Interview with Screenwriter Nehemiah Russell (ODE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Nehemiah Russell: My screenplay involves a small town ambushed by music loving humanoids. A sleepless curious boy named Vite wanders around his home and ends up wandering to the right place at the wrong time.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror/Thriller/Drama

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

Moviegoers demand a new kind of horror. Movies like Get Out inspired me to be more adventurous in the way I execute horror, and with all the reboots and live action movies coming out, people want and need new and authentic stories.

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

Silent dread

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

The Lord of the Rings. Easily.

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

1-2 months

7. How many stories have you written?

23 stories

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

After Dark by Asian Kung-Fu Generation

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

There was a lot I wanted to write, but had to narrow down for such short screenplay.

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

Music and Art. I make my own comics and I perform with various orchestras in the area.

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

It’s been great. The site is easy to use and the directions are straightforward.

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

Writing horror stories has always been fun to me. It’s nice to experiment with different concepts and combine them together. This was my first time submitting a horror screenplay, so I will definitely do even better on the second submission.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

They came from the ground, and they stayed for the music.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION – Anne McMaster
Little Girl – 1 – Brittany Clough

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Interview with Screenwriter Alex Theo Giannoulis (STASIS*)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Alex Theo Giannoulis: This is an attempt to writing my first horror/mystery script. I hope i have at least approached that. The story is mainly about infidelity and choices in life. Its also about life and how, even the fairyman himself (Jack), can sometimes fall in love with her resulting in giving them all a chance to choose the one to “go” in a weird stance of justice by the taker.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

This is a horror drama, or at least this is how I want to see it.

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

I take it as another pov of a story about infidelity involving death and the fairyman himself, with a twist-that of an alternative or parallel reality for those that indeed moved forward.

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

Love and death

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

Difficult to remember really. Pulp fiction is a candidate as it is Clockwork Orange. From the horror genre i think classics such as Poltergeist series, Friday the 13th and Rosemarys Baby could make the list.

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

I worked on this in two phases, that is for a couple of months a few years back and then i re-wrote it to a good extend again in about. a month last year. It has been on my mind in between as it is even right now!

7. How many stories have you written?

This is my first serious attempt to write something in order to be made. I have a short script made into a film, that is “Lucy”, a Greek movie filmed in Athens. I have one more Greek short script written, currently awaiting financing from the Greek Film Centre and in 2017 I wrote 2 feature first drafts as commissioned works in English. A couple of short scripts more in English though i wouldnt consider them anything worth mentioning.

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

Must have been a soundtrack or a classical music piece, opera included. This is almost un-andwerable!

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

Other ideas that kept tormenting me whilst writing this. That and the budget!

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

Reading and actually watching films. Travelling as well, philosophy and politics.

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

Quite good indeed i need to say! There a whole discussion of the connection between platforms and festivals and the parallel “industry” that is currently being created but this is neither the time nor the place to discuss this! With great power. Indeed comes great responsibility i guess!

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

My short film Lucy was accepted at Wildsound Festival back in 2016 with quite good feedback and live audience commentary so I’ve known the organisation in general. Looking forward to visiting Canada and attending live at some point…

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Drama

Logline: Jeff, his fiancee Helena and his brother Mark get lost on their way back from a friends wedding As they try to look for help they meet Jack at an eerie roadside motel. But things are not what they seem and Jack explains someone has already been left behind. They must decide who will be the one after Jack forces them to reveal a terrible secret.

CAST LIST:

Elena – 30 – Brittany Clough
Jack – 36 – Ron Boyd
NARRATION – Anne McMaster
Mark – 25 – Rhys Harrison
Jeff – 41 – Hugh Ritchie

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Interview with Screenwriter Haley Isleib (DRONES & DRIVERS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Haley Isleib: A soldier comes back from war on Mars but nothing seems quite right. She can’t find anyone she remembers–not friends or family, no one. Except this one guy from a somewhat regrettable one night stand. He’s the only one she can turn to for help fighting off the mysterious forces that pursue her as she tries to find her missing family and figure out why the world seems inside out. Also, there are a lot of robots.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Science fiction, action.

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

It will kick ass and make you laugh.

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

Super fun.

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

Probably The Wizard of Oz.

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

Sporadically for a while.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have no idea. Bunches. Or did you mean coherent, good stories? That’s a smaller number.

8. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Probably the theme songs to various Star Trek shows.

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

Day job. Other stories kept seducing me. The usual.

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

Reading.

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

It was easy enough.

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

I found the synopsis written by the festival judge was much better than the one I had written.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A soldier with the enhanced ability to control robots with her mind finds herself the target of mysterious government-related forces when she returns to Earth after a war.

CAST LIST :

Driver: Kevin Gabel
President: Regan Brown
Narration: Laura Kyswaty
Captain: Peter Nelson
Charm: Emily Weir

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Interview with Screenwriter Shelly Paino (UNHOOKED)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Shelly Paino: Unhooked is about two Christmas ornaments who team up to move to the front of the tree and meet a whole host of friends along the way. It’s a little bit like Toy Story climbed up the Christmas tree!

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Family, Animation and Adventure.

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

This movie would really appeal to kids and adults alike as it has a lot of heart. The central theme of figuring out where you belong and then challenging that, I think is pretty universal. Also, Christmas movies really seem to withstand the test of time. This is one that you could watch and immediately be in the mood for Christmas.

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

Surprising Adventure.

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

Ooh, I love movies that stand up to multiple viewings so this is a tough one to answer. Either Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Princess Bride. The best movies are those you quote on a nearly daily basis. Of course I know, in about an hour, I’ll change my mind about this answer.

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

From the idea to the first draft was probably around a year. Then I spent several years writing and reworking the script and I believe that with each revision it got better and better. When my son was younger, he gave me a lot of suggestions about what these characters could do, which I used and his ideas made the story more fun. He’s a teenager now, but reminds me that when this script gets picked up, he’d like a consulting fee!

7. How many stories have you written?

I have written nine feature scripts and several short scripts. I really do love the process. They say you have to write ten scripts before one sells and maybe I’m just stubborn in that I haven’t written a tenth just yet. I really will have to love the idea. I have been writing stories since I can remember, so while I can count the scripts I’ve written, I don’t think I’d be able to count all of the actual stories!

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

Good question! The first one that comes to mind is In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel. But I love music and its ability to take you to another place instantly.

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

I almost didn’t write this screenplay since I knew that feature animation is incredibly tough to get made. However when I mentioned the idea to a friend, his face just lit up and he really encouraged me to write it. He mentioned that he had a friend working at one of the big name animation production companies and that once I finished, he would pass the script along to him, so I set to work. When it was done, the script was passed along and the friend’s response was that he was no longer working for the big production company and that when he did, he couldn’t even get his own animated spec script off the ground. Long story short, his advice was that feature animation is incredibly tough to get made! So I was back at square one. But I am not about to give up that easily. I have written a short version and a children’s book version so it’s possible that one of those avenues will lead to the big screen.

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

I’m passionate about caring for children, especially those who can’t help themselves out of a tough situation. I sponsor a child in Peru currently and also give to Operation Underground Railroad which rescues children from sex trafficking. I had a great, carefree childhood and it breaks my heart that some kids have to deal with such unbelievable hardship at such a young age. One of the first movies I saw in a theater was Annie (yes, the musical), so maybe orphans have always been in my heart!

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

FilmFreeway has been great. I had no idea how many different festivals and contests there were out there. I just recently suggested it to a friend who has a very niche script and couldn’t figure out the best way to get it out there. I’ve scored a few wins for different scripts, so that’s been really exciting.

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

This festival seemed different from anything else I had entered, so I was curious to see what would happen. It’s been great so far!

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Mistakenly hung on the back of the Christmas tree, two ornaments set out on a harrowing adventure to reach the front of the tree in time to witness the magic of Christmas morning.

Genre: Family, Drama

CAST LIST:

Neville – 10 – Hugh Ritchie
NARRATION – Anne McMaster
Holly – 24 – Brittany Clough
Johnny – 20 – Rhys Harrison

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Interview with Screenwriter Eylem Sayman (THE SEVEN CIRCLES)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Eylem Sayman: It’s telling the story of Gongardium people who are used to be a part of Stone Council but currently in the war among tribes. Tristan the chosen one, try to change the course of the growing civil war among the tribes and reunite the Stone Council whose energy is exhausted by the broken oath.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Fantasy & Action

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

Although “the chosen one” stories are the most common concepts which are using in the films, I think even in the real world people need a savior in their lives and therefore they connect with such characters easily when they saw them in the screen. And in my story, there are two races; humans and G’landers (Gongardium) who are living in the divided planet, so my aim to show audiences the value of life, the results of the war and unity. I believe audiences will enjoy watching this type of story if it become a film, which will be a bridge between them and characters.

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

Unity and struggle.

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

I like sci-fi and fantasy movies but my favorites are Back to the Future and LOTR trilogy.

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

I decided to write it as a fantasy novel first about 7 years ago but then I turned it to the script and have worked on it in 1 year total.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have 6 scripts, four of them in English, two of them in Turkish and I am currently working on the 7th one.

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

I have many favorite classic rock songs that I like to listen. But beyond all these, “Frank Sinatra – My Way” is indispensable for me.

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

I can honestly say that time is the only thing that I struggle with. Developing environment, discovering characters and imagining the whole story need time and patience to built up the script.

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

Photography. I love taking photos of street and building which have their own stories. So, I can catch new stories and characters and create a new world that I imagined for my story while I am taking photographs.

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

I have been using FilmFreeway site to get involved to lots of film festivals or script competitions since 2016.

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

While I was entering the festival, I saw it as a great opportunity. Because whatever the result that I got at the end, is fantastic to be involved such a marvelous festival and to be performed your scripts by professionals is also good point, so you can see how your script looks like. It’s a great feedback.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

After the “Big Star Explosion”, Human race and Gongardium people who are living in the same planet, have reached a compromise, seeing the war consumed the planet and split it into two separate part by making a border agreement. The seven clan leader of Gongardium, gathered together to preserve the grand union and to avoid possible internal conflicts, setting up the “Stone Council”. One of the members of the Stone Council; Fire Guardians, Death Rippers and Dream Travelers who are greedy for eternal power and unhappy with the agreement made with the human race, have built a stone arch called “Seramentus”, making a secret alliance. Their aim was to consume the life energy of other tribes and gathering in their kingdoms to reach eternal power by the way of this stone arch. Tristan the chosen one, who is born with hope in an unpredictable moment, will do a great job to change the course of the growing civil war among the tribes and reunite the Stone Council, whose energy is exhausted by the broken oath.

CAST LIST:

Whippet – 2 – Jolly Amaoko
Lynora – 1 – Stephanie Herrera
NARRATION – Bree Ali
Griyan – 9 – Brian Carleton
Calcidius – 5 – Russell Batcher

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Interview with Screenwriter Roderick Sloan (HERO FAMILY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Roderick Sloan: Siblings who find out their parents are superheroes.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Animation, Kids, Superhero

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

My script isn’t for a movie it’s for a T.V. Cartoon I hope I can get made one day.
I feel the story is one kids can relate too.

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

Fantastic storytelling.

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

The Incredibles

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

4 weeks

7. How many stories have you written?

12

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

Life is a Highway-Rascal Flatts

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

I had the first draft of my script reviewed by a script editing service which gave me advice on how to make it better which lead me to write the second draft I entered.

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

Art

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

My first time.

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

I was looking for script contests online and I came across it. I liked the rating I got and it told what I need to do to improve my storytelling.

Watch the Script Reading:

CAST LIST:

Valerie – 15 – Sarah Bedford
NARRATION – Stephanie Herrera
Sara – 11 – Bree Ali
Ricky – 16 – Jolly Amaoko

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Interview with Screenwriter David Sabbath (Dancing in the White Room)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

David Sabbath: The endless possibilities, positive & negative, of AI.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller. SciFi.

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

It’s fresh & a fun ride.

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

Thought provoking.

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

Many

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

I wrote this during a month of rain in Portland.

7. How many stories have you written?

A dozen.

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

Many.

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

None.

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

I’m a commercial director. I also directed the feature God Don’t make the Laws.

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

Easy

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

It’s a very nice festival

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

First you use machines; then you wear machines; then you… A message splattered on the subway walls fifty years ago and now, today, the battle cry of the anti-techno revolution.

CAST LIST:

Michael – Malcolm Allcorn
Male #2 – Brogan Caulfield
Narration – Bree Ali
Bromm – Ted Power
Female – Katelyn Varadi
Announcer – Danielle Nicole

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