Watch the April 2016 1st Scene Screenplay Winner.
Man Seeking Monkey
Written by Steve Mikals
NARRATOR – Sean Kaufmann
MITCHELL – Michael Lake
DET. STRUMMER – Noah Casey
ARTHUR – Kiran Friesen
ARTHUR – Dennis Barham
Aided by their human friends, chimpanzees with typewriters try to climb the Evolutionary ladder.
Interview with Steve Mikals:
1. What is your screenplay about?
My screenplay is about the comedy of Evolution, how bigger forces than we realize are at work on this planet. It begins with a book shop putting a chimpanzee with a typewriter in the window, to see if he will type Shakespeare. It then follows that thread to some logically absurd conclusions. Along the way this will involve a secret program of one hundred typing chimpanzees and the canon of Western literature, spoofs of Mafia loan sharks and “going to the mattresses”, and the DNA of Custer’s scalps. Plural.
Trust me, it works.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
It deserves to be a movie because it entertains AND challenges the audience to think beyond comfort zones. Two examples of this are the classic comedy Groundhog Day, and one of my current favorites, Lucy, Luc Bresson’s provocative look at human potential welded to a Hong Kong action flick.
3. How would you describe this script in two words?
4. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
Annie Hall. It’s one of the all-time greats, especially for an ending that refuses to pull punches.
5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I recently wrote a novel, my first. It took me three years, on and off. It took only three months to adapt it into the rough draft of this screenplay, but it has been polish and edit ever since.
6. How many stories have you written?
I have two others in progress. One, a followup to MSM, set in the same book shop with a few of the same characters. It has a killer opening sequence, but I have yet to settle on the metaphysical instrument it revolves around. The second is a romantic comedy that follows the aftermath of a divorce, and I hope captures some of the poignancy as well as the comic possibilities. I will submit both of the openings to this festival.
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?
This screenplay began as a novel (my own), and as I watched the publishing world collapse in the Internet Age, I decided I had a better shot at success with a screenplay and film festivals like this one. Plus, I’ve given up reading novels, except for clean stylists that I find helpful in my writing, like Jonathan Franzen, Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard, and George Higgins,
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
I was working from a novel (my own) with TOO MANY funny plots, characters and scenes. I had to teach myself a great deal about editing and make tough but rewarding choices.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
You can be passionate about more than one thing? 🙂
10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
Critiquing the first ten pages is a great idea. That’s the easiest part to write, so it had better rock. The feedback is objective and helpful.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Accept all feedback in the constructive spirit it is given. Let it sink in over time. These people are now where you want to be.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson