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

1st Scene Screenplay: RORSCHACH, by Federico Franchi, Filippo Pierangelini

Watch the May 2016 Winning 1st Scene Screenplay

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

Get to know writers Federico Franchi, Filippo Pierangelini:

1. What is your screenplay about?

FF: The screenplay is about a guy who struggles to achieve his results. To do that, he takes questionable choices that led him in kind of a different world, a brand new mental hospital, Here, he’ll learn something about himself.

FP: Is the story of a young man that, for necessity, finds himself in something bigger than him and, through that, he grows.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

FF: We think that this story could work very well as a TV Series because it’s funny and the characters can be seen in many different circumstances that will make people laugh. A lot. But the most important thing about it, is that there is an actual story behind the laughing, and is about decisions, growth and, in some ways, social, common, issues.

FP: Our idea is to do 20-25 minutes length episodes because we have so much material and there are so many potentialities that a movie would be too short.

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

FF: Funny, crazy.

FP: Fresh, strong.

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

FF: Star Wars Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi, no doubt about that!

FP: Robin Hood: Men in Tights

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

FF: We’ve been working for three weeks to write this first scene and to create the whole concept of the series.

FP: Yes, three weeks.

6. How many stories have you written?

FF: This is my third story, but there are many more in my mind.

FP: Is my very first time writing something.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

FF: I think that I really wanted to see how far this story could go and how the characters would react in all the situations, because I think that, even if is written as a comedy, this story is deeper than it may seem at a first look.

FP: Curiosity in first place, but also the fact that, even if it started as a thing just for fun, word after word it became more interesting and I see the potential of that story growing.

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

FF: We didn’t wanted to write down just some sketches, we wanted an actual story. And to make that we had to think about the motivations of the characters and how to make the events funny but also real.

FP: The fact that we had a beginning, a triggering event, and a sort of ending but we didn’t have any idea of how to connect these two parts.

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

FF: I love music and sports, but most of all I read a lot. I’m always looking for good stories.

FP: Rugby, reading and politics.

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

FF: We wanted a feedback, because we really believe in this project but you never know how really good it is.

FP: We discovered the festival casually and we wanted to try.

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

FF: I suggest to study as much as possible, read every script and to always believe in themselves. Be humble, but aware of their own abilities.

FP: Don’t be afraid of telling every story that pops up in your mind. I think that you’ll grow up through this job, whatever happens.

*****
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballatyne

Editor: John Johnson

1st Scene Screenplay: PUPPETS, by James Griffiths

May 2016 Winning 1st Scene Screenplay

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

Get to know writer James Griffiths:

1. What is your screenplay about?

A rebellious New Yorker begins to suspect his employer is brainwashing their staff, and the only antidote is to continually eat small doses of rat poison.

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

Puppets strives to be an entertaining, dark satire of our consumerist society. The neo noir elements give cinematic potential to this mature narrative. I believe this story does not patronize it’s audience with cheap sentimentality, and provides a rewarding escape from our lives.

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

Dystopian Satire.

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

Withnail and I

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

It took about 3 months writing characters, preparing story, then another couple of weeks writing and revising.

6. How many stories have you written?

3 features and 1 short.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I am interested in how much we are often defined by our job, and as is often the case in New York, our work becomes the only source of meaning in our lives. I became interested in a character who realizes this and becomes a negation in the work model.

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

My main obstacle I always face with my scripts and films is finding the energy and time to dedicate to these projects around my day job. My hope is that at some point these projects will generate money to pay bills, but until then I must keep on grinding!

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

I am about to begin shooting a short film this coming June, which actually a short form version of the Puppets idea.

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

The opportunity to get professional feedback was appealing, and provided me with an informed opinion on how I should improve the next draft of my script.

I did, however, receive feedback on another screenplay I’d submitted entitled The Great Suburban Showdown. Generally I’m rather appreciative of feedback, and I often will make changes based upon it.

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

Keep writing. Keep reading.

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

1st Scene Script Reading – Man Seeking Monkey by Steve Mikals

Watch the April 2016 1st Scene Screenplay Winner.

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.

Interview with Steve Mikals:

1. What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay is about the comedy of Evolution, how bigger forces than we realize are at work on this planet. It begins with a book shop putting a chimpanzee with a typewriter in the window, to see if he will type Shakespeare. It then follows that thread to some logically absurd conclusions. Along the way this will involve a secret program of one hundred typing chimpanzees and the canon of Western literature, spoofs of Mafia loan sharks and “going to the mattresses”, and the DNA of Custer’s scalps. Plural.

Trust me, it works.

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

It deserves to be a movie because it entertains AND challenges the audience to think beyond comfort zones. Two examples of this are the classic comedy Groundhog Day, and one of my current favorites, Lucy, Luc Bresson’s provocative look at human potential welded to a Hong Kong action flick.

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

The Ruminant.

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

Annie Hall. It’s one of the all-time greats, especially for an ending that refuses to pull punches.

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

I recently wrote a novel, my first. It took me three years, on and off. It took only three months to adapt it into the rough draft of this screenplay, but it has been polish and edit ever since.

6. How many stories have you written?

I have two others in progress. One, a followup to MSM, set in the same book shop with a few of the same characters. It has a killer opening sequence, but I have yet to settle on the metaphysical instrument it revolves around. The second is a romantic comedy that follows the aftermath of a divorce, and I hope captures some of the poignancy as well as the comic possibilities. I will submit both of the openings to this festival.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

This screenplay began as a novel (my own), and as I watched the publishing world collapse in the Internet Age, I decided I had a better shot at success with a screenplay and film festivals like this one. Plus, I’ve given up reading novels, except for clean stylists that I find helpful in my writing, like Jonathan Franzen, Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard, and George Higgins,

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

I was working from a novel (my own) with TOO MANY funny plots, characters and scenes. I had to teach myself a great deal about editing and make tough but rewarding choices.

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

You can be passionate about more than one thing? 🙂

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

Critiquing the first ten pages is a great idea. That’s the easiest part to write, so it had better rock. The feedback is objective and helpful.

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

Accept all feedback in the constructive spirit it is given. Let it sink in over time. These people are now where you want to be.

***

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

 

1st Scene Script Reading – Monster Beneath The Ice by Jerry Kokich

Watch the April 2016 1st Scene Screenplay Winner.

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.

Get to know writer Jerry Kokich:

1. What is your screenplay about?

In the early 60’s, a Russian Arctic research station uncovers a horrible monster.

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

We need a good, entertaining, popcorn movie, and this is it!

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

Midnight movie!

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

Raiders of The Lost Ark!

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

On and off, three years, more off than on.

6. How many stories have you written?

Six books, two published, a number of short stories, three audio dramas, several screenplays, four or five low budget filmmaking articles, a ballet blog, five scripts for a Doctor Who parody series I produced, and eight for an unproduced comedy scifi web series.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I knew a former Navy intelligence officer, who was actually stationed in the Arctic, who told me stories. Not about any monsters…

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

I ran into writer’s block about the ending, which I usually get first when I start a story. I’m going back and forth between a couple of endings.

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

I was a ballet dancer with The Joffrey Ballet, and I teach in Los Angeles. I’m very passionate about my students and their development.

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

I felt this first scene was one of my better ones, and I needed some feedback, so when I found about wildsound’s contest, I thought, here’s a golden opportunity!

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

Never assume a woman is pregnant. Seriously, though, keep writing. Keep writing everything. Screenplays, short stories, poems, articles, blogs, everything. Writing is like anything: you have to do it to get better at it.

***

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

 

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

 

 

 

1st SCENE Screenplay Reading – ROAD TO TEXAS by Emanuel Ruggeri

Winner of the February 2016 1st Scene Screenplay Contest.

Watch ROAD TO TEXAS by Emanuel Ruggeri

CAST LIST:

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

Get to know writer Emanuel Ruggeri:

1. What is your screenplay about?

The screenplay is about one’s redemption and the dynamics of a broken family’s relationship through the guise of a haunting thriller that touches on many genres through the protagonist’s hellish journey.

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

The screenplay deals with issues that concern us all in one way or another, and sometimes without us realising it. It makes a connection to the way we deal with relationships via modern technology, either good or bad. So the subject matters in this screenplay will touch a nerve with the audience who will be able to make a connection with it, and also open their eyes to an unknown World right under their noses.

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

FORGIVENESS. REDEMPTION.

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

As a child I was crazy about STAR WARS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. But as an adult, I keep revisiting these movies that help me to understand the language of cinema; THE SEVEN SAMURAI, TAXI DRIVER, ALL THAT JAZZ and APOCALYPSE NOW.

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

I’ve been at this script on and off for about ten years. And I still think I’ve got another ten years to go. But one can keep on writing the same script forever. It takes a great writer to know when to stop and accept their limitations. I’m almost fifty and a late starter, so I’m still learning the craft.

6. How many stories have you written?

Since my early childhood I’ve written over twenty screenplays, but nothing seriously. It’s only in the last five years (now that my children have grown and left home) that I’ve decided to improve on my writing craft and start revisiting these old scripts that have been hidden away.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

My motivation was based on a challenge, to see if a could write a genre screenplay that also deals with social issues such as a dysfunctional family and how the internet influences our lives. But you would always find that you may go in different directions as you write, and the challenge is to discipline yourself and maintain your purpose and goal.

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

The length of the script was a main concern. In the end I had to break the script into two parts and then found that the first half had no real ending as such. So I decided to create myself a challenge and began the story midway through the original script. So now I have a script for a prequel, delving back to the roots of the cause that the protagonist finds himself in this script.

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

I love my music. I collect vinyl (the LP 33rpm record kind), and sometimes create my own movie-influenced music under the guise of D’bach which you can find on Soundcloud. I have created tracks that pay homage to filmmakers and movies. It is mostly experimental music, with a few attempts of dance music, but I get as kick out of it.

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

Sooner or later I had to let the script go and I thought this festival would be a perfect way to showcase it. And to have it read by a group of actors is a bonus and a pleasure.

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

Watch as many diverse films as you can, and read all about the craft. Most importantly, understand the powerful language of film. And don’t be scared to be a ruthless editor of your own script!

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson