Interview with Screenwriter Mark Spurlock (The Outlaw Josey From Wales)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Mark Spurlock: The travels of three misfits looking for a missing family member.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Western comedy

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

We need more comedy westerns.

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

Laughable parody.

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

The Big Lebowski

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

For a couple of years.

7. How many stories have you written?

Just two with a couple in the works.

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

Stairway to Heaven

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

Trying to find an ending.

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

My children.

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

Great. They let me know what’s going on in the festival world.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

After learning his brother is missing a Welch not so outlaw must leave his country and travel to America to find him. With the help of an Indian tracker and a gay sheep herder, the three leave an everlasting mark on American history.

CAST LIST:
Bison Bob: Sean Ballantyne
Man at Table: Allen Brunet
Narration: Isabel Kruse
Josey: Brandon Knox
Popeye: Aaron Williams

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Interview with William Opperman (NEW TO THIS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

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

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

LGBTQ, romcom

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

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

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

Sexy, tender.

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

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

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

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

7. How many stories have you written?

More than a dozen, fewer than a score.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

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

CAST LIST:

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

Interview with Screenwriter Mark Allard-Will (Herculean Task)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

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

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

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

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

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

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

Out there

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

Super Troopers

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

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

7. How many stories have you written?

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

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

Raining Blood by Slayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

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

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

CAST LIST:

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

Interview with Screenwriter Ricardo Bravo (HUSH LITTLE BABY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Ricardo Bravo: Hush Little Baby is the story of an up-and-coming young executive who is tormented by the crying of the baby next door. As we follow the character, we explore the impact the cries of the baby have on his work, his personality and finally his sanity.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror

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

Deep inside this story delves into primal fears of parenthood, regret and loss, and how they shape our lives and the decisions we take. Most of all this is a story about the things we hide and how much they can consume us. As such, this movie would resonate with many people.

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

Shocking, Thrilling

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

The Matrix and Aliens would be at the top. However, I enjoy all genres from the biggest blockbuster to indie dramas to international film.

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

This tale started as a short story for the Create50 Twisted50 vol 2 competition three years ago. It made it to the finals, but alas, it was not selected for the final book. However, last year I came up with the idea to make it into a screenplay. I’ve been working on it for ten months, updating it with comments and suggestions from festival based readers.

7. How many stories have you written?

Four short stories, eight short scripts, two pilots for TV (one in Spanish) and three feature screenplays in Spanish, all unproduced (yet).

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

Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones, which also happens to be the song I use to get me into the mood for writing.

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

Converting from a short story to a screenplay was certainly a challenge. Many plot points have a deep root in what my protagonist is thinking and feeling at the time, which does not easily translate into a screenwriting language. I had to make visual the internal struggle of my protagonist

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

Movie trivia and movies in general.

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

It’s been quite a pleasant experience. The selection of film festivals is quite large and I found it very easy to find a festival that best suited my requirements.

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

I was looking for horror festivals to enter my script and yours hit all the right notes. The feedback I received was exceptional. I had previously received good feedback on my script but the recommendations provided by helped me tighten and polish the story.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A man is slowly driven insane by the cries of a baby next door.

CAST LIST:

Police Officer: Anjelica Alejandro
Richard: Azar Hassan
Narration: Hanna Ehman
Patrick: Ikenna Osuji
Ms. Sinclair: Marla Horner
Polish Man: Tyssen Smith

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Interview with Screenwriter Vinny Smith (SQUISH!)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Vinny Smith: It’s about a group of marine biology students who are stalked by a giant jellyfish. It’s basically a monster movie set in the tropics but it’s also about the environment and Big Oil’s involvement in harming it.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I would call it horror/comedy

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

It’s fun and unique in that I have never seen a movie with a giant jellyfish before much less one where a dwarf and a 400 lb. fat guy are the heroes. It ticks all the standard boxes for blood and gore and sexy people getting killed. Plus it makes an environmental statement.

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

Entertaining, relevant.

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

Office Space

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

It took about a year.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’m just finishing my 9th feature length screenplay and I published a book of 15 short stories.

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

Tie: Hard To Say I’m Sorry by Chicago and Carolina Morning by Mickey and the Motorcars.

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

Writing it in a linear fashion. I had a bunch of scenes that I knew I wanted in it so I had to craft the story around them. I jumped around a lot and wrote it out of order.

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

Real country music and cigars.

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

It was super easy to submit and check the status of all of my entries.

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

I didn’t need much influence. I feel the more you get it out there, the more chance you will have that somebody like it enough to make it. The feedback was about what I expected. You can tell who gets it and who doesn’t. Most of the time the things that are pointed out as negatives are exactly the point I was going for like when they say it’s too formulaic or something. Yes, I’m trying to fit the format.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

 

A scrappy group of marine biology students are stalked by a giant jellyfish in the Bahamas.

CAST LIST:

Bobby: Geoff Mays
Howard: Neil Bennett
April: Elle A
Narrator: Val Cole
Nick: Jarrod Terrill
Michael: Ryan Singh
Sofia: Isabel Kruse
Gina: Bianca Alongi

 

Interview with Screenwriter Eric White (BLIND VAMPIRE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Eric White: The 15-minute Short is about a vampire who was blinded in an ambush. She learns to survive throughout the centuries by using the vision of animals and her ability to compel beings through thought. In the Short we see: (1) Healthy vampire Dreven, (2) Blinded Dreven and (3) Dreven overcoming her disability. It’s heartwarming in a horrible sort of way.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror, Action

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

Vampires typically don’t have a disability — they are either very strong and resilient or dead. In this case, the vampire Dreven adapts to her disability in a seemingly “normal” way by using a service dog that she has trained to detect danger, protect her and hunt for blood.

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

Pragmatic adaptation.

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

Fifth Element

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

1 month

7. How many stories have you written?

I have mature scripts for “Blind Vampire” and “Vapor”, a Sci-Fi Steampunk TV Pilot. And nascent scripts/stories for two more Pilots, “Unseen” and “Not So Charming” and one feature, “Dead Princess”.

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

Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

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

Targeting 15-minutes in length and I struggled with the ending. Some will feel it ends abruptly. I could have explored a relationship with the neighbor, making the script longer, but I preferred bloodlust over just plain lust and kept the script to 15 pp.

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

Beach, beagles, and irreverence.

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

It’s great. I feel like I’m not presenting work through a portal but, rather, sharing my accomplishments with a community.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival?

The festival struck me as welcoming, constructive and interested in my work, not just building a lengthy participant list to legitimize their festival – particularly new ones.

What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

The feedback — in particular the tone, not just the content — was far more helpful and encouraging than most all other reader responses I’ve received.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Centuries after a being ambushed, a blinded vampire survives thanks to her seeing eye dog.

CAST LIST:

Thug Leader: Daniel Jones
Boris: Steve Rizzo
Narrator: Carina Cojeen
Dreven: Caroline Concordia
Melanie: Emily Weir
Celia: Judy Thrush

Interview with Screenwriter Ron Micci (ALL THE WOLVES YOU WERE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Ron Micci: It’s a tongue-in-cheek, droll, humorous take on werewolves involving the British aristocracy during the Victorian era, think 1880s. A satire and a parody of those old Universal Wolfman films.

The Prescotts, whose aristocratic fortunes are in decline, are hoping that the marriage of their son, Lawrence, to a mysterious young Romanian princess whose family has established a summer residence nearby, will save them from financial ruin.

On the eve of the nuptials, the princess (Elizabeth) confesses that she is a werewolf and begs Lawrence to call off the wedding.

When he poo-poos this, she runs off to the moors. What ensues with the help of a subplot involving a romance between a village boy and an uppercrust girl, a mad doctor, and a shrewd gypsy who seeks to lift the princess’s curse, culminates in a very hairy and hilarious set of church vows.

2. What genre does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy. Satire. Horror.

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

It’s consistently funny, and werewolf films are generally popular based on the special effects involved in the wolf transformations.

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

Very cute.

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

Last time I said The Best Years of Our Lives, but there are any number of films, particularly in the film noir genre, that I have seen many times.

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

Actually, I began work sometime in the 1980s, then switched to writing for the stage and created a three-act stage adaptation, then returned to the script in the late 90s and did intensive rewrites of it.

7. How many stories have you written?

About 60 one-act plays and sketches, three longer plays, three novels, four screenplays, one episodic TV pilot, three screen shorts and two original sitcom pilot scripts.

8. What is your favorite song?

“When I Fall Love”

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

The most difficult challenge was to sustain the same droll, tongue-in-cheek tone throughout.

If it’s a spoof, you want to maintain that feeling beginning to end. Certain scenes were more difficult than others, but I managed to persevere and feel I succeeded in doing that.

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

Playing the flute, for one thing. And making humorous videos. I’ve been told quite adamantly that I should have been an actor, and I believe there is more than an modicum of truth to that. (I suppose writers are actors.) But I didn’t realize this until much too late in the game. (Hey, choose your favorite form of starvation, right?)

11. Experiences with the FilmFreeway site?

Tough to say. In trying to use the site to submit to screenplay competitions, I hit a dead end. I believe technical glitches.

12. What influenced you to enter the Festival? Reactions to feedback you
received?

By and large I was surprised at how fair-minded the feedback was, a rarity. The fact that they even bothered to read the scripts, and it was obvious they had, was a pleasant surprise. I think in most of these contests they simply throw the scripts against a wall and whatever sticks they give awards to.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Logline: “Do you take this werewolf — I mean woman — to be your lawful wedded wife?” “I — I — I — ulp! — do.” In Victorian England, a wedding between a British aristocrat’s son and a mysterious Romanian princess is thrown in jeopardy when the princess reveals she’s a werewolf. A droll, witty farce.

Comedy-Horror

Feature screenplay

CAST LIST:

Hastings: Daniel Jones
Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Col. Wellington: Peter Nelson
Lady Wellington: Judy Thrush