David Redstone Winning Feature Screenplay – Fleet Week: Evanscence

For unproduced writers, the real frustration after keystroking “The End” is trying to get noticed.  There are so few outlets to present your material.  WILDsound appeals to me because my work now migrates from an unread concept into a produced staging, easily accessible by industry pros.

 – David Redstone, on the WILDsound Screenplay Festival (Review)

Based on David Redstone’s Sci-Fi/Drama novel, FLEET WEEK: EVANSCENCE is the December 2014 WILDsound Feature Screenplay Winner.

    Watch the Full Winning Reading Here:

    SYNOPSIS:

    A Navy ex-SEAL goes independently active to rescue his kidnapped niece from the ghostly world of undersea ‘Neathers’.

    CAST LIST:

    NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
    KRYSTEL JANELLI – Erin Boyes
    TOM GILMORE – Julian Ford
    DEREK GARNET – Andy Bridge
    CAPTAIN BERTREL – Chris Huron
    RAY KELVIN – Aaron Rothermund
    VARIOUS PEOPLE – Frances Townend

Q&A with writer David Redstone:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Fleet Week reveals the initial clash between our world of Topsiders and an undersea world of ‘Neathers. The crews of certain warships sunk during World War II became rejuvenated as oceanic ghosts. They existed in isolation for decades – their minds imprisoned by horrifying images of their own violent deaths and that of their shipmates. Advancing technology finally gives ‘Neathers brief windows of time to go topside and enjoy some of the good things in life that had been denied them. This first story in the Fleet Week saga centers around an obsessed ‘Neather captain bent on revenge and retribution, rather than pleasure-seeking. His target is a young woman related to the demise of his ship and crew.

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

I believe that a movie can only succeed if it grabs viewers and keeps them riveted throughout. Therefore, both plot and pace set by a film are critical. I think the storytellers are most essential: Viewers must become fully engaged with the people involved. That’s why some films reach the nirvana of repeat-watching. It’s not so much a film’s plot or pace that convinces a viewer to see it again and again. It’s fascination with the characters inside that very unique world. My hope is that the Fleet Week script displays these elements with enough clarity to be easily recognized by film producers.

MT: What is the theme of Fleet Week?

The main theme is second-chance opportunity. Redemption and obsession are sub-themes.

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

I think it’s a tie between the original Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz. Logical perhaps, because so many parallels exist between Oz and that first Star Wars film.

MT: What artists would you love to work with?

As far as well-known directors, the usual suspects: Eastwood, Lucas, Spielberg, Cameron, Peter Jackson. Yet I admire the diverse talents of so many in the film world. I’d be honored to work with any of those who excel within the multiple phases of cinematic storytelling.

MT: How many stories/screenplays have you written?

I’ve done 2 novels and 5 screenplays.

MT: Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?

Writing and/or directing feature films, and authoring more novels.

MT: Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?

I envision a long-form drama project as building a rail system:

1. The track is the Plot.
2. Stations and terminals are Locations/Settings.
3. Train cars are Characters. Main characters are engines, followed by boxcars of varying sizes, according to the weight of each character’s role.

Plot ideas arrive in various ways. I’ll poke around on the Internet within historical periods, searching for fascinating items which may not yet have been fully explored. Other times I’ll write within a genre that interests me greatly, such as crime drama.

I get a general idea of each character’s mindset before I write, and then alter them to fit once the actual writing begins. At some point your characters speak to you because you know them. You comprehend how they think.

Prior to writing a single word of the actual drama, I conduct thorough research into aspects of the project. The buck stops with me as the storyteller, initially anyway. So, I amass more than enough background information beforehand. I feel it’s a major responsibility to not let the audience lose track, or begin to question anything during their suspension of disbelief.

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Family and friends, of course, top the list. I’m also passionate about certain social/environmental/political issues. I am somewhat of a film buff. I’m very passionate about computers and especially software development. That’s been my day job.

MT: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

I believe the first priority for storytellers is to be absolutely fascinated with people. What they do, how they do it. What they say. What drives them, what are their fears, doubts, strengths and weaknesses. Whether a story is character-based or plot-driven, even if it involves talking animals or aliens – it’s still always about people, and how an audience relates to them.

Solid research is vital when writing anything, including fiction. You are the authoritative voice behind the words. If your characters as storytellers don’t pitch it credibly? The audience will pick up on it right away and then you’re sunk, Sunk, SUNK. There are no shortcuts to a well-researched piece of writing.

For newer writers: You’re going to get better as long as you keep at it. Act upon those critical points of feedback from others whose opinions you value. Eventually your style will emerge and you’ll fly on your own.

Matthew Toffolo, Interviewer BIO

Matthew Toffolo is the current CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival. He had worked for the organization since its inception in 2007 serving as the Short Film Festival’s moderator during the Audience Feedback sessions.

Filmmaker of over 20 short films and TV episodes. Took over full reins of the WILDsound Festival in May 2013. From then to the end of 2014, he’s presented over 90 movies at the monthly FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto, plus has had over 60 screenplays and stories performed by professional actors at the bi-monthly Writing Festival.

Go to http://www.wildsound.ca and submit your film, script, or story to the festival.

Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com and watch recent and past winning writing festival readings.

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