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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Interview with Screenwriter Jerry Nield (CATCH!)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Jerry Nield: A historical madcap comedy drama depicting family values, romance, morals, religion, gambling, corruption and revenge.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Historical, biographical, drama, action, comedy.

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

Because it’s an entertaining, must see, four quadrant movie. That brings back to life a forgotten part of history.

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

Page turner.

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

Alien.

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

I started doing the research almost 10 years ago.

7. How many stories have you written?

This is my first screenplay.

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

Three Little Birds

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

Learning how to write a screenplay.

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

Growing fruit and veg, fishing, travel and local history, especially the local myths and legends that abound where I live in Wales.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama

Synopsis: Could David really defeat Goliath?

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Bertha: Elizxabeth Rose Morriis
Martha: Ali Chappell
Edison: Scott McCulloch
Ogre: Peter-Mark Raphael
Rufus: Gabriel Darku

 

 

Interview with Screenwriter Mark Thiru (BLACK LIVES MATTER)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

I’m not going to choose black nor will I choose white because I’m a human being and that’s all that matters and all lives matter. The love I have for human progress is more than the hate I have for human hatred. I fight for all and not for one and I’d fight for one to save all. I’m not concerned about life because I considered fighting for lives and I am. Human progress for black lives is progress for all lives. The human race depends on all to progress and not some. Those who hate are dead to themselves but those who love are alive to themselves and others because the room for racist behaviourism has evacuated the heart and others are respected as humans beings rather than colored beings. The script ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ is about human progress and that for all rather than some! I don’t believe in black power! I believe in human power! I believe in human progress! I believe in progress for all and all should!

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller.

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

‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ should be made into a movie because it is in support of human progress for all rather than some. That is the right human call. Kindness and gentleness for all and without such the human race is dead alive.

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

Human progress.

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

‘LONG WALK TO FREEDOM’.

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

About a year.

7. How many stories have you written?

One.

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

‘GOOD LIFE’

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

I haven’t finished yet and so far I have no obstacles but one I’m trying to solve being human progress for all.

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

Writing is a strength of mine linked to the passion I have for film making.

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

I love the site. I’ve had no problem whatsoever. I don’t imagine problems in the future because of it’s professionalism.

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

The festival was always conspicuous to me but the professionalism I heard about it from others influenced me more. I had no bad feelings about the feedback I received. I was glad because I knew its professionalism.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Logline : “Los Angeles, 1992: An eminent police department commissioner resolves to purging his deputy commissioner after passion manifestation become inevitable between him and his deputy’s spouse.”

Genre : Thriller

CAST LIST:

Crystal King: Erica Levene
Daryl Gates: Isaiah Kolundzic
Narration: Esther Thibault
Dr. Ethan Harris: Charles Gordon
Rodney G. King: Gabriel Darku
Report Presenter: Julie Sheppard

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Interview with Screenwriter Daniel Fishbayn (Adventure Time)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Daniel Fishbayn: My screenplay is a spec script for the beloved Cartoon Network show, Adventure Time. I chose to spec Adventure Time as I was looking for an animated series I connected with not just creatively, but also on a more emotional/personal level. Plus, I’ve been a fan since the show began over a decade ago as an online YouTube short, and this felt like the ultimate tribute.

The story follows Finn and Jake as they are investigate a series of mysterious kidnappings in the Candy Kingdom, only to get kidnapped themselves. The captor turns out to be their old nemesis, the evil scientist Doctor Gross, who claims to have changed her ways and seems to be beloved by the kidnapped creatures. Dr. Gross tries to recruit Finn and Jake as “Creativitists” in her dream project of repopulating the Land of Oo with her own genetically engineered animals, using her gleaming Crystal Sword as a reward for Finn for helping her. Initially, Finn and Jake are skeptical at the notion of a “job,” but Finn quickly realizes that using his creativity for a higher purpose might not be such a bad thing.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Adventure Time is an animated series that appeals to a really wide age range. Lots of kids and teens love the show for its hilarious antics, but lots of adults enjoy it too for the same reasons. There are some pretty dark themes explored, particularly in the later seasons, that I think add a depth to the show not present in a lot of other cartoons.

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

Not sure if this one applies for my script since Adventure Time has now wrapped up, but it would be amazingly cool to see it as a real episode!

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

Ridiculous. Fun.

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

Probably The Matrix. Although Rat Race is up there too, since there was a DVD player in my mom’s car and my brothers and I all thought it was the funniest thing ever. So we watched it there on repeat for a good chunk of my childhood.

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

I started work on it around May or June of 2018. So it was about 6 months of working on it, on and off, to get to this polished draft.

7. How many stories have you written?

I lost count a long time ago! I’ve been writing short stories since I was a little kid. The fun fact I always tell people is that I actually wrote my own sequel to the Harry Potter series when I was eight years old. I’ve been making up stories ever since, in one medium or another.

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

In the past couple of years, it’s probably “Sleep Sound” by Jamie xx. It’s this low-key incredible piece of electronic music that just soothes my soul.


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

I definitely hit some writer’s block at a couple of points. This was actually one of the first pieces of writing I’ve done specifically with younger viewers in mind. I had been writing a lot of adult comedy at that point, so it was an interesting challenge to sort of adapt my voice for a different audience.

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

Lots of things! I’ve been quite active in the Toronto improv community for a few years now, and I’m definitely passionate about improv, especially narrative improv, as an artform. I also love playing guitar, and I used to play in bands many eons ago. I’m one of those people that has lots of hobbies, and can never pick just one.

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

I’ve had a good experience using FilmFreeway. It’s conveniently designed in a way that makes submitting to festivals very quick and easy. It’s also helpful for organizing the different pieces of promo material that make up a single project’s “package.”

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

I had heard about FEEDBACK many times, and knew that it was part of a wider network of festivals that have been showcasing filmmakers’ work for years. When I realized there was also a screenwriting component to the festival, I felt like it was a great opportunity to, at the very least, get some helpful feedback on my script. I felt unsure whether it was working as a whole, and whether it was ready to be sent out as a portfolio piece. When I found out that the programmers loved my piece and wished to arrange a professional cold read, I was thrilled and gained a lot of confidence in the script.

The coverage report was also very helpful as it addressed several aspects of my screenplay in a coherent, organized fashion. As constructive feedback, I would just say that while I was glad to hear the reader found very few issues with it, it would have been interesting to hear more about which specific aspects of the script the reader felt were working best and which could be improved. That said, to hear that the FEEDBACK team considered it to be one of the strongest spec scripts they had read was extremely validating and encouraging to say the least.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

When creatures begin disappearing from the Candy Kingdom overnight, Princess Bubblegum tasks Finn and Jake with solving the mystery.

CAST LIST:

Science Cat: Emily Weir
Starchy: Peter Nelson
Dr. Gross: Regan Brown
Narration: Laura Kyswaty
Finn: Kevin Gabel
Jake: Kevin Robinson
Toffee Girl: Patrice Henry

***

Interview with Screenwriter Justin Lamar Petty (The Immortal King Jesus)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Justin Lamar Petty: My screenplay is about The Lord Jesus Christ and the sacrifice God made for humanity in order for us all to be able to choose eternal life through his son the mediator between God and man Jesus Christ.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

My screenplay falls under the drama category.

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

My screenplay should be made into a movie because it explores the idea of the lord Jesus Christ being portrayed by a Black Man something that has NEVER been done BEFORE.

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

I’d describe my script in 2 words as ” Very OMINIPOTENT”

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

What movie have i seen the most times in my life “The Godfather trilogy by Martin Scorsese.

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

I’ve been working on this screenplay 1 year.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have written hundreds of stories film tv and playwrights.

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

My favorite song is ” I ain’t hard 2 find” by 2pac Shakur

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

The only obstacles i faced during writing my screenplay is just finding the time i own a business too.

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

I am also passionate about recording music for the record/ music publishing company i own Intangible Entertainment LLC / Southside Lima Landlord publishing ( BMI publisher)

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

My experience with film freeway has been great they create a great submission platform for indie screenwriters to make contacts ams network within Hollywood and with indie film makers they’re wonderful i actively use my profile.

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

I was influenced to enter the festival after i won best tv pilot/ script writer of the month in October 2018 i knew i had something special. My feelings on the feedback i received were positive i feel blessed to be apart of this opportunity.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

CAST LIST :

Eve – 2 – Brittany Clough
Mary – 3 – Anne McMaster
NARRATION – Jen Daniels
Jesus – 4 – Hugh Ritchie
Satan – 7 – Ron Boyd
Adam – 2 – Rhys Harrison

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

******

Interview with Screenwriter Christopher Santos (The Caregiver)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Christopher Santos: A middle-aged gay man, still haunted by the AIDS crisis, moves into a retirement community to care for his elderly mother, but he never expects to fall for an Iraq war vet, who is very much on the down-low.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy, Drama, LGBTQ

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

I can’t think of any movies that really deal with the generation of gay men who came of age during the AIDS crisis, and one is long overdue. I wanted to write that missing story, one that doesn’t just look back at the trauma of the 80’s and 90’s, but one that also shows its enduring and inescapable emotional after-effects today.

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

Seriously funny.

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

Why The Wizard of Oz, of course.

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

It took me about two years – off and on – to get through the draft I finally submitted.

7. How many stories have you written?

At least twenty or so, in various genres, forms, and stages of completion.

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

I couldn’t pick a single one. There seems to be a song playing in my head constantly – even when I’m meditating – but never the same song on any given day.

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

Getting through the first few drafts of the script wasn’t all that tough. Like the character in the script, I was caring for my elderly mother full-time, which actually afforded me some downtime to write. But no screenplay is finished until it’s up on the screen, so really, the challenge is on-going.

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

Film, photography, music, theater, architecture – all that arty stuff – plus teaching, progressive politics, LGBTQ history, and food.

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

Film Freeway has worked fine for me, efficient and user-friendly.

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

I haven’t entered a screenwriting competition in many, many years – as I’ve been focused mostly on fiction, memoir and TV writing for the last twenty, but I was really passionate about this story, personally invested in it, and curious as to the reception my work might receive from a dedicated LGBTQ forum. I was really pleased with how sharp, fair, sensitive, and well-considered the feedback was. It was genuinely constructive and truly appreciated.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

When his elderly mother requires full-time care, a middle-aged gay man moves into her stodgy New England retirement community and soon becomes obsessed with a troubled Iraq war vet, who is very much on the down-low.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Michael: Peter-Mark Raphael
Jake: Christian Vargas

***

Interview with Screenwriter Ellen Winburn (WORTH WAITING FOR)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Ellen Winburn: Ryan, a Hollywood action star, makes an “art film” that turns out to not only be bad, but borderline pornographic. His agent and lawyers sort it out as he hides out in New York, working on a low budget revival of “Streetcar Named Desire”. The show’s designer, Ellie, is practically working for free. Her former mentor, Frank, stole her designs then discredited her, and now she’s got this one chance to overcome the reputation he’s inflicted on her. Ellie’s friend Mary Beth decides Ryan is just what Ellie needs. Ellie has been saving herself for her one true love, which Mary Beth thinks is silly. But really, who could resist a handsome action star? Ellie can, apparently, much to Mary Beth’s frustration. But what does grow is a strong friendship that later starts to bloom into love, until Frank learns of Ryan’s “art film” and tests the love Ellie has for Ryan.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romance, dramedy

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

People enjoy their blockbuster action movies and high stakes thrillers and drunken comedies, but the simple romance hero story just never gets old. There aren’t enough of those out there.

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

Love triumphs.

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

Strictly Ballroom

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

It is the very first script I ever wrote, started in 2012. When no one wanted to see romance any more, I put it in a drawer. But then times changed, I broke it back out, and now it’s here!

7. How many stories have you written?

I have no idea as I’ve been telling stories since childhood and some ended as stories, novels, or stage plays mostly written for my own joy. But I have 11 screenplays that are either finished or in development. In 2018, I had 5 scripts place in 7 contests, including this one!

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

Take On Me

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

First, the fact that it was my first. I came up with the idea a long time ago, and I knew that this story needed to be a screenplay, but I’d never written a screenplay, so it took a very long time and many, many iterations. Second, the death of romance films for a while. Once I had it ready to send out, contests weren’t interested in the genre. Thankfully, that is changing!

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

My children and family. I have a son with cerebral palsy, and we spend a lot of time advocating for change in laws and in medicine. I have one optioned screenplay and it is centers around how a boy with a disability sees the world. We also adopted a child from foster care, a broken system, and work to advocate for children lost in it. And my husband, who in 2012 gave me screenwriting software and said “I don’t want to hear it, I want to read it.”

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

Pretty good. I’ve had a couple of placements, and of course the opportunity to work with all of you is great.

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

I like telling all kinds of stories. While this is my only “romance” film, every script I’ve written has this element because growing up, these were my favorite stories, songs, things to imagine – I was so the warrior princess. Finding a contest that actually embraces this genre is a challenge, so as soon as I found your festival I entered. The feedback is some of the best I’ve ever received, and I’ve entered a lot of contests. It pointed out clearly what worked and what could be better, and gave actual actions that could be taken. And I’m taking every one of them. Bravo!

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A driven but can’t get a break technician and a lucky and successful actor find love but but as luck would have it, she must choose to finally pursue her chance or sacrifice it all for him.

CAST LIST:

Ellie: Emily Weir
Mary Beth: Regan Brown
Narration: Laura Kyswaty
Ryan: Kevin Robinson
Charles: Peter Nelson