was inspired to enter the festival because I saw that it was targeted towards students, which was perfect for where I am in my experience. The feedback I received was helpful and very thoughtful in content.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

It’s the day before Remembrance Day, the day when – in a radicalized America that has overturned Roe v. Wade – society commemorates the millions of unborn children lost to abortion. It’s also the day that Maggie (23) finds out she’s pregnant. Not sure what to do, she impulse-buys a gerbil, and calls her best friend.

CAST LIST:

Chris: Matthew Payne
Holace: Yaw Attuah
Trevor: Hadi Kubba
Maggie: Rosalie Vagalatis
Bix: Diana Franz
AT&T Employee: Ron Boyd

Interview with Screenwriter Ron Micci (ALL THE WOLVES YOU WERE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Ron Micci: It’s a tongue-in-cheek, droll, humorous take on werewolves involving the British aristocracy during the Victorian era, think 1880s. A satire and a parody of those old Universal Wolfman films.

The Prescotts, whose aristocratic fortunes are in decline, are hoping that the marriage of their son, Lawrence, to a mysterious young Romanian princess whose family has established a summer residence nearby, will save them from financial ruin.

On the eve of the nuptials, the princess (Elizabeth) confesses that she is a werewolf and begs Lawrence to call off the wedding.

When he poo-poos this, she runs off to the moors. What ensues with the help of a subplot involving a romance between a village boy and an uppercrust girl, a mad doctor, and a shrewd gypsy who seeks to lift the princess’s curse, culminates in a very hairy and hilarious set of church vows.

2. What genre does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy. Satire. Horror.

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

It’s consistently funny, and werewolf films are generally popular based on the special effects involved in the wolf transformations.

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

Very cute.

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

Last time I said The Best Years of Our Lives, but there are any number of films, particularly in the film noir genre, that I have seen many times.

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

Actually, I began work sometime in the 1980s, then switched to writing for the stage and created a three-act stage adaptation, then returned to the script in the late 90s and did intensive rewrites of it.

7. How many stories have you written?

About 60 one-act plays and sketches, three longer plays, three novels, four screenplays, one episodic TV pilot, three screen shorts and two original sitcom pilot scripts.

8. What is your favorite song?

“When I Fall Love”

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

The most difficult challenge was to sustain the same droll, tongue-in-cheek tone throughout.

If it’s a spoof, you want to maintain that feeling beginning to end. Certain scenes were more difficult than others, but I managed to persevere and feel I succeeded in doing that.

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

Playing the flute, for one thing. And making humorous videos. I’ve been told quite adamantly that I should have been an actor, and I believe there is more than an modicum of truth to that. (I suppose writers are actors.) But I didn’t realize this until much too late in the game. (Hey, choose your favorite form of starvation, right?)

11. Experiences with the FilmFreeway site?

Tough to say. In trying to use the site to submit to screenplay competitions, I hit a dead end. I believe technical glitches.

12. What influenced you to enter the Festival? Reactions to feedback you
received?

By and large I was surprised at how fair-minded the feedback was, a rarity. The fact that they even bothered to read the scripts, and it was obvious they had, was a pleasant surprise. I think in most of these contests they simply throw the scripts against a wall and whatever sticks they give awards to.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Logline: “Do you take this werewolf — I mean woman — to be your lawful wedded wife?” “I — I — I — ulp! — do.” In Victorian England, a wedding between a British aristocrat’s son and a mysterious Romanian princess is thrown in jeopardy when the princess reveals she’s a werewolf. A droll, witty farce.

Comedy-Horror

Feature screenplay

CAST LIST:

Hastings: Daniel Jones
Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Col. Wellington: Peter Nelson
Lady Wellington: Judy Thrush

Interview with Filmmaker Jasper Bronkhorst (BLOODBURN)

BLOODBURN was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the May 2019 Thriller/Suspense FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jasper Bronkhorst: It is my first short that I have written and directed, so I chose to work in the ‘safety’ of a genre (thriller/suspense) to learn technique and built a network of talented creative people. But my overall motivation was the answer to a simple question: am I capable of directing a movie?

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

Around one year, but not full time of course but working on different drafts and looking for a good cast, crew etc.

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

Suspenseful fresh

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

Staying true to my original intention, because everybody in post production had their own idea of the intention of this film. I sometimes really had to fight to keep it ‘mine’. This was the most difficult part of the process.

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

You know, that big stone you feel in your stomach ;-). I feel very lucky that it was well received and that the audience ‘got it’.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I had a very small budget, so my original idea was very simple: big story, small table.

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

This changes constantly, but for now I would say Blue Velvet by David Lynch (’86).

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

It’s all quite new to me, but the first thing that comes to mind is the sheer amount of film festivals all over the world: it’s just mind boggling. Other than that, everything works really well.

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

The Rainbow, Talk Talk (’97)

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

A new film indeed. I can’t really tell a lot about it (don’t want to spoil, sorry!), other than that it is in pre-production and will take place in the near future.

bloodburn

Interview with Filmmaker David Bradburn (BEFORE YOU WOKE)

BEFORE YOU WOKE played to rave reviews at the May 2019 FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

David Bradburn: I had been wanting to get some experience writing and directing an action film and also, I had wanted to work with Christian Litke. From there I started to draft a script with the resources I had in mind.

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

Because our budget was so small our post production took a bit longer than we hoped, but from idea to release was about 8 months. We shot the entire film in one day.

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

Female Blacktion


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

Money, it’s always money. We did also have a massive snow storm the night before and filmed on one of the coldest days that winter. We stole the exterior location and between the extreme cold and the cops showing up that made that part of the shoot difficult.

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

The reaction has been positive, and we are often asked if there is a feature version. There is not. I wrote this as a stand-alone piece. But would happily make the feature if the resources are there. Overall the audiences are impressed we were able to tell an action story in the within the confines of short film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I cast the film before I wrote and knew both my budget and resources, so I was able to tailor the idea to resources. Once I had the first draft done, I realized that the themes of taking control of one’s life and the oppression of black women by white men were both present. I did my re-writes around those ideas and took much of the dialogue from Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.

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

I think Cry Freedom, but Brickis up there too.

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

I like it better than Withoutabox

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

I checked my stats on iTunes and I think it lied. I don’t really know different times I listen to different things. Over the years Rush, Counting Crows, Dolly Varden, Jason Harrod, and Johnnyswim have been the most listened to music.

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

I have several scripts. I will make the next one I can afford to make. Some are shorts some are features. Currently, I have a short film, “Family”, the is just beginning its festival run.

before_you_woke_1

Interview with Filmmaker Barry Fahy (BOY RACER)

BOY RACER was the winner of BEST FILM at the May 2019 Under 5 Minute Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Barry Fahy: The world is so full of negative stories these days, I wanted to tell a real story that almost everyone can relate to that makes people smile. Even if it’s just a small break from the norm, to have that little bit of a change from reality and maybe think back to when we all were younger and hopefully bring some of that feeling with you for the rest of the day.

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

This was actually a pretty quickly turn around short. We came up with the idea in June, shot in July, and Post was completed in August! It was one that from concept everyone just got super excited about and everyone backed it from the get go! When you have a team, like Celtic Badger Media, that are as excited about the project as you, things can get done pretty quickly!

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

Playful Innocence

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

This whole film actually went really smoothly. The biggest worry in PreProduction was Finding the right child actor. We needed to find someone young enough to bring that pure imagination and happiness alive on screen, but old enough to be able to understand direction and be able to change his reactions and expressions based on what I asked him to do. We were super lucky to have found Sean Murphy (Who plays Evan) through Nigel Mercier at the Limerick School of Acting. Sean was fantastic, took direction really well, was fun to work with and was a trooper to hang out and film all day! It’s also been great for him as he’s won 2 best young actor awards and had several nominations too! Big thanks to Sean’s Parents, Paddy and Dervala, and his younger sister Grace, for being fantastic for the whole shoot!

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

I smiled…. I smiled the biggest goofiest smile I have. I was delighted to hear the audience felt that sense of wonder and playfulness that comes with innocence. I think people really got it and took something positive from the film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

We were talking about shooting a short in a signal location and it was actually my Fiancé that came up with the initial concept about shooting in my Fathers garage and having an imaginary race in his Rally Car. I instantly got super excited about the concept and fleshed out the story over the next 2 days and had pretty much the final shooting script the following week!

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

Honestly, probably Team America – World Police. In College I loved that movie and could quote most of the movie. But in most recent memory, maybe Captain America – Winter Soldier or Fight Club.

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

I quite like filmfreeway as a platform. I think the search criteria when looking for festivals could be better, particularly non genre specific festivals. Boy Racer for example is a hard film to give a specific genre. It’s not really a Drama, or a comedy, a sci fi or fantasy…

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

Palahnuiks Laughter – Fightstar

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

Well as part of Celtic Badger Media we are currently in Post Production on our Second Independent feature, a horror film called “The Perished” directed by Paddy Murphy which I was DOP on. Aiming to have that completed and being submitted to festivals in June/July. As for Directing, I have been working on a few Music Videos, I have another short Written by Paddy Murphy I aim to Direct, we have a 48hr film competition coming up in June and I’m currently developing a feature script that I’d be planning to make in the next year or two. Good thing Badgers don’t sleep much!

You can keep up with Celtic Badger Media on Facebook here https://facebook.com/CelticBadgerMedia/

and Patreon (where Boy Racer is available to watch now) https://www.patreon.com/CelticBadgerMedia

Interview with Screenwriters Vicki Cargill, Adam Cargill (STEVE & OLIVIA)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Adam : The story is about what really makes a family. Two long-lost siblings are reunited when they are both at their lowest and find a connection they’ve never experienced before.

Vicki : It’s about finding roots and discovering your own definition of family. It’s about watching two middle-aged people who are already meant to know this, try to discover what family means to them, and how it’s very different from what society expects.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Adam : It’s a comedy with dramatic elements, strictly speaking. Really I think it’s counterprogramming for the MCU!

Vicki : It’s a pretty dark comedy, with a bunch of drama thrown in.

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

Adam : Steve and Olivia is a funny, sad, life-affirming, heartbreaking story. It tells a universal tale of redemption, acceptance and letting go. It’s a story I think people can connect with.

Vicki : It’s a story that has tremendous heart and a fierce humanity, which is something that can lacking in many big-budget action epics. The connections we all have are in our flaws, and these characters have a bunch of them on display. And I just want to see it, to be honest.

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

Adam : Love. Family.

Vicki : Finally written. Still polishing. Award Winning!

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

Adam : The Princess Bride.

Vicki : Withnail and I. Possibly Frozen given that we have young kids.

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

Adam : Since 2017.

Vicki : It was written in 2017, but it came about quickly once we began.

7. How many stories have you written?

Adam : Too many! We’ve completed about 7 feature scripts and our newest is in development with the British Film Institute.

Vicki : I have no idea. Don’t know when it started, or if it will ever end. It’s fun finding out, though.

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

Adam : At the moment, Hallelujah I Love Her So by Ray Charles – it was kind of the spirit of this screenplay.

Vicki : I’ll Be Seeing You, by Sarah Vaughan.

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

Adam : The characters were always there, but finding the spine of the story while allowing them the space to grow was a challenge. We knew the beginning, we knew the end, but as usual with us, Act II was a little trickier. But we got there eventually, I think.

Vicki : We always tend to write with a strong start and a good ending. We tend to have a midpoint lull trying to get them connected, and we lost a lot of sleep figuring it out.

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

Adam : Reading, art, family, food. All the good stuff!

Vicki : Our kids. Art. Music. Creativity. Food. Friends. Being in nature. All the good things in life, the stuff that makes you get up and get out.

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

Adam : It’s been a real boon for us – it’s easy to use, easy to update, and has really helped us increase our visibility and profile.

Vicki : It’s been pretty seamless, really.

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

Adam : We loved the idea of a festival that might actually table read the screenplay – and we were fortunate enough to have it happen! The feedback was very valuable – both with format and structure. Overall, we’ve been blown away by the level of support and promotion we have received.

Vicki : The feedback we received sent us over the moon! It was such a shot of positivity. Thanks!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

When his grand comeback falls flat, a Broadway legend finds himself out of favour and out of luck. Finding the sister he never knew he had leads him on a journey of separation, hope and redemption that answers the question: what is a family?

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Shawn Devlin
Steve: Colin Sandquist
Jonathan: Neil Bennett

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