FOUR FOR THE BORDER – Feature Screenplay Reading by Toby Roberts

Four for the Border is the February 2016 Feature Screenplay Winner. It is considered the top spec screenplay in the world today!

Watch Four for the Border by Toby Roberts:


NARRATOR – Victoria Urquhart
SKYE – Amaka Umeh
TRAPPER – Hugh Ritchie
POLLY – Mohogany Brown
ARTURO – Isaac Alfie
HODDER – Sean Ballantyne

Get to know writer Toby Roberts:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your feature film screenplay about? 

Toby Roberts: The story is about three teenagers from completely different backgrounds on the run in rural New Mexico with a thoroughbred racehorse. But the underlying theme is the triumph of hope over experience and whether you should grow up doing exactly what your parents tell you or sometimes trust your spirit , abandon convention and go live your dream.

Matthew: Why should this screenplay be made into a movie? 

Toby: It’s a fun, life affirming story that touches the heart, adults and kids alike. But it’s also got a profound message. I’ll leave it to you to watch the reading to discover that message.

Matthew: How would you describe this script in two words?    

Toby: Adventurous fun

Matthew: What movie have you seen the most in your life? 

Toby: Midnight Run

Matthew: How long have you been working on this screenplay?  

Toby: On and off for years. Quite a few of them!

Matthew: How many stories have you written? 

Toby: Stories? Too many to count…I’m always jotting things down. Screenplays? Three.

Matthew: What motivated you to write this screenplay? 

Toby: Ultimately, the desire to tell a good, entertaining story. My parents had a lot to do with it in that my upbringing was a little unconventional and I thank them for that. I like to think I share those parental choices in the script.

Matthew: What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay? 

Toby: Many. One of the hardest was avoiding procrastination and actually sitting down and writing. Then came the rewriting. In a sense this was more fun but the page count was always increasing as new ideas poured in and deciding what to rip out was extremely tough because once you undo one thread, the whole thing has the ability to fall apart. Then there’s a lot of patch work required. (I’ve no idea why I’ve come up with a sewing analogy as there’s no particular link to finely made clothing but it seems to serve the purpose!)

Matthew: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about? 

Toby: Directing. Soccer. And playing squash. On a broader level, taking life by the balls and giving it a damned good squeeze.

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

Toby: As soon as I saw what the festival was about I knew FFTB was the perfect match, there was no hesitation to submit. The feedback was excellent, really opened my eyes to a number of issues I hadn’t considered before.

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

Toby: Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” by which he meant, completing the script. (There are a lot more writers who talk about their ideas rather than get them down into completed script form.) So, bottom line is, write the damned thing! And to those who have achieved this, the next tip is keep rewriting. I too thought my first draft was it, that’s all I had to do…other than write my thank you speech at the Oscars. People told me it doesn’t happen that way…and I ignored them. Now I know. And I bet you most writers reading this will ignore it too. But here’s an indication of what it takes…I’ve done over 50 rewrites of FFTB. It’s won a couple of prizes, there’s been some professional interest, and yet I still dip into it and see ways of improving it. You might think it’s because I’m not good enough. But Woody Allen, one of the industry’s most prolific writers, still rewrites his scripts even during filming.


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