Interview with Screenwriter Sara F. Hathaway (Disaster: The Changing Earth Series)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Sara F. Hathaway: Featuring Erika Moore, The Changing Earth Series, presents a legendary story of a survivor of the Great Quake attempting to navigate a world torn apart by a series of natural disasters
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2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Dystopian

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

This screenplay would make an epic TV series that follows the riveting stories of the earth’s inhabitants as the changing planet tests their ability to adapt. Viewers will be drawn into the drama as it unfolds in a series of must-see adventures.

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

Thrilling adventure

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

Gladiator

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

The screenplay is a scene from the novel, Day After Disaster, book one in the Changing Earth Series. It took me eight years to write the book. The screenplay was adapted from it so it took me about a day to do.

7. How many stories have you written?

I am the author of eight novels. Seven of them make up The Changing Earth Series and the other story the life story of one of the villains, TJ Swenson, from the novel series. Also, I have written a full pilot for The Changing Earth TV series.

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

Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

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

The most challenging part was making the scene fit on one page.

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

Martial arts and women’s self-defense are another passion of mine. As a third-degree in Taekwondo and a practitioner of Jujitsu, I take great pride in helping others learn that they are capable of protecting themselves.

Natural disaster preparedness is another facet of my life that I take great pride in teaching others. Ensuring individuals have the knowledge and gear to protect themselves and their families during any disaster gives me a priceless feeling of purpose.

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

Working with FilmFreeway has been a great experience. The narration of the story was adequate. The actors voicing as the characters did a fantastic job. I wish the narrator wouldn’t have stumbled over some of the words as much as he did. However, overall it has been an outstanding experience.

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

The festival can help to fulfill the dream I have of seeing The Changing Earth series played out as a TV drama, so I felt compelled to enter.

Interview with Screenwriter Paul Root (RESET BUTTON)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Paul Root: A guy with no direction in life, losing the only person he thinks he has, and coming to terms with that. Learning to trust in ones self and others. Blah blah blah. It’s a coming of a age story

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Overall I would call it a “Dramedy”

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

It’s fun. It’s light. It’s honest. Its “Caprs-Esque,” which isn’t a bad thing

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

Tolerable saccharin

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

Probably Uncle Buck

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

A little over a year

7. How many stories have you written?

Not many. This is only my second honest attempt at finishing something

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

Depends on the day. I listened to Bob Seger “Shakedown,” Harold Faltermeyer “Fletch’s theme,” David Bowie “Young American,” a lot writing this

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

Mostly myself. Creating obstacles that didn’t exist. “I can’t keep rewriting this,” or “I’ve done everything I can do.” I have rewritten once, and polished three times since submitting. Always room to improve

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

At heart I’m an actor. Sports. Food. Travel. Activism. I would love the opportunity to give back in so many ways. Working toward that goal.

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

In terms of the submission very simple and straightforward

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Thirty-something “ne’er do” well Cameron discovers his dear Grandmother, Peggy, has cancer, and not long to live. Not able to cope, Cameron hits rock bottom, until Peggy tells him if he completes a simple list, he stands to inherit a small fortune. After a chance meeting with the steel willed and wild Laura, Cameron is swept around the world, and finally having a life worth living…but will he accept it?

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Carina Cojeen
Cameron: Nikolai Afanasev
Peggy: Julie Sheppard

Interview with Screenwriter Molly Waterman (RANCH EXIT)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Molly Waterman: In order to prove her loyalty, an ambitious GMO scientist must convince stubborn owners of an fiercely independent sustainable ranch to partner with her agro-chemical corporation or risk losing her job, and worse, her reputation.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama

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

The debate over how “clean” our food should be has become a hot topic in America. Ranch Exit dramatizes the connection between chemicals used in – and on -crops, and how chemical companies will do anything to suppress the truth that their products are deadly.

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

thought-provoking

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

Probably Erin Brockovich… the film definitely inspired Ranch Exit

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

On and off for ten years, but really concentrating on it for the past three years.

7. How many stories have you written?

Besides Ranch Exit I’ve written another drama and two comedies.

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

Probably “Out Here On My Own” from the 1980 film “Fame”

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

Working a full-time office job (40-60hrs/week), raising two children who are now in college, and trying to spend quality time with my husband of 30 years.

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

Besides my family (husband, two children and our awesome dog), I love all the Colorado outdoor activities (running, skiing, hiking, golfing, gardening). I also see as many movies, musicals and plays as I possibly can.

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

This being my first submission, I’ve found the FilmFreeway site to be a streamlined way to upload my script, and easily build my profile for use on future submissions.

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

The LA Feedback Film Festival caught my eye because I really want as much feedback as possible, and the festival name itself intrigued me. I received in-depth, thoughtful feedback for which I am very grateful. Based on this feedback, I still have a lot of changes to make on Ranch Exit: t’s all about the re-writing!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

An ambitious GMO scientist must convince stubborn owners of an organic ranch to partner with her agro-chemical corporation or risk losing her job, and worse, her reputation.

CAST LIST:

Haughton: Luke Robinson
Lassiter: Scott McCullouch
Cathy: Julie Sheppard
Narrator: Regan Brown
Isabel: Vanessa Quagliara
Marcus: Daniel Jones
Lala: Cassandra Guthrie

Interview with Screenwriter Jax Smith & Helene Taylor (DISCORD)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Jax Smith & Helene Taylor: A prodigy pianist with misophonia (extreme sound sensitivity) becomes unhinged when she interviews with a sexually predatory Music Director.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama.

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

With women’s empowerment movements such as Time’s Up elevating consciousness about obstacles women encounter daily, both in their personal and professional lives, ​Discord​ seeks to highlight one such situation of employment disparity within the realm of classical music.

DISCORD ultimately asks the question: How out of harmony with herself does a woman have to fall, to stay in tune with a male conducted workforce?
An experience, undoubtedly, far too many women will find relatable.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Uncomfortable and timely.

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

Together? We’ve seen none, lol. Clearly we need a movie date soon.

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

Jax: Off and on, for a year and a half.
Helene: A weekend.
Jax: …
Jax: Clearly one of us is more committed.

7. How many stories have you written?

Together? About four officially, but about a billion half-baked ones according to our texts & notes apps on our phones.

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

Together? Anything vinyl. Because we want you to think we’re cool like that (not hipster cool, but cool).

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

You actually don’t want the answer to this question, it will get far too dark for this interview.

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

Jax: Nothing and no one.
Helene: Popcorn.

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

It’s been a beneficial tool for our screenwriting goals.

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

We felt DISCORD suited the festival’s ethos and the feedback was helpful and appreciated.
 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

This short is about a female musician putting up with inappropriate advances from a senior male musician in order to secure a job.

CAST LIST:

Server: Daniel Jones
Narrator: Regan Brown
Meastro: Luke Robinson
Jane: Cassandra Guthrie

Interview with Screenwriter Craig Fones (THAT 80S GUY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Craig Fones : Logline: A middle-aged man trapped under hypnosis still believes it’s the 1980’s as he pursues his now divorced, old high school crush.

Hayden Bell with his love of everything 80’s, has his 80’s music and style and a friendly smile. What he doesn’t have is enough courage to face the girl who he always liked, the popular prom Queen, Robin Stassler. And with their 30th high school reunion fast approaching, he turns to an alternative method for dealing with his fears. Hypnosis. As fate would now have it, the treatment may have worked too well as the lovable shy guy now turns into what he once was… a teenager in the 80’s! Now laser focused on making all the right moves with Robin. It’s up to his erratic brother, Brandon Bell to get his mind in order before the rest of the class of 1988 finds out… or worse.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy
Romantic Comedy

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

It was an award winning webseries and as a feature it takes you back to the 80’s nostalgia coming back with a smile.

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

Totally Rad

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

Rudy

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

The Tele-script for Web Series took us from April 2017-July 2017. From Outline to sending back and fourth to each other. The Feature Screenplay came about when a Producer wanted to see it in Feature Film format. The feature script took 2 days to complete. I added Season 2 of the Web series and what we didn’t have at time of filming the Webseries.

7. How many stories have you written?

10


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

Melt With You by Modern English


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

Finishing the screenplay was the easiest part because the story was set up in Webseries.

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

Acting and skiing.

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

The site is very easy to load your content. Very happy with submitting on FilmFreeway.

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

An awesome festival because it provides you with excellent feedback. 95% of festivals don’t do that.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A Middle-aged man trapped under hypnosis still thinks it’s the 1980’s as he pursues his now divorced, old high school interest.

CAST LIST:

Barbara: Christina Leonard
Robin: Erica Levene
Narration: Carina Cojeen
Hayden Bell: Aaron Maxwell
Brandon: Aaron Williams
Asher: Geoff Mays

Hayden Bell, with his love of everything 80’s, has his 80’s music and style and a friendly smile. What he doesn’t have is enough courage to face the girl who he always liked, the popular prom Queen, Robin Stassler, and with their 30th high school reunion fast approaching, he turns to an alternative method for dealing with his fears. Hypnosis. As fate would now have it, the treatment may have worked too well as the lovable shy guy now turns into what he once was… a teenager in the 80’s! Now laser focused on making all the right moves with Robin. It’s up to his erratic brother, Brandon Bell, to get his mind in order before the rest of the class of 1988 finds out… or worse.

Interview with Screenwriter Lea Ann Vandygriff (The Camping Lawyer)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Lea Ann Vandygriff: A hilarious comedy about a klutzy lawyer, Jim, who decides on a whim to take his family camping at Yellowstone, which is entirely out of his element. He persuades his best friend Josiah and two other families to join them. Josiah is continuously the brunt of Jim’s failed attempts at everything. The quick wit and clumsiness of Jim and the aggravation of Josiah will keep you laughing.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Feature Comedy

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

This screenplay is like Christmas Vacation at Yellowstone. Take a klutzy southern lawyer, add a Latino best friend and there you have it: A love/hate relationship full of laughter.

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

As Josiah describes Jim, “Warped with Sprinkles.”

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

Christmas Vacation

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

The screenplay, a couple of months. “The Camping Lawyer” is based on an actual trip to Yellowstone with friends. Our group of friends and my husband have given me a lot of material over the years.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have written a variety of genres: Christmas, Royal, Southern, Western, Rodeo, Drama, Fantasy, Comedy, and Faith-Based. I have six features, four shorts, a TV Pilot and three books. All have multiple festivals and literary awards.

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

Disney’s “Happily Ever After.” This song inspires me to keep moving toward my dreams. I listen to every word; it seems to be talking directly to me!

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

The character, “Jim,” is based on my husband. I lost him to cancer in 2015. The memories were bittersweet. I hope that this will be made into a movie because it would leave a legacy of laughter and smiles, which is something; he wanted people to remember about him.

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

I am passionate about my faith; it has gotten me through many struggles. I would not be where I am running after my dreams without the talents and gifts God has given.

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

I love Film Freeway; they make it easy to keep up with my many screenplays and stats. It is easy to enter the festivals, and they keep you updated on your favorite festivals.

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

I have heard good things about your festival, and I checked out your credentials. We had a slight bump in the road, but you took care of it promptly. Thank you.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

CAST LIST:

Rebecca: Carina Cojeen
Sydney: Christina Leonard
Narrator: Aaron Williams
Narration: Sean Ballantyne
Jim: Geoff Mays
Josiah: Aaron Maxwell Williams

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