Watch the January 2017 Winning 1st Scene Screenplay.
Genre: Drama, Thriller
A middle-aged accountant has to drive home from work because there is a tube strike. When he stops at a traffic light, a young man taps on his windscreen – with a gun – and orders him to let him in.
Get to know the writer:
What is your screenplay about?
The enforced meeting of absolute opposites, as a middle-aged accountant is carjacked by a crazed, gun-wielding drug addict.
What genres does your screenplay fall under?
Thriller and road movie.
Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
Because (I hope!) it takes the viewer on the same mad, uncontrollable journey that the hero (the middle-aged accountant) is taken on.
How would you describe this script in two words?
What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
Withnail & I.
How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I must confess that this is one of the quickest scripts I have ever written – about a week, including a few all-nighters (fittingly, for a film about a carjacking that lasts a whole night).
How many stories have you written?
About 10 feature-length screenplays, including The Shakespeare Plays, a biopic of Shakespeare (http://theshakespeareplays.com/); about 20 to 30 short films; and about a further 10 stage plays and radio plays.
What motivated you to write this screenplay?
I was originally commissioned to adapt a novel about a carjacking that was so utterly unbelievable, implausible and plain atrocious that I just couldn’t do it. Instead, I was inspired to write an original screenplay about a REAL carjacking, which happened to a friend of mine and was utterly terrifying. She survived – just – and I thought that if I could take an audience on that journey I would have a great movie script.
What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Like all writers, a shortage of time. I was working during the day at the time, which is why I had to write it at night, which, of course, is the best time to write: no phone calls (or tweets, emails, etc.); no interruptions of any kind; and in addition your brain is naturally attuned to being halfway between sleep and waking, which is probably the best place to be as a writer.
Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Shakespeare (hence the Shakespeare biopic); sport (especially football and tennis, which I write about for LastWordOnSports.com); and (writing about and thus fighting in my own small way) injustice!
What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
After years (indeed, decades) of hiding my light under a bushel, as it were, I am finally determined to get my writing “out there” – whatever the response (good or bad, but hopefully not indifferent). The most useful part of the feedback was a comment about the title, “INT. CAR. NIGHT.”, saying that it did not really “fit” the story, as it was “too meta”. I understand and appreciate that, which is why, having thought about it, I would now switch the title back to one of the original two titles I had – either just “CARJACK” or “HIT THE NORTH”, a title borrowed from a great Fall song and utterly fitting for this story.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson