SmokeEasy is a stoner-buddy comedy about two ebony and ivory millennials, Jill and Red, disrupting the cannabis industry one “woke” misadventure at a time. First order of business: Get their THC tampon prototype into the hands of potential investor and festival headliner, Rihanna.
Narrator: Val Cole
Red: Julie Sheppard
Jill: Hannah Ehman
Mama: Kyana Teresa
Get to know the writer:
1. What is your screenplay about?
Jill and Red are millennial underdogs as different as ebony and ivory, literally. Together, they helm SmokeEasy™, a line of ultra-feminine weed products designed to disrupt the Bay Area cannabis industry one woke misadventure at a time. Today's mission: Get their THC tampon prototype into the hands of potential investor and festival headliner, Rihanna. Overzealous security guards, surprise menstrual cycles, and festival jail can't stop Red and Jill from making the pitch of a lifetime.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
Buddy gal stoner comedy, with hints of surrealism
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
The world is sorting through a lot of issues right now and redefining its values. We need a story with modern, relatable female characters asking the same important questions right alongside the audience through the disarming method of comedy. We're dealing with some very serious issues with some very silly comedy. Ultimately, the world needs more examples of friendships like Red & Jill's—to laugh along with and to see how they navigate their imperfect world together.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
Amy: Clueless, probably.
Courtney: Gotta be Clueless.
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
Since 2020 officially, but the inspiration started back in 2017 when we began working together in Bay Area tech at Adobe. Once we started writing, it fell out of us quickly over a few stoney writing sessions together. In summer 2020, we did a table read over Zoom with amazing actor friends and a live audience, edited the script a bit based on the feedback and then filmed the first scene late 2021 in a one-day shoot in Amy's apartment in Oakland, CA with the help of a dear friend and collaborator Evan Adler and his production company, Focus Films. Evan did an amazing job editing it in our vision in between his very busy schedule and then we started sharing bits of it on Instagram and submitting to festivals in 2023.
7. How many stories have you written?
This is our first story together outside of our collaboration in the corporate world, but we've each worked on a variety of individual projects, too.
Courtney has written 1 other tv pilot titled "BitterSweet" based on her early 20's living in NYC following the sudden passing of her father. You can also find her unscripted web-series "Next Big Thing with Courtney & Dara" where she and co-host Dara Wilson highlight millennials of color doing dope work in tech, media, and entrepreneurship.
Amy is a culture and lifestyle journalist, who publishes frequently in Bay Area publications. She has several drafts of other scripts and short stories in the works, but is spending most of her freetime these days creating visual art.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
Amy: Pour it up, by Rihanna
Courtney: Just A Girl by No Doubt
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Our biggest obstacle came in deciding how the final discovery in the third act would play out for our heroes, Jill and Red. We always knew how we wanted the story to end but were careful that each step it took to get there was believable enough to keep our very fun and often absurd story grounded in some reality.
We wrote about 3 different versions of the 3rd act including 2 different versions of Bobbyguard's monologue/final encounter with Jill and Red. Based on the consistent feedback we've been receiving, we're seeing how that kind of detailed work is paying off.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Amy: I love exploring the creative process whether it's through writing, painting, dancing, yoga or something else. I'm learning how to enjoy my creative energy and be less concerned with the outcome, while still being brave about sharing my work—and I'm finding so much joy and healing this way. I love helping others access the same. Right now, that's my main focus—figuring out ways to help others access and harness their creativity, especially people who maybe think they're not artistic. It's in us all!
Courtney: I'm passionate about STEM, access, and opportunity. I've loved working in tech alongside my acting and creative work because they compliment each other. I've always believed it to be my mission to help others discover their superpower through technology, STEM-based education, and/or the arts. I'm lucky to play in both fields.
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
It's so easy to find cool opportunities in one place and submit in just a few clicks. It's also very easy to spend a lot of money on submission fees so you gotta be selective. FilmFreeway has helped us find the festivals and storytelling competitions that align with us and the type of work we want to put out into the world.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
We were drawn to this festival because it had such glowing reviews and we appreciated that we would get feedback no matter what. That felt reassuring–that you're not just sending your creation out into the void. We did not expect to win or get such glowing feedback. It was so encouraging! We made this for the love of it, but reading that your festival team understands the story we are telling lets us know we're on the right track.