Today’s Family Screenplay Reading: MODERN FAMILY TV Spec

Submit your Family Screenplay to the Festival Today:

Written by Debi Calabro
Read 10 Questions with the writer


This episode it about the ups and the downs of parenthood but ultimately it’s all good in the end.


NARRATOR – Sean Kaufmann
GLORIA – Jane Hailes
CLAIRE – Jane Smythe
PHIL/MITCHELL – Kari-Michael Helava
JAY – Sean Ballantyne


Feature Script Table Reading: A GHOST STORY OF CHRISTMAS by Eddie Yaroch

Watch the Family Feature Screenplay Winner for December 2015.



NARRATOR – Jane Hailes
SCROOGE – Sean Ballantyne
BELLE – Jane Smythe
STEPHEN – Kari-Michael Helava
VARIOUS MALE – Robert Notman

1. What is your screenplay about?

— “The Conjuring” meets “A Christmas Carol” when a modern Scrooge hires professional ghost hunters, one of them his former fiancée, Belle.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

— Charles Dickens wrote his holiday tale as a ghost story and no film adaptation has focused on the paranormal, ghost hunting side of things. EVP’s, night-vision cameras, spirit boxes, plus goblins and a spirit-seeing dog add up to a fun, family night at the movies.

3. This story has a lot going for it. How would you describe this script in two words?

— Conjuring Ebenezer.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

— “Scrooge” starring Albert Finney.

5. This is a very tight, emotionally engaging and fun screenplay. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

— Starting with the source material, research into the paranormal equipment, forming an outline and writing on evenings and weekends, it took about four months.

6. How many stories have you written?

— This is my seventh screenplay, most of them comedies.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

— I love all of the ghost hunting shows and the idea of having Scrooge hire ghost hunters appealed to me. Prior to “A Christmas Carol,” Dickens wrote a short story about a goblin who battled wits with a Scrooge prototype known as the Sexton. Once I saw “The Conjuring,” I knew that I could combine that earlier story with married ghost hunters, using Belle as a romantic conflict.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

— Besides the day job? (haha) I would say motivation to fill those blank pages. Screenplay contest deadlines helped move the pen along, but believing in my own writing was absolutely a must. I had to shed the fear that someone somewhere wasn’t already writing along the exact same lines.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

— The Washington Redskins, Wizards and Capitals. Theater. Acting. Politics. Traveling. Eerie movies. Bigfoot. UFO’s. Ghosts.

10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

— As an actor-writer, I was fascinated by what other actors could do with a reading. It’s really a one-of-a-kind opportunity and a wonderful chance for interested folks to give it a listen. The feedback was not just smoke blowing up the ol’ backside. It was clearly read thoroughly with excellent useful feedback. The enthusiasm found in the feedback makes me think that I have something here. Thanks so much for all you do!

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

— Believe in yourself and write with passion. Love your characters because you have to live with them for months on end. I found that averaging a page an hour worked well for me. I usually aimed for three pages a night, a few more on the weekends. Don’t pressure yourself if blank pages stare at you some nights. The ink will flow eventually. I write longhand first, ideas flowing like blood from brain to hand. Write on!