Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Two young men must find their passage through the canals of post-apocalyptic London, to peace and freedom, in the “promised land” beyond: Bristol.
Get to know the writer:
1. What is your screenplay about?
Two young men have to find passage through the canals of post-apocalyptic London, to peace and freedom in the “promised land” beyond – Bristol.
Ostensibly a coming of age tale, in the guise of a zombie, road-trip, buddy-movie, canal tour; a genre much under-represented in mainstream cinema to date.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
Sci-fi / black comedy – somewhat akin to A BOY AND HIS DOG (1975) in tone.
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
Though an engaging story on its own merit – balancing hubris and heart as it does – this script was always penned, in part, as a love-letter to the hidden beauty of London. It’s a landscape and pace one has to see on-screen to truly appreciate. To this end, the screenplay has wonderful cinematic potential in the hands of a suitably talented / adventurous crew.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
When I was a kid, my Dad used to get a half-day off work on Wednesdays. This meant that once I’d finished school, and walked the dog, we’d sometimes have time for a movie together before Mum got in. We must have watched OUTLAND (1981) countless times, then; simultaneously enjoying it for everything it does right in its Sci-fi adaptation of the Western, whilst lambasting the science myths it perpetuates, and Sean’s typical post-MARNIE performance. Perhaps having a mouthful of scenery, still, explains away the accent, Sean? Anyway, it is an absolute gem of a film and well worth checking out.
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I deliberately set out to pen an indie-budget Feature – one I could potentially even self-finance somewhere down the road a bit! – and gave myself a month to achieve it. Researched. Plotted. Written. Edited: 4 weeks.
7. How many stories have you written?
Depends on *your* definition of a story! I like to make every e-mail typed, anecdote told, Tweet sent, or Facebook comment posted, a story in its own right. Well, maybe not Twitter – that forum is, really, more just the local crazy person shouting into the void, isn’t it?
Discounting those particular narratives – as well as some ghost-writing I’ve done, and script-consultation work? – I have something in the order of a dozen stories I consider ‘complete’; with another 3 or 4 on my development slate at the moment. The dozen range from original Feature, to TV pilot (plus series outline), to Short Film, One-Act Play, and even some Spec TV episodes.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
Checking against Spotify, and that seems to think “Revolution” by The Score. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a splendid track and all, but I fear this statistic may be somewhat skewed. (I wrote a Rick & Morty spec recently which referenced that track in a musical montage… so it’s been looping away on repeat in the background.)
Always query statistics!
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Portraying the mechanics of canal travel necessary for the final Act to work in an economical way, as well as capturing the essence of specific key geographic locations en-route, for a reader who may (or may not) be familiar with some aspects already – all the while avoiding heavy exposition – was a bit of a challenge. Not so sure I entirely achieved it, in fact!
Written with a practical Indie budget in mind, I was also very conscious of ‘bang-for-the-buck’. This led to a couple of potential sub-plots being dropped (though they remain viable as a tie-in, sequel, or in a higher-budget redraft).
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I remain fascinated by, and occasionally even active in, aviation; with a particular passion for rotary-wing aircraft in the experimental classes.
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
I’m a big fan of FilmFreeway, and use it – rather than my own website these days – as my primary online folio host. Super-easy to find interesting festivals / competitions through it, and submitting projects into those is as simple as a couple of clicks. I’ve recommended the platform not only to fellow writers, but also some Directors and festival organisers I know.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
Sci-fi, innit? Though I’m versed working in other genres, sci-fi is where my own original works tend to naturally gravitate. Via FilmFreeway it was easy to find the Fantasy Sci-Fi Festival, and submit my project. Ultimately, I was hoping to rally a bit of PR, some industry recognition, maybe even an extra award under my belt for the CV; it all helps when it comes to selling a spec, landing a commission, or a foot-in-the-door for a staff gig.
With regard to feedback as a service, I feel in general it can be something of a double-edged sword. Primarily, of course, feedback is a subjective thing: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Furthermore, it’s very easy for feedback to deflect unique, experimental, or even subversive projects back into just routine, formulaic, fare. With this in mind, I didn’t order any additional feedback, and only took the default offered. Happily, I can report that what I did receive was fair, professional – even somewhat encouraging. Thanks for that!
Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Director: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: Kimberly Villarruel
Camera Op: Mary Cox