Henrietta’s Odyssey is the February 2016 Feature Screenplay Winner
Watch HENRIETTA’S ODYSSEY by L R Whittinger:
NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
HENRI – Amanda Pereira
EANIE/ARTHUR – Gabriel Darku
GEEGLE – Mark Sparks
ADA/MRS. STRICT – Elizabeth Rose Morriss
VARIOUS – Neil Kulin
Get to know winning writer L R Whittinger:
1. What is your feature screenplay about?
To save her Henrietta’s life, she is left on an earthling’s doorstep by Geegle one of the most untrustworthy characters in the plot. It so happens she is left on the wrong doorstep. She falls into the hands of the greedy Fritzgrumpy’s and becomes their slave. After Henri discovers she is a foundling and her supposed parents were only interested in being paid for looking after her. Her life turns upside down. Eanie Meanie saves Henri aided by with Geegle. So she can to find her way back to her real place in time and space. However, the Black Cardinal who has taken her rights away wants her dead.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
This is a rare comedy script, as weird as Edward Scissorhands and as compulsive as Time Bandits. The story is told in the style of Alice in Wonderland with animated sequences.
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 times in your life?
City of Ember (2008). It is always on TV and has a deep interesting plot.
5. This is a very tight, emotionally engaging and fun screenplay. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
This story began as a manuscript around 2006. It was published as Henri and the Alien (2008) and one London publisher immediately said it should be a film. Within a few years, I had developed a children’s TV series. I had interest at MIPCOM, Kidscreen, and CMC, but thought a feature film would allow me to build a stronger brand. I have been working on the screenplay with other projects for two years.
6. How many stories have you written?
I have written nine stories if one does not include different versions of the same story for different media.
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?
I think taking this story from novella to TV series, to Screenplay has been an enjoyable experience. I laughed and cried along with it. I had another screenplay on my PC about dolphins at the same time, which is now in pre-production under another writer’s name. It taught me how to write in multiple mediums for different audiences.
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Writing screenplays is like learning a language, very different from novels and literary fiction. It has a different grammar and tense. This problem is common to all writers, who switch from TV to films, or to books. One obstacle is always the problem, what to cut and what to keep, and which character leads and when. Another problem with a visual medium is leaving the right clues, for an actor to pick up the character’s emotional state. How many films have you watched, where a dialogue line can be interpreted many different ways with, pauses, expressions, etc.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I love history and am sad that many writers do not use authentic situations in historic films. The past is very intriguing and can offer enormous opportunities emotionally. I tend to be a workaholic because I was born on Saturday. I love the irony of politics, sport, and religion and wonder how they can subsume people. That is the novelist and thinker coming out. I think everyone should study anthropology, so they, can see how ridiculous humans are.
10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I feel WILDsound is a great way to develop a screenplay and get friendly feedback. It can be slow, but that has advantages, as every writer needs, at least, three projects underway at a time. You cannot keep reading the same thing repeatedly without a break. You need to be on the ball and creative.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
As William Nicholson (Gladiator, 2000) told me screenplays are about story. Never be possessive about you work. If you are, no one will want to work with you. The real trick for someone like me who writes book to film screenplays is, think out of the box and remember films are about seeing not feeling. Lastly, unless you are also a director or producer you will likely be undervalued for your contribution. The industry is geared to publicizing a few directors or actors to attract audiences. Thankfully, WILDsound is giving screenwriters the place they deserve.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson