Watch the Winning TV PILOT Reading of HOT FLASH HIGH:
NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
RILEY – Rochelle Burke
DIANE – Maya Woloszyn
ALEX/BRANDON – Paul Falkowski
TREVOR – Aieron Munro
CHARLIE – Robert Notman
DR. BROWNSTEIN – Charles Gordon
NURSE WILSON – Susan Q. Wilson
Get to know writer Molly Driscoll:
1. What is your TV PILOT screenplay about?
After a medical crisis, 16 year-old GRACE’S perfect high school life is threatened when she undergoes “medically induced menopause,” effectively draining her of hormones. Determined to keep her idyllic life, Grace tries to hide her new condition, but her body might not be so willing.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a television show?
I think because everything about it is a surprise. In “Hot Flash High,” my goal was to write characters you thought you knew, but with a second glance, you realize you don’t know them at all. Also, I wanted to explore how your life changes when you get diagnosed with a life altering, non-curable, yet not life threatening disease. Meaning, Grace’s life will never be the same, and in the pilot, she’s barely scraps the surface of that issue. It will be an ongoing struggle for her to discover her new normal as she learns more about her disease and how it will affect her in the future.
3. This story has a lot going for it. High School setting with a unique spin. How did you get the idea for the teenage menapause angle?
The story is based on my own struggle with endometriosis and entering menopause at twenty-four. I think one of the greatest perks of being a writer is whenever you have a struggle, you can rationalize that one day it will make for excellent material. I decided to set “Hot Flash High” in high school and not the early twenties because people always think of hormone crazed teenagers. One thought kept running through my head, “what would high school be like without hormones?”
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
I have always been more of a TV person. Even before binging was a thing, I would binge with my TV DVDs and before that old school recorded VCR tapes of favorite shows. My-go to binges are Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, Friends, and more, recently Arrow and Jane the Virgin.
5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I started the first draft on this script about two years ago, so it has had several rewrites!
6. How many stories have you written?
When I started out I wrote three screenplays, but since then I have been focused solely on television. I have written four spec teleplays and three original pilots. I am also currently working on a new original pilot.
7. What would you say the theme of your TV PILOT is?
“Hot Flash High” is about redefining yourself after life strips away what you always thought was a defining characteristic. All of these characters have roles that their world projects on them and they have to decide whether they want those roles or not. Grace, in particular, is on a journey to discover her voice. It was a very conscious decision to have her voiceover be in contradiction with her dialogue. Ultimately, I would love to see those two elements align as Grace grows as a person and learns to speak her mind more.
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
I think when writing a pilot there’s a struggle of what to reveal and what to keep hidden. Also, balancing between A, B, and C stories in a =-0p9pilot is always rough because you have such limited space to introduce a whole world of characters.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I have always loved fashion. If I was not a writer, I think I would love styling. People who get all the high end freebies because they have a fashion or lifestyle blog, have totally figured out life. I also think writers’ block abets this passion because whenever I hit a stumbling point, my online shopping takes a hit.
10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I loved the idea of the YouTube read. We all get flooded with emails, so the opportunity to send a link instead of a script was very appealing. Everyone has been great at WILDsound and the feedback was spot on. Especially one note, which really helped clarify the final act.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Also, take time in between those rewrites because it’s amazing how clear things become with a little distance. While you are taking that time, be working on something else because you always need to be writing. It’s like working out. It’s really hard to get in shape, but easy to get out of it.
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