Watch the August 2016 Fan Fiction Screenplay Winner.
THE MASK OF LEIA
by Ian Wilson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Following the Battle of Endor and the defeat of the Empire, Leia secretly struggles with her own ongoing internal battle with the Force.
Get to know the winner writer:
1. What is your fan fiction screenplay about?
The Mask of Leia is a thought-provoking drama that explores the hidden psyche of Princess Leia. It aims to prompt the viewer into thinking about the trauma that Leia has undergone through the Star Wars story and what her internal struggles from dealing with all that suffering might be.
By all rights, Leia should be a total basket-case or at least have severe PTSD but she has managed to mask these personal struggles from everyone around her, including Han Solo. The script also explores the potential of her being Force-sensitive and keeping this hidden, perhaps for political reasons.
How does this screenplay fix into the context of the Star Wars universe?
The story takes place just after the Battle of Endor (Star Wars: Episode VI -The Return of the Jedi) and the defeat of the Empire.
Leia and Admiral Ackbar lead the Rebel forces to the planet Coruscant to secure the New Republic. It is during this journey that we see Leia secretly struggle with her trauma and her ongoing internal battle with the Force.
How would you describe this script in two words?
What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?
I’m a Dr. Who fan. I have been since I was about five years old. I
love watching the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, because I went to school with him and we were in the same theatre company together as teens in Glasgow, Scotland. He used to play Dr. Who in the school playground and he was a natural at it then. I was not surprised that he got the role as Doctor Who.
5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
The story was sketched out over a couple of days between film
director, David Connellan, and myself. It then took me about three weeks to achieve the final draft.
6. How many stories have you written?
In terms of screenplays, I have written five stories – two features and three shorts. I am currently, writing my third feature, which is a thriller/horror.
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?
I have always been a Star Wars fan from the very first time I saw that iconic Star Wars roll-up. So, when my friend and director, David Connellan, asked me to write a screenplay for a Star Wars short I jumped at the chance. Writing the roll-up to this story was fun.
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
The goal was to come up with a five-minute screenplay – about five pages. Trying to capture the whole of Leia’s trauma into just five minutes was very difficult. My initial draft was close to twelve pages and the final draft was around eight pages. Cutting out some great scenes and dialogue was tortuous. Sadly, cutting it down further for a five-minute film meant a lot of sacrifices in the overall story, including the iconic roll-up.
Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Travel. In my view, travel has been my greatest teacher. It has
allowed me to experience and understand people and cultures across so many countries. Travel has helped me realize that while we are all members of the same small planet and there are also more ways to live than just the one we have been born into.
Travel is experiential and visual and for me that helps me in my
screenwriting, which is very much about creating a visual experience.
What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
The Fan Fiction Festival is a well renowned festival and platform for fan fiction and fan films. Entering the Festival was a “must-do” for me. In the Fan Fiction Festival, I love how engaged fans can be in developing their own derivatives of the original stories. It’s a form of organic creation that deserves more credit.
The feedback I received from the festival was very useful in tightening the story. I certainly appreciated this. The only advice I didn’t feel comfortable with was to develop more character for Han Solo. I felt that would have detracted from Leia’s story.
Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
I like to start with “what if” questions to get a story going. The concept of The Mask of Leia is a good example. What if Leia has PTSD and is being internally pulled by the dark and light side of the Force? Think about that question and you have all sorts of ideas for a story.
Write with passion and don’t be afraid to go with your gut when writing a story. If you let others get involved and question your story concept early in the process it will most likely upset your creativity and your story will turn out half-assed. Of course, listen to feedback once you’ve completed that first and subsequent drafts as feedback will help refine and improve the story.
Finally, I’d say that make sure that you develop engaging characters.
Such characters are distinct, likeable (or loathsome) and have a strong motivation. Ultimately, these characters do not ride along with the flow of the story, rather they create the direction of the story.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson