Interview with Screenwriter Mike D’Ambrosio (SPACE FRONTIERS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Mike D’Ambrosio: A young Space Fleet officer (Will) convinces his commander to pursue a mythical crystal (the Eye) which foretells future events and may be the secret to a barbaric alien king’s successes against the Fleet. After several attempts by the king to destroy Will’s ship and crew, Will is sent to the surface of the king’s planet to do reconnaissance. Telepathy is common among the races but Will has one valuable trait in that he can cloak his thoughts, thus making him hard to detect. Will is also a shape-shifter which allows him to sneak into the king’s palace through a cave. Will’s ship is forced to abandon him when alien cruisers identify and hint them. Once inside, he rescues one of the prisoners, Shanna, who is not only a Seer of the crystal, but a princess as well. Despite an awkward beginning to their relationship, they realize they have more in common with revenge in mind as the king is responsible for the deaths of their parents. Will has the knack of making friends with the most unusual characters. Without his crew for support, Will takes his new team to battle to the alien king while stealing the crystal.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Fantasy/sci-fi. I love space opera.

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

I believe it has all the elements of a movie that sci-fi fantasy fans look for. We have the Star Trek element with aliens who can speak our language; the romance/ young love that develops between Will and Shanna; the faithful side-kick/mentor in Jack; the young rebel attitude in Will and Shanna that often causes more trouble than it helps; and the unity for a cause that Will builds among several unique alien characters. You can’t help but root for them as underdogs against an arrogant barbarian who plays dirty.

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

Galactic fun!

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

5th Element – I like the mix of humanness with the aliens and the bizarre futuristic ideas (i.e. Space Liner) that may not be so bizarre in a few years.

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

About a year. This was adapted from my Space Frontiers series of novels and focuses on the first half of The Eye of Icarus. If this became a motion picture, there is definitely a lot more to come that is even more exciting as the plot for galactic peace evolves.

7. How many stories have you written?

Twelve novels and seven scripts. The novels are self-published and the scripts have won or placed in six contests. This is the first for Space Frontiers: The Eye of Icarus.

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

Space Truckin’ by Deep Purple. This actually helped inspire me to write my latest script and novel, both titled Space Truckers.

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

The hardest part was setting up the crossover into the next script titled Leviathan without taking away from the ending. I had to leave enough strands to make a valid sequel but still give this one a satisfying ending. Also, there is the challenge of finding a balance between too much dialogue and not enough. There is no formula for that but hearing it at a table read assures me that dialogue wasn’t wasted.

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

Strategy plotting: whether it’s games, finances, war, I enjoy a challenge. Even in marketing, you have to have strategies, although funding can be a limiting factor.

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

I really enjoy using Film Freeway. The hardest part is on me to keep it updated whenever I do a revision. It is convenient and reliable. I highly recommend it to writer.

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

I’m always looking for ways to validate the level of skill in my writing and the marketability of my projects. Sci-fi/fantasy is always a tough sell and often big budget but that’s what makes it such a challenge. I was pleased with the feedback because I felt as though I accomplished my goals but I also saw where I can improve my script just a little bit more.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A young officer and a fiesty princess take on a barbaric alien king.

CAST LIST:

Maya: Kristen Pepper
Jack: James Chapman
Narrator: Hugh Ritchie
Will: Russell Batcher
Shanna: Regan Brown