Watch the January 2017 Winning Comedy Short Screenplay Reading.
Genre: Sci-Fi, Comedy, Romance, Family
In 2065, Sandra brings her Artificially Intelligent boyfriend home to meet her grandmother, who struggles to accept him.
Get to know the winning writer:
What is your screenplay about?
When Sandra brings her Artificially Intelligent boyfriend home for dinner, her family struggles to accept him. In addition to the nerves that come with meeting a significant other’s family, this boyfriend has to overcome a deep-rooted prejudice against robots. Great. Let’s see how Sandra’s overbearing, Jewish grandmother reacts.
What genres does your screenplay under?
Sci-Fi, Comedy, Family
Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
This story exposes an important social issue in an engaging, digestible way. It’s really about the struggles of any “unconventional” couple (LGBTQ, interracial, etc.), and the cyclical nature of social progress from generation to generation. Anyone who has ever been rejected by his or her significant other’s family will relate to this story. More importantly, people who feel you should only date “your own,” may even be able to take a step back and question that impulse. I believe this story could have a great impact if made into a film.
How would you describe this script in two words?
Provocative and silly.
What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
When Harry Met Sally.
How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I worked on various iterations of this story for about eight months. I am currently working on a pilot inspired by the two main characters and their relationship.
How many stories have you written?
I have written three feature screenplays, many more short screenplays, short stories, poems, and songs. I am constantly writing.
What motivated you to write this screenplay?
Years ago, a family member of mine did not approve of my former partner, and it stuck with me. I was very close with that family member, and was not expecting his negative reaction. Others told me to “let it go,” because he was old, and from “a different time.” I tried to imagine: If I was very old, and my granddaughter brought home a lover, is there any kind of person I would find unsuitable? Any kind of religion? Race? Sexual identity? As I wracked my brain, the only thing I could think was, “as long as it’s human.” That’s when it clicked: if my hypothetical granddaughter were to bring home a robot, I would, in fact, question that love, and my hate would sound all too familiar. It also sounded ridiculous when aimed at a robot. I thought, what a perfectly absurd metaphor to use to expose the idiocy of real prejudice. At the end of the day, it’s just fear of the unfamiliar.
What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
There are a lot of big themes at play here, and a lot of different ways to tell this story. I had to explore several avenues before I found the one that felt right.
Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I love music (which I also write) and comedy, and care deeply about social justice.
What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I saw a few videos of previous readings, and I loved the idea. The initial feedback was very helpful.
Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
My only advice is to write what’s in your gut. It’s the only thing worth reading, and the only voice nobody else has. Plus, it’s in your gut—don’t let that fester.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson