Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?
P.J. Palmer: This story is ultimately about the families we are born into and the families we choose. While on the surface, the story is about a couple who has fallen on hard times and must downsize their life. But the struggle is with one part of their extended family that feels it has the best solutions for the couple, while the couple themselves have a different idea of what is best for themselves. Part of the issue is that the couple in the story is queer – and the rest of the family doesn’t fully accept or grasp that the couple is their own legitimate family unit. Put another way: if the queer couple was not married – if the story happened just a few years ago, before marriage equality – then the blood family would have been able to successfully be imposed their will on them.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
This is a drama.
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
This is an important conversation to have. It has been written to be gentle and subtle in its assertions, but the characters are strong and un-moveable in their commitment to each other, their commitment to stay together at all costs – even when the rest of their world is finding ways to split them apart.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
This is hard……
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
LOL. Probably JAWS. Maybe Back to the Future. Harold and Maude. The Shining. I have seen all of these many times.
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I wrote the first draft a couple years ago – then shelved it. This past year I re-wrote it and added a lot of my personal story into it –
7. How many stories have you written?
So many. Long and short. About a dozen so far.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)
U2 Joshua Tree – the entire album, in order, is like one great song to me. (
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
I had to really be honest about my own life and struggles and be willing to express myself and my story – to be vulnerable. It’s a scary thing to do – but is also the most satisfying. And it’s the best way to connect with an audience.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Directing. Telling a good story is my passion – either writing it, directing it or both. Also – I am pretty passionate about getting good sleep!
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your
experiences working with the submission platform site?
FilmFreeway is fantastic – I find it very easy to use and to navigate – I like all the options it provides writers to build up their projects and submit to festivals.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
When I first read about this festival, my initial reaction was “why have I not heard of this before?!” I felt happy that there was a festival dedicated to Diversity – and that the festival also did table readings. Which is something I really love. The feedback was very encouraging. Which, as a writer who spends most of the time writing alone, was very much appreciated.
Watch the Screenplay Reading:
While struggling to keep his marriage intact, a rural rancher makes hard sacrifices to survive an ongoing crisis.
News Anchor: Jarrod Terrill
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
James: Kirk Gordon
Erin: Gauri Prasad