Winning THRILLER Feature Screenplay – NEMESIS, by Carl Joglar

Winning Screenplay – NEMESIS
Written by Carl Joglar


STROUD – Cassandra Guthrie
BURNHAM – Dan Cristofori
MONTERO – Jane Hailes


Genre: Thriller, Crime, Action

A car wreck allows a fugitive recovery agent’s prisoner to escape into the woods where she’s forced to pursue the killer, but when the other driver finds her in the wilderness, the hunt becomes complicated and the agent begins to suspect the woman’s involvement was not by chance.

 Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

NEMESIS is about a fugitive recovery agent who, after being disgraced and fired from the U.S. Marshals, attempts to cover legal fees in a custody battle for her son by cashing in on the capture of an elusive killer. Unfortunately, she gets into a car wreck, her prisoner escapes into a vast wilderness and she’s forced to hunt him down again. But (without giving too much away), when the driver of the other vehicle finds her in the woods, the situation becomes increasingly complicated because of some hidden agendas.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I’d say it could fall under drama, thriller and action because there are elements of all three, but if I had to categorize it, I would call it a dramatic thriller.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Just thinking about this, it occurs to me that no answer could sound very humble. I do feel very strongly about its merits, but even moreso after I started receiving so much positive feedback. People would say, “Wow, this is insane”, which I take as a compliment because you want to shake people up. I think the fact that three characters that are so different from each other are basically trapped in this environment together makes for a really curious situation. I feel like people might say, “I’ve got to see what happens when you put THESE three together.” But more than that, the main character’s journey is heart-breaking and relatable. I tried to make the ultimate example out of her. The moral of the story is “Don’t let your situation change who you are”. And who hasn’t been tempted at least once to step over that line?

How would you describe this script in two words?

“Intense” and “fast-paced”. As a writer, I have an unhealthy yet productive fear of being boring, so in a story, I’m obsessed with something either always happening or about to happen.

What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Jaws. It’s so amazing on so many levels. Story, acting, editing, etc. But Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl is a close second. That main character is the most charmingly hilarious train wreck I’ve ever seen. Great stuff.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I’ve worked longer on this script than I have on my marriage. I’m kidding. I actually wrote the first draft in less than a month, but of course, I’ve been making changes ever since, so it’s going on six months now and one draft kind of melds into the next, so who knows how many.

How many stories have you written?

I’ve been doing this since 1996 so I’ve lost count. If I included short scripts and commissioned scripts, the number would be ridiculous, but as far as strictly original speculative full-length screenplays.. probably 24 that I can remember. Oh! And a book. I wrote a contemporary sci-fi YA novel called THE PERILS OF QUAD. Right now I’m trying to find a home for it at a traditional publishing house.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Wow, that’s tough. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but ever since I was little, there’s been something about Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Fantasy”. I love it to this day and I really have no clue why. Maybe it was playing in the background the first time a girl kissed me or something. ..Right now, though, I’m addicted to Disturbed’s cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Writers are going to hate me for this: There were no obstacles. There never are. I’ve never had writer’s block. If I did, I never realized it. I mean, I always get nervous when I start but once I’m off and running, that’s it. The pages start to pile up. Obviously, they don’t come out perfectly but they always come out.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

My wife and child, of course. They’re my world. But the weird answer to that would be Vintage Marvel comic books. I’m not a collector, by any means. I just love the look, the feel, the simplicity, even the smell of a dog-eared silver age Marvel Comic. I guess because it brings me back to the days when my biggest problem in the world was deciding between Apple Jacks and Fruit Loops. Man, if life could always be like that. Good times.

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

I have to credit my best friend and producer, Alex Torres for that. He found out about the festival and immediately entered the screenplay. He’s the best. When I first read the feedback I received, I was pleasantly shocked because it was immediately apparent that this was a festival run by experienced and competent professionals and they clearly took the proper time to analyze the material. As a writer, you really deeply appreciate when people like this give you credit where it’s due, but also make a fair and efficient effort to help you develop the best story you can put forward.


Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

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