Interview with Screenwriter James Zeankowski (Every Purpose Under Heaven)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

James Zeankowski: Reporter Vera Reynolds of WBN News is investigating a sudden occurrence of immortality and makes a shocking discovery in the process that alters the course of humanity forever.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Supernatural Disaster, Faith based drama, Thriller

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

It is a story surrounding the theme of life and death that has never been told before.

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

Extremely unique.

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

Too many to name, but everything from the Disney and Star Wars franchises more than anything else.

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

5 years.

7. How many stories have you written?

4 scripts overall. 2 that I have the most faith in getting produced.

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

I’m very eclectic in my music tastes, but “Rooms on Fire” by Stevie Nicks definitely stands out.

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

No obstacles in finishing my writing, just getting the right people in the industry to read them and love them as much as I do.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
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I’m a pop culture guru as well as a news/current affairs/politics junkie. And since 2018, I’ve become more serious about my overall health to the point of regular fitness and better dieting. Though as a foodie, the latter part is difficult at times.

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

A few lingering hiccups, but overall am grateful for the opportunities given to showcase my work.

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

I was sought out by some LinkedIn connections, and the feedback has been positive overall. Once I have all materials I’m waiting for in my possession, I can better market myself to agents and producers.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

CAST LIST:

Red Team Producer – 1 – Sean Ballantyne
Susie – 4 – Andrea Irwin
NARRATION – Adrian Carter
Mayor Tibley – 11 – Sean Ballantyne
Doctor – 2 – Trevor Howes
Green Team Producer – 2 – Laura Afelskie

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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 Billy Smith (The Stafford Multiplex Theater)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Billy Smith: My screenplay, The Stafford Multiplex Theater, is about an outdated eight-screen movie theater in a small town. A new Megaplex has opened up about twenty minutes from them and a lot of people have forgotten about the Stafford. They’ve gained an unfortunate reputation as “that other theater”. On top of that, because of an industry mandate, they now must convert to digital projection by the end of the year or they will no longer receive movies. Between the new Megaplex and the digital mandate, the Stafford is trying to fend off death, just trying to survive.

It’s during this time, when all seems hopeless, that everything gets even worse. There is an outbreak of a zombie virus in their town. The Stafford’s moviegoers start to drop dead and come back as zombies. The employees of the Stafford love it and would defend it with everything they have, so that’s what they do. They set out to defend their theater and make sure that it’s still standing for something even during their town’s most horrific time. Their theater isn’t dead yet.


2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

The Stafford Multiplex Theater definitely falls under the horror/comedy genre. I would liken it to films like Burying the Ex, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and The Final Girls. The zombie threat is very real in the story and the characters take what’s at stake very seriously, but I felt like there had to be a healthy dose of comedy involved, too, and that really came from the characters. Once I started writing and experimenting with them, the comedy felt right to me.

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

The Stafford Multiplex Theater should be made into a movie for a few reasons. The first and most simple reason is that it’s just a lot of fun. Audiences would have a lot of fun watching it and I imagine that it would be a lot of fun to make, too. The horror blends well with the comedy, the characters are a blast and there are interesting twists. It would be an entertaining experience. Also, it touches a bit on the change that’s happening in movie theaters and what’s happening to theaters that used to have character. It’s a unique horror story because, yes, there are zombies and there’s blood and gore, but that’s all in the background, in a way. Ultimately, this story is about the theater and the characters. It’s not just a zombie movie just for the sake of being a zombie movie. The zombies are there for a good reason. They’re a manifestation of a real problem and that’s a very interesting horror story to explore because, for the characters, the real horror would be the end of their theater. They’ll deal with the zombies.

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

Fun. Clever.

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

I’ve been asked this question before and I always give the same answer: John Carpenter’s Halloween. I am forever in awe of its simplicity and impressed by every technical aspect of it, as well. The way the dread and the suspense builds and the way the music enhances it – it’s all so well done. It’s the kind of horror film that, if I could ever be a director myself, I would like to make. Something simple that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats and doesn’t go overboard. That film has always been a huge influence on me.

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

I have been working on this screenplay for roughly a few years. I’ve written and rewritten it many times at this point. I am constantly working to improve it because I believe in this story and I believe that it has a lot of potential as a movie. I have other things that I have worked on, but this is my passion project. This is the one that I have to see through. I have to see it succeed. I like being able to always go back to it and improve on it, especially because I am always improving as a writer. Every time I take another pass at it, it gets better. I’m very proud of it and the work I have put into it.

7. How many stories have you written?

Including The Stafford Multiplex Theater, I have written three. The other two started out as short stories, but I always had intended to develop them as screenplays, which is what I’m doing right now. I love coming up with a simple idea and then expanding on it. I find that to be such a thrill. Taking something and trying to make it the best it can possibly be. I have a lot of ideas in my head and I look forward to writing them in the very near future. My first script is just the beginning.

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

“Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. Just kidding. It’s hard to pick a favorite song, but if I had to pick just one, it would be “New Low” by Middle Class Rut. Aside from just being a cool and fun song, it has really spoken to me ever since the first time I heard it eight years ago. I can identify with the words and see myself in the situation the song describes. It’s probably my favorite because it’s always a reminder to me that I’m still not where I want to be and, while this may be hard to believe, it motivates me to get to where I want to be.

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

The Stafford Multiplex Theater screenplay was very challenging for me to finish for multiple reasons. Firstly, it was my first screenplay. So, aside from the normal challenges of writing a story and getting over all of the hurdles that come with that, I had to learn how to actually write a screenplay. Learning the formatting, learning the structure, the things you shouldn’t do and the things you should do. Then, reading screenwriting articles and being told that you shouldn’t do the things that you thought you should do and that you should do the things that you thought you shouldn’t do. Apart from that, I think horror and comedy are very hard to write. It’s challenging to scare or surprise an audience and it’s a challenge to also make them laugh. It was a challenge that I truly enjoyed, though, and I think I succeeded, at least in the pages of a script. I think the real challenge would be to see if it works as an actual movie.

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

Besides being passionate about writing movies, I’m passionate about movies in general. I’ve been like that since I was very young. I love watching them, I love talking about them and I would love making them, too, if that ever became a reality. I love being able to get lost in another world for a little while and getting away from all of the stresses of my life. My love of movies is what led me to work at three different movie theaters and it is what has led me to pursue what would hopefully be a career being involved with movies in some way. I definitely eat, sleep and breathe movies.

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

So far, this is the only festival I have actually entered on FilmFreeway, but I’ve had a great experience with the site. It was how I found this festival. The website provided all of the information I needed and submitting the screenplay was very easy. I am on the site a lot, searching through all of the festivals, trying to find where I should submit my screenplay next. I have a feeling that I will definitely be using FilmFreeway a lot in the future.

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

After working on my screenplay for so long, I was lost on how to go about doing anything with it. I’ve written this story and I am proud of the work I’ve done, but what do I do with it next? That’s actually when I found the Festival for Horror. It was almost like it was meant to be. Sure, I felt good about my screenplay and thought it had potential, but it would be nice to see if others felt that way, especially if they were others who know what they were talking about. I had to know if what I’d written actually had something to it or if I was just being crazy.

I was thrilled with the initial feedback I received on The Stafford Multiplex Theater. The feedback was very much what I had expected. I knew that whoever read it would find it to be fun and I knew that the script had some strong elements and that was the feedback I received. I knew going in that I still had a lot of work to do on it. I never expected to win or even place or anything like that. That wasn’t my goal. My goal was to see if I’m knocking on the right door and it seems that I am. The tips I received on how to make the script better were very valuable to me and have helped me tremendously. I’m glad that I chose to enter the festival. It was absolutely a great decision. From the feedback on the full script and then the best scene reading now being posted online, I have had a great experience with the festival.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Interview with William Opperman (NEW TO THIS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

William Opperman: A young man who is unsure of his sexuality is lucky enough to find, through a chance encounter on a subway train, a gentle, more experienced guide.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

LGBTQ, romcom

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

The story is simple, but universal. Who hasn’t needed help at some point in their lives?

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

Sexy, tender.

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

Before my time: All About Eve
In my prime: If…
Contemporary: Talk to Her, The Lives of Others, and Spotlight
(Note: All incredibly strong scripts!)

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

A little over a year. The basic storyline was excerpted from a novel I’m working on.

7. How many stories have you written?

More than a dozen, fewer than a score.

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

A dangerous question! I’m an opera lover, and a Wagnerite to boot. So Meistersinger is in many ways the best answer to the question. But there’s always “Hey, Jude” and about twenty Joni Mitchell songs.

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

Sex is a major element of the screenplay, and it was tricky to find the right balance of unapologetic frankness and good taste. I was also worried that it might be too Tea and Sympathetic, if that makes sense. I hope the eventual audience will enjoy the journey and fill in any blanks with their own memories.

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

My husband and my kids, movies, opera and other serious music, Jane Austen and Thornton Wilder, and maybe politics. I wish I were either totally uninterested in politics or consumed by them. Instead I swing between evangelistic zeal and total indifference.

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

The great thing about FilmFreeway is that it manages your scripts for you. You upload your work once and submit it to as many places as you want. Results are tracked for you as well.

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

The feedback was incredibly helpful. Encouragement is always nice, and heaven knows it can be hard to come by, but even better was the advice: Pull back on this element, emphasize that one; heighten the conflict; specify, make it move, let it breathe. I owe you guys a lot! Thanks.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A crowded subway car affords a young man a chance at self-discovery.

CAST LIST:

Dog Owner: Isabel Kruse
Barry: Neil Bennett
Narrator: Val Cole
Paul: Geoff Mays
Jack: Jarrod Terrill

Interview with Screenwriter Mark Allard-Will (Herculean Task)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Mark Allard-Will: Herculean Task is an attempt to Frankenstein Greek mythology with Black Comedy. The premise is simple: What if using terms of exaggeration could get us in to literal trouble, not just verbal discourse? The result is a bonkers script that, while needing a re-write, is an example of how something as rigid as mythology can be fused with irreverent styles of comedy.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

The one definitive genre would be comedy, but a good moniker for the screenplay might be ‘fusion’.

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

Wilder forms of comedy are gaining traction now, in Canada, in the USA, Britain and Europe and this screenplay is inventive in it’s own way – inventiveness seems to be what producers are seeking out now. It utilises the graveyard humour of French and German comedy and that, in and of itself, is still fairly fresh to American, Canadian and British audiences.

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

Out there

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

Super Troopers

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

I probably dedicated about six hours to it and knocked it out as one of my comedy soaps (short sketches) scripts and moved on to the next one. Admittedly, it would need some touching-up by myself if someone were to adapt it.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’m a published author of graphic novels, so if you include my graphic novels and screenplays we’re probably looking at eight stories

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

Raining Blood by Slayer

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

For sure, I’d say my own self-dismissal

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

I love mythology, regardless of whether it’s Norse, Greek, Mesopotamian, Aztec, Maya – it doesn’t matter, I love it all the same. I’m also a massive Metal Head and a huge fan of world cinema; to me, there’s nothing better than watching a German comedy movie or a Danish drama.

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

I love FilmFreeway. It’s easy to use and very intuitive, I’d recommend it to all budding film-makers and screenwriters

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

As a published author, I’m used to working with editors and I actually love the process of editing my manuscripts. What a good editor does is give you notes that help you make your work absolutely flawless; notes that give you ideas of how to improve your work in your own writer’s voice. So, you say feedback, I say notes that show me how this quickly banged-out script could be improved if a producer were ever to pick it up and ask for a re-write – to put it another way, I was happy with your notes, because they exposed the weaknesses in my script. As for why I entered the festival, every up-coming writer needs feedback from WildSound to channel their screenwriting in to being a better, stronger beast.  

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Comedy and mythology collide in Mark Allard-Will’s Short Screenplay, Herculean Task.

After climbing a Mountain with his girlfriend, Sheila, and claiming that he’s completed a ‘Herculean task’ in doing so, he mysteriously finds himself in Ancient Greece tasked with actually completing Herculean tasks (commonly known as The Twelve Labours of Hercules).

CAST LIST:

King: Allen Brunet
Narration: Isabel Kruse
Derick: Brandon Knox
Sheila: Kyana Theresa

Interview with Screenwriter Anthony DeFoe (SUPERCUT)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Anthony DeFoe: Supercut is about a relationship falling apart. It’s told from the perspective of one of the partners as he get’s ready for a major life event he flashes back on the highs and lows of his relationship for the euphoric first moments of falling in love to the bitter conclusion of not being able to hold on to it forever. The title is sort of a double entendre as the script it a giant super cut of some of the relationships most important moments but also sets up the climactic ending.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama, Romance

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

I don’t see a lot of LGBTQ movies that show a gay relationship presented as just any other relationship. While it’s obvious in the movie that it’s gay relationship in the fact that it’s two men. The word is never used and the issues they face are issues any couple (gay or straight) can face.

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

Romantic, emotional

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

Hmm that’s a toss up between Mean Girls and Cruel Intentions

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

I wrote the first pass in a week but have been changing and editing things for several months.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written two pilots – (one of which I got produced) and several episodes of that series.

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

Like A Prayer by Madonna is probably my all time favorite song.it brings back great memories of being a kid. I’ve also been listening Reputation album by Taylor swift constantly for almost two years now. That album resonated.

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

The hardest part was writing the ending and conveying the metaphor that I want the audience to think about.

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

Music – I don’t make my own music but I love finding new songs and listening to the lyrics. The more personal a song is to the artist more into it am.

LGBTQ Film – I volunteer and am involved in the Queer Film festival here in Vancouver. I love seeing our stories up on the screen, even if we don’t relate to all of them it’s just awesome hearing form different voices.

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

It’s been good! It’s very user friendly to use and keeps you informed on upcoming festivals

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

I had been looking for a Canadian LGBTQ screenplay festival to enter and I liked the reviews I saw on it.

The feedback was good, my first round they were unclear about the ending which was something I was worried about so it was good to get that feedback and then work on the ending a bit more.

 

 

 

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Nick a man in his late twenties reflects on his relationship with his partner as he get’s ready for an event. The script uses flashbacks to tell the story of relationship that starts with a beautiful beginning but heads towards a bitter ending.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION – CASSANDRA GUTHRIE
Nick – JUSTIN DESOUZA
Drew – DANIEL JONES

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Interview with Screenwriter Josh Brushett (PERSEVERANCE)

PERSEVERANCE was the May 2019 WILDsound Feature Screenplay Winner.

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Josh Brushett: The screenplay is about a young bride to be, in the prime of her life, with everything to live for until her life is unexpectedly cut short. Struggling to deal with the circumstances of her death and the discovery of an afterlife, Sarah Murphy, returned to earth in spirit form embarks upon a supernatural quest for revenge against the man who killed her.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Supernatural drama.

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

Because at the heart of it there’s a story of love and loss, loss of self and love at the same time. And there’s the idea that it could happen to anyone.

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

University project.

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

Probably one of my childhood favourites, either Jumanji or The Parent Trap (remake).

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

I spent almost two years whilst studying Scriptwriting For Film & TV at Bournemouth University on this script and it was my final major project.

7. How many stories have you written?

Not half as many as I’d like yet. Plenty in development. Choosing to focus on the LGBT side of things right now as it’s something personal to me and I always wanted to write a compelling indie rom com.

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

I can never decide my one favourite song because I go through phases where something becomes deeply personal to me. Probably “It Happens” by Busted.

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

Course pressure in my final year of university (nothing compared to the world of work but still), my own anxieties about whether it could possibly be good enough and whether I’d actually done the story justice and ended it at the right place.

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

Reading, watching films and TV box sets. Reading books at home, or listening to audiobooks whilst driving or walking. Basically stories, more than anything I love to be lost in fiction and be immersed in escapism in whatever form. I’m a sucker for a Netflix original series and I think the writers are incredibly talented and am always left wanting more.

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

My feelings were that the script still needs work, I have doubts like any human about my ability. It’s hard not to constantly compare yourself with other writers and it can be very daunting. I took the positives on board and tried to take a step back and look at the negatives and make a plan of how to address them. I entered the festival because I wanted to see if the story was something that would translate on screen and to see if anyone could connect with it.

 

 

 
Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

CAST LIST:

Mother: Sylvie Normandeau
Chris: Brodie Nichols
Narration: Danielle Nicole
Sarah: Tiera Watts
Sylvia: Rebecca Whitby
Robber: David Rowan

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