Submit your First Scene to the Festival: http://firstscenescreenplay.com
Watch Table Reading of the July 2016 Winning First Scene Screenplay.
SENIOR PRANK by Shiv Sudhakar
A group of cunning high school seniors must outwit their principal in order to pull off the ultimate senior class prank.
Get to know the winning writer:
1. What is your screenplay about?
It’s about a group of cunning high school seniors who try to outwit their wary principal in order to pull off the ultimate senior prank.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
Whether we happen to be in high school or not, I think it speaks to the high school kid in all of us who secretly want to pull off the ultimate senior prank without having to face the consequences. It’s about rules and how some rules are meant to be broken sometimes. It reminds us that having good friends is important in life–even as we get older and you can never go wrong following your instinct.
3. How would you describe this script in two words?
Funny and Original.
4. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
Way too many to count. Titanic. I hate to admit it, but it’s true.
5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
About 2 years.
6. How many stories have you written?
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?
The most impactful experiences in my life were in high school. My teachers and friends taught me a lot about life and how to be a good person. I wanted to give back, so I decided to volunteer my time and tutor students struggling in the high school I went to. This script came out my own positive experience in high school and tutoring the students.
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
I work full time as a physician and take classes part-time at Academy of Art to complete my MFA. I wrote this script on my own time, so I would say the biggest obstacle was time, but like anything in life, you find time for what you love to do.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Teaching. I really like teaching high school students. I don’t get paid for it, but it is a real treat to go back to my own high school and teach in the same classrooms to the new generation of students. I also love to run!
10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
Like any writer, I go through extremes of what I think my script could become–the next oscar winning screenplay or the worst screenplay written…like ever. I entered to see if anyone else besides myself would actually like it! The feedback was really positive and motivating. It made me feel it could go somewhere. I started pitching it and got a request last week (which I know does not mean anything–the executive may not like it and then I’m back to sqaure one, but still it was fun to send it to him since I have never been able to get any of the scripts I have written in an executive’s hands…until now!)
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Everyone says write what you know, but I would say weave in what you know with what you want to see on the movie screen. Find a mentor and listen to him or her. Write as much as you can and read as many scripts as you can. Get coverage. Don’t ever send out your first draft. If you look at the success stories of many professional screenwriters, almost everyone has a unique journey which lead them to the big break. Professional screenwriters exist–so why can’t it be you? Life’s not a spectator sport–like my favorite high school teacher taught me–you have to go after what you want.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson