Comedy Feature Screenplay – MISPRINTS by Adam Preston

Watch the April 2016 winning comedy feature screenplay.

MISPRINTS by Adam Preston

Genre: Comedy

Synopsis:  An emotionally shredded proof reader shares an apartment with a naive intern at a publishing house. When they decide to publish a rejected manuscript by an uncontrollable, priapic, egotistical and superannuated author their little island of dissatisfaction is blown apart.


NARRATOR – Frances Townend
RICHARD – Kaleb Alexander
OLLIE – Jarrid Terrell
DR. ZAHN – David Occhipinti
SARAH – Erynn Brook
JESSICA/FI – Christina Santos
NICK – Rob Notman

Get to writer Adam Preston: 

Matthew Toffolo: The two main leads – who are the inspirations for these characters?

Adam Preston: Richard is a combination of two people I know – one who is very amusing and has a tendency to revel in his own failure and another who is very over-sensitive and damaged. Ollie comes partly from my cousin who escaped London and went to live in a tipi in a Scottish forest.

MT: Dr. Zahn is an actor’s dream. Was there a particular actor you had in mind when writing him?

AP: I don’t believe in writing for a particular actor because I want to create original characters and I think great actors want to do something new each time rather than repeat themselves. There is a rich treasure trove of actors who are the right age to play Zahn. He could be anywhere between 60 and 80 years old. My dream Zahns include Bill Murray, Jeff Bridges, Al Pacino, Robert DeNero, Ben Kingsley, John Malcovich, Dustin Hoffman, Danny DeVito, Harvey Keitel, Bill Nighy, Patrick Stewart – they all have incredible charisma and each would bring something amazing and different to the part – but how do I get the script into these guys hands?

MT: How would you describe this script in one sentence?

AP: It’s a comedy about two prematurely washed up young guys who are changed by an old egomaniacal over-sexed author who refuses to accept he is old.

MT: What is your favorite all-time comedy film?

AP: Some Like It Hot
I recently wrote a blog post about it:

MT: Was it important for this screenplay to have a happy ending?

AP: I tried different endings. Some where I gave the protagonists too much glory and some where I risked leaving the audience on a downer. I feel this ending gets the balance right – their book is a bit of a joke but there’s an eccentric readership out there who are going to find it – and they both get their love lives sorted out and Ollie escapes the big city.

MT: You’ve directed in the past. Do you see yourself directing MISPRINTS too?

AP: If the right director came along I would not stand in their way but I have been developing my directing career in parallel. Last year I made a short called The Last Post which has been showing at festivals all over the world and particularly in the States. Shorts TV have just picked it up for distribution and will be broadcasting it. You can watch the trailer for the short here:

MT: What inspired you to become a writer/director?

AP: I loved movies from an early age but I was a very dreamy kid and lived in my own world. I never thought about where movies came from. When I was at university I suddenly stumbled on the idea that you could make them- I was walking up stairs and a friend (Alex Michaelis – now a very successful architect) said “why not make a film?” It hit me like a thunderbolt. I persuaded my tutor to let me make a movie as my literature dissertation.

MT: Who would you love to have dinner with (dead or alive)?

AP: Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges, John Huston, John Schlesinger, Carol Reed, Woody Allen, Alexander Payne, I could go on…

MT: If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

AP: I have worked as a portrait and mural artist and a cartoonist so I guess I’d be doing a combination of those.

MT: What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

AP: I’m looking for opportunities to both improve the script and get some exposure for the project so this ticks both boxes. The quality of the feedback was excellent – you could immediately see that it was written by someone who both loves and understands movies, and more specifically they immediately understood what kind of film I’m trying to make.

MT: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

AP: I probably need to prove myself a bit more before I start dishing out advice!


Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson


Best Scene Reading: Comedy Screenplay MISPRINTS by Adam Preston

Best Scene Reading of the comedy feature screenplay. The entire screenplay will be performed at the festival in April 2016.

Watch Best Scene of MISPRINTS by Adam Preston:


NARRATOR – Amanda Pereira
DR. ZAHN – Neil Kulin
RICHARD – Mark Sparks
OLLIE – Gabriel Darku
LYNDA – Elizabeth Rose Morriss
MATRON – Susan Wilson

Get to know writer Adam Preston:

What is your screenplay about?

‘Misprints’ is about that time in your life – and I think all the best people go through this – when you are just a disaster. You’re in the wrong job or you’re failing to get over a broken heart and you still haven’t learned the important lessons that are going to enable you to get your shit together and start being a proper person. For me this happened when I was in my mid to late twenties and I realized, thinking back, that for a while I was living like an old man – like someone who was sort of washed up and finished. So I had the idea that it would be fun to have a young man who is living like an old man be changed by an old man who is living like a young man. That is where the character of Dr. Zahn comes from – he’s never grown up and still wants to live the fantasy life of a twenty year old.  So he and the young guy sort of swap places in the film and order is restored.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie? 

People absolutely love the kind of comedies where they see flawed people struggling and failing. Films like ‘Sideways’ and ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and Withnail and I’ where you see people flailing about and really screwing up and then achieving a believable bit of glory. The story has to be told with immense wit and of course that’s hard to achieve – that’s why I’m always improving, always seeking feedback and listening to comments. If we can get this right this has the potential to be a film that audiences really take to heart – because when you see movies like that you realize that somebody out there understands that we are all failing – making goddawful messes of our lives and somehow muddling through and getting to the next chapter. If you can get that across while making people laugh I think it’s very cheering and it is potentially a more honest sort of ‘lift’ to the spirits than more obviously upbeat movies, so it endures longer.

This story has a lot going for it. How would you describe this script in two words?  

Slacker farce

What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Some Like It Hot   In fact I’ve just written a blog post about it

This is  a very tight, emotionally engaging and fun screenplay. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

From first spark to this draft about three years

How many stories have you written?

I have five finished screenplays, one feature film credit (Hangar 10), one novel, one half hour sitcom script, five short films (which I wrote and directed) and many many treatments.

What motivated you to write this screenplay? 

I love great comedy and my dream is to make one – then another and another..

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay? 

The biggest obstacle for me is carving out writing time for myself.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love directing and have just finished a short film called ‘The Last Post’ which has been shown at festivals all over the world and has been picked up by Shorts TV. They will be showing it on their channel and representing it for global sales (it’s at Clermont-Ferrand in France, the world’s premier short film festival and market, this week).

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I am looking for ways to improve the screenplay and get it noticed so this festival ticked both boxes. A table read is a great way to scare up weaknesses in a script – you can quickly tell where the energy is flagging. I have a lot of belief that this is an entertaining and original piece so I’m hoping it might also attract some people from the movie industry to the project.

The feedback I have received from the festival has been exceptionally useful; always straight to the point, clear, detailed (but not long winded), highly practical and attainable. I was particularly impressed that as well as advice on improving the writing there was also stuff on formatting issues. A lot of rubbish had built up in the slug lines. The feedback enabled me to clean all that up.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Nurture relationships with people who are prepared to read your stuff and give detailed feedback. Whatever you write you need to have bright honest people look at it before you send it out into the world.


Adam Preston

February 2016



Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson