From Craigslist Ad To Feature Film: Worth The Weight To Debut At Cinequest 22

Ryan Sage’s Craigslist ad read, “Looking for a Finished Comedy Script”. The ad called for a writer who would receive $500 in exchange for an original, finished script. After several replies—including one that called him a moron, Sage found what he was looking for when he received a response from Chicago-based comedy writer Dale Zawada.

Sage was drawn to Zawada’s script because it was a fresh idea that was both funny and heartfelt. Zawada also mentioned in his response that his goal was not monetary, but to have one of his scripts turned into a film. A year later, Sage transformed Zawada’s script into Worth The Weight, a romantic comedy centered on an overweight former athlete whose struggle to lose weight parallels his quest for love.

Sage is no stranger to filmmaking. While Worth The Weight is his first feature film, credits Sage with the creation of several successful short films—including Withstand One Night, which won the Audience Award at the L.A. Comedy Festival ( However, once he started a family he wasn’t able to write as much as he had in the past, and the search for the perfect script for his feature film began.

“I wanted to create a movie because my ultimate goal was always to create a feature film,” Sage says. “I feel that independent movies have a lot of heart.” Sage added that technology has helped level the playing field i n the film industry. Gone are the days where you had to have expensive equipment and a major studio backing to create a quality film.

Currently, Sage writes and produces promotional videos for ABC’s award-winning comedy Modern Family. Sage said that he felt one of the many characteristics that set Modern Family apart from other comedies was that it had a lot of heart—something that he aimed to carry over in Worth The Weight.

Even though the writer and the filmmaker have never met, Sage says that creating the film was a fairly smooth process. The cast and crew worked on the weekends, and Zawada and Sage virtually communicated changes, notes and revisions.

The making of the film was not without its setbacks. Since the original script was more slapstick than romantic, Sage had some difficulties bringing his vision to life in the beginning stages of filming. “We had a table reading of the script and halfway through the read, I wanted to give up,” says Sage. “The original script was more slapstick and I wanted it to be real.”

Once Worth the Weight was completed, Sage chose the Cinequest film festival to premiere the film, because both he and Kristina Denton, the film’s producer, owe their film backgrounds to the Bay Area. Denton is a graduate of San Jose State University, and Sage studied film at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Sage had been to Cinequest before and felt that it was the perfect launching pad for the world premiere of his first feature film.

After the film debuts at Cinequest 22, Sage hopes to screen Worth The Weight at other major festivals such as the Los Angeles Film Festival and Chicago Underground.

The Worth The Weight world premiere is Friday, March 2 at Cinequest 22, with additional screenings on March 4 and March 7. For tickets, go to You can view the trailer and the Craigslist ad that sparked the creation of Worth The Weight at

Worth The Weight , 3/2/2012, 9:45 PM, San Jose Repertory Theatre

Worth The Weight , 3/4/2012, 4:00 PM, Camera 12

Worth The Weight , 3/7/2012, 11:45 AM, Camera 12

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