Interview with Screenwriter Ronald V. Micci (MARLISE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Ronald V. Micci: A fragile lesbian and her sister who are in financial straits. Marilise, one of the sisters, is very vulnerable and finds herself the object of more than one set of affections, tearing her between her jealous sister, Leigh Ann, and a number of women. When well-to-do older lesbian seduces Marilise at a garden party, this causes friction with her sister. On a picnic with the older woman, Marilise must break the fact to her that their relationship can’t go on. She pursues Marilise on bike, and is killed in a road accident. Her twin sister seeks revenge. At first Marilise believes she is being haunted by Alisa, the dead woman. She consults a psychiatrist. But in fact, she is being haunted by the dead woman’s twin sister, who is intent on getting revenge and killing her.

Another woman who has taken Marilise under her wing betrays her, and has set her up as a target in a cottage on Montauk Point. But the police have gotten wind of the twin sister, and they are in a race against time to save Marilise from being murdered. The story culminates in gunshots and death on the beach at Montauk. Ergo, this is a love story and murder mystery combined.

2. What genre does your screenplay fall under?

It’s both love story and crime drama (murder mystery).

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

Mostly because it has a genuine emotional core. Most films today are lacking any true emotional basis.

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

Emotionally engaging.

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

The Best Years of Our Lives

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

The screenplay was finished several years ago. It began as a screen short, then I expanded it.

I usually write and rewrite and polish until every beat of the script is as
perfect as it can be (this is the equivalent to probably half a dozen times).

How long this takes can vary. As far as I’m concerned, I’m pleased with the script and it is finished. (It got Honorable Mention, or at least a shorter version of it did, in a screenplay competition in New York several years ago. I subsequently fleshed out a couple of scenes when it appeared that a film student was actually going to shoot the thing.)

7. How many stories have you written?

Three novels, about 60 one-act plays, four screenplays, four screen shorts, two sitcom scripts, a one-hour pilot script.

8. What is your favorite song?

Too many to pick a favorite. Any of the great show standards.

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

Nothing more than the usual grind of writing a script. But a critical turning point is when Marilise is betrayed by another woman who has taken her under her wing. That car scene surprised even me, and added a great twist and suspense to the denouement. It just kind of came out of nowhere.

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

Jazz and classical music, and playing the flute

11. What has been your experience working with Film Freeway?

Actually, I submitted several scripts via the specific contest websites rather than using the generic Film Freeway format, which seems to have locked one script in and which I couldn’t defeat.

12. What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I thought the feedback was benign and it was clear that they had actually read the scripts. A couple of things eluded the reader, and I never did get feedback on the Marilise screen short submission, probably an oversight. This batch of readers seemed pretty on the ball, didn’t seem to “get it” in only a few

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A gentle lesbian love story between two financially strapped sisters in their 20s in the Hamptons turns deadly when they seek the assistance of an older woman, who comes between them romantically, and whose sudden accidental death leads to a revenge killing and murderous shootout on Montauk Point.

Crime

CAST LIST:

Jeffrey – 1 – David Occhipinti
Leigh Ann – 13 – Ella A
Narration – Michael Ruhs
Marilise – 52 – Barbara Bergeron
Alisa – 57 – Carrie Schiffler

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Interview with Screenwriter Raymond A. Porter (Himal Gold: Murder and Intrigue in the High Mountains)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Raymond A. Porter: A WWII German plane is discovered crashed in Nepal in 1953.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Action, adventure.

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

It’s a great historical action adventure that is based on fact.

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

Epic adventure.

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?

12 months

7. How many stories have you written?

6 books, 8 screenplays

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

Too many to list

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

Finding time, working and family always take up most of my day.

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

Martial arts, i gave up teaching at the end of 2017. And making movies.

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

All good, is straight forward and easy.

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

To get my script promoted. Initial feedback was good.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

In 1953, a British Journalist in Nepal to cover the attempt on Mt Everest, writes an article about an old Nazi cargo plane that has been found crashed in a sacred valley.

Upon reading the article, the Nazi officer who led an expedition into Tibet in 1938, seizes on the opportunity to reclaim the gold that was lost on that fateful flight.

CAST LIST:

Vincent – 3 – Michael Ruhs
Gunther – 1 – Steve Saet
Narration – Carrie Schiffler
Hauptman Weiss – 8 – David Occhipinti
Sebastian – 1 – Steve Saet

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Interview with Screenwriter Morgan Schefflin (L.A.’s Finest)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Morgan Schefflin: The backdrop of the script is about making a one hour TV procedural. However, the heart of the show is about relationships: friendship, love between current/old flames, and love of family.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It is a dramedy, so it falls under the drama and comedy genres.


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

TV and movies are supposed to be entertaining for an audience. I firmly believe that this script is extremely entertaining and scripts are eventually meant to be seen and not read.

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

Witty, heartfelt

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

Rocky

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

I’ve been working on this script on and off for about 10 years. The last year or so I’ve worked with network executives and managers to really show me how I needed to shape this to be what it is now.

7. How many stories have you written?

If we’re talking stories in general, not scripts, then probably 100s in various forms of short stories, scripts, plays, etc. I think I’ve written around 15 screenplays, and I think I have around 30 scripts in various stages of development.

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

My favorite song is Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley.

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

Oh man, what obstacles didn’t I face? For context purposes, I loved writing when I was in elementary school. I really started to get into writing scripts when I was in 7th-8th grade, but I could never find real training in how I should write a script until my mid 20’s. Up until that point, all of my writing techniques were self-taught. When I was looking for colleges I had a really hard time finding a program for screenwriting. I eventually found something at Full Sail University and I learned a lot about what I was missing in this particular script during that time. Last year, I found another program through RoadMap Writers where I can work with Network executives and Managers. That really got me to the point of where it is now. However, I had to work with many various executives and managers because screenplays are very subjective, obviously. Also, this particular script takes place in the world of TV, so it’s getting scrutinized even harder than a regular script would. I’ve been told this will never sell. I’ve been told to try something else. I’ve been told almost everything you can be told to discourage you from not continuing this script, but I’m very passionate about these characters and their stories.

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

I like watching my sports teams and playing sports. Unfortunately, all my teams are generally terrible, so watching them is very painful (Jets, Mets, Nets, Devils). I’m a big movie buff, so I love to watch movies. I don’t get as much time to play games as I was when I was younger, but right now I’m playing The Division 2 and revisiting some older games I didn’t get a chance to finish.

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

My experiences have been pretty good. It’s been easy to submit and if I had a question the people have been responsive.

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

I have entered the festival previous times, but unfortunately I had received a lot of conflicting feedback. Now that I had time to work with Managers and Network executives to fine tune my script, I wanted to see if it had paid off.

It turns out it has!

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Logline: A TV showrunner clashes with his head writer and network executive girlfriend to get his pilot made as promised to his niece before he gets ousted out of the TV business for good.

Genre: Drama, comedy

CAST LIST:

Steve (20s)– 4 – Steve Saet
Josh (50s) 11 – David Occhipinti
Narration Ella A
Ryan (30s)– 30 – Michael Ruhs
Jenny (20s-30s) – 19 – Barbara Bergeron

Interview with Screenwriter Louetta Jensen (Bittersweet Serenity)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

The screenplay, Bittersweet Serenity, is about an estranged wife who is desperate to put an end to her failed marriage from a maverick scientist, and joins forces with an endangered family who have been touched by the scientist’s evil. As a result, the wife becomes empowered, through necessity, in order to bring the scientist down and end his tortuous treatment of patients.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Psychological thriller, mystery, horror.

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

It’s the hook which is the specific method of treatments done by the scientist which is the use of holograms in a scientific approach, leaving patients wondering if their greatest fears are real, or a dream, and neither which they can escape mentally.

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

Fear monger.

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

The Witches of Eastwick, and Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds.

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

Many years. It has been adapted by myself and my co-writer from my published, award winning, novel by the same title name.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have personally written 4 novels, 3 screenplays, and many short stories, most of which are published.

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

The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.

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

No obstacles. The words fell onto the pages. No one will stop me from writing my heart out.

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

I’m also passionate about working as an animal advocate and have done this for many decades due to my deep love for animals.

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

Film Freeway is a great and streamlined way to enter submissions.

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

I’ve done so previously and was pleased with the final product.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Logline: In the remote mountains of Washington State, there lives an evil and monstrous legend: his name is Dr. Martin Braddock, and he devours souls for a living. The maverick scientist has a brilliant mind and advanced technology, yet he’s about to face his toughest opponent ever . . . his estranged wife, in what becomes a war between the bitter and the sweet.

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

CAST LIST:
Orenda – 10 – Carrie Schiffler
Narration – David Occhipinti
Krystyna (20s) – 21 – Ella A
Logan (20s) – 17 – Steve Saet

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