Interview with Screenwriter Michael Aliotti (JIMMY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Michael Aliotti: This screenplay is about the bad karma that gangster Al Capone carried with him through his later years in prison.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

– Gangster/ Psychological-Horror

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

– Because of how many times we have seen Al Capone on screen, I feel that this is an original approach for the sake of genre, yet this script, itself, follows the ideology of our youth mirroring false idols.

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

– Traditionally Trippy

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

– Young Frankenstein

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

– For about several weeks.

7. How many stories have you written?

– About 10 feature screenplays, and dozens of short scripts.

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

– House of the Rising Sun, by Eric Burden and The Animals

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

– Let’s just say I had several exes from the hood.

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

– Photographing Big Sur, along with Monterey, County, in general.
I also enjoy canvassing for local politics in Monterey, CA. If I am not
working on anything, I am at the movies, or Del Monte Beach.

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

– For about a year and a half, I have experienced nothing but solid concise feedback from professionals, all over! This has implemented a hustle on my part, as it also coincides within my progression of growth, by becoming an established screenwriter.

From obtaining notable accolades from many festivals in, and out of The States, I am truly grateful, due to the learning lessons of what it takes to become a writer, is just like what Bryan Adams said in his song, Summer of ’69:
“played until my fingers bled”.

And this line is what I follow as a huge rule of mine towards being a writer. To keep writing.

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

– I was excited to potentially have the unique perspective to see my words come alive off of the tongues of actual actors, and a Narrator.

After already submitting a script, prior to this current story, Jimmy, I missed the mark for developing a solid short script. So, I decided to find a new script to focus on each, and every detailed critique from my last script, and applied those notes to Jimmy. Voila! 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Log Line: The story of Al Capone being haunted by a victim from the Saint Valentines Day Massacre, Jimmy, the ghost who torments the infamous gangster into insanity.

Writer: Michael Aliotti

Genres: BIOGRAPHICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL-THRILLER

Type: Short Screenplay

CAST LIST:

Prisoner #3: Rhys Harrison
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Alphonse: Jarrod Terrill
Jimmy: Kirk Gordon

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Interview with Screenwriter Jessi Thind (UP AND AWAY – Superman Script)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Jessi Thind: Up and Away is about identity, friendship, and parenthood. It follows Clark Kent as a runaway teenager on a journey of self-discovery with his parents desperately searching for him.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Coming of age/ Drama.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a TV series?

I’d say because it’s a fairly unique and relevant take on Superman. It’s less about Superman’s powers and more about his struggle to find himself as he travels across America with a bunch of friends in a Winnebago. In this way, it takes inspiration from the Green Lantern series “Hard-Traveling Heros” by Denis O’Neal and Neal Adams in which Lantern and Arrow travel across America dealing with real, grounded issues. Up and Away is about a teenage Clark Kent traveling from city to city with a journalist mentor and a war veteran as they confront real menaces–corruption, racism, poverty, drugs– and try to understand the shifting attitude toward immigration and minorities. Essentially, it’s about Clark Kent’s discovery of the American way

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

Inspiring. Entertaining.

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

Richard Doner’s Superman.

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

I wrote the first draft ten years ago. I revisited it last year. An earlier draft of this script actually helped me get into Warner Brothers where I was narrative director and writer on several highly successful projects.

7. How many stories have you written?

I write quite a bit being a scriptwriter and the narrative director on the recently announced Unknown 9 property. But in terms of fanfiction, I write a fan script whenever I feel inspired usually in the DCU. Keeps the creative juices flowing.

8. What book have you read the most times in your life?

Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

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

No real obstacles other than finding the time to write with two little kiddos who demand quite a bit of my time. If I had to define an obstacle I would say it’s more of the inner struggle of knowing there is no hope for a fan fiction script to be taken seriously or ever picked up. But at the end of the day, the passion wins out and you finish the script because you love the universe and characters. It’s really a case of the work being its own reward.

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

Toastmasters. It’s something I’ve recently begun as an on-going effort to mitigate the complications of dyspraxia. Toastmasters forces constant impromptu talks which helps train quick recovery when there’s a struggle with thought or perception while giving a talk. Individuals with dyspraxia often have learning and speaking challenges because of the unique way their brains work which has nothing to do with intelligence. It’s just a different way the brain is wired. In fact, our wiring is ideal for creative and chimeric thinking and less ideal for linear-sequential thinking which makes it more difficult to speak on the fly. Actually, one of the reasons I joined Toastmasters is because I recently had someone in my professional life imitate my condition behind my back because of a slight goof in a talk. It’s not something I dwell on, but I did want to find some potential solutions. I asked around and Toastmasters was at the top of the recommendation list, and I’ve definitely been enjoying my experience so far. It’s a great and supportive atmosphere for anyone who wants to improve their communication skills.

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

Quick. Easy. Accessible. No complaints. It’s a great platform for writers and filmmakers.

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

I wanted other Superman fans to have access to my take on the universe and see what they thought. I’ve been writing Superman scripts every since I learned the craft of screenwriting. It’s actually the first Superman fanfiction script that won best script. It’s thrilling because it gives me the sense that fans would definitely be open to something that is a little less about the powers and the spectacle and more about the characters and the inner struggle of being the most powerful kid on earth. Not to mention, the struggle of the parents who have to raise the most powerful kid on Earth. One of the things my dad used to say, and I only fully understood when I had my first child, was that the real heroes in the Superman universe are his parents. The ones who cared for him, loved him, taught him, instilled within him his sense of right and wrong. Superman is about the responsibility of being a protector and guardian of an entire world. When you become a parent you instantly become a guardian and protector of an entire world. It can definitely be said that you become a hero when you become a parent. This is one of the reasons the original creators actually wanted Superman’s name to embody both mother and father. Martha Clark. Johnathan Kent. Clark Kent.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Jonathan Kent desperately searches for his runaway eleven-year-old son throughout the United States before he hurts someone with newfound powers he is just beginning to understand.

CAST LIST:

Police Officer: Brian Carlton
Jonathan: Brandon Knox
Narrator: Val Cole
Linda: Alex Simpson
Clark: Randy Baumer
Douglas: Harry Judge

You can also submit via FilmFreeway:

Interview with Screenwriter Suzanne Lutas (The Dead Ringer, The Grand Jury)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Suzanne Lutas:

The Dead Ringer: It’s about an ordinary waitress who is trained by the MI5 to infiltrate and bring down a London-based Chinese Triad gang because she bears an uncanny resemblance to the mistress of their boss.

The Grand Jury: It’s about a young outcast who gets an interview for a sought-after position. Still, he must endure a long time in the waiting-room where the test truly begins.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

The Dead Ringer: It’s an Action/Thriller.

The Grand Jury: It’s a Sci-Fi Short script.

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

The Dead Ringer: Because it is based on an actual fact. Back in 2013, the dealings and the quarrels of Chinese Triad gangs — in the very heart of London — motivated the inception of a National Crime agency, within which the London Metropolitan police and their special Chinese Unit, would team up with the MI5 to stop that growing violence.

The Grand Jury: Because it deals with a topic that most people can relate to. That is, holding an interview for a job in hopes of changing one’s life forever.
And, of course because of its unexpected final twist.

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

The Dead Ringer: Against that background of Triad’s feudal dispute and British National security concern, the script also deals with children trafficking. But mostly with coming to terms with a double identity.

The Grand Jury: The story has a Black Mirror quality to it. Set in a near future, it examines the psychology and the reactions of a group of people faced with a stressful situation.

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

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey.

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

Six months.

7. How many stories have you written?

Five. Three feature-lengthed scripts: An Action/Thriller. A Sci-Fi/Fantasy Adventure. And, a Supernatural Thriller.

A half-hour TV Comedy pilot aimed at young girls and their mothers.
And, a Sci-Fi Short script.

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

Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together.

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

The fact that the main protagonist achieves her mission and is officially recruited implies future assignments. Therefore, a sequel to the movie. Which some may deem presumptuous.

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

I paint, hand-craft costume jewelry, and also do the lead vocals in a Jazz band.

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

I’m highly satisfied with Film Freeway. It’s a wholly user-friendly, reliable submission platform site.

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

The Dead Ringer: I’m proud about all he positive feedback’s on The Dead Ringer. Along with the multi previous placements as a semi-finalist in contests like Page Awards, Screencraft Action and Thriller as well as Creative World Awards.

The Grand Jury: From my previous experience with submitting different scripts to the festival.

Then, since I received a good feedback and placed semi-finalist, I can only be thrilled.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the mistress of a London-based Chinese Triad boss, an ordinary waitress is trained by the MI5 to infiltrate the gang and bring them down.

Genre: Action, Thriller

CAST LIST:

Alex – Alex Clay
Boss – Russell Batcher
Narration – Pip Dwyer
Mei Li – Vanessa Burns
Scar Faced Man – Luke Robinson

Submit your TV Show/Pilot via FilmFreeway:

***

When a young outcast unexpectedly gets an interview for a sought-after position, he must endure a long wait in a room where the test truly begins.

Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
CAST LIST:

Mary – Sydney Addison-Rudat
Kyoko – Vanessa Burns
Narration – Russell Batcher
Steve – Luke Robinson
Drew – Alex Clay

Interview with Writer Connie (Corcoran) Wilson (CONFESSIONS OF AN APOTEMNOPHILE: I THINK I AM)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Connie (Corcoran) Wilson: “Confessions of an Apotemnophile,” the source material for the film, discusses the world of apotemnophiles: people who want to have perfectly healthy limbs amputated. I did considerable research on the subject. [An interesting (true) story about that concerns the phone call I received at my house in the Illinois Quad Cities from a stranger who wanted to know if I WAS an “apotemnophile.” (A: NO!) Apparently my research was a bit too convincing and “real.” (Weird.)]

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror and Suspense Thriller.

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

The genre is “hot” right now!

I have a proven track record as an award-winning author of over 40 books, many of them in the horror genre.

I was an active voting member of HWA before moving over to International Thriller Writers (ITW), and among my 40 books, are 3 books of short stories that are most often compared to Philip K. Dick, Stephen King, or Dean Koontz and at least 11 that deal with ghosts along Route 66. The collection “Hellfire & Damnation” (Vols. I, II and III) I included short stories that focused on the sins or crimes punished at each of the 9 Circles of Hell in Dante’s “Inferno.” [There are some truly Great Film Ideas within the pages of H&D I, II and III, and I’m working on IV.]

I’ve also written a feature length screenplay based on the 3 novel series THE COLOR OF EVIL, which would make a great streaming series for Netflix or Amazon or a feature film series like “Divergent’ or “The Hunger Games.” I’m a graduate of the University of Iowa with a Master’s + 30 hours and have taught writing at 6 IA/IL colleges. I have been writing (for pay) since age 11 and reviewing film since 1970. (I currently review for The Movie Blog (www.TheMovieBlog.com) and on my own blog and for http://www.QuadCities.com).I grew up across the street from the local theater. Even my college boyfriend was a film major, cast me in his student film, and went on to become the individual responsible for selecting the annual Christopher Award(s). I have seen and forgotten more films than any 21-year-old film school graduate, and I know a good film plot when I see it…or write it.

When I cover Chicago (CIFF) they often call me to come interview film greats like Liv Ullman or Vanessa Redgrave or Taylor Hackford or William Friedkin, as I remember these luminaries and their films, while young film school grads may not. I taught a film course at Black Hawk Junior College at one point, but my career was spent teaching (7th and 8th grade, high school, 6 colleges) and founding and serving as CEO of 3 successful businesses. I was once named one of the Ten Most Creative Teachers in America by TAB Scholastic Books in a unit-writing competition.(My unit: “It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s SUPER LEMON!, Sub-title, “Ad Campaigns in the Classroom,” consisted of using film and groups of students working to “win” the contract for a product they created, like a mini “Mad Men” episode.)

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

Creepy. Riveting.

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

I can’t answer this question with just ONE film title. I’ll answer, instead, with the Best Movies of This Year (so far): “BlackKKlansman,” “The Green Book,” “What They Knew,” “Beautiful Boy,” “Boy Erased,” “A Private War,” “The Hate U Give,” “Ben Is Back,” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, “The Front Runner,” “First Man.” Those are a few of the films I reviewed after seeing them at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival (Oct. 10-21) or the AFF, and, prior to that, I attended (as a Finalist in the screenplay competition), the San Antonio Film Festival, the Windy City Film Festival and the Austin Revolution Film Festival. I am the author of “It Came from the 70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now” and I am a huge fan of the original “Manchurian Candidate,” if that helps as an answer. (Dan has yet to weigh in on this, but I know he’s a big fan of “Casablanca.”).

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

The story “Confessions of an Apotemnophile” was published (within “Hellfire & Damnation” Volume I) in 2011, according to what I googled in regard to my publication of it on my own blog (WeeklyWilson.com) after it won an ALMA (American Literary Merit Award.).. Dan did a short treatment of it years ago, but only recently have I resumed writing screenplays, following a win early on for a screenplay submitted to Writers’ Digest Screenplay competition. The screenplay for THE COLOR OF EVIL has been accepted to 31 screenplay competitions, based on my novel trilogy/series, and has won (1st, Finalist or Semi-Finalist) 29 of 31. Dan is the AFI graduate; I’m just the one with the bezillion story ideas, many of them already published as short stories or novels. I think Dan did a short treatment of this when he was organizing a Shakespeare troupe in Las Vegas and doing Shakespeare in the Schools there which was supposed to be suitable to watch on your phone or something weird.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have written literally hundreds of stories. I write and maintain 4 different series, which you can see by visiting their dedicated websites. (www.TheColorOfEvil.com; http://www.HellfireAndDamnationTheBook.com; http://www.GhostlyTalesofRoute66.com; http://www.TheXmasCats.com) and at ConnieCWilson.com. The illustrated Christmas series I write for my twins. There are 6 in that series. I have written 5 novels, and I have nonfiction books that reflect my work elsewhere. For example, I was Yahoo’s Content Producer of the Year for Politics in 2008 and have a 2-book series about the presidential run that year (“Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House,” Vols. I & II) I also assembled a collection of humor columns (“Laughing through LIfe”) in book form and another collection of newspaper columns, poetry and photos entitled “Both Sides Now.” I have had 5 small publishers; my literary agent is Nancy Rosenfeld of AAA Agency in Chicago. My writing has also included stints for 5 newspapers and at least 20 blogs. I was the Quad City Times film and book critic for 15 years.

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

Not a clue, but I play 4 musical instruments (2 of them well) including 22 years of piano lessons. I was a member of the University of Iowa Old Gold Singers for 3 and 1/2 years, a recruiting swing choir for the university, when in school. (Also was in Oratorio Chorus and University Choir there.) I once played “Rhapsody in Blue” with the Waterloo Symphony Orchestra. My daughter graduated from Belmont in Nashville (where she still lives) with a degree in Music Business and worked for Taylor Swift, as well as assisting (internship) Rick Clark, who put the music in “Up in the Air.”

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

While I had both Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and Nelson Algren in classes (audited under the 19 Journalism number) when in college and have been writing since 6th grade, it is Dan Decker who is the AFI Film School pro. I characterize my writing as “short” or “long” and film screenplays definitely fall under the category of writing “short.” I was inspired to write the screenplay for THE COLOR OF EVIL after I interviewed Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the screenwriters responsible for “A Quiet Place,” who are from Bettendorf, Iowa, where I had a business for 16 years. I was covering SXSW when that film premiered there on March 9, 2018. I met with Scott and Bryan at a local Starbucks and learned that my background at our mutual university was perhaps more intense in the writing area than theirs.(IMDB recommended reading for March 11th from my blog, WeeklyWilson.com). I went back to our winter home in Austin and shut myself up in the third bedroom, telling my husband, “I am apparently an underachiever.” Beck & Woods had told me that they were NOT film school majors at Iowa and got the idea for “A Quiet Place” while taking a sign language class at Iowa (!) I posted a sign that said “Do Not Enter” and, through Voyage Media, teamed up with Producer John Crye (reader who greenlighted “Memento,” “Donnie Darko” and “The Passion of the Christ”) for 3 weeks to work on a screenplay based on the first novel in THE COLOR OF EVIL three-book series. Mr. Crye had only 3 weeks before going off to direct his current film “Chance.” I had only 3 weeks before leaving for Cancun with my family. Therefore, I wrote from midnight until 7 a.m., slept until noon, and then went off to view and review other people’s films for The Movie Blog. It was an intense 3-week experience, and my formatting is definitely not as error-free as Dan Decker’s. (Dan proofed the first 57 pages, but then left for Italy, so the final 40 pages are more likely to contain errors than the beginning.) I hired Paper True to “proof” the final 40 pages, but they sent me back someone else’s script by deadline, so I had to send in what I had. (Sigh). I’m the creative one who thinks up strange story ideas and writes them in “long” form, but I am not the one with the AFI Film School education, as I was an English/Journalism and Education major at Iowa, Western Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago. (M.S. + 30).

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

As noted, I review movies, have since 1970, am the author of “It Came from the 70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now” and just finished seeing 4 films a day at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival (up at http://www.TheMovieBlog.com). I am also musical, sing, and play 4 instruments. I have seen The Rolling Stones at least 12 times. I have the dubious distinction of having cut class at Berkeley to journey to the San Francisco Cow Palace on the back of my then-boyfriend’s motorcycle, to see the Beatles ( 7th row , $7). However, I also saw “Cold Play” on my last birthday. I like to travel. In addition to a cruise of Australia and New Zealand,we are planning a trip (Nov. 19 – Nov. 26) to Cabo San Lucas over Thanksgiving. Easter we have spent 2 weeks in Cancun for 20 years at 2 time shares. I like to travel, am passionate about music, writing, reading and movies, and, of course, am looking forward to this trip to Cabo San Lucas with my son and daughter and my son’s family. As noted, I also followed presidential politics beginning with the Iowa Caucuses and covered the campaigns of 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and, briefly, 2016. [Since it is unsafe to cover a Trump rally as Press, I stopped early in the 2016 campaign and moved back to movies, with the idea of writing more screenplays, which I have done.] I play a lot of trivia (HQ, Cash Show, Jeopardy) and was once referred to as T.Q. (Trivia Queen). And I’ve been married since the world’s crust was warm and have 2 children born 20 years apart, which, in itself, is strange.

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

It’s a bit addictive. It’s like being at the gambling table. I like the site and my experiences have been as you see below (some are still out):

THE COLOR OF EVIL
31 Selected
6 Semi-Finalist
13 Finalist
10 Award Winner
29 wins of 31 = 93.54%.

This is just from those who “accepted” the screenplay into their competition. (I have, so far, at least 7 cool trophies and some plaques, so there’s that.)

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

Film Freeway makes it so easy to enter (unlike the first screenplay that I had to mail to a competition in 2007) that I may have “over-entered.” (Ahem). I’ve received much feedback and paid for coverage from the Austin Film Festival (for THE COLOR OF EVIL). One problem with my feature length screenplay is the result of my feeling that it should be a series, like those designed for Netflix or Amazon. Mr. Crye disagreed; he was the expert. He advised me to write a feature film screenplay. I straddled that line. First, I scavenged plot points from all 3 books, but, that week, Mr. Crye said to confine myself to Book #1. (There went 40 pages down the tubes!) The second week, I wrote a second 40-page ending that utilized the plot device of a Facebook-like service, but my plot takes place in 2003-2005 and I later learned that Facebook didn’t really become popular until 2006. So, I wrote a THIRD 40-page “end” and that is what I submitted to Film Freeway. I left some plot points unfinished (like “Sicario: Day of the Soldado”) because they are picked up more fully in Books #2 or #3. For instance, the protagonist’s best friend (Stevie Scranton) goes missing in Book #1. I did not resolve that plot point, because it is the primary thrust of Book #2. This caused criticism to be leveled at my screenplay, which I understand, but I hope you understand my explanation. (*I still think the 3 books should be a streaming series, like Julia Roberts’ “Homecoming” or “Sneaky Pete.” With 3 novels to pull from, there is plenty of material and I have a 4th novel well underway. The 3 books in THE COLOR OF EVIL series, released as an e-book set in September of 2018 were named “Best Indie Book of the Year 2018” in the May/June issue of “Shelf Unbound” digital magazine.

Watch the TV Pilot Reading: 

Two men are plunged into the weird world of apotemnophiles: those individuals who want to have perfectly healthy legs amputated, and drama ensues.

CAST LIST:

Dr. Corcoran: Isaiah Kolundzic
Cindy: Monica Knox
Narrator: Esther Thibault
George: Peter Mark Raphael
Paul: Dan Cristofori
Receptionist: Norma Dunphy

Submit your Film & Screenplay via FilmFreeway:

Interview with Screenwriter John Renney (THE CULTISTS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay is about betrayal and redemption, Jenny is betrayed by her parents and given to a cult to be sacrificed, while Detective Johns is in search of personal and religious redemption. He feels he has failed in his job and life and now must succeed in rescuing Jenny from the cult, if he is ever to be free of his personal demons. This is Johns last chance.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

My screenplay is in the Horror genre.

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

The Cultists is firmly footed in the horror genre and offers some great horrific, spooky, mysterious and scary imagery. I think that visually The Cultists could be a unique and unsettling horror movie, and offers grounded and flawed protagonists that an audience can relate to and feel empathy for. I think an audience could invest themselves in the character arcs and themes of betrayal and redemption, while also seeing some new and exciting visuals from my imagination.

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

Mysterious and unique.

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

It’s hard to say one movie I have watched more than any other in my life, I think I could safely say that in the Horror genre there are four I have watched the most usually back to back. Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls, George A Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, David Lynch’s Eraserhead and John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness.

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

I have been writing The Cultists screenplay for around a year, but the inception of the idea is from a recurring nightmare I’ve had since childhood. Possibly to do with the fact I was kicked out of the house at a very young age, through I’m no Freud lol

7. How many stories have you written?

The Cultists is my third feature length screenplay and my first in the horror genre. I have also produced, written, scored and directed a feature film ‘Recovery’ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8714414/?ref_=nm_knf_t1. I have also Directed two horror shorts, The Freedom Room https://vimeo.com/153504302 which won a merit award at the Depth of field international film festival, and Forgive Me. https://vimeo.com/286132461 https://vimeo.com/153504302

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

My Favourite song is ‘Summer (The First time)’ By Bobby Goldsboro.

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

The biggest obstacles I faced while writing The Cultists was trying to keep the characters in sync with the horror genre. I had feed back which told me my characters, the drunk cop on the edge, the lost gothic girl and
the drunken Irish priest were stereotypes, but in all my pre-script research I found that most characters in the horror genre have these traits and archetypes. So against the feed back I stuck to my findings and tried to keep the characters as close as possible to the common traits I had found in the genre.

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

Apart from writing I am very passionate about music, I score all my own projects and am an avid follower of John Carpenter as a musician as well as a filmmaker. I perform live as often as I can, and have a wide selection of music available online from acoustic ballads to electronic synth scores, drones and soundscapes. I also work as a music film director recently having finished three videos for the interactive app release of Asympt man’s latest work: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbsuT6-ZC_t4Kq3-PtOsDpg

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

Film freeway is a great platform to enter the film festival world, it is easy to navigate and offers perks and a great interface to advertise your work. Without them I would not have been able to get feed back and creative learning which has helped me shape and organize my work and projects.

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

 What projects need more than anything in the development stage is feed back, your festival had great user reviews and comments stating that you were great to work with, your communication was fantastic, and the feed back was always well constructed and gave a break down of the scripts entered. After reading the reviews and doing the online research I decided your festival was for me and entered without hesitation and waited for your response. When the feed back arrived I was thrilled with the response and quickly got to work on the next draft of the screenplay, the feed back was everything I had hoped for and more and I was very pleased with the careful consideration and time that my screenplay has been given by your festival.

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A girl is betrayed by her parents and given to a demonic cult to be sacrificed, a detective must wrestle with his own past and demons to save the girl. This case could be his last chance at salvation.

CAST LIST:

Maurice – 1 – Alex Clay
Woman – 1 – Vanessa Burns
Narration – Pip Dwyer
Detective Johns – 13 – Russell Batcher
Officer Davis – 15 – Luke Robinson
Child – 1 – Sydney Addison-Rudat

Submit via FilmFreeway, the exclusive way our festival accepts submissions.:

Interview with Screenwriter Isaac Sweeney (SHOOTING)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Isaac Sweeney: It’s a short about a young man with hoop dreams who has to make a decision between life on the streets and a real future.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

urban drama

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

It’s hard-hitting and character-driven; emotional but fun.

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

street decisions

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

I’ve probably watched Die Hard the most times in my life, and I even wrote something about it here: https://www.amazon.com/Daddy-Die-Hard-Isaac-Sweeney-ebook/dp/B005IELY2G . It’s one of those movies I can quote as it’s playing. Other movies that have had an influence on who I am are The Karate Kid, Rocky, Top Gun, Real Genius, The Breakfast Club, and the list goes on. One of the best movies I’ve seen recently is A Quiet Place.

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

I wrote this short first as a one-act play. I was a teacher in Petersburg, Va., teaching 8th and 9th graders in a creative writing class in 2016. We wrote a play together. I revised that play many times until it became Shooting. Early in 2018, I adapted it into a screenplay format.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written more stories than I can remember. I’ve wanted to be a writer since middle school, when we were asked to write a short story. You can search my name and find some of my stuff “out there.” I’ve published short stories (check Amazon), poems, a memoir-of-sorts, essays, and much more.

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

Tough to answer because I love music in all formats. My mother liked old country music, so anytime something by Conway Twitty gets played, I’m there. His version of “The Rose” is great. I discovered my love for music in the Garth Brooks era; I love “The Dance.” I don’t get tired of “Penny Lane” or “Eleanor Rigby.” I like the guitar solo in Led Zepplin’s “Heartbreaker.” I dig 80s metal and some 90s alternative. I like some pop stuff now and then. I didn’t listen to a lot of hip hop growing up, but I’ve recently discovered an affinity for that, and I’m trying to catch up. Eminem. Tupac. Love the old Motown sound, like early Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. I could keep going on this forever.

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

I wasn’t sure how to end it. I’m still not sure if the ending is “there” yet. Is a screenplay ever really finished? Is anything that’s written?

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

When people ask about me, I tell them I’m a father, husband, writer, and educator … in that order. I love my family. I love education; I’ve been at the helm of a classroom since 2007. I just like words. I think it’s cool that you used “apart” correctly. I like the irony of “apart” meaning separate, but then when you separate “a” and “part,” you get “a part,” which can mean a thing is connected to something else (like “a part of” something). Movies and music. I love animals. I can juggle. I know one magic trick with a deck of cards. I think the key to a better world is perspective. I think “literacy” is much more than just the ability to read. ….

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

A big old handful of super awesomeness!

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

I just want to get stuff out there. Everyone I’ve come in contact with has been amazing and I can’t wait to see what else comes down the pipeline.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Logline: In Shooting, will Angel choose the future he wants or the revenge his family deserves? An urban drama set in the gritty reality of the streets.

Genre: Urban drama

Type: Short screenplay

CAST LIST:

Rico: Scott McCullogh

Butter: Nick Hendrik

Narrator: Matt Barnes

Angel: Gabriel Darku

Keesha: Olivia Barret

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Interview with Screenwriter Michael Zielinski (CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT)

CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT was a October 2018 Romance Screenplay Winner.

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Michael Zielinski: My romantic screenplay CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT centers on three couples at Christmastime encountering connection obstacles, the most compelling pairing a body-shaming victim with her one-time bully.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romance.

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

The search for love is universal and my screenplay is heartwarming in demonstrating that serious potholes in that journey, like past scars, disparity in professions and ambition, can be overcome — especially with some help from the magic of Christmas.

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

Feel good.

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

Heaven Can Wait by Warren Beatty.

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

Eight months

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written this screenplay, written two published novels, and written two full-length plays and six one-act plays (all produced at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in New York City). I also am a newspaper columnist.

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

Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers.

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

I usually write comedies and this script was meant to be more romance than romantic comedy — an adjustment for me.

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

Sports.

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

Extremely positive and educational. FilmFreeway gives me access and exposure to industry professionals I otherwise would not have. And the feedback has been quite helpful. FilmFreeway is a portal to the possibility of opportunity.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
The feedback was my primary motivation. And the feedback has been exceptionally helpful in pointing out issues of exposition and story/structure context in my screenplay.

 

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

FilmFreeway exclusive Festival:

CHAD MORGAN and WHITNEY PAXTON see each other at the ski lodge at Christmastime for the first time since high school 15 years ago. He was the star quarterback, she was overweight and had a hopeless crush on him. He body shamed her at a Christmas dance their senior year, an incident that transformed both their lives.

CAST LIST:

Narration – Vanessa Burns
Whitney – Sydney Addison-Rudat
Chad – Alex Clay

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