Q&A with Writer Tom Pavlock. 1st Scene Screenplay Winner

Feedback, and a chance to have a scene read by actors is what motivated me to submit to WILDsound. I enjoyed watching the reading of my script. It was very interesting to hear words spoken by actors that I had written.

– Writer Tom Pavlock

WHERE SERPENTS LIE is a Mystery/Thriller with a lot of twists and turns. It will keep you guessing. Watch the 1st scene reading performed in November 2014 now:


NARRATOR – Amaka Umeh
FRANCES/LAUREN – Michelle Alexander
CARYN – Marsha Mason
CHET/JOHNNY – Geoff Mays
ART (TERRY) – Rob Notman
LOUIS/MARLON – Sean Ballantyne

WILDsound’s Matthew Toffolo chatted with Tom about this process and writing:

1. Matthew Toffolo: What’s your screenplay about?

Tom: “Where Serpents Lie” is about a Detective, Terry Naughton, who heads a crime unit known as CAY, Crimes Against Youth. Having lost a child himself, he dedicated his career to helping other children in harms way. “Serpents” is about a criminal called Horridus, who has been abducting children, dressing them as Angels, and letting them go, unharmed. The only clue he leaves is a piece of snakeskin tucked into the fabric of the Angels gowns. Terry believes that the actions of the Horridus will escalate, eventually leading to the children being harmed, or worse, killed.

At the beginning of the investigations, Terry is accused of actions, with evidence that seems 100% irrefutable, that puts him in a position to confront a dark past, as well as putting his career on the line. He is suspended, but continues to work the Horridus case behind the scenes while trying to find out who is framing him with these accusations.

MT: Why should this script be made into a movie?

Tom: First and foremost, it’s a good and interesting story. Terry is character, that has many layers, is likeable, but he still has these traits that don’t convince you 100% that he’s innocent of what he’s been accused of.

MT: What influenced you to write this screenplay?

Tom: I had read the book, as T. Jefferson Parker is a “friend of a friend” of my Wife, and it was sitting on her bookshelf. I then had a chance to meet Jeff at a barbeque, told him of my interest in writing screenplays, and asked him about this book. He was still in possession of the Rights, and at this point, being one of his older books, it probably wasn’t going to be sold to anyone. As an exercise in adaptation, I decided to adapt the book. The book is still on my shelf, only littered with hundreds of post-its marking pages, and noting sections to use or not use, in the script.

There’s a great twist that wraps up your first 10 pages and it immediately grabs your audience into knowing hat’s going to happen next. Can you give us a little tease on what’s going to happen in the upcoming pages?

Terry is drawn into another abduction case, and while at an event for the department, is confronted with evidence that appears to implicate Terry in a compromising situation with a minor. He is furious, removed from active cases, and while continuing to work with his unit behind the scenes, investigates who is framing him, and why.

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Tom: I own 662 DVD’s and counting, so I like a wide variety of films. That being said, I can watch films like Se7en, All The Presidents Men. Chinatown, LA Confidential, films that involve characters who don’t necessarily get along with each other, but end up coming together to solve the crime, problem, whatever it may be. I like films that have a lot of characters with shades of gray. That being said, I’m always up for smart action films with characters like Bond, Bourne and McClane.

MT: What artists would you love to work with?

Tom: On the directing side, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, and it may sound cliché since he’s only done a few films, but Ben Affleck has a pretty impressive resume. Actors that I love that can elevate the material….Denzel Washington, Kevin Costner, George Clooney, Emily Blunt, Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, pretty stock answers, but they’re some of my favorites, and then names that aren’t always at the forefront of peoples minds, Guy Pearce and Mark Strong are couple that come to mind.

MT: What are you passionate about in life?

Tom: Writing, Baseball, Family, and to some degree, Politics……. not necessarily in that order J

MT: Do you have a set routine when writing? Any advice you like to give to other writers?

Tom: I don’t have a set routine, as I own a business with my Wife, which takes up a lot of time, so I have to find time to write. I do find myself constantly thinking about whatever idea I want to write about, and then when I get the chance, I get a lot of information down at one time. I don’t think there is any one way to write. Write when you can, as much as you can, and when you’re finished, go back and read it. Don’t try and rewrite as you go, because you will start to feel like you are never going to finish. I do outline, but I have a tendency to stray from it because a lot of times, a new idea or direction will form, which takes me in a completely new direction that I hadn’t thought of when I was doing the initial outline.

– Enjoy!

By WILDsound Festival

Submitters reactions to their feedback on their stories. New testimonials coming each month! Watch this month's winning readings. At least 15 performances a month: www.wildsoundfestival.com Submit your script, story, poem, or film to the festival today: www.wildsound.ca


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