1st Scene Script Reading: EXISTENTIAL QUANDARY, by Brandon Maline

Watch the June 2016 Winning 1st Scene Screenplay

EXISTENTIAL QUANDARY, by Brandon Maline

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Crime

A serial killer who turns his victims bodies into works of art becomesfixated on a little girl. She has dreams of him and thinks he is her angel, her mother pays little attention to it until the girl makes a model of the murderer.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Geoff Mays
CAROLINE – Tee Schneider
CINDY – Kelci Stephenson
LUMBERJACK JOE – Nathan Bragg
PRINCIPAL – Julian Ford

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your screenplay about?

It’s a supernatural thriller slasher film where a new killer has come to wreak havoc and mystery in a quiet town by placing atrocious “totems” around. The story soon discovers that a single-mother and her child have some sort of connection to this killer; but why and in what way? As they scramble to unravel the mystery, the killer himself is dealing with his own EXISTENTIAL QUANDARY as to his own purpose.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I feel as if this particular story is unique in its set up and its layout, and hasn’t ever really been done. I like to think I take influence from Wes Craven and revitalizing and breathing new life into what is known as a drawn out subject matter. When I write, I try to imagine a film I haven’t seen, or a film I would want to see as a full fledged idea. This is why I feel a new, original (in my eyes) story is one to be seen.

3. How would you describe this script in two words?

Slowly intensifying.

4. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Quite a few: probably Nightmare on Elm Street (original) over 25-30 times, Scream about 20+, and Hocus Pocus about 40+ times since 1993.

5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I started the first draft in my screenwriting class in Dec ’13, and it has slowly evolved over the years little by little-it still isn’t even fully complete.

6. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written about 5-7 short scripts, and 2-3 partial full features. Also, I’ve written quite a few short stories, not scripts, for various fiction/creative writing classes and 3/4ths of a novella.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

It actually came to me as I was reading a comic book that involved a former serial killer helping to analyze new crime scenes to help the police, yet he slowly starts to slip back to his ways—I’ll keep the title out to avoid copyrights. And I wanted to, in a sense, explore the psychological aspects of serial killings.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Still current. I was able to write the first 10 pages fairly quickly, but I am now only up to about 47 pages and haven’t finished.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Film studies/analyzing films. Or just general film viewing and collecting.

10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I’ve always been curious as to the start of this since it does involve dark subject matter and a child and her mother, so when I came across this festival through one of my many script sources I wanted to see if I was heading in a possible right direction and wasn’t too taboo or obscene. I was interested in grabbing the reader quick and taking a thrill ride through a killer’s psyche.

At first I was shocked that they actually understood where I was taking this and that I did a great job to convey the feeling of the story and leave questions for the reader to be wanting more. It felt good to know the script that is my most questionable actually is off to a great start.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Keep at it; collect stories, watch the world, write what you know and write what you want, not want the majority wants. Know what your specific audience you are writing for will be and don’t try to cater to everyone. Find your voice.

****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

 

 

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Watch the May 2016 1st Scene Script Winners

Submit your First Scene to the Festival: http://firstscenescreenplay.com

Watch the May 2016 1st Scene Script Winners:

Watch PUPPETS, by James Griffiths:

Genre: Sci FI, Thriller, Noir

Synopsis: A rebellious New Yorker suspects his warehouse retail employer is controlling the minds of it’s staff and causing them to commit suicide.
CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Kaufmann
LADY – Jennifer Ferris
ANNOUNCER – Moui Nene

***

RORSCHACH, by Federico Franchi, Filippo Pierangelini

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: TV series pilot, sitcom

Lawrence Maietti, 22 years old, is in serious troubles and now has to quickly find some money. Unable to find work, he has an idea: trying to get the government subsidy by reason of insanity.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Kelci Stephenson
LAWRENCE – Moui Nene
CLAIRE – Jennifer Ferris
CLAUDE – Zack Amzallag
MAN/PRIEST – Sean Kaufmann

**

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Watch the April 2016 1st Scene Script Winners

Submit your First Scene to the Festival: http://firstscenescreenplay.com

Watch the April 2016 1st Scene Script Winners:

The Wedding Thief
Written by Brett Bacon

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Kaufmann
JOEY – Michael Lake
LORENZO – Noah Casey
DOM – Dennis Barham

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Crime

A professional thief pilfers money from the super-rich at weddings until he is caught stealing from the Italian mob and then is forced to take a priceless work of art from the Russian mob or die trying.

____

Man Seeking Monkey
Written by Steve Mikals

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Kaufmann
MITCHELL – Michael Lake
DET. STRUMMER – Noah Casey
ARTHUR – Kiran Friesen
ARTHUR – Dennis Barham

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy

Aided by their human friends, chimpanzees with typewriters try to climb the Evolutionary ladder.

____

Monster Beneath The Ice
Written by Jerry Kokich

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Kaufmann
VLADIMIR – Noah Casey
EVGENY – Michael Lake
PILOT – Dennis Barham

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller

A good, old fashioned “B” picture for your first scene enjoyment.

EVGENY and VLADIMIR discuss when the supply plane will arrive. Outside, Evgeny is almost knocked down by a moving ridge in the ice, but Vladimir saves him. The ridge destroys shacks and machinery, and the incoming plane just manages to rescue them.

Watch 1st Scene Script Reading: PROMISES, by Lee Forgang

Submit your First Scene to the Festival: http://firstscenescreenplay.com

Watch the October 2014 1st Scene Script Winner:

PROMISES, by Lee Forgang

SYNOPSIS:

On the eve of World War II, promises are made as a family is torn apart.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Frances Stecyk
SARAH – Silvina Andrea D’Alessandro
BERTA – Cindy Landerman
ARI – Dan Cristofori
ABE – Neil Bennett
GESTAPO AGENT – Jason Martorino
AGENT #2 – Gabriel Darku

Watch the Winning 1st Scene Screenplays (so far) in 2016

Deadline March 13th. Submit and get your first 10 pages performed!
https://firstscenescreenplay.com/

Watch the January 2016 Winners:
https://firstscenescreenplay.com/2016/01/16/january-2016-winners/

Watch the February 2016 Winners:
https://firstscenescreenplay.com/2016/02/21/watch-the-february-2016-1st-scene-script-winners/

Watch the March 2016 Winners:
https://firstscenescreenplay.com/2016/03/09/watch-the-march-2016-1st-scene-script-winners/

Watch over 60 1st Scene Screenplay Winners:

* * * * *

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

1st Scene Screenplay – RENAISSANCE MAN by Robert Tolz

Submit your First Scene to the Festival: http://firstscenescreenplay.com

Watch Table Reading of the March 2016 Winning First Scene Screenplay.

CAST LIST:
NARRATOR – Fran Townend
ELISSA – Annie MacKay
BALTHAZAAR – Jonathan Robbins
PYGMALION – John Marcucci
LAZURUS/ACHERBUS – Sean Ballantyne

Get to know writer Robert Tolz: 

1. What is your screenplay about?

A renaissance faire actress, formerly a Wall Street occupier, and an apparently regular guy visiting the faire fall in love – until she finds out he’s her incredibly rich undercover boss.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Because it’s funny, colorful, romantic and engaging, and because it has more on its mind than your standard rom-com.

3. How would you describe this script in two words?

Love transcends

4. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Groundhog Day

5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Gestation- 3 to 4 years; Labor- about 6 months.

6. How many stories have you written?

Half a dozen.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I wanted to tell a fun story about people crossing conventional economic lines, dogmas and expectations – Joseph Campbell in sheep’s clothing.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

None.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

The evolution of the human race.

10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I understand that the first few pages of a screenplay are critical to getting the story past the gatekeepers, and I wanted to see whether I was successful. Initial feedback was encouraging and it also appropriately threw light on some needs of the script.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

You will no doubt be receiving lots of feedback and some of it will be conflicting. It’s your job to separate the wheat from the chaff. You are the ultimate architect of your story.

****
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

1st Scene Screenplay – ELISSA OF TYRE by Alan Mehanna

Submit your First Scene to the Festival: http://firstscenescreenplay.com

Watch Table Reading of the March 2016 Winning First Scene Screenplay.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Fran Townend
ELISSA – Annie MacKay
BALTHAZAAR – Jonathan Robbins
PYGMALION – John Marcucci
LAZURUS/ACHERBUS – Sean Ballantyne

Get to know writer Alan Mehanna:

1. What is your screenplay about?

TYRE 820 BC – the death of the king causes ripples within the city as politics take over and the citizens fight over who between his two heirs should take the throne in his place. This is the origin story of Elissa, Princess of Tyre and how she rose to become the legendary Phoenician Queen.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

“Films communicate information and ideas, and they show us places and ways of life we might not otherwise know.” One of my favorite quotes from Film Art by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson and I believe it truly answers this question. Too often now in cinema the Middle East is portrayed negatively and as a Lebanese American screenwriter I believe it is my job to bring about better portrayals of my culture and my world.

3. How would you describe this script in two words?

Historical Drama.

4. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

A tie between Empire Strikes Back and The Two Towers.

5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Three years.

6. How many stories have you written?

Around 10.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I have always had an interest in ancient history and being Lebanese, the Phoenicians are our ancestors. Elissa, before becoming Queen of Carthage, was a Phoenician princess and while
researching Phoenician history, I connected with her story. I lived in America for 13 years and in Lebanon for the same amount so I have always used that to tell tales that have universal
themes. I, also, loved the fact that she was a strong woman from the Middle East.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The Phoenicians never left records of their history, so I had to read Greek accounts, Roman accounts, as well as others to try and create a path for the film I was going to write. Nailing down the factual part of the screenplay was the hardest.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love acting. My father is a known actor in Lebanon, so I guess I inherited this.

10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I wanted to finally start exposing myself as a screenwriter and nothing works better than taking a leap and throwing one’s work out there. I loved the initial feedback because it shed some light on what wasn’t working in the screenplay and once I applied what was said in the notes, I noticed the difference.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Always be open to listening to feedback and notes. It’s sometimes eye-opening. When you are writing you get so close to the characters, the conflict, and the world of your story that you can sometimes miss some opportunities that could strengthen the screenplay.

****
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

1st Scene Screenplay – BEFORE GOD by Stuart Wright

Submit your First Scene to the Festival: http://firstscenescreenplay.com

Watch Table Reading of the March 2016 Winning First Scene Screenplay.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Fran Townend
ABE – Jonathan Robbins
SUZANNA – Annie MacKay
GOOFY – John Marcucci

Get to know writer Stuart Wright:

1. What is your screenplay about?

The logline for BEFORE GOD is: After surviving a suicide attempt, a troubled pastor is tormented by visions of a 12 Year Old Boy that force him to confront a suppressed childhood memory.

Thematically it is about a crisis of faith, but not in the usual sense of doubt in the existence of God. Abe Stonehouse is a man who has given his life to the church, but despite his dedication and knowledge of scripture he never believed – ever. He only ever joined the church because he thought if he could gain God’s forgiveness for then he could move on. Only it never happened and before he knew it he’d been a longstanding, valued member of the local diocese. BEFORE GOD blurs the lines between life and death to expose Abe’s true self and offer him salvation.
Tonally it’s inspired by Jacob’s Ladder and Donnie Darko.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

BEFORE GOD should be made in a movie because it dares to suggest that faith can be learned to fool everyone but yourself. Spiritually speaking this can only lead to personal misery and denial of who you truly are. Rediscovering your one true self proves to be liberating in this life and the next.

3. How would you describe this script in two words?

Dark and Enlightening

4. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Time Bandits, Texas Chainsaw Massacre… More recently Only God Forgives enjoys repeat viewings in my house.

5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

A couple of years on and off

6. How many stories have you written?

I’ve outlined many stories, but I’ve written ten feature length screenplays… My writing quality gets better with each one… Arguably only the last three or four, including BEFORE GOD, have the potential to be sold or developed into a movie.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I wrote and produced an award winning short film called FALLEN. As confirmed Atheists, the director and I set out with the ambition of making something that would show how mean God is. However, through the development of the film, and my own personal research interviewing born again Christians, we became increasingly sympathetic to people with faith; differentiating them from organised religion. During the editing process I began to see what we had done together as maybe the end of a film. Brainstorming ideas of how the story got there led me to BEFORE GOD. Writing the screenplay didn’t turn me into a believer, but it steered my resolute atheism a tad closer to agnostic.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The structure of BEFORE GOD is non-linear and plays fast and loose with what is real and unreal. It is meant to keep the audience in the dark until the final moments where the curtain is pulled back on my unreliable narration. It was my first serious diversion away from linear and I wanted to make sure the audience didn’t begin to mistrust me as the author because there were too many surprises or not enough clarity about some of the more supernatural elements that are included.

Fundamentally speaking, pun intended, an early draft table read of the short film version exposed our anti-religious bias in our characters. The pointed criticism asked if we believed in God. Proudly we said no. The person giving the feedback said neither do any of your characters. This led to me reaching out to born again Christians, vicars and pastors to interview them about their faith.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am keen podcaster and host the weekly film podcast for britflicks.com. As a writer I shamelessly use to learn from other filmmakers about their process of nailing story and turning that into a film. They’re archived here http://www.britflicks.com/podcasts.aspx and available through iTunes too.

By the early nineties a combination of Public Enemy, Ween, Slayer and Sonic Youth changed everything for me in terms of music I love and would prove to be a platform for a never-ending search for challenging singers and artists. Although I’m a long way from too cool for school as both Todd Rundgren and Bob Seger are fixtures on my MP3 player and turntable alike.

I am a big fan of Liverpool Football Club and enjoy cycling in the British countryside.

10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I value the impact a table read can have on me as a writer when I hear other people tackling my words. Film is a very collaborative medium so it’s imperative to discover how your work is interpreted if you’re to understand its strengths and weaknesses.

The written feedback I received was bittersweet. It told me what I wanted to hear – the transitions were jarring – but it was framed as criticism.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

The headline advice of writing is rewriting is still worth banging on about. If you think about that notion you’re accepting you have to get it wrong on the page to get it right in the end. This is counter intuitive and must be nurtured as part of your development as a writer. Essentially, if you commit nothing to paper, you’re not writing and you’ll never know if that idea floating around your head works or not.

****
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Watch the February 2016 1st Scene Script Winners:

Submit your First Scene to the Festival: http://firstscenescreenplay.com

Watch the February 2016 1st Scene Script Winners:

Watch THE SHOT by Michael DeMattia

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Jarrid Terrell
HUNTER – Sasha Rajamani

Watch ROAD TO TEXAS by Emanuel Ruggeri

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
ANGEL/DIANE – Kelci Stephenson
SIDNEY – Sasha Rajamani
FRANK – Sean Kaufmann

 

1st SCENE Screenplay Table Reading – THE SHOT by Michael DeMattia

THE SHOT is the February 2016 1st Scene Screenplay Winner.

THE SHOT by Michael DeMattia

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Jarrid Terrell
HUNTER – Sasha Rajamani

Get to know writer Michael DeMattia:

1. What is your screenplay about?

One hunter, who never speaks, journeys through a unique forest to discover its mystery.

“The Shot” is a science-fiction fantasy in line with “2001: A Space Odyssey”, in that it forces the viewer to make interpretations for themselves while utilizing time in a unique way. Because time is perceived differently by everyone, if executed properly, each person that watches this story unfold will see a *different film entirely*.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

“The Shot” should be made into a film because cinema, especially from a digital perspective, has never seen something that utilizes time in quite the same way. From a marketing standpoint, people have already proven with “The Revenant” for instance, that they will be willing to pay to see a philosophical story set inside a forest, away from technology.  This is perhaps, the anti-version.
The academy has also shown love for these types of stories, and the twist on the end is bound to land, at the very least, a nomination for best actress.

3. How would you describe this script in two words?

Digital Poetry.

4. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Avatar.

5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

About five years.

6. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written countless scripts since dropping out of Emerson, ever trying to hone my craft and teach myself knew techniques, but officially? Three. My next one for instance takes the opposite approach, being a dialogue-heavy, horror masterpiece that will scare the $%&! out of you.  You have my word on that.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

The biggest influence on why this film was created was how much an enthusiast I for the whole “Film vs. Digital” war. Tarantino himself has made comments regarding how, if you wanted to write a poem, that you wouldn’t type it… you’d write it with ink instead. While his films are also part novels, mine is part video game. I really wonder what some of the film lovers out there would think of this “movie”.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

While I’ve been toying with the outline and concept for some years, it wasn’t until a freak accident that got me to sit down and actually figure out how the hell to execute a film that would make everyone who watches it, perceive it differently, from a time standpoint. One day I was just playing basketball with my brother, and somehow in going for a rebound at the same time, his finger went *through* the right side of my nose. I didn’t know the laws of physics worked that way, must have missed that class. So I’ve been suffering from this severed nerve, confined to the indoors, and just dealing with the most unbearable, excruciating agony. I’m not a complainer though, and just used it to create a journey through self-discovery, about struggle in its purest form.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Battlestar Galactica, Eminem, and Metal Gear Solid.
So say we all.

10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I’ve entered a few contests before, never to win but simply because I love constructible criticism. When I saw this contest, it stood out to me more than most because of the 10-page structure. I immediately understood what they were going for with it, and I wanted their feedback. The funny part is, when I received the email, I went straight to the criticism, completely oblivious to the fact that I won. Took me an extra day. Good thing I went back and checked.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Love what you do. It might sound cliche, but I’m a firm believer that people simply do what they want. If you want to make a good film, you will. Practice. Practice. Practice. And that goes for any art form or life pursuit.

 

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson