Watch the December 2016 Winning First Scene Screenplay Table Reading.
Watch TETON RECKONING:
NARRATOR – Val Cole
MADELEINE – Kerrie Lamb
GEORGE – Matthew Di Leo
LEE – Anthony Yu
TURNER – Minh Le
BOSS – Leo Choy
SISSY – Angelica Alejandro
Get to know writer Debi Yazbeck:
1. What is your screenplay about?
Teton Reckoning is about this crazy determined girl who hates being in pretentious Ft Worth society and longs for a life in pioneer territory – her dream: California. Of course, she ends up in Idaho… and then she’s kidnapped and fighting to survive in the treacherous Tetons and stuck between two men battling it out to the death for the mineral rights to a gold mine. Whoever holds the mineral rights on July 3, 1890 when Idaho gains its statehood takes home the prize – gold mine and Madeleine. But they best beware of Madeleine – she has plans of her own and the moxie to make them happen.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
Westerns never really go out of style. And westerns with strong female protagonists are hardly ever made – especially in any recent years. It’s smart, full of action and great characters – with a side story of romance.
3. This story has a lot going for it. How would you describe this script in two words?
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
5. This is a very tight, emotionally engaging and fun screenplay. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
Off and on for three years.
6. How many stories have you written?
At least a dozen.
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?
I love Idaho. I love sweeping vistas of mountains. I love horses. I admire women who make their mark – especially when they learn and grow and save others around them.
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
The middle act practically wrote itself – nonstop action, trickery, shootouts with enough character development to make it heartfelt. The climax grew and expanded a couple times to accompany Madeleine’s growth in my mind. The first thirty pages took longer for me to get right. But as I felt Madeleine come alive and live up to who I believe her to be… the first act sprang off the page. Madeleine is my hero.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Reading, family, creating atmospheres in my home and in my writing.
10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I really like the idea of readings. This will be the first I’ve had done on any of my works.
Once I rewrote the first act of Teton Reckoning, I couldn’t wait to see if it could receive some recognition – and it did!
I’m so excited. This is incredible verification that my instincts were correct.
I think the feedback is excellent and I tried to accommodate the suggestions without taking anything away from what I originally submitted to receive the win. I really like the encouragement and the willingness by the reader to share where I can make it even better. Y’all rock.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Love your characters – good and bad. Make them multi-dimensional if they are a main character. Live their world within their personality… Stories come alive.
* * * *