Recent Blogs

Screenwriter Spotlight: Finalist Questionnaire (Jason Sedlar)

What’s your name? Where were you born? Where do you live? And what’s your hobby?

My name is Jason Sedlar and I am a dual Slovenian/Canadian citizen. I was born and currently live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. My hobbies range wildly as I am always on the lookout for things I haven’t tried before. I love to create music, make art, play sports and learn about new cultures while on my travels. I feel attracted to small-town lore. The history of places, people, and items has always intrigued me. I recently closed an antique business in which my main focus was oddities from all around the world.

Where did you come up with the concept that just placed as Finalist in the screenplay contest? How long did it take you to develop it into the screenplay it is now?

The concept came to me from several facets actually. The scene where the couple is holding hands while looking calmly into the incoming threat of the world’s end. It has been a recurring dream of mine for over a decade. I didn’t know its meaning but do feel envious of this couple’s satisfaction with life. They had lived that they could look boldly into the end without an ounce of fear or regret.

The screenplay structure was written and edited many times. Over 100’s of cups of coffee and several months during the lockdown.

From concept to finished draft, can you take us through your screenwriting process?

With Covid lingering, everyone had a lot of time. Either to embrace, battle, succumb to or learn to coexist with their demons. I am grateful that I had this outlet to express myself through what turned out to be a tale about struggle, grief, commitment, family, and true love. This piece was a pretty smooth process.

I knew I didn’t want to crowd the story with pointless filler. So I kept the character arcs simple but I made plenty of room for twists. Also, many Easter eggs will be added to the finished film. Moreover, I tried to highlight many of the predominant character traits of influential people. Then instill them into the characters.

Hank, who is a jack of all trades, able to fix everything, a man of his word, and loyal, was brought about by my grandfather’s traits. Nicholas, who was emotional, always trying to do what’s right, loving, stubborn at times, and often internalizing pain came from some of my fathers, my mothers, and my own traits. Jeany, who was positive, confident, and nurturing came mainly from my grandmother’s traits.

When did you realize that you wanted to become a screenwriter?

I loved writing when I was in grade school. My grade 2 teacher Mrs. Leach would always push me to continue this mini-series of books I wrote which were titled “Sam and Rabbit”. Sam was a snake and rabbit was, you guessed it, a rabbit. They would go on zany adventures together. Basically, every series was one long run-on sentence filled with dozens of “and thennnnns”, but she generously lied to me anyways telling me how good it was which made me just want to write more.

I hadn’t written in years but I think it was all the storytelling I did in my two professions (bartending and working with children with special needs) that re-sparked the urge to write script outlines again.

Who are your biggest filmmaking/screenwriting influences? What about their style do you like or borrow?

My biggest filmmaking/screenwriting influence would have to be Georges Melies. I think the steps he took in furthering cinema were revolutionary (dissolves, transitions, special effects). His approach of mixing illusion with theatre performance into film was second to none. His Fantasy/Sci-fi genre at that time is also something to marvel in. However, what I really admire is the fact that he has written 500 films in under 20 years.

When he didn’t know how to do something he would just use trial and error until he figured it out. He alters equipment to suit his needs. I think what I have learned from his style is not letting barriers ever stop you from doing something, always dream big, and love and appreciate the strange.

Have you ever been obsessed with a movie or TV show? If so, which one? Why?

The television show “Lost” seems intriguing to me. It was the first series where I really broke down the complexities of filmmaking and it all started with what I believe to be more of a rumor/exaggeration. I hear that 30 writers worked for the film. Each given a different character arch to write and develop. It blew my mind to think how on Earth they were able to make this work until I saw season 4’s disaster. Then it all made sense. To the show’s credit, however, many things made it intriguing. The sense of wonder in the plot, the incredible scenery, lurking monsters, and a real emphasis on character development.

Casting was another large checkmark for this series. They find characters that you as the viewer either really love or really hate. Sometimes both and none of this supersized cast is forgettable.

What’s your favorite moment in cinema history? Why?

It would have to be when you first see dinosaurs in the original Jurassic Park movie. The “They do travel in herds” scene I remember vividly as I had watched it from the top of my parent’s caravan in a drive-in movie theatre as a kid. Something about that scene just filled you with wonder, adventure, and possibilities.

Who’s your favorite character in cinema history? Why?

Definitely Donnie Darko. This complexity and inner struggle of this character were really incomparable to any other portrayal in cinema in my opinion. Jake Gyllenhaal managed to balance this character’s fight with mental health, depression, and a string of relationship hardships in his home and personal life in a genuinely realistic way while still manifesting him into this cult-like fictional character.

If you could talk to anyone from any era, who would it be and what would you ask them?

If I could talk to anyone from any era it will be Alfred Hitcock. I believe Hitchcock to be one of the greatest filmmakers/writers of all time. His ability to shape a story and film it in a more frightening way is miraculous. I think it was the minimalist aspect of it all that intrigued me most:

Minimal staging, minimal characters, minimal effects, simple to follow yet creative, mind-blowing stories. Through brilliant delivery, he was able to make you feel any emotion he wanted exactly when he intended you to. I think I would just ask him about his process, where he came up with his ideas, and what he would look for in other people’s scripts when he made films from stories that were not his own.