Watch the Best Scene Reading from February 2016.
“My Life with Stella” by Linda Morganstein
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Get to know writer Linda Morganstein:
Matthew Toffolo: What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?
Linda Morganstein: “My Life with Stella Kane” is the story of a lesbian actress in forties and fifties Hollywood, her sham marriage to a gay male star, and her secret love relationship with the female publicist who arranged the marriage. An ensemble of characters, including the actress’s deaf sister and a black-balled iconic actress, struggle with the repressive times.
Matthew: Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?
Linda: Like “Mad Men,” “My Life with Stella Kane” portrays a fascinating segment of the recent past and its cultural influence on us, as well as provoking questions about our current attitudes, especially about diversity in the entertainment industry.
Matthew: This story has a lot going for it. How would you describe this script in two words?
Linda: Bewitching. Sexy.
Matthew: What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?
Linda: “The Good Wife,” for its strong female characters and its willingness to explore the not always so pleasant complexities of human nature. And its humor, which is essential for me.
Matthew: This is a very tight, emotionally engaging and fun screenplay. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
Linda: Approximately a year and a number of drafts.
Matthew: How many stories have you written?
Linda: I have five published novels, numerous published poems and short stories, and a number of produced medical video scripts.
Matthew: What motivated you to write this screenplay?
Linda: I wanted to adapt my novel, “My Life with Stella Kane.” My original motivation for the novel was wondering what it would be like for a trio of gay characters to “beat the Hollywood system” from within and what sacrifices they’d need to make.
Matthew: What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Linda: The struggle to adapt a novel–especially my own–to the visual medium of film.
Matthew: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Linda: My family and friends, gardening, sourdough bread baking and golf.
Matthew: What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
Linda: I was thrilled with the possibility of hearing my script read by professional actors. The initial feedback from WILDsound helped me to make my scenes tighter, shorter and more visual. I also turned my actress (Stella) into a point of view character, which she was not in the novel.
Matthew: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Linda: All writers develop their scripts in different ways, but in the end, really know your characters and their story. I have many characters from my projects that I think of as real people.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson