Watch the June 2016 Winning Best Scene Comedy Reading.
AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, by Philip Naiman
After being saddled with the care of a niece he has never met a gambler’s life becomes further complicated when he is unable to pay off his kid brother’s bad debt to a Vegas hood.
Get to know the writer Philip Naiman:
1. What is your screenplay about?
AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT is a comedy about a gambler whose apparent carefree world is challenged when he is reluctantly awarded custody of an orphaned niece he has never met while at the same time he tries to bail his kid brother out of a debt to Las Vegas hoods.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
This is a comedy that relies on situations and character interaction. While the colourful characters are important it is the story that makes this screenplay. It is a story about family responsibility told in a humorous manner that I hope would appeal to a wide audience.
3. How would you describe this script in two words?
Two words kind of over simplifies one’s hard work but if pressed then I would say Luck and Responsibility.
4. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
I have watched several films over and over in all genres but for a comedy I never get tired of watching Abbott and Costello in THE NAUGHT NINETIES.
5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
This screenplay has undergone several reincarnations but I started writing it in 2010 with another title and plot line, left it and came back to it about a year ago to bring it to its current state.
6. How many stories have you written?
I have written 5 stories. The others are:
CROSSFIRE – an action drama set in 1992 Canada that was a Wildsound finalist and achieved an Award of Excellence at the 2011 Canadian Film Festival.
DOUBLE SHIFT – about twin hockey players who switch places when the superstar gets injured.
MY GUARDIAN ANGEL – about a father who tries to ensure that his family is taken care of – after he is fatally struck by lightning.
ANTHONY’S GIFT – (co-writer) about a recently invalid uncle who looks for divine intervention to give a most special gift to his nephew and best friend on his wedding day.
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?
I enjoy comedy’s that take humorous looks at serious situations – good stories with good characters. I also enjoy horseracing. What would happen if a gambler’s world was forced to change?
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
The major obstacle was to create a screenplay where there were essentially two stories going on at the same time with one central character.
The Punter /Crystal story line is just as important as the Punter / Garrett story line, with the two stories coming together at the end. In workshops the feedback was quite favourable but in competitions the feedback was more about how the story should focus more on the Punter/Crystal plot line which was not the direction I wanted. So in the end I think I came up with a story that should satisfy competition judges and still be true to the tale that I wanted to tell.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I have a number of interests. Apart being in the field of physical rehabilitation for 35 years which I truly enjoy I also enjoy making videos of trips and events. Using photos , video clips and music to make DVD’s about events or vacations that I have been to. I have people ask me to do such projects for them. It’s something I really have a lot of fun with and people seem to enjoy.
10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I enter competitions that offer feedback. This is something that is important to me. This festival not only offers feedback but offers the author the chance to see scenes actually acted out. This is worth the price alone. It is also local which is quite unique. I did well the first time I entered a screenplay and was quite impressed with the process. The feedback is useful and helped me to understand what the industry is looking for.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
. Since I have not sold anything it is difficult to tell another writer what works and what doesn’t. I would suggest that they try to get as much feedback as possible whether it be through workshops or competitions. If something consistently comes up, good or bad, then work with it. Don’t just take one person’s opinion but if the same critique occurs then at least you know that there may be something worth working on. As to how to get your screenplay into the hands of producers or directors and actually sell your product – I’m still working on that.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson