This is the 5th or 6th time I’ve submitted a script to WILDsound over the past few years. But this is the first time I’ve actually broken through to the next round and will have something read. Haha. So thank you for that. I think it’s the timely and respectful feedback that has influenced me to enter the festival. For a reasonable price, I can get insightful feedback and a chance to have it read aloud. And it’s a chance you get monthly, which is cool.
– John Arthur-Ingram, on why he submits to the WILDsound Festival
Watch the 1st Scene Screenplay reading of THREE PLAY:
NARRATOR – Sedina Fiati
Oliver – Jarrid Terrell
Blake – Robert Notman
Silvia – Erynn Brook
Matthew Toffolo interviews John-Arthur Ingram:
Matthew: What is your screenplay about?
John-Arthur: It’s a romantic comedy about being loved for who you really are.
Logline: Oliver, a neurotic who’s hopelessly in love with his best friend Blake, finally comes out to both his shameless girlfriend, Silvia, and Blake. This revelation backfires when Oliver discovers Silvia and Blake are in madly in love. As a final act of desperation, Oliver magically switches bodies with Silvia days before her wedding to Blake.
(My Best Friend’s Wedding meets A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Oliver is planning to come out to Blake and Silvia at a production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM in a city park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. What he doesn’t realize is that Blake and Silvia have been sleeping together. This becomes evident when he catches them having sex backstage. After all the secrets spill out over a confrontation, Oliver moves to LA and cuts them out of his life.
One year later, Blake and Silvia are getting married Tulsa. Blake wants Oliver there for a chance to reconcile their friendship before the wedding day. Silvia doesn’t. It takes a guilt trip from Oliver’s mother to persuade him to come back to Tulsa. Under Blake’s insistence, Oliver and Silvia attempt to resolve their friendship. This is done over pot brownies and wine at a theater production in the SAME city park as before. Oliver confesses his long time crush on Blake and desire to be Silvia. She confesses guilt about the past and cold feet about the future. And with a wish, Oliver and Silvia switch bodies.
Now, it’s two days before the wedding and the duo scramble to keep the switch a secret while looking for a way to fix their problems. First things first. The rules: Oliver cannot sleep with Blake. Silvia cannot out Oliver to his mom, Josephine. Meanwhile, Josephine is refusing the advances of a handsome suitor. She’s struggling to move on with her life after divorce; believing her husband is coming back. .
From a trip to the gun club, indoor soccer bachelor party, and hotel after party, Oliver and Silvia navigate the bachelor/bachelorette party in their new bodies. However, things gets crazy when, Marco, an old college friend, comes out to Oliver as Silvia and announces his love for Oliver. Blake questions his sexuality when Silvia as Oliver tries to seduce him. Everything unravels at the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding forcing Oliver and Silvia to confront a decision about the future.
Ultimately, Oliver has to take ownership of his sexual identity and forgive Silvia by letting go of Blake. Silvia has to overcome her guilt and cold feet. Both have to stop being selfish. But will they switch back?
In the course of three days, we get a body swapping comedy that explores the theme: Being you is a constant you should never escape.
Matthew: Why should this script be made into a movie?
John-Arthur: Because I want to see these diverse group of characters represented in a story like this. Because this damn script won’t leave alone. Because I’m afraid of seeing too much of myself in this story. Because this script was one of the most fun I had writing and it helped shape my artistic goals.
Matthew: How long have you been writing stories?
John-Arthur: Since I started keeping a journal in 4th or 5th grade. Then writing dark and romantic lyrical poetry; mostly poor attempts at imitating Frost, Shelley, Keats, Browning, Swinburne, and Wilde. I didn’t discover screenwriting until about 6 years ago; 2009.
Matthew: What movie have I seen the most in my life?
John-Arthur: Let’s just say the original Star Wars trilogy and Indiana Jones are a given. With that in mind, it’s tie between The Rocketeer and Home Alone. Hahaha.
Matthew: What artists would you love to work with?
John-Arthur: I’m assuming you mean strictly in the film/tv industry? Off the top of my head: Alan Ball, Beau Willimon, Brad Pitt and Leo Dicaprio (don’t judge me!), Shonda Rimes, Ben Affleck (director), Steve Mcqueen, Ryan Murphy, Adrian Lyne, Jenji Kohan, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sarah Treem, John Logan. Jason Katims.
If I could work with any artists of the past: Langston Hughes and Oscar Wilde.
Matthew: How many stories/screenplays have you written?
John-Arthur: — 4 original TV pilots
— 3 TV specs
— 3 co-written feature specs
— 2 writer for hire feature scripts
— 1 solo feature specs so far…Three Play!
Matthew: Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?
John-Arthur: I would like to be in a reliable and trustworthy relationship with at least 2 indie production companies who enjoy supporting and collaborating with me in producing the types of stories I want to tell. And you know? Make a comfortable living from it all.
Matthew: Describe your process, do you have a set routine, method for writing?
John-Arthur: I fight to have at least 3 or 4 hours a day to just write or daydream of writing. Haha. I would call my method of writing, Anxious Curiosity. I’m fascinated by the fringes of the human psyche and the anatomy of the human condition. So I always begin with questions (including theme) then frame them in a narrative structure. I like to spend months just creating the main characters by writing their backstories/biographies; how they arrived at the place where the story begins. Then move forward.
I believe in the freedom of the first draft. Write it for yourself; however you want. I don’t believe I have to know my theme or everything about my story in the first couple of drafts. I just need to know where on the map I want to begin and where I want to end; not necessarily down to the house, but just what county/province I want arrive at. I’ll find the house when I get to the 4th or 5th draft…or I just rewrite the whole damn thing!
Matthew: Apart from writing, what else are passionate about?
John-Arthur: English Football. I’ve been a Liverpool FC fan since I was nine years old! YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE.
Matthew: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
John-Arthur: “Never tell me the odds.” Seriously, they’re frightening in this industry.
Just write the movie you want to see the best way you can. Over and over and over til you’re dead. Writing is the only thing we have control of.