Interview with Screenwriter John T. Frederick (THE NEED FOR SOMETHING NEW)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

John T. Frederick: A screenwriter, “a bull without balls,” eight days from 60, heads into The Great Southwest, searching for beauty, purpose… and a new story to share.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s an Adventure/Fantasy Road Pic

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Because it’s a warm-hearted and humorous examination of what’s tearing this country apart at the seams.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Humorously serious.

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

“FULL METAL JACKET” – “THE TAO OF STEVE” – “THE FIFTH ELEMENT”

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Four months… with a year between months One and Two.

How many stories have you written?

Thirteen feature-length screenplays.

What is your favorite song?

“I’m here right now, I’m not dead yet”

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

My Self.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Photography, creating “Family Movies” from family videos and photos (I’m working on number eight.)

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

The platform is easy and free. The problem lies with the festivals and
screenwriting contests they provide easy and free access to.

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

A Film Freeway e-mail:

L.A. FEEDBACK provided great feedback for THE NEED FOR SOMETHING NEW… the evaluation read like the person “got” what the script was trying to say and
show. It also stated: “We consider this one of the best screenplay specs in the world.” And seriously… I’d like to know if that’s true!

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A screenwriter, a “bull without balls,” eight days from 60… drives into The Great American Southwest, searching for beauty… and a new story to tell.

CAST LIST:

Old Indian: Michael Ruhs
Florance: Bree Ali
Narration: Hannah Ehman
Josh: Shawn Devlin
Gary: Ron Boyd

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

Interview with Screenwriter Chris Desmond (RIFF RAFF)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Chris Desmond: When one of their own gets adopted, residents of a pet store plot to break out, crosstown and bring her back home. Ultimately the story is about the extremes one goes through in order to keep the family together.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Animation/Family

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

I believe that the sacrifice, risk, and determination needed to keep your family together under duress is universal and transcends race, religion, and creed.

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

Misfit pets

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

Blade Runner

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

Originally I sat down to write a short story for my 10yr old daughter while she was going through chemotherapy. Of course, I discovered when it was complete that I wrote it for myself to get through a tough time. But in the end, I had an extremely detailed outline for a screenplay. The actual writing of the screenplay probably took about 6-8 weeks.

7. How many stories have you written?

16 screenplays, 6 original pilots, 6 short films (wrote/directed/produced), 2 webseries (wrote/directed/produced)

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

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

The usual suspects: Self-doubt, my own procrastination, ignoring the proven rules of screenwriting then taking time to fix, and that nagging voice in the back of my head that kept echoing “There is no spec market for animated screenplays. What are you going to do with this?”

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

I love going to the beach. I’m happiest with sand between my toes.

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

I’ve had a great experience with Film Freeway. I have submitted many projects through them and they keep the artist well informed and do a great job of tracking all my projects. I actually found the Feedback Animation Festival there in my search for Animation Screenplay contests.

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

The screenplay had won the Screencraft Family Friendly screenwriting contest and I wanted to see where else I could put it up against other screenplays. Animation screenwriting contests are pretty rare so I was happy to find your competition.  

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

When one of their own gets adopted, residents at a pet store decide to bust out, cross-town and bring her back home.

CAST LIST:

Daisy: Pascale Behrman
Bo: Thomas Fournier
Sonia: Jillian Robinson
Girl: Aimee Poulin
Narration: Kat Smiley
Riley: Bill Poulin
Luc/Jared: David Rowan
Karl: Sean Ballantyne

Interview with Screenwriter Anthony Catino (Fata Morgana’s)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Anthony Catino: It’s about a dying man who travels to the edge of the universe to visit a brothel staffed with alien sex workers who provide extraordinary services, both real and imaginary, so he can end his life with the help of his wife. The twist is his wife has been dead for a very long time.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

The concept is thriller but the only genre it could be written in is Sci-Fi in order to achieve the emotional and visual effects it needed.

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

I wrote this short in Sci-Fi with the goal of seeing it made into a 100% CGI short similar to those on Love, Death & Robots.

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

Everlasting love.

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

The Godfather, but now tied with the Matrix.

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

It took a Saturday and Sunday to write but the concept had been in my head for at least a month before I sat down and cranked it out.

7. How many stories have you written?

5 Shorts, 4 features, a crime comedy about finished then a unique zombie comedy that already has interest as a treatment and a TV series in the works.

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

Most listened to is a toss up. “Every Little Thing She Does” by the Police and “You Wreck Me” by Tom Petty. Love found, love lost. Either one will get the blood pumping and great lyrics. No, I’m not old… just love really great songs with great lyrics… doesn’t matter what decade.

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

No obstacles at all however your judge requested to kick up the tension during their escape and it really propelled the story forward. The notes were great and the rewrite made it much better. Please post that version!

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

Health and fitness. I’m in the gym at least 4-5 days a week to reset the brain.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site
?
FilmFreeway makes entering contests easy. Just a few clicks and you’re done. Uploading is simple and to change out scripts for rewrites is easy.

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

I don’t write Sci-Fi, I write thrillers so I was hesitant to enter it in any contest really. Especially it was my first foray into Sci-Fi. I really like the story and feedback from peers urged me to enter it in contests. Yours was the first and I like the festival’s approach and concept.

 

 

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A dying man travels to the edge of the universe to visit a brothel staffed with alien sex workers who provide extraordinary services, both real and imaginary, so he can end his life with the help of his wife.

CAST LIST:

Nuralla: Christina Leonard
Commander: Aaron Maxwell
Narration: Sean Ballantyne
Hogur: Carina Cojeen
Jaze: Aaron Williams
Dex: Geoff Mays

Interview with Screenwriter Michael R. Barnard (EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE)

 Matthew Toffolo: What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Michael R. Barnard:Drama and thriller.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

This project became a personal passion project. Every time I’ve thought it would be irrelevant, I’d get drawn back into its vibrancy and imperative. Today, we watch an administration that wants to shove gays back into the closet and that encourages followers to be violent against everyone who is different.

The subject has been considered too edgy. It’s been at studios, it’s been with producers, I’ve tried on my own to finance it, but people have thought it’s too edgy, they didn’t believe how valid and important it is, and wouldn’t believe an audience could identify with it.

I think they’re wrong, especially in today’s world.

I am trying again to get it into theaters. It’s still for that one guy who was sitting in that diner in Big Bear Lake.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Inspiring. Healing.

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

Casablanca.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Since 1998. I am waiting for the world to catch up to its importance.

How many stories have you written?

I have written several screenplays, some well-developed and some just rough drafts. I am currently working on a comedy screenplay. I have written a couple books, one a technical manual about computer video when that was new, and the other an historical fiction romance set one century ago. I have written magazine articles and essays.

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

Purple Rain. (Prince was a friend of mine.)


What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Prejudice and funding.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I write about everything that I’m passionate about. Social justice is most important to me. Filmmaking is important to me. Acting is important to me. I am also passionate about classic cars and vinyl LPs.

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

I like Film Freeway and am glad it exists. I have submitted various projects to various contests through it.

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

I have always been reluctant to consider EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son to be an LGBTQ story. As I mentioned, I wrote it for the good ol’ boy sitting in the diner in Big Bear Lake bragging that he’d throw out his son if he were gay. Your contest description made me re-think my attitude.

Your initial feedback was interesting and solid. If ever there were someone who actually wanted to team up on really making this movie, I would apply such feedback to make the best motion picture possible.

 

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE–The Story of a Father and Son uncovers those issues on a very personal level: a parent disowns his teenage son who come out as gay. Drastic reality slaps this father hard, though, when he discovers his son may have been the victim of a serial killer killing the boys of the streets of Hollywood.

CAST LIST:

Sauer: David Rowan
Catherine: Jillian Robinson
Narration: Kat Smiley
John: Allan Brunet
Henry/John: Bill Poulin
Sarah: Pascale Behrman