Interview with Screenwriter Nicole De Sapio (The Magnificent Mid-Century Met)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Nicole De Sapio: The Magnificent Mid-Century Met is about the intersecting, professional and personal lives of six famous singers at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, during the post-WWII period. It is almost as much about the cultural changes of the post-WWII period in America as it is about those singers.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Biopic, musical, and comedy

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

I did some research and was frankly astonished how few movies about opera (as opposed to movies of operas) have ever been made. And, while the real-life stories of the singers in my screenplay are highly humorous and dramatic, they have never yet been the subject of a movie or play. This, in my opinion, is a shame and a serious oversight. I believe my screenplay could really fill a void if produced.

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

Witty, urban

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

Either the original, 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street or the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge. I’ve seen 12 Angry Men (1957) countless times as well.

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

It was a long and convoluted process, as I had originally intended the screenplay to be a biopic of the Metropolitan Opera baritone Robert Merrill (who is one of six main characters in The Magnificent Mid-Century Met). That version (titled Merrill of the Met) I began on February 9, 2018. I began the current version, The Magnificent Mid-Century Met, on December 29, 2018 and finished the first draft on February 14, 2019. Revisions took two more months; the final draft was finished by mid-April 2019.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’m mainly an essayist, and I didn’t become interested in fiction or in screenwriting until late in 2016. I’ve written some fanfiction short stories and two biopic-type screenplays.

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

That’s really hard…Broadway is my first love, and I’d have to say that my favorite Broadway ballad is “A Quiet Thing” from a little-known, 1965 Kander and Ebb musical called Flora, the Red Menace. Liza Minnelli sang this song originally.

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

Without a doubt the biggest challenge was deciding what story I actually wanted to tell and then finding the right form for that story. The screenplay didn’t really “take off” for me until I realized that it needed to have more than one protagonist and more than one storyline.

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

Opera, musicals, detective stories, and 19th-century English paintings.

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

Film Freeway is so usable and convenient that I couldn’t imagine my screenwriting life without it.

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

My brother, who is also a writer, suggested I enter the festival. Had I not done so, I would still have no idea how to format a screenplay or how to write proper slug-lines. In those two areas (and in others), the reader gave me indispensable advice.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

LOGLINE: Singers at the post-WWII Metropolitan Opera House face artistic and personal challenges amid cultural and social changes.

GENRE: True Story/Biography

CAST LIST:

Lillian (40s + – 8 – Carrie Schiffler
Narration – Barbara Bergeron
Abe (40s +) – David Occhipinti
Merrill (20s) – 10 – Steve Saet

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