May 2016 Wining Short Screenplay.
Watch CUTTING REMARKS by Erin Richardson
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Upper-class housewife Nancy visits her hairdresser Amelia to change her look for her new beau, but she doesn’t know him quite as well as Amelia does.
NARRATOR – Sean Kaufmann
NANCY – Kelci Stephenson
AMELIA – Jennifer Ferris
Get to know writer Erin Richardson:
1. What is your screenplay about?
My screenplay is about a rather comical exchange between two extremely vain women with similar priorities and differing morals.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
I believe Cutting Remarks should be made into a movie because it makes a rather provocative statement about the materialistic nature of society (especially the middle-class) with a lighthearted and semi-realistic approach.
3. How would you describe this script in two words?
4. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
This probably won’t come as much of a surprise, but I’d have to say Tina Fey’s Mean Girls.
5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I spent four hours working on this screenplay. It all came to me very quickly and clearly.
6. How many stories have you written?
So many…I’ve been coming up with stories ever since I was a kid, most of my original stuff was usually executed through poorly written/drawn comics. When I was younger, I used to tell my parents stories during car rides, except most of the time they were just disjointed retellings of the animated film Shark Tale. As I got older I began to create my own stories that didn’t involve Will Smith as a fish. In high school I dove into screenwriting by creating specs for Pushing Daisies. After that, I started coming up with more specs for other television shows (I.e. Family Guy, American Dad, New Girl) and wrote a couple feature length films. Now that I’m in film school, I’ve started writing more short films, such as Cutting Remarks.
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?
Cutting Remarks was brought into this world after I was assigned a brainstorming project for my Introduction to Screenwriting class. My mind was drawing a blank whilst trying to come up with ideas for short films, and at the time I was due for a haircut. I headed to the salon and when I was there, I couldn’t help but notice the type of women that were sitting in the styling chairs next to me. Many of them in their forties, with dyed blonde hair, the occasional bad spray tan, wearing same black/grey semi-casual cotton blend dress. I knew then and there that I just had to make a character based on them.
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
I knew that I wanted to write a film that took place in a hair salon and I had my characters ready, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to end my film in an interesting way. Despite my disdain towards pitting women against each other for male attention (since almost every movie ever does that), I felt as if the ending I chose was the most fitting for the situation. I think it’s the irony that is most appealing to me; the gossip who thinks she knows everything doesn’t even know her hairdresser is shacking up with her boyfriend. It’s rather comical, in my opinion.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Although I am in film school and I intend to make a career out of being a screenwriter, I’m really quite passionate about the theatre. I enjoy singing, dancing, and acting, and the overall atmosphere of the theatre is a huge draw for me. I think what gets me most in both film and theatre is the sense of community. Both worlds involve an immense amount of collaboration, and I think it’s really beautiful when a group of people can come together and create something big (or small). I’m also quite passionate about travelling. I absolutely adore being exposed to different cultures and I sincerely believe that travelling is very healthy for the mind. It makes one wiser and more knowledgable about the world around them, and with that comes understanding (which can very easily be applied to one’s writings).
10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I entered the festival on account of the fact that I would like to build my resume as a screenwriter and get some exposure before I’m out of film school. I’m the kind of person that really likes to plan ahead, so I figured if I enter a few festivals here and there in my first year and do the same in the next three years, my name should acquire a wee slice of recognition within the industry.
I did, however, receive feedback on another screenplay I’d submitted entitled The Great Suburban Showdown. Generally I’m rather appreciative of feedback, and I often will make changes based upon it.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Always be aware of the world around you. Some of the best work is based upon observation. Take Seinfeld for example. It wasn’t really a show about nothing–it was a show about everything. Everything that happened in Seinfeld was based upon things that happen in real life, some of which actually happened to the show’s creator, Larry David. With this sense of observation, you should always be thinking to yourself, “What would make a great film/play/sketch?” See whimsy in the everyday, and let it inspire you. Another thing I think writers should know, which is difficult with the standards that this industry has set, is that they should not be afraid to voice their opinions on the faults of society through their work. But before you, the writer, decide to do so, make sure that your argument is clear, rational, and has enough people to support it that you’ll perhaps find success. As far as other tidbits of wisdom go, all I have to say is never give up, don’t let your past ruin your present/future, and be patient and open minded, especially with criticism. The entertainment industry is a tough field, but if you’re ready for it, I know it can be a wonderful place.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson