Type of Script: TV spec script for the tv show Firefly
The pain caused by the bounty hunter, Jubal Early, in the finale of Season Two still echoes. When the crew of Firefly are infected with a mysterious and deadly airborne virus with dark links to River's past, Simon must choose between saving the crew and saving his sister.
Narrator: Julie Sheppard
River: Val Cole
Simon: Steve Rizzo
Kaylee: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Mal: Geoff Mays
Reading of the first 5 pages of the script.
Get to know the writer:
1. What is your screenplay about?
A spec script of the tv show Firefly. The pain caused by the bounty hunter, Jubal Early, in the finale of Season Two still echoes. When the crew of the spaceship Serenity are infected with a mysterious and deadly airborne virus with dark links to River's past, Simon must choose between saving the crew and saving his sister.
I was really interested in how the crew in a confined space would react to a deadly disease. Bullets and fist fights can be faced head on, but disease is more insidious and plays on different fears. Infection makes everyone suspect.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
Science Fiction - or probably more accurately to the show: Space Western.
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
It's a spec script of a cancelled show, but if Firefly ever returned I think it would make a ripper episode with a strong emotional core. It's always fun to watch control freaks like Simon (and to a lesser extent Mal) in situations they can't control.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
The only video we owned when I was a kid was a grainy bootleg copy of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc. Considering I can still picture every scene even though I haven't seen it for years, probably this one. Face-melting Nazis - the perfect movie for every child!
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I wrote it at the end of 2019 over about 6 months as part of my Screenwriting course. I was a little shocked in 2020 when plague ships became topical!
7. How many stories have you written?
Hundreds. I've been writing prose and screenplays for years now. I've published a few short stories and produced a few short films. I'm currently working on completing my longer stories and getting them out in the world.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane. It's so wonderfully creepy, building to an epic surreal crescendo.
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
My biggest challenge was the structure. I needed to work out the technical issues around the illness, increase tension as the disease progressed and intertwine the different storylines. On top of this I needed to make sure the emotional stories worked.
My solution was to use John Wood's 5 act structure which is perfect for plotting out the character's changing knowledge of situation.
I also played with the feeling of claustrophobia - caused by the lack of oxygen on the ship and the disease, but also by fear and claustrophobic relationships. I tied this theme throughout every scene and made sure it built to the climax of the film. I then wrote an ending that gave all the characters a chance to finally breath.
Simon's arc was the most satisfying to write. In the beginning he was crushed by the need to care for and protect his sister, River. But by the end he was able to realise that she wasn't helpless and he could lean on her too.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I care deeply about the natural environment and I'm an ecologist by trade. This is one of my few stories that doesn't have an environmental element (unless you consider the impact of disease in systems where a natural balance is absent).
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
I actually ended up submitting by your website because there was a discount, however I found the festival on FilmFreeway. I've found it an amazing resource for finding and learning about festivals.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I was so excited when I found out a such a festival existed. I had this script that would otherwise never have an audience and I'm a long time Fan Fiction nerd. The feedback was thorough and positive. It was heartening to know I'd written a strong story that even someone who didn't know the show could follow. I've told all my screenwriting friends about the festival and they're keen to enter.