Interview with Screenwriter Andronica Marquis (DARK ANGELS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Andronica Marquis: Dark Angels is about the struggle we all face to understand the true beauty of our nature despite the distraction of our pain, disappointments and insecurities.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Fantasy


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

While the screenplay is currently undergoing significant revisions to strengthen and clarify the characters, relationships and theme, it should eventually be made because it’s a dramatic and moving display of both what makes us human and beautiful beyond our mortality

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

Powerful and entertaining


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

Terminator 2


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

Over a year


7. How many stories have you written?

Four short films and three feature films

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

Etta James, I’ll be seeing you

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

Digging deeply to understand the heart of it

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

Dance and Film Producing

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

Excellent

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

I entered because I believe in the screenplay and believe it will be produced; I always appreciate feedback and anything I hear helps me grow and get better
 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Cast from Heaven to Earth, a beautiful demon, torn between her conflicted dark angel clan and the flailing human race, fights her demon nature to find love and fulfill her destiny.

CAST LIST:

Narration: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Ronny: Gabriel Darku
Desiree: Katelyn Varadi

Interview with Screenwriter Adam Seidel (CALIFORNIA)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Adam Seidel: At it’s core California is about a man who decides to fight for his loveless marriage through taking extreme measures. It’s a piece that examines the way we often go all in on lost causes and how that affects us. Do we come out the other end completely destroyed or do we find a strength and purpose within ourselves we didn’t know was there? I think it can definitely go either way. In the case of this story, our protagonist finds the latter.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I’d say dark comedy / thriller.

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

I think the themes are very relatable to most people, whether they want to admit it or not. I think despite some of the more graphic parts of the story, the end offers a sense of hope. Also there’s a lot of dry comedy in the script that comes in strange moments that sort of tilts the world a bit. I think the script is looking for a very niche producer who loves gritty noir storytelling. If you’re out there, hit me up!

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

Barren hope.

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

It’s a very close call. It used to be Uncle Buck, no question. But the past year my daughter has become obsessed with The Grinch and it gets played at least two times a day. I can recite 80% of the dialog by heart.

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

It used to be a play, which I wrote in 2016. When it had it’s first staged reading this past year, the people in the audience who were repulsed came up to me and told me it should be a screenplay. So I turned it into a screenplay and found out that all those people were right.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written like thirty plays, four screenplays and three pilots. I also wrote a novella about visiting Waupun maximum security prison in Wisconsin and accidentally getting left behind in the mess hall.

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

Pink Floyd “Have a Cigar”

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

Self doubt. Time management. Life in general. The older I get the more I find I can’t just hunker down and grind for 13 hours. Also the majority of people in my writer’s circle that I share stuff with for notes hated the script. How I stuck with it I do not know. Tenacity? Dedication? Stupidity?

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

I love going on walks in the woods during summer. During winter cross country skiing is a great way to be out doors. I’m an avid swimmer. I find it calms my mind and ideas and problems often get worked out in the pool.

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

Pretty great actually.

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

It just seemed like a good opportunity. And here we are now!

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

After discovering that his cheating wife is planning on running off with his scum bag brother, a scorned and bitter man decides to take violent action, altering the course of his life, and the lives of those around him, forever.

CAST LIST:

Large Trucker: Sean Ballantyne
Narration: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Syd: Miriam Capper
John: Ted Powers

Interview with Screenwriter George Deihl Jr. (The Journal Of Second Lieutentant Issac Bangs, Unabridged)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

George Deihl Jr: The bookish Isaac Bangs, a playful Nathan Hale and mysterious Lizzie Fannon battle a fiendish soul stealing demon in Manhattan set by the backdrop of the American Revolution.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy Action Horror Thirller

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

It has the feeling of Indiana Jones. And I think we’re missing that in cinema today. It’s simple and the special effects could be achieved practically. But it’s not as ‘flashy’ and the time period lends itself to being a ‘thinker’ because the dialogue is somewhat heightened. And they are real people- even Isaac. You can google his actual journal. Id like to add a little intelligence back into our action films. Like Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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

Action. Thriller.

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

Star Wars: A New Hope

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

It’s been bouncing around in my head since about 2005. But I wrote it over the summer of 2018. All told 4 months.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written some shorts, some fan fiction and science fiction. I wrote a short which was produced called ISSUES. It’s about a psychiatrist, Dr. Leer, who has a patient, Calvin Elliot, is the world’s most powerful superhero. When he talks about his life, it cuts away to comic books page and panels. I illustrated those as well.

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

Currently Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man by The Bob Seeger System. It’s on the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Soundtrack.

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

Starting. Actually putting pen to paper. It was much easier having it live at as this perfect idea in my head.

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

I’m an actor. georgedeihljr.com I also draw. bixelboone.com My wife (who I’m also passionate about) adopt senior dogs. Right now we love and care for a toothless little poodle named Vanilla Beans. You can find him on Instagram #vanillabeantonguemachine

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

It’s great. The only way to go.

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

I was pleased and found the feedback helpful. I also felt the judges took time with the feedback.

for reels and reviews check out http://www.georgedeihljr.com
for tee shirts and art check out http://www.bixelboone.com

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

In 1776, a young medic in the Continental Army struggles to solve a series of gruesome murders in Manhattan’s Brothel District, and uncovers a secret that could cost him his soul.

CAST LIST:

Jacob: Biden Hall
Lizzie: Aliya Hamid
Ben: Geoff Mays
Narrator: Val Cole
Cunningham: Shawn Devlin
Isaac: Chris O’Bray
Madame: Pascale Behrman

Interview with Screenwriter Kelly Byrnes (33 Weeks A Prude)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Kelly Byrnes: “33 Weeks A Prude” depicts the age-old conflict between sinners and saints or in today’s high school terms, Prudes and Sluts. Our protagonist, Nora, who belongs to the latter clique, is uprooted from her native Southern California town and plunked down in the Bible Belt, in the midst of a Purity Movement led by her nemesis, Raquel. Nora quickly becomes a social pariah due to her racy apparel and liberal perspectives. After a derogatory homophobic comment pointed at Nora’s younger brother, Zeek, a series of escalating retaliations between Raquel and Nora are set into action. The battle culminates when Nora and her only friend, Tamara, a closet Wiccan, conspire to pose as prudes and infiltrate the Sisterhood of Celibacy, the occult chastity group led by Raquel. Their goal: to force the prudes to face their biggest fear — the male penis — and “enjoy every sinful second, which will send any self-respecting Bible Humper into a lifelong masochistic psychosis.”

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy. Think “Heathers” and “Mean Girls.”

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

The show employs a sharply satirical portrayal of sex and religion while broaching parallel themes with honesty and sincerity — something we don’t see in most high school comedies. On the surface, there’s an antipathy between the righteous and the unscrupulous, but the script also travels to the dark underbelly of character psyches to understand the delicate puzzle pieces that narrowly hold them together, where we find Prudes and Sluts are not just incredibly varied, but also inextricably linked. Similar to Emma Stone’s character in EASY A, I think it’s rare to see a show centered entirely around “that girl” from high school. And allowing Nora to break the fourth wall adds a tongue-in cheek-quality that seems to be absent from most high school comedies.

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

Shrewd campiness.

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

The Sound of Music!

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

I started it about a year ago and continue to revise while I work on another project.

7. How many stories have you written?

Two features and two pilots, including this one.

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

“The Waiting” by Tom Petty.

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

I struggled at times to make sure the script didn’t feel too one-sided so I tried to play up the shortcomings of both the Prudes and Nora and applaud and criticize all aspects of being a prude and a slut.

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

Mountain biking.

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

It’s been relatively easy to find great festivals and track the status of my script entries.

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

The chance to get my script read by professional actors really appealed to me. It’s amazing to see the characters come to life! I tried my best to implement the feedback with the time I had and have since been inspired to revise the script several times.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A liberated Californian teen and new girl at her high school, finds herself at odds with the girls of the Christian chastity club.

CAST LIST:

Tyler: David Rowan
Zeek: Thomas Fournier
Tamara: Pascale Behrman
Narration: Kat Smiley
Nora: Aimee Poulin
Raquel: Jillian Robinson
Bill: Bill Poulin
Jerry Turner: Allan Brunet

 

Interview with Screenwriter Tai-Ying Chi (You Don’t Deserve My Jelly Strips)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Tai-Ying Chi: The story is about a girl who is sexually assaulted by the boy she loves and always wants to be romantically involved with, therefore she doesn’t know how to react at first, and she’s struggled between what her heart really wants and what her heart believes to be right. It also talks about some international students, or even some young immigrants’ insecurities and anxieties they have to face when they firstly come and reside in the U.S.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama.

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

When the Me Too movement widely started in the United States in 2017, the cases that provoked most discussions surrounded what had happened on American majorities. It got me think, there must be many other newly arriving minorities, who may have encountered the same situations but had even less resources and know-how to ask for help. Plus, depending on what kind of the cultural backgrounds they were coming from, they may have been dealing with different levels of culture shocks, and feeling lost in telling what’s right or wrong in this new social conventions, and will only be able to grab some sense gradually after time proceeds. (In many stereotypical ideas American society is viewed as much open and complicated in sex and relationships. There’re people who are victimized by this believe, trying to blend in; and there’re people who take advantages on them.) Even when later Me Too became a more common topic and movement in other societies in the world, there can still be subtle and different range of violence in relationships that is hard to be categorized. Therefore, I think making this kind of stories into movies is important.

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

Sad gain.

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

Jurassic Park 1993, It was one of the few VHS tapes I owned when I was a kid.

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

I’ve worked on it on and off, mostly in summer vacation periods, for two years.

7. How many stories have you written?

Two short screenplays in English and many more in traditional Mandarin Chinese.

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

First of May by The Bee Gees.

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

The dialogues were firstly written in traditional Chinese, but for the contest and subtitles purposes, I translated them into English. It was a bit challenging to write English lines that are used among urban youths to give more layers to their personalities, but also preserve the same essences in English as in Traditional Chinese so readers can still get the context of how they talk or behave in the world they came from. Another major challenge was that, I wanted to introduce a delightful Taiwanese dessert into the screenplay to enhance the idea that they had shared childhood memories, which was sweet and delightful just like they used to remember each other, and by what happened to them and the dessert in the end, it also symbolizes they both for the first time really have to graduate from their childhoods. I spent so much time to look for this specular dessert that can be playful, sweet, nostalgic, look pretty on screen, and will also be easy to preserve and handle as props. Finally, the Taiwanese jelly strips.

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

I like animals and bugs, when I discover a mystery about animals or bugs that I don’t have answer to, I will feel an urge to go online and conduct full research about it. I also like good foods and quality time with family and friends.

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

Self promotions, good strategies and management in social media accounts are more important than I thought.

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

I feel networking is very essential when you want to turn pages into actions. Festival helps with the exposures for artists and builds the network. Apart from that, it is generally just an irresistible feeling of desire to be recognized and have reasons to go to events and have fun!

I look carefully into every feedback I received, but even though there are many good advices, I try to only extract core essences from the feedbacks that I feel can work on my piece without risking losing the attitudes of the project.
 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A newly arrived International student finally gets to see her high school crush in New York, but the gap between their understandings to their relationship finally forces her to choose between falling in love, or to admit the harm that would draw them apart.

CAST LIST:

Drunk Man: Charles Gordon
Yu-Chen: Wildred Lee
Narrator: Gene Abella
A-Mei: Tiffany Elefano
Lisa: Elizabeth Morriss

Interview with Screenwriter Zach Kalinyak (STARLEAGUE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Zach Kalinyak: The screenplay is about Larry Trenton’s success of turning had-been enemies into a close-knit family striving to unravel a galactic conspiracy that all of these aliens have unwittingly stumbled upon, earning them places on a hit-list.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy, Action, Family, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Adventure, Mystery

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

Currently, this screenplay is NOT ready to be made into a movie. In fact the movie that best introduces the entire franchise that this movie exists in is being produced by the writers ofThe Intrepid Factor – To Catch a Falling Star this winter.

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

Insanity united.

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

Star Trek: IV: The Voyage Home

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

Eleven years, three alone, eight with P.E. Novak

7. How many stories have you written?

Alone, about 10 to 20, with P.E. Novak over 1,000

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

Oh, every year that changes as my journey changes. The song that best describes The Intrepid Factor – To Catch a Falling Star is Barry Manilow’s It’s a Long Way Up.

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

Originally Starleage: The Intrepid Factor – To Catch a Falling Star was Star Trek: The Next Frontier – Strength of Will. A spinoff from Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine set after Voyager’s return home from the Delta quadrant. It took creating a totally different franchise to determine these characters fromThe Next Frontier belonged in a world apart from that of Star Trek as their behaviors did not match those of the characters and races created in the Star Trek universe.

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

I’d say that the answer to that would be either songwriting, as I do that, too. Or changing the world for the better. Entertainment just seems the best way to go about doing that.

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

FilmFreeway is a good submission platform. I don’t have any complaints.

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

I entered the festival, because the only reward was the table-read and Starleage – The Intrepid Factor – To Catch a Falling Star is not slated for production for at least a decade, so the pressure to produce this script, which is perhaps one of the strongest having been so thoroughly edited for so many years, while likely to win (which it did) would be just left at a low-key table-read still un-produced, allowing its franchise to grow into the size needed to support The Intrepid Factor as a television series, while giving us the laurels needed to be taken more seriously as writers. My thoughts on the feedback. The first feedback was good. It convinced me to cut ninety percent of the scenes with the Hadolites (pronounced HAH-doe-LIGHTS) as the real two lead characters are Larry J. Trenton and Elbapac Eurt, a point to which that first reader was oblivious. Therefore I understood better having seen that misinterpretation how to rework a screenplay to convey important information while minimizing the roles of supporting characters. So I learned an important lesson from it.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

The starcraft Intrepid sets out, premature to save one star, and begins an isolated journey to unite the galaxy.

 

CAST LIST:

Veltin: Ron Boyd

Kilo: Michael Ruhs

Narration: Shawn Devlin

Bihong: Hannah Ehman

Klevar: Bree Ali

Interview with Screenwriter James Abney (PLAYING WITH CHOPSTICKS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

James Abney: “Playing with Chopsticks” is a fish out of water story about Jimmy, an average white man, and Jenny, his beautiful Chinese girlfriend, and the cultural differences they experience as they date outside their normal bounds.

Problems arise after the meeting between him and her strict parents goes terribly wrong, forcing him to win back their respect, while trying to defeat her handsome suitor, all during her sister’s traditional Chinese wedding.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romance, comedy

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

This movie should be made into a movie because it tells the true story of two people who, despite their cultural differences and family’s ethnocentrism, fell in love and nurtured a healthy and supportive relationship. Given the current cultural climate, I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this story.

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

Culture clash.

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

Batman (1989)

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

I’ve been working on this screenplay for about 7 years, starting it the year before I moved to Los Angeles.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written 16 screenplays.

8. What is your favorite song?

B.B.K. by Korn

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

The biggest obstacle I faced when finishing the screenplay was writing the “happy” ending after my real-life relationship, and inspiration for the screenplay, had just ended. Although me and her remain friends, it was difficult writing an ending that I knew was no longer true.

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

Although writing is my biggest passion, a close second is watching and cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

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

FilmFreeway is the only platform I use for festival submissions. I love their user-friendly dashboard and all of the features they offer for free.

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

I entered the festival because I wanted to see how my story would fare against other stories in my given genre. Being a pessimist, I was surprised, yet honored, to learn I had been selected to have a reading of my script. The feedback I received was very helpful and I used many of the notes on my next draft, which I also submitted for feedback.

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

After the meeting between him and his Chinese girlfriend’s strict parents goes terribly wrong, one average white man is forced to win her parents respect, while trying to defeat her handsome suitor and former flame, all during her sister’s traditional Chinese wedding.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION – DIANA FRANZ
Evy (29) – 7 – SARAH DESOUZA-COELHO
Jimmy (20s) – 10 – THOMAS FOURMIER
Mary – 3 – JULIE C. SHEPPARD