Winning 1st SCENE Screenplay – THE COURIER, by Michael D’Ambrosio

Winning Screenplay – THE COURIER
Written by Michael D’Ambrosio

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
VICTOR – Dan Cristofori
FIONA – Cassandra Guthrie
CHARISSE – Jane Hailes

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

A (female) black market courier is hunted by a powerful militia commander and his mercenary lover over her true identity. One wants her alive; the other wants her dead.

 Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

Marina, a violent courier in the black market with a drug addiction is the last of a royal bloodline. Believing her parents abandoned her as a child, she despises them and anything they represented. When a delivery goes bad, she keeps a valuable data chip that has everyone hunting her – both good and bad. Reluctantly she takes on two friends who help her to overcome her addiction. One becomes her lover; the other becomes a mentor urging her to assume her true title as princess and lead her people. She has no intention of doing so until she learns that her parents were murdered and plots to avenge their deaths. Realizing that her life as a reclusive courier was based on a lie, she accepts her role as princess with a lot of help from her friends.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

sci-fi/thriller

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Lead character Marina is a flawed Lara Croft character with a John Wick attitude. I believe the actions, emotions and plot revolving around Marina make this an exciting, edge-of-your-seat thriller.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Bad ass

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

Underworld

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

A little over two years

How many stories have you written?

I’ve written eleven sci-fi/fantasy/horror novels through small presses. I’ve adapted five of them to scripts and one to a TV series. None have been sold yet but are represented.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

If you could read my mind by Gordon Lightfoot

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I wasn’t sure whether or not Marina should take the throne or go her own way with a new take on life.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Space travel. Many of my stories are based on this topic including my new script Space Truckers. I know one day, we’ll inhabit the cosmos.

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

I had faith that, if read, the first scene would hook the reader.

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

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1st Scene Screenplay – SENIOR PRANK by Shiv Sudhakar

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

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

SENIOR PRANK by Shiv Sudhakar

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy

A group of cunning high school seniors must outwit their principal in order to pull off the ultimate senior class prank.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
AL – Dan Cristofori
CARL – David Occhipinti
FRAN – Viktoria Napolenova
ALFRED – Michael Gaty
GUS – Mark Boutros

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your screenplay about?

It’s about a group of cunning high school seniors who try to outwit their wary principal in order to pull off the ultimate senior prank.

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

Whether we happen to be in high school or not, I think it speaks to the high school kid in all of us who secretly want to pull off the ultimate senior prank without having to face the consequences. It’s about rules and how some rules are meant to be broken sometimes. It reminds us that having good friends is important in life–even as we get older and you can never go wrong following your instinct.

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

Funny and Original.

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

Way too many to count. Titanic. I hate to admit it, but it’s true.

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

About 2 years.

6. How many stories have you written?

About 5-6.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

The most impactful experiences in my life were in high school. My teachers and friends taught me a lot about life and how to be a good person. I wanted to give back, so I decided to volunteer my time and tutor students struggling in the high school I went to. This script came out my own positive experience in high school and tutoring the students.

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

I work full time as a physician and take classes part-time at Academy of Art to complete my MFA. I wrote this script on my own time, so I would say the biggest obstacle was time, but like anything in life, you find time for what you love to do.

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

Teaching. I really like teaching high school students. I don’t get paid for it, but it is a real treat to go back to my own high school and teach in the same classrooms to the new generation of students. I also love to run!

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

Like any writer, I go through extremes of what I think my script could become–the next oscar winning screenplay or the worst screenplay written…like ever. I entered to see if anyone else besides myself would actually like it! The feedback was really positive and motivating. It made me feel it could go somewhere. I started pitching it and got a request last week (which I know does not mean anything–the executive may not like it and then I’m back to sqaure one, but still it was fun to send it to him since I have never been able to get any of the scripts I have written in an executive’s hands…until now!)

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

Everyone says write what you know, but I would say weave in what you know with what you want to see on the movie screen. Find a mentor and listen to him or her. Write as much as you can and read as many scripts as you can. Get coverage. Don’t ever send out your first draft. If you look at the success stories of many professional screenwriters, almost everyone has a unique journey which lead them to the big break. Professional screenwriters exist–so why can’t it be you? Life’s not a spectator sport–like my favorite high school teacher taught me–you have to go after what you want.

****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

1st Scene Screenplay – NINE SCARS by Kelly Crawford

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

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

NINE SCARS by Kelly Crawford

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Thriller

A teen romance thriller that takes place in a world in which everyone has nine lives. In this world of nine lives, an aspiring football player must risk all of his lives to rescue his girlfriend from the ruthless leader of a gambling syndicate who’s trying to fix the college football championship game.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
KEITH – Dan Cristofori
PRINCIPAL – David Occhipinti
ROBBIE – Michael Gaty
MATT – Mark Boutros
JAMIE – Viktoria Napolenova

Get to know the winning writer Kelly Crawford:

1. What is your screenplay about?

IN A WORLD IN WHICH EVERYONE HAS NINE LIVES, AN ASPIRING FOOTBALL PLAYER MUST RISK ALL OF HIS LIVES TO RESCUE HIS GIRLFRIEND FROM THE RUTHLESS LEADER OF A GAMBLING SYNDICATE WHO’S TRYING TO FIX THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.

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

IT’S ORIGINAL, WITH A COMPELLING REMINDER THAT WE HAVE ONLY ONE LIFE TO LIVE.

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

ACTION PACKED!

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

THE RELUCTANT ASTRONAUT

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

ONE YEAR.

6. How many stories have you written?

TWO SO FAR.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

FIVE YEARS AGO I SURVIVED A BRAIN HEMORRHAGE AND BEGAN CONTEMPLATING MY MORTALITY. IN DOING SO I THOUGHT ABOUT A WORLD IN WHICH EVERYONE HAS MULTIPLE LIVES AND THAT LED ME TO CREATE “NINE SCARS”.

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

GETTING CONFLICTING FEEDBACK ON STORY IDEAS.

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

SHARING THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST.

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

THE FEEDBACK WAS EXCELLENT. VERY CONSTRUCTIVE AND HELPFUL. I ENTERED THE FESTIVAL BASED UPON THE NUMEROUS POSITIVE REVIEWS I READ ABOUT THE FESTIVAL.

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

WRITING IS A CONTINUAL LEARNING PROCESS.

 

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

1st Scene Screenplay – CATCH! by Jerry Nield

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

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

CATCH! by Jerry Nield

Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama

Synopsis: Could David really defeat Goliath?

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
ACTON – Dan Cristofori
OLD MAN – David Occhipinti
JIM – Michael Gaty
TOM – Mark Boutros
ELLEN – Judy Thrush

Get to know the winning writer: 

1. What is your screenplay about?

Amusingly indulging in the sports and pastimes of England in the Victorian age, the American Wild West and the show business flavour of the era. This is the true story of how an impoverished 10 year old Irish cross-eyed boy escapes the coal mines, saves what’s left of his family and delivers retribution by taking on history’s most brutal and deadly wrestler to become the Heavyweight Catch Wrestling Champion of the World!

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

It’s an amazing story that hits on many points of interest, which a wide audience would enjoy watching.

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

Unbelievable entertainment.

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

I watched Time Bandits many times as a teenager and have recently had the pleasure of watching it again with my wife and son, who’s 11.

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

I started with my first outline after I began researching the family history, 8 years ago.

6. How many stories have you written?

In writing, cutting and polishing, just this one screenplay, I have written countless short stories.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I thought of writing a film script after finding out Tom Connors, the cross-eyed, bow-legged, 5ft 6in and only 145lb wrestler, who managed to become the Heavy-weight Wrestling Champion of the World in 1887, was my great-grandfather.

But I was compelled to write when I discovered that he:

Worked the circus for P T Barnum.

Authored the first mail order wrestling/training instruction book.

Set up the “Tom Connors Athletic and Speciality Entertainment Company” which toured America, travelling from town to town, state to state and coast to coast, challenging any man of any size or weight to a wrestling match, offering $25 to anyone who could last just 15 minutes.

And that the entertainment included Farmer Burns, who before wrestling you, would drop 6 foot into the hangman’s noose and swing from the rope for 3 minutes whilst whistling “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. And the Glenroy brothers, a comedy boxing act whom Thomas Edison filmed in his earliest recordings.

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

Turning a rigid true story into an imaginative drama comedy, often meant running out of ideas and direction. Feedback has been an essential ingredient in keeping me on track.

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

My helpful and supportive family, growing fruit and veg, fishing, travel and local history, especially the local myths and legends that abound where I live in Wales.

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

The chance of having my script performed by professional actors, was an opportunity not to be missed. My initial feedback was to the point and very helpful in highlighting where improvement was needed.

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

Dive into your characters, leave yourself behind and try to be and act like that person, individual and if possible, unique.

****

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

1st Scene from WHEN THERE WAS TIME by James Gillard, Kevin McGruder

Winning 1st Scene Screenplay for June 2016. Watch the reading performed by professional actors.

WHEN THERE WAS TIME  by James Gillard, Kevin McGruder

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Synopsis: When a drug dealer is killed in Harlem, NY, a corrupt cop is ordered to solve the case. A conscious witness in the community steps forward.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
DIX – Deney Forrest
MURDOCH – John Lester Phillips
CARL – Christopher Huron
REVEREND – Jeff Sinasic
ANGELA – Tracey Beltrano

Get to know the writers:

1. What is your screenplay about?

When a drug dealer is killed in Harlem, NY, a corrupt cop is ordered to solve the case. A conscious witness in the community steps forward. Unbeknownst to her, her testimony can implicate him, unearths secrets about his partner, and reveals the paralyzing effect of “NO SNITCHING” in the community.

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

This screenplay should be made into a movie because it deals with sensitive polarizing subject of the term “snitching”. Delving into the issues which surround numerous communities and their constant fear of speaking out.

Fear that they won’t be protected and fear of the stigma it places on them if they come forward. . It also takes a look at those people who hold their community in fear with violence because they really have no power

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

insightful, edgy

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

Sugar Hill

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

For 2 years

6. How many stories have you written?

I have written about 40 stories in my life. I am an author or 2 books which feature numerous short stories I have writen
4 plays. 2 movie scripts.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

Gun violence. A changing community which is Harlem, USA.

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

The piece was written originally as a full length play. But in play form the script was too adventurous for the stage. The constant scene changes and cast made it difficult to produce theatrically.

So a decision was made to convert it into a screenplay.

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

I enjoy music. Jazz and hip in particular. I’m passionate about reading and also helping people tell their own stories in different formats – books, plays, movies

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

I was motivated to enter the festival because I wanted to share the script. It was written several years ago and has really been just taking space on my computer. Waiting to be heard.
It was a scene shot for potential producers but that project folded. And I always wanted to put it into a festival or reading event where I could find out what works and doesn’t. I’m still learning the format of screen writing.

I welcomed it. As any writer criticism can be tough but in order to make progress you have to be willing to receive it. And the feedback has been invaluable. Some of the critiques I was aware of and some I wasn’t. Helps me sharpen my pen.

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

be unafraid to share your work. Many people have masterpieces they are sitting on because they are afraid of criticism or they fear it will never get done. We write to create and then to share.

So share continuously — finding new ways to tell your story will help you grow as a writer.

****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

 

Watch 1st Scene Winner: MYA’S TRUTH by Thomas L. Ferguson

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

MYA’S TRUTH by Thomas L. Ferguson

SYNOPSIS:

A reluctant writer finally gets the courage to follow her repressed dreams and her ambitious boyfriend to Hollywood, but his dark secret and her reconnection with a former flame, both threaten to turn those dreams and her reality into an emotional nightmare.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
MYA – Leah Doz
MONA – Erynn Brook
CANDACE – Graciela Martinez
JASMINE – Jillian Cameron
ROBERT – John Marcucci
WALTER – Rob Salerno

Watch 1st Scene Winner: MYA’S TRUTH by Thomas L. Ferguson

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

MYA’S TRUTH by Thomas L. Ferguson

SYNOPSIS:

A reluctant writer finally gets the courage to follow her repressed dreams and her ambitious boyfriend to Hollywood, but his dark secret and her reconnection with a former flame, both threaten to turn those dreams and her reality into an emotional nightmare.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
MYA – Leah Doz
MONA – Erynn Brook
CANDACE – Graciela Martinez
JASMINE – Jillian Cameron
ROBERT – John Marcucci
WALTER – Rob Salerno