Best Scene Reading of GONIES by Phil Stokes

Watch the Best Scene Reading of GONIES:


NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
PHILLIP – Steve Shand
DICKIE – Scott Beaudin
DEVEREAUX – Brett Kelly

Get to know writer Phil Stokes:

1. What is your screenplay about?

In GONIES, two boys – Phillip and Dickie – in a big city during WWII use cooked up strategies and the advice of the mysterious Walter finale to overcome obstacles, while matching wits with an old man who poses a danger they greatly underestimate. To give you an idea of the tone, here’s one of Phillip’s fears: “They are going to find me dead in the gutter with a load in my pants.”

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

GONIES is real and funny, there’s tension, and there’s nothing out there like it. It’s a family movie that will appeal to a broad audience, especially if Jack Nicholson plays our villain, Joe Devereaux. *:D big grin

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

warm and scary

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

Probably Butch Cassidy. I saw it when it came out. Later, I read William Goldman’s book on the movie biz, which contains the script and his comments on the making of it and what he considered its strengths and weaknesses. The next step was to watch the movie over and over to see how all that got done and learn how I could apply it to my own writing.

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

I wrote the novel on which it is based back in 2003 and made a crappy attempt at a screenplay in 2010. After reading every screenplay “how to” on the planet, I got the bug and decided to do it right this year (2015). Now that the last of multiple revisions is done, I’m happy with it.

6. How many stories have you written?

The one novel, Philip and Dickie, a dozen short stories, and three short shorts. One of the latter got an honorable mention from Writer’s Digest.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

It would be exciting as hell to see audiences enthralled with Phillip and Dickie and Joe Devereaux on the big screen.

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

Initial procrastination and lots of frustration: a lot of producers were looking for horror movies and sci-fi and fantasy, and my movie was about little kids. One movie festival I entered announced three winners: all horror movies! Got me discouraged.

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

I manage and play on an adult baseball team (hardball), the Sacramento Phillies. We play Spring and Summer ball and do the amateur World Series in Arizona in the Fall. I hit ferocious line drives. I also spend a lot of time working on our 5 acres in Shingle Springs,CA, part of which includes the ongoing construction of my outdoor garden railroad.

10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival?

I thought it would be very helpful to see a table read. You really don’t know you’ve got your dialog right until it comes out of the mouths of actors.

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

Do what you can to get your script read – without expectations. Whatever happens happens. Before I wrote GONIES, I sent the novel it’s based on to Jack Nicholson to read in one of the bathrooms of the castle he had just purchased in France. I never got a response. I guess they put squat toilets in that castle.

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