Interview with Screenwriter Montgomery Burt (THE GIRL ON THE SKYTRAIN)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Montgomery Burt: During an early morning trip on the commuter train, a good samaritan tries to help a naive young woman seemingly headed for trouble but she doesn’t want his help.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama.

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

The interaction between the two main characters reflects what’s going on in life—young people not questioning what may be an “opportunity” they found on the internet.

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

Two perspectives.

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

North by Northwest.

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

A few months. About five drafts.

7. How many stories have you written?

Many. I’ve been writing since I was fourteen.


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

I have hundreds of CDs with thousands of songs but my favorite is Los Super Seven’s debut album.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/los-super-seven-mw0000040720

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

Having it workshopped at my screenwriters group, Upwords. It’s a true story so I tried to work within the confines of what actually happened and still make it dramatic and interesting. Three of my colleagues, when they were younger, got into creepy situations with photographers and they explained why they overlooked any danger for the prospect of fame.

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

Music, movies, travel, volunteering at our local animal shelter. I team up with directors to make shorts. Here is our most recent, a short comedy directed by Tabatha Golat called “The United Guys Network.”

https://www.storyhive.com/project/show/id/783?fbt=share

This is the proposal for our next project:

http://www.thefilmcollaborative.org/fiscalsponsorship/projects/dougiedog

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

Excellent. It’s easy use and quite dependable with notifications. Service is good, too. When I informed them of a possible scam festival, for example, they looked into the matter right away.

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

I wanted the challenge of writing a short script with few characters and limited locations.

The written feedback I received was excellent.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

During an early morning trip on the commuter train, a good samaritan tries to help a naive young woman seemingly headed for trouble but she doesn’t want his help.

CAST LIST:
Automated voice – 2 – OLIVIA BARRETT
NARRATION – JUSTIN DESOUZA
Sean – 24 – DANIEL JONES
Carly – 21 – CASSANDRA GUTHRIE

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Interview with Screenwriter Alan Rosenfeld (Jonny Quest: The Terror of Dr. Zin)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Alan Rosenfeld: Jonny Quest: The terror of Dr. Zin – is a story of a courageous young man who’s painful past reemerges to threaten he and his family. A madman with deep ties to his past must be outwitted to avert a disaster and heal deep family wounds.

At its heart, it’s about adventure, family, loyalty, and personal healing.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Action and Adventure with a little Science Fiction thrown in.

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

I believe it would begin a fresh dialogue about a softer approach to the action genre. It will bring fresh hearts and minds to the intrigue and adventures of a young man embarking on a life guided by strong mores.

JONNY QUEST: THE TERROR OF DR. ZIN introduces a new generation to strong family ties, an acceptance of other cultures, and a willingness to learn and explore while outwitting his old adversary, Dr. Zin.

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

Thrilling and engaging.

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

Casablanca.

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

As a fan of the original work, I’ve always wanted to see the excitement brought to the big screen. I started playing with ideas for the script a few years ago. I wrote the first draft in about a month. I wrote the second draft in a weekend.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written a feature animation treatment, JOURNEY OF THE VOYAGERS. It’s a feature animation that takes place inside the Voyager I spaceship.

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

“Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves

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

I’m dyslexic.

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

My day-job keeps me busy as a VFX Lighting Artist which I have been doing for over thirty years now. I still love to get to work and make synthetic reality with pixels every day.

I also am a great home baker and make killer cheesecakes.

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

Excellent! What a great on ramp of opportunities they have afforded us. Brilliant!

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

I needed a starting point to kick off this adaptation. A gauge on not only my ability to write a complete script but also on how other fans would take to seeing one of their childhood icons come to life again. There are many voices when it comes to writing a story such as Jonny Quest. The invaluable feedback from the festival helps me understand what other see in the story and help guide me as a young writing artist and bring the story to life.
 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Logline: “When a madman attempts to destroy Apollo 11, a courageous clever young man and his family must outwit their old nemesis to save the rocket and heal family wounds”.

CAST LIST:

Dr. Zin – 5 – ADRIAN CARLOS CARTER
Dr. Quest – 4 – PETER NELSON
Narration – PAOLA SCATTOLON
Jade – 5 – KYANA TERESA
Hadji – 5 – NICK DOLAN

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

******

 

Interview with Screenwriter Steven Prowse (THE NIGHT WITCHES)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Steven Prowse: It’s a straight-forward action movie about a group of fearless pilots who would do anything to defend their country. There is no overlay of a love or family subplot, just an old-fashioned set-up-the-group-and-deliver war movie similar to The Dirty Dozen.

They just happened to be women.

Did anyone ever ask Lee Marvin if he was married or missed his kids? No, because it had nothing to do with the story and this aspect of his life.

WHO WERE THE NIGHT WITCHES?

They were a Soviet all-women night-bomber unit set up in WW2 by Marina Raskova, one of a group of three women to be the first women awarded Hero Of The Soviet Union. It took some time as initially only men were allowed at the front, but she leveraged her star status in the country (think Amelia Earhart x Greta Garbo) to make it happen.

Most of the women were aged between 17 and 25 who were desperate for revenge for lost ones. Some qualified women pilots had even stolen fighter planes earlier and flown them to the front in frustration.

With wood and canvas biplanes, no radio, no lights, no defenses and no parachutes, just bombs, these pilots terrorized the German front line night after night, up to eighteen sorties in one night.

The Germans called them the ‘night witches’ because when the pilot cut their engines to glide to the target, all that could be heard was an eerie whistling noise from the biplanes’ bracing wires.

The Night Witches became so successful that any German shooting one down was awarded an Iron Cross. In the end they made over 20,000 sorties, produced over 20 Heroes Of The Soviet Union (the average for a regiment was 2), and reached the outskirts of Berlin itself.

Marina Raskova, who had been training a group of heavy bombers, finally flew to the front line in Jan 1943. Her plane crashed in heavy snow with no survivors. She was given the first State Funeral of the war and her ashes were buried in the wall of the Kremlin.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

WW2, Action, Women, True story.

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

If one were to Google the top ten true stories that should be made into a movie, The Night Witches is regularly in them.

Frozen, The Hunger Games and Wonder Woman have shown that women action leads can dominate the box office, but one is a fairy tale and the other two are Sci-Fi. The Night Witches actually happened.

The fact that it has now won over 25 screenplay competitions that freckle the internet, more than any other out there, is another indicator.

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

Effing awesome. But that’s not my doing, it’s what these women did.


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

Either Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves or The Little Mermaid. I had young twins at the time and every Sunday morning for a LONG time I would give their mother a breather and take them to the cinema. They were obsessed with both films. Even though they are in their 30s now I have no doubt they could still recite both word perfect.

Sans twins, Diamonds Are Forever. It was the first Bond movie I’d ever seen and the first I went to the cinema alone. I had so much adrenaline at the end I ran the three miles home.

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

Two months research and planning, one month writing the first draft, and four years on and (mostly off) redrafting.

7. How many stories have you written?

Four others. A Sci Fi parody in the style of Mel Brooks (basically a love letter to Hollywood), an FBI procedural / political thriller, a Medieval horror story, and a micro-budget family movie with child leads. Each has won at least one screenwriting competition, and between them have been officially selected on over 75 occasions.

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

Instant Replay (12″ version) by Dan Hartman. I always have been, and always will be, a disco boy.

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

Finishing the first draft was easy. To be honest there was so much great material in real life I felt more like an editor than a screenwriter. The next two versions were harder as I tried to give each member of the ensemble cast distinct voices and personalities.

But after that it’s just been frustration. Yes, I’m one of the very lucky ones who’s had their screenplay optioned, funded and now looking for cast and crew, but I still haven’t found an agent or manager.

It’s got to the point I haven’t written anything in over three years (apart from rewrites for this screenplay). I’ve no energy anymore. Not writer’s block, just no energy, no passion, no engagement. Hopefully that will change if and when the movie is made.

It’s also been frustrating for the 1,500 people following and wonderfully supporting the project (www.thenightwitchesmovie.com), which is why I came to you to give them something in return in the meantime.

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

My wife, mathematics, and Sunday roast. The other ones? There’s no way you’d print them.

 

 

 

 

Watch the Best Scene Reading: 

With wood and canvas biplanes, no radio, no lights, no defenses and no parachutes, just bombs, these WW2 Soviet pilots terrorized the German front line night after night. They just happened to be women. A true story.

CAST LIST:

Nadya: Rachel Salsberg

Alexander: Rhys Harrison

Narrator: Sean Ballantyne

Zhukov: Jarrod Terrill

Marina: Nancy Kenny

 

Writer Biography – Steven John Prowse

Steve

Steven Prowse, British, has lived in England, Netherlands, Curaçao, USA and Gibraltar. Educated at Cambridge (scholarship), he is a CFO by trade and so one might think he has a lot of experience of writing fiction. He has also been an international bridge player.

His screenplays have received over 120 Officially Selections with 25 wins. One screenplay is optioned by a Hollywood studio in a mid six-figure deal.

Writer Statement

 

The screenplay has already won over 20 screenplay competitions.

 

 

Interview with Poet Arloa L. Means (THE PROMISE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

Arloa L. Means: The theme of my poem “The Promise”, is the fulfillment of God’s promise & prophecy, to re-establish the Nation of Israel

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

My motivation in writing this poem was to express lyrically & with music as one of many songs sung within my musical play ” The Promises”

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

I’ve written poetry Since my youth, over 50 years.

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

If I could have dinner with anyone….Jesus Christ.

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

I wanted to hear it read by someone other than myself,to get a clearer view as to how it would come across to others.

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

I am a Librettist and composer, I have musical works written as well as poems and stand alone songs.

7) What is your passion in life?

My passion from a writers standpoint is to create songs and scripts for musical theater.

Watch the POETRY Reading: 

Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

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Interview with TV PILOT Screenplay Winner Josephine A. Perry (MY MOTHER MURDERED MY FATHER)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Josephine A. Perry: The title of my pilot for my TV series has been changed to SHATTERED. Shattered is more accurate regarding its overarching theme: how one family, generation after generation, tries unsuccessfully to leave its destructive past behind by pretending it never existed. It incorporates a variety of themes in the pilot; some are only hinted at initially but then looked into fully in later episodes: for example, miscegenation, that ugly term used by racist lawmakers to stop people from integrating the races in the US. Or the uniquely American version of narcissism that Americans tend to believe makes them “the greatest nation on earth” as well as the ongoing abuse of women by men of power. It also introduces us to a woman whose life work will be to explore the abuse and pain of young women and young men in a society that has collapsed from drug abuse, self mutilation, and capitalism without limits. These are the stories that keep the seasons developing so that the main character’s story, once it is “solved” in a sense, is not all there is.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It is a drama certainly with parallel stories of young men and women whose lives are in crisis and for whom the main character Francesca involves herself, perhaps far more than she should in order to steer them towards healing.

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

It is a TV series

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

Dark and penetrating

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

The Verdict

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

About 6-8 months. It is still being formulated although there is a bible but the pilot itself is in another stage.

7. How many stories have you written?

Dozens

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

Believe it or not I love September by Earth, Wind and Fire. I met the woman who wrote it and I can say she and that song are one of a kind.

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

The main character eluded me for months. What is the engine of this story that will keep it moving past a mini series. I found it recently and am now working on a rewrite.

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

The environment. My documentary Within Reach (www.withinreachmovie.com) won several awards and accolades. It is about sustainable communities in the US

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

? It’s good but you need to know more about the places you are sending your work.

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

This festival has been very helpful, encouraging and rigorous in their feedback.
 

Genre: Drama, Thriller

When she learns her mother’s been released on parole for the murder of her father 25 years earlier, a bi-racial woman suffering from panic attacks faces inner demons and the possibility of losing her career as a counselor for troubled teens.
(Inspired by a true event )

CAST LIST:

Dev: Twain Ward
Doug: Peter Nelson
Sally: Pearl Ho
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Francesca: Katelyn Vanier
Claudine: Julie C. Sheppard
Rob: John Leung

Interview with Stacey Lynn Patterson (TORN BETWEEN)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

My novel is about Gabreilla a young African-American photographer who goes on a vacation of a lifetime with her childhood friends and Accident Happens she dies she goes to a place called The between at her death and encounters the Forgotten there who rip her soul in half as she is revived back to the world of the living. The crazy adventure to go back and retrieve the other half of her soul is what dilemma is left on Gabriella’s lap

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Supernatural/occult/thriller

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Fast-paced

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

I watch a lot of suspense films.

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

I Am an eclectic listener of music, but I old and 90’s r&b the most

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

The good house by Tanaraive Due

7. What motivated you to write this story?

I had written poetry books and had them publish I written the children’s book and after I did my creative writing diploma classes I had a group of short stories that I compiled and published a short stories book which I believe the short story book is what really truly push me forward to write a novel. My short story book is called Strange Happenings it’s also available on Amazon. The stories are twisted

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Angela Bassett the actress she is one of my all-time favorite actresses I would just love to pick her brain

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

I am very spiritual and I am also on a spiritual journey to elevate my spiritual being I’m very passionate and very driven when it comes to that subject

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I’m always looking to promote my writing and to get feedback from other people especially people in the literary community it helps me to tweak and improve my writing

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Never give up even when it seems like your writing is going nowhere the more you write the better you’ll get and it some point somewhere we’ll see your work and believe and it just like you

BUY Amazon

Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

Interview with Screenwriter Adam Lapallo (THE CRIMSON LEGACY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Adam Lapallo: The Crimson Legacy is an original screenplay about a private investigator with a dark past who hunts a serial kidnapper across Richmond, Virginia. His search takes him to the infamous Church Hill Tunnel collapse of 1925, the urban legend of the Richmond Vampire, and the secrets of his own family’s bloody history.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror/Mystery

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

The Crimson Legacy is based on real history. The Church Hill Tunnel, one of the longest railway tunnels in the country, collapsed in 1925 and killed several workmen. The tunnel remains untouched to this day and is a well-known story in the Richmond area. Workmen on the tunnel reported seeing a pale, jagged figure covered in blood fleeing the wreckage of the tunnel, which sprung the popular urban legend of the Richmond Vampire. I collected a wide spread of information on both the Church Hill Tunnel and authentic European vampire lore to create the story. I had the opportunity to interview Teresa Mason, the descendant of the engineer who died in the collapse, Thomas Mason. She agreed to let me use Tom Mason as a character in the script and shared a wealth of information on the tunnel and its workmen, much of which is not known to the history books.

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

Noir Vampires.

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

Hard to say, but most likely the Harry Potter films. J.K. Rowling has been a huge source of inspiration to me as a writer for my entire life and I grew up reading the Harry Potter books and watching the movies.

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

I developed the concept for The Crimson Legacy in November of 2017, during my senior year of college. I finished a rough draft a month later and by January had a script I was ready to submit to festivals. The script has gone through numerous edits since then, the most recent draft having been finished in July of 2018.

7. How many stories have you written?

The Crimson Legacy is one of five feature-length screenplays I’ve written, in addition to two TV pilots, five short films, three novels, and various short stories.

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

Probably the soundtrack to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which I often listen to while writing.

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

Writing The Crimson Legacy proved challenging in its intersection of two large research projects: the history of the Church Hill Tunnel and vampire lore. I wanted the character of Vasile Sangescu to accurately represent the classic image of the European vampire, from Bram Stoker’s era and before. I read the original Dracula and did a great deal of study on the origins of vampire mythology and the many traits associated with them. I learned that modern vampire movies get quite a lot wrong about the original lore, and I set out to portray Vasile as fearsome and mysterious, like Dracula himself or Murnau’s illusive Nosferatu. In addition, I wanted to use this script as a way of shedding light on a unique piece of Richmond’s history. This, again, meant a great deal of research and interviews. It has been a prevailing challenge to keep all of the factual components accurate without interfering with the film’s narrative, but the story I have produced is one I am very happy with.

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

I am a nationally-ranked, three-weapon fencer and a three-time Junior Olympic competitor. I have been fencing for nearly ten years and hold a B-rating in Foil and E-ratings in Epee and Saber. I was the Virginia Division’s #1 ranked Men’s Foilist for the 2016-17 season and am a part-time coach at my local club. I also played live-action Quidditch during my time at VCU, serving as Club Treasurer and eventually Head Coach of the team.

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

FilmFreeway has been an excellent resource. It is extremely easy to use and offers a wide variety of festivals and contests. I try to submit scripts through it a few times a month, and it has been instrumental in developing my career in screenwriting.

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

.
I was drawn to this festival because of the opportunity for prompt, affordable feedback. Most screenplay contests I know charge extremely high costs for feedback with submissions and often take several months to respond, by which point many of their suggestions are made obsolete by updated drafts and changes to the script. I have submitted to this festival several times with multiple projects and have always been satisfied and informed by the feedback I receive.

 

CAST LIST:

Narration – Salma Dharsee
Bill/Vasile – Shawn Devlin
Damien – Zain Warraich

Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.