Tag Archives: Angelica Alejandro

Watch Feature Screenplay Winner: ORIGINS, by Michael Panek & Guershon Moreno

    Watch the Full Performance Reading of ORIGINS:


    NARRATOR – Angelica Alejandro
    DRAGOLA – Craig Estrella
    CAPTAIN STIBOR – Steve Rizzo
    GORGIAS – David Occhipinti
    LONDO – Sean Ballantyne
    KIERAN – Holly Sarchfield

Get to know winning writer Michael Panek:

1. What is your screenplay about?

A small group of civilans and scientist flee their homeworld after an alien invasion, and take refuge on Earth.

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

This script deals with Aliens and vampires, who doesn’t love Aliens and Vampires.

3. How long have you been writing stories?

I have been writing stories off an on for several years, a few years ago, i thought a movie would be a cool project.

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

The movie ive seen the most of, would have to be Star Trek, and Star Wars. But it was Farscape that sparked my imagination.

5. What artists would you love to work with?

Ben Browder, from Farscape, i think of him as the brother i never had. Big fan.

6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?

I have written mostly short stories with no success, this is my first full length screenplay.

7. Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?

Ideally, id like to be an extra in films and an advisor or mentor for other aspiring writers.

8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?

I don’t have a routine or process, i just make notes of ideas and thoughts that i have, then i put them into sentences that work.

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

Apart from writing, my other passions are, Enviromental issues, and Astronomy.

10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival?

I’ve known about Wildsound Festival for some time, i haven’t had much luck with other festivals, and had thrown in the towel, but with your judges feedback on entries, i thought it would be nice to see what kind of feedback i would get, to see if i should keep going or call it quits, this was a big surprise for me, i know i’m still a work in progress, but the potential is there to be one of the greats.

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

My advice to other writers is to follow your passion, don’t get discouraged, there will be setbacks, highs and lows, you have to try, don’t ever give up.

Interview with Michael Curtis, short screenplay winner (Gravel Heart)

I think I saw the festival highlighted on FilmFreeway, if I remember correctly. I had just finished writing the script and wanted to kind of test the waters to see how it would be received. I’ve directed a number of film projects in the past and I may direct Gravel Heart this fall if I can raise the funds. And I think sending the script out for feedback is important before one spends a lot of time, money, and effort – yours and other peoples’ – shooting a script that isn’t working.

– Michael Curtis, on what influenced him to submit to the WILDsound Festival (Review)

    Watch the Winning Screenplay Reading of GRAVEL HEART


    NARRATOR – Angelica Alejandro
    Tommy – Nathan Kohn
    Brick – Jason Martorino
    Cosgrove – Jason J. Thomas
    Celia – Stephanie Seaton

Matthew Toffolo interviews Micheal Curtis:

Matthew: What is your screenplay about?

A 14-year-old puts his life in jeopardy when he confronts a neighbor for killing his dog. The script is loosely based on something that happened to me about 10 years ago when a man shot and killed one of my dogs for what seemed like sport. Just meanness. Gravel Heart is a reimagined version – kind of a gritty coming of age story that explores loss and the limits of retribution.

Matthew: Why should this script be made into a movie?

I hope it’s a very cinematic story that I believe will connect with a broad spectrum of viewers.

Matthew: How long have you been writing stories?

I’ve written short stories sporadically a few times in my life, never seriously, just hobby writing. Gravel Heart is my first solo short screenplay. I am working on my MFA in Film currently, so I will be writing more screenplays over the next couple of years as part of that effort.

Matthew: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

I’m not sure. I watch films so much. All the way through or just partially? If the latter, probably The Shawshank Redemption, because I love that film and it seems to be on television every 10 minutes. Talk about residuals!

Matthew: What artists would you love to work with?

Tons. Some are no longer with us like Sven Nykvist and Kieslow Kieslowski. Great actors like Helen Mirren, Robert Duval, Juliette Binoche. Directors and writers like Terrence Malick and Paul Haggis. I would have an impossibly long list.

Matthew: How many stories/screenplays have you written?

Gravel Heart is my first solo short screenplay. Prior to this script I had only partially re-written the ending for a film I just directed, a short called “Gift.” http://www.giftshortfilm.com

Matthew: Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?

Working as a professional screenwriter for film or television and living on the coast of Maine. (mutually incompatible, perhaps, but a great dream!)

Matthew: Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?

I’m just starting out, so I am pretty disciplined as I try to find what works best for me. I have a full-time day job, so I usually get up very early each morning and try to get in about 3 hours of writing work before having to go off to my job. I am a structuralist for sure. With Gravel Heart I probably spent a good 6 weeks just working and reworking the structure as a step outline before even beginning to write in actual screenplay format. So I do a lot of prep work, and I probably work very slow compared to “real” writers. I also do extensive character studies, probably a leftover from my college training as an actor. I will occasionally write first-person character monologues to help me find the voices and rhythms for certain characters. By the time I started writing the actual screenplay for Gravel Heart it came together very fast, because everything was already “there.” I had the structure worked out in my head very clearly and knew where I was going. It was just a matter of listening to the characters and getting it all down for them. If you hold off long enough, to the moment when it just has to be written, the momentum of the story just hums right along.

Of course, that’s just for the first draft. Then you spend weeks – or at least I did – cutting out all the stuff that you’ve overwritten. Cutting, cutting, cutting. Making things more visual so dialogue isn’t the cake, but just the icing. I spent almost 5 months, I think, from the initial idea to write a screenplay of this story to the completion of rewrites. On a script that’s only 13 or 14 pages long. So like I said, I’m super slow! Maybe I’ll get faster with more experience, or maybe I won’t. Hard to say when one is still learning the craft.

Matthew: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love animals, as I’m sure my screenplay has given away. I also love jazz, movies, wild places and the sea. I’d like to see more justice in the world. More forgiveness, also, as we all need that.

Matthew: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Not really. I realize I’m a novice myself. Don’t sugarcoat things with yourself. Writing is very, very challenging, but if you are committed and not afraid of the tremendous amount of work involved to do it well, you can do it. But you have to find the love of it inside yourself, I think. Without that, you won’t be able to sustain the discipline and effort required. I’m still trying to learn to be a better writer. And I hope to write an even better script next time.

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