Winning Feature Screenplay: PEACE PLEDGE, by George M. Johnson

Watch the Winning August 2017 Feature Screenplay Reading

Genre: War, Drama, Romance

A disillusioned First World War veteran, challenged by a reckless Anglican priest, reluctantly fights for peace against fascists in 1930s Britain, losing both friends and family but gaining a second chance in love. Based on the true story of Canon Dick Sheppard and the Peace Pledge Union.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Dick Sheppard: Scott McCulloch
John: Brogan Caulfield
Esme: Sandra Krstin
Alison: Julie Sheppard
Burt: Peter-Mark Raphael

 

B>Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

A disillusioned First World War veteran, challenged by a reckless Anglican priest, reluctantly fights for peace against fascists in 1930s Britain, losing both friends and family but gaining a second chance in love. The screenplay is based on the true story of Canon Dick Sheppard and the Peace Pledge Union, the strongest pacifist movement in history.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Period drama, history, biopic

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Peace Pledge is a gripping and heart-felt story about standing up for what you believe in, even against all the odds. It is also a tale of redemption, love and the power of the human spirit. Peace Pledge is timely with the centenary commemoration of the end of WWI on the horizon (and the 80th anniversary of the beginning of WWII); the story becomes more relevant every day with the escalation of military spending and worldwide violence.

How would you describe this script in two words?

heart-warming, uplifting

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

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I started researching it in 2012 and have worked on it along with other projects since then.

How many stories have you written?

I have written about a dozen stage-plays, some of them award-winning. “Still Life With Nudes” is a comedy about seniors who stage a sit-in at a contemporary art gallery in protest when their full-length nude self-portraits were rejected. It won the National Playwrighting Award and several other awards. I’ve also penned three award-winning screenplays, including “Peace Pledge,” which received Honorable Mention in the Euroscript Competition, and “The Wonder,” a finalist in the British Independent Film Festival, as well as half a dozen children’s stories, one, “Marissa and the Mountains,” to be published by Simply Read next year.

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

Universal Soldier has been a long-time favourite.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Information about the Peace Pledge Union has been buried in history and so it took considerable digging to piece together the peace story.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am passionate about social justice issues, particularly fighting threats to the environment where I live in B.C.. I also enjoy canoeing, camping, and travelling with my family.

You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

It has been great!

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

A friend had entered and told me it was worthwhile. I was elated at the encouraging, articulate, insightful feedback and inspired to make further revisions to make this the best script possible.

 

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

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

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TV SPEC of THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT “Kimmy is a VIP” by Mike Miller

Watch the October 2016 Winning TV Screenplay.

TV SPEC of THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT “Kimmy is a VIP”

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
KIMMY – Erynn Brook
TITUS – Martin Huss
JACQUELINE – Viktoria Napoleonova
LILLIAN – Michelle Alexander
ULLR – Brogan Caulfield
DORMAN – Michael Lake

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy

Kimmy and Titus go on a quest to get Jacqueline back on an exclusive VIP list for a restaurant opening and Kimmy seeks justice after being rejected on Tinder.

Get to know the winning writer Mike Miller: 
 
What is your Kimmy Schmidt screenplay about? 

The feeling of not being included as we explore Jacqueline’s fear of being pushed out of high society, plus a little satire about the idea of exclusivity and how badly some people feel the need to be “above” others, and Tinder. Most of us can relate to the awkwardness of online dating, relationships, or simply being vulnerable.

How does this script fit into the context of the TV show? 

Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and the awesome cast created these great characters with such strong points of view. You can’t help but have fun writing in those voices. Kimmy is such an unbreakable fighter for justice, so I wanted to write a script with stories that fit her idealism and give us a chance to see what Titus, Jacqueline and Lillian want. TUKS does a great job making a parody on society, which is something I absolutely love to do.

How would you describe this script in two words?    

Kimmyfisticated Thinkystuff

What TV show do you keep watching over and over again? 

Seinfeld

How long have you been working on this screenplay?  

I wrote the first draft in about 6 weeks after binge watching season one. I let it sit for a bit and then picked it up with fresh eyes for a few edits. Then season 2 came out and I spent a few more days editing to create this version. In my original script [Spoiler] Xanthippe was the culprit Kimmy confronts at ‘Excluse’.

How many stories have you written? 

I fell in love with comedy writing and Improv while studying at the Second City, then wrote and performed at our local comedy theater. Writing sketches every week was a great experience before I began writing for television and film. In addition to this Spec Script, I’ve written two original sitcom pilots and I have two more in process along with three feature screenplays.

What motivated you to write this screenplay? 

I love the world of Kimmy Schmidt and her hopeful idealism. I’ve been called an elf for being so optimistic and happy, so maybe I’m a little like Kimmy. Kimmy is such a great fighter for justice, I couldn’t resist writing for her. I think it is important to write Spec scripts that show you can write on a team and contribute to a world other writers have created. I hope some showrunner out there might read this script, laugh, and give me a shot. Plus, I have a nerd crush on Tina’s writing so doing this was just plain fun.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay? 

You know the saying “Be careful what you wish for”. I wished for Season 2 to come out, then it did and I realized I had to change my script.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about? 

My wife, family, friends, and dog on the top of that list. I’m passionate about learning, exploring the world, and fresh tracks on a ski day. I’m similar to Kimmy, so count on me to be passionate about fighting injustice and most other philosophies that boil down to treating everyone with respect and kindness.

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

I think it is magical when something I wrote is performed on stage or screen. I was influenced to enter the festival with the hope that some very talented actors would bring this script to life in a table read, and hopefully I’d make a few of them and some Kimmy fans laugh (or at least chuckle). The feedback made my day because, again, if I can make someone laugh I’m happy.

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

Write sketch comedy, take Improv classes, and play with creating characters. You’ll either learn a lot or just have a lot of fun…hopefully both. Carry a journal with you everywhere you go. Every time I feel awkward, uncomfortable, or something crazy happens I write it down. That moment might turn into a memorable scene, a storyline for an episode, or the premise of a film. It could also be that I just have a lot of awkward moments. Keep writing, stay hopeful, and as Han Solo said “Never tell me the odds”.

 

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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson