Watch the April 2016 winning feature screenplay.
CATCH THE DEVIL by Martin Blinder:
Genre: History, War, Adventure, Drama
Synopsis: A Civil War true adventure tale of three Union soldiers, the first winners of a Congressional Medal of Honor, whose audacity and bravery trumped the superior lethal technology of the Confederate South in their daring raid into the heart of Dixie.
Get to know writer Martin Blinder:
Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?
Martin Blinder: A true story about how, during the American Civil War, three daring Union soldiers, a suicidal fatalist, a reckless gambler and a morose obsessive-compulsive sneak into the Confederate South well behind enemy lines and there commit many successful acts of sabotage, all the while eluding almost an entire pursuing Confederate Army, and at war’s end are awarded this nation’s first Congressional Medals of Honor for bravery, one of them, posthumously.
MT: Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
MB: So many of the action films that come to the multiplex consist of fictional and unreal characters or comic book figures who are faced with apocalyptic forces of evil. They all seem the same to me – unconvincing, loud, and ultimately boring. By contrast, Catch the Devil is the largely true story of real men who bravely place themselves in situations of real peril and who, despite conflicts between them and in their inner selves, ultimately prevail. You will care about all the people in this story on both sides of this epic fight. A motion picture is an excellent medium with which to tell this highly visual tale.
MT: How would you describe this script in two words?
MB: Character driven.
MT: What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
MB: I often cannot find the time to see the new movies as they come out (and I am including those wonderful television series), let alone find the time to again see a movie already viewed but I think I’ve seen Casablanca and Gungadin more than once.
MT: How long have you been working on this screenplay?
MB: That remains to be seen. Still working on it.
MT: How many stories have you written?
MB: Probably a dozen.
MT: What motivated you to write this screenplay?
MB: Real and attractive characters have a real, highly visual adventure that incidentally perfectly fits the Hollywood formula for a compelling film.
MT: What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
MB: Telling a complex story involving a half dozen fully developed characters in less than 200 pages.
MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
MB: Unfortunately, too many things. Seems I have a short attention span.
MT: What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
MB: Unlike a book or article a screenplay has no life unless it’s performed.
MT: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
MB: 1. Read your script aloud twice, first just the dialogue, then just the descriptions.
2. Look at every page without reading a word. There should be lots of wide space. If you see big chunks of words you’ve got some cutting to do.
3. However succinct your writing, there isn’t a paragraph in your script that would not profit from losing a sentence, and not a sentence that would not profit by dropping at least one word. I have posted on my writing desk some advice given back in medical school by my old professor of surgery:
“If in doubt, cut it out.”
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson