BlueCat Alumni Romeo Ciolfi: Success in the Industry
Romeo Ciolfi submitted his screenplay to BlueCat in the summer of 2012. He did a re-write based on the feedback he received, and credits that feedback for the recent success of his screenplay. He was the recipient of a $15,000 cash prize after being named first runner up at Kairos Screenwriting Competition. Check out the interview with him below!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I failed the third grade because of writing. That failure was one of the best things to happen to me because it taught me to work harder. I grew up with three older brothers who were a major influence on my life. They made silent Super 8 films and I got involved in their productions. I discovered early on that I enjoyed creating things. When I repeated the third grade, I worked on my writing and started writing short stories and plays. I haven't ooked back since.
When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career as a screenwriter?
Writing has been a part of my life since repeating the third grade. I began writing plays throughout elementary and high school. I wrote and filmed short movies with my brothers. I attended York University in Toronto where I continued to write plays and began to focus on writing feature-length scripts. This is where my love of screenwriting took shape.
At what age did you finish writing your first screenplay? What was it?
I finished my first short screenplay called Dead End when I was 14 years old. It was a low-budget horror film which my brother, sister and I filmed. Dead End is a homage to the Friday the 13th films.
I finished my first feature length screenplay called Scars when I was 21. It's a sprawling family drama about a woman who yearns to be reunited with her contentious mother whom she has not seen for 32 years. She struggles to keep her own family together as they are being pulled apart by illness and secrets.
Tell us a little bit about your experience in the entertainment industry. What do you do besides write?
I am heavily involved in theatre as a playwright, director and actor and have staged several of my own productions. Most recently, after winning the Kairos Prize, I was flown to California where I attended an awards show. It was my first time in Hollywood and it allowed me to connect with some industry people.
You said you did a re-write of your screenplay Walk after receiving the BlueCat reader's responses to your script. What did you find to be the most helpful part of the reader's responses?
There were a couple critical points made by the readers that significantly changed Walk. One, it's important to remember who is driving the movie forward. I cut out an entire storyline because it was not impacting the main story of the protagonist. Two, the stakes were not being raised high enough from scene to scene. Drama and conflict were lacking in my script. I ended up re-writing and re-working 51 pages of Walk based on the readers' comments. When I was finished, the title changed to Play Ball and I knew in my gut it was a far superior screenplay.
What other screenplay competitions did you submit "Walk" to besides BlueCat?
Page International Screenwriting Awards, WriteMovies, Act 1 Screenplay Competition, and the Kairos Prize for Screenwriting. At Kairos, I entered the re-written version called Play Ball and I was the first runner up and received a $15,000 prize.
Describe the inspiration for your screenplay "Walk."
My father passed away of Alzheimer three years ago and Walk is about a man who is in the early stages of dementia. My father was never far from my thoughts throughout the writing process.
What do you hope to do with your script now that it has received recognition at the Kairos Screenwriting Competition?
Kairos will promote the script and send it out to producers. My hope is that this prize will open doors for me and give my work more exposure. Ultimately, I want to see Play Ball be made into a film. Winning 1st Runner up (and $15,000) keeps me writing and it gives Play Ball a chance to get into the hands of a producer, production company, agent, etc.
What do you find to be the most difficult part of screenwriting?
What do you find to be the most rewarding?
Finishing a first draft.
What is your ultimate goal in regards to your filmmaking/writing career?
I love to write and will continue to do so no matter what. I have seen many of my plays performed on the stage and my dream is to have one of my feature length screenplays brought to the screen. The goal is to be able to option/sell some of my scripts and be hired to write.
More information about Romeo's writing and theatrical production can be found at www.studiosperanza.ca.