Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series

Interview with NYC Winner, Allyson Morgan

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

As you may know, the  Bombay Sapphire  Imagination Series: Film Competition (BSIS) offers budding filmmakers the chance to realize their own short film, using their imagination to interpret a short film script created by Academy Award winner, Geoffrey Fletcher. 

The competition, now in its second year, asks budding filmmakers to use their imagination to interpret a short film script created by Academy Award® winning screenwriter, Geoffrey Fletcher, giving them the opportunity to have their film made into a five minute short.

With four talented winning scriptwriters already selected by Academy Award winners Adrien Brody and Geoffrey Fletcher, along with a panel of film industry experts, Bombay Sapphire launched the ‘Wild card’ leg of the competition, giving the public the deciding vote for the fifth and final slot now taken by New York Winner, Allyson Morgan.  

With 41% of the votes, Allyson, originally from Ohio, beat talented writers from across the globe with her imaginative, comedic script interpretation entitled, ‘Need for Speed (Dating)’, a tale of two friends that attend a speed dating event and experience the highs and lows of the New York dating scene.

Learn screenwriting tips from Allyson Morgan, along with the creativity, drive and high standards she's used to working under from the city that never sleeps. 

A little bit about Allyson MorganAllyson is an actress, writer, and producer. She also holds a position as the Associate Director of the Waterwell Summer Theater Lab (a training program for teenagers) and another as the Executive Director of F*It Club, a film and theatre production company she founded in 2010. She co-produced, co-wrote, and co-starred in a short film called 4 Dates that won a Best Short Film award at the Zero Film Festival (2010). She also wrote a short play called What Goes Up that was a finalist in the Samuel French Festival in 2012, reaching the top 10 out of 900 submissions.

Film: Need for Speed (Dating)

Quote: This film is a comedy and an ode to all the women waiting to have someone put a ring on it, and especially those who are comfortable in their singledom.

On Imagination: Imagination is vital and necessary for a productive, forward-thinking, empathetic society. It's not just filmmakers who imagine: it's also doctors, scientists, lawyers, and labourers. The only way to innovate in life is to dream big and push boundaries.

* Where did the idea for "Need for Speed (Dating)" come from? And what made you realize you needed to submit it for the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series? When I read the existing text that Geoffrey Fletcher provided for the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series Competition, it seemed to suggest to me two characters in peril. As a single woman in New York, I could think of nothing more dangerous than navigating the dating scene in the city. Plus, after watching the films from last year, they were all extraordinary, but I felt lacking a truly comedic entry.

* How long did it take you complete the project, and what challenges did you face throughout the creation?
Honestly, when I sit down to write, I go beginning to end without stopping, and then I go back and edit later. I completed this script in about an hour or less, with some minor tweaks later. The biggest challenge was just really continuing to believe throughout the competition I might have a real chance to win.  Not only were the other scripts extremely strong, I just know so many wonderful screenwriters and filmmakers and it was always hard to wrap my head around the idea that my idea might be equally strong and successful.

* What was your favorite aspect (besides winning the "Wild card" leg of the competition) in regards to creating this project?
I like having pieces of inspiration to springboard off of. I think making writers use existing text is simultaneously a wonderful gift and challenge.

* What piece of advice were you given when you first started in this industry, which you still follow to this day?
I think probably just the classic "keep at it."  The work we do as artists is extremely difficult to maintain financially and emotionally, but when we receive opportunities such as this one, it makes the journey seem very much worth it.

* What does it feel like to represent such an influential city like New York, and having the vote of the public help declare you as its winner for the "Wild card" part of the competition?
It's truly so humbling and amazing. In the "wild card" section, I was not just the only New Yorker, but the only American. I'm just so, so grateful to everyone who read the script and liked it enough to vote for me, and of course to my many friends and family who supported me throughout the voting stage and were my biggest advocates and fans. I just hope to do New York proud - this city has high standards!

* What’s a major tip you can offer to other scriptwriters out there?
Something I once heard was "you can't protect a career you don't have." Meaning take every opportunity you can as it comes - no chance is too small out there. I entered this competition on a complete whim, never really expecting to win.

* What’s one thing about this script (or the creation of it) that most people might not know?
A lot of the lines in it were lifted from actual dates I had!

* What’s next on deck for you? Any projects already set for 2014?
I'm Executive Director of a film and theatre company in New York called F*It Club and we have our award-winning series of world premiere one-act plays called The Spring Fling running right before the Tribeca Film Festival, April 4-14, 2014.  Additionally, as an actress, my episode of Law and Order: SVU will air in January 2014!

* Anything else you would like to share?
Again, just a huge thank you to Bombay Sapphire, and everyone who voted for and supported both my film and me - it is truly an overwhelming feeling and I'm so, so grateful! I can't wait to see the finished product!


images courtesy of Allyson Morgan & Google

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