Watch the Winning Best Scene Screenplay Reading for February 2017.
Genre: Thriller, Crime, Action
Two armed, down-on-their-luck young hoods, a speeding streamliner, and a bad idea result in railway pandemonium not seen since the days of Butch Cassidy.
Get to know the writer:
What is your best scene screenplay about?
Bedlam on the Rails is the true story of the last two moving train robbers in America. In 1949, Luman Ramsdell, 23, and Duke Ashton, 20, made a snap decision to rob the B&O Ambassador, the streamliner taking them to Ohio from Florida.
What genres does your screenplay fall under?
True story, true crime
Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
It is a unique, historical event. When asked, the average person and even historians will say that the last moving train robbery was performed by Butch Cassidy’s gang. Bedlam has two main characters that, even though they are on the wrong side of the law, the audience can relate to them. I would set the tone of this film somewhere between Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Bonnie and Clyde.
How would you describe this script in two words?
What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
How long have you been working on this screenplay?
About a year ago I was contacted by Wilson Casey, the author of the book Bedlam on the West Virginia Rails, interested in the possibility of turning his book into a movie. I read his book and finished a draft in a couple of weeks. After sending it to a few producers, and making revisions, this final version was completed in November of 2016. I’d say I’ve worked on it for nine months.
How many stories have you written?
My novel, The Militarized Zone: What Did You Do in the Army, Grandpa? was published in November. Ive had eight or nine short stories published in print and online. In 2015, one of my screenplays won an award from Writer’s Digest. Others have been runners-up, semifinalists and quarter finalists in various screenwriting contests.
What motivated you to write this screenplay?
As I read the book, it seemed like a natural for the screen. It was an interesting story with colorful characters, and, for a true story, a good plot and resolution.
What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Along with his own research, author Wilson Casey interviewed Luman Ramsdell over a period of about three years and wrote his story in Luman’s words, which were great for the book. But in many instances the dialogue in conversations had to be modified to be acceptable for a screenplay. I’d say dialogue was the biggest challenge, since the events are written as they actually happened.
Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I’m a member of a veteran’s group and help our older vets when we go on field trips. We’re bringing the Moving Vietnam Wall to our area later this year. I volunteer in art classes at our local elementary school and I donate to animal protection charities.
What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
You were open and willing to look at my material and your feedback was invaluable. I always wonder if my scripts hit the right points and by what you indicated in the feedback, I succeeded and I’m on the right track.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson