Tag Archives: Dan Fox

Winning Feature Screenplay Reading – PREY FOR THE DAY, by Richard M. Kjeldgaard

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

An early 30’s couple is flown from California to Florida by a Real Estate Investor with an opportunity that appears too good to be true. Once they arrive the couple soon realizes they have fallen into the hands of a con man and his “Henchmen”. They are robbed, taken hostage and beaten as their journey to financial security soon becomes a fight for survival and terrifying encounters in an abandoned home development out in the middle of nowhere.

CAST LIST:

Tara: Cassandra Sirois
Billy: James Murray
Kathy: Vanessa Quaglaira
Narrator: Val Cole
John: Dan Fox
Miguel: Nick Wicht
Mendez: Fabio Abreu

Get to know the writer:

1. What is your screenplay about?

John and Kathy Pearson are an early 30’s, financially successful couple living an Los Angeles and are flown out Miami to meet a Real Estate Investor, Miguel, with a Real Estate investment plan that seems too good to be true, rehabbing abandoned neighborhoods from the Real Estate bubble for great returns on investment. After showing them a few of the areas the pair becomes suspicious when Miguel invites some of “Contractors” out to meet them. They are subsequently tied up, beaten and forced to transfer all their money to Miguel. After the deal is done Miguel goes back on his word and orders his men to murder them. John breaks free and turns the tables on Miguel and his henchmen. John and Kathy flee into the swampy, derelict neighborhood they were originally lured. Miguel, having survived the escape hires “Human Hunters” and puts a price on their heads. From there it’s a cat and mouse game of survival in an worn down area far from any civilization

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Suspense/Thriller

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

It’s an edge of your seat, action thriller which will have an audience thinking “What’s next?. The backstory of the couple makes them characters the audience will cheer for and the bad guys characters the audience will genuinely hate. The isolation of the locale adds to the atmosphere and feeling of helplessness..

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

Page turner.

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

John Carpenter’s Halloween.

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

Took close to six months. Rewrote the story several times giving the two main characters more of a backstory and introduced more bad characters in the “Abandoned community”. The ending took a few rewrites as well to make it credible. Had to give the story more of that emotional roller coaster feel to it.

7. How many stories have you written? Scripts (Feature) Three horror, Three suspense/thrillers, Five character driven dramas, three short screenplays (20 pages) and A TV sitcom idea (Pilot and three scripts for the idea) a while back.

8. What is your favorite song?

(Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?) Any song off the original BOSTON album.

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

The pacing of the story was the most difficult part. Keeping the visuals, action scenes and characters all together and at a pace that was believable without taking anything or anyone to a situation that might confuse the reader. Also making the John and Kathy characters that I call “Transitional”

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

Reading biographies (For inspiration) Real Estate investing, Travel and Photography.

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

Great. A combination of guidance and encouragement through the writing process.

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

Feedback has been great. They definitely are thorough in their reading as I can tell from their notes. Again, always encouraging!!

******

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

Director: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: Kimberly Villarruel

Camera Op: Mary Cox

 

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Watch 1st Scene Winning Script Reading STILL IN THE GAME (with interview)

And I have been very pleased with the feedback from WILDsound; in fact, it inspired a reworking of the entire screenplay. And I think it is much stronger as a result.

– Writer George Flowers

    Watch STILL IN THE GAME by George Flowers:

    CAST LIST:

    NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
    Barkley – Allan Michael Brunet
    Mel – Dan Fox
    Hooker – Pip Dwyer
    Kelly – Dan Cristofori
    Prostitute – Christina Aceto
    Karen – Krista Morin

Matthew Toffolo interviews George Flowers:

What is your screenplay about?

In short, STILL IN THE GAME is about two American men – one a 75-year-old comic, and the other a 78-year-old salesman – who reject the notion that retirement means that life’s productive period is over. Baseball great Yogi Berra’s famous quote: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over,” captures their spirit well, as they strive to milk every last drop of fun and adventure out of their remaining years (months, weeks, days).

Why should this script be made into a movie?

It’s hard to find a comedy today that is not laced with sexual and other profanities. I tried to lace this screenplay with comedy, and spice it with a slightly racy subtext (Barkley’s desire to have sexual relations with young women) and some occasional risqué moments. [By the way, he never has sex with young women (he’s a dreamer, which is why the script opens with a dream sequence]; later in the film, he has an opportunity to have a sexual tryst with a young woman, and he rejects her, later explaining to a friend: “I’ve had milk older than she is.”]

How long have you been writing stories?

I’ve been writing articles on show business, travel and food, as well as news stories and commercials for broadcast, for many years. I’ve been writing screenplays for about five years. In 1977, I wrote a manuscript for a novel; it was never published, although at one point it was being considered for an “ABC Movie of the Week.”

What movie have you seen the most in your life?

“Blazing Saddles.” Easily a dozen times over the years. But I gravitate to most anything Mel Brooks as often as possible.

What artists would you love to work with?

To work with, period! –

Jack Nicholson: An extraordinary talent who milks every drop out of every line, and always manages to steal the scene.

Morgan Freeman: He brings depth to his performances that I rarely see from today’s young crop of actors. He’s a class act, who never overacts, is smooth, and is always absolutely believable.

Sean Penn: I believe that Penn is what James Dean would have become, had he lived – a gifted, emotionally explosive presence in Hollywood – on-screen, as a writer, and as a director. He has matured wonderfully since the ‘80s.

Meryl Streep: She is versatile and just amazingly in-touch with the characters she plays – that is, she becomes so genuinely the person she is playing that she appears just to be living her life, and we are bystanders.

Anthony Hopkins: He is a magnificent actor, skilled in his craft in much the same way that Brando and Olivier were.

To work with in the role of Barkley –

I would love to have worked with Walter Matthau; in fact, the Barkley character was created as an homage or sorts to him. Matthau was a superb actor, who moved effortlessly between dramatic and comedic roles, although I feel his comedic work was his best. Others who could have played him are Leslie Nielsen and Jack Klugman. Elliot Gould could possibly play him today. I could easily see Jerry Stiller playing Barkley, too, although he’s too old for the part.

6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?

Screenplays: Six (STILL IN THE GAME is my first). Stories (articles and news stories, mostly): Thousands (I’ve written about a thousand articles in the last 25 years; news stories: countless (I’m a broadcast journalist); commercials, many hundreds over the years for radio and television.

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

In my 30s again (I’m 68).

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

I come up with a screenplay idea, and write about it (stream of consciousness) for a while, just to see where it goes. If it feels like a promising beginning – if the concept feels good, and the characters feel rich, I then write what I feel will be the last few scenes (on the belief that I have to know where I’m going in order to get there); the ending isn’t cast in stone – it may change, but at least I can plot a course and travel it.

Regarding character development, I have a lengthy interview process, where I interview myself as each major character. I need to know their life experiences: where they came from, what their parents did, what influenced them (positively and negatively). I write a sort of bible on each character. In a screenplay, we meet every character mid-life, and where they came from determines how and where they go forward.

I don’t have a set writing routine; the creative process respects no rules. When the juices are flowing, the fingers must be typing, and keep typing until the flow ends.

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

Eliminating injustice, doing away with racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and xenophobia, and counteracting climate change before it’s too late. (In other words, I want to be Miss America.) But they’re all true. I majored in psychology in college, and one of my professor’s used the term “generativity” to mean leaving the world a better place for those who follow. That is what I am passionate about!

10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival? Did you enjoy the feedback you received?

I read the festival’s information on Film Freeway, and it sounded intriguing – and manageable: just the screenplay’s first ten pages; we’re not analyzing character development, arcs and plot resolutions – just the first few pages to see if viewers would get hooked. Nice!

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

There’s a story I tell when I speak with young writers; I’m not certain that it’s true, but its message certainly is. Allegedly, Earnest Hemmingway was scheduled to speak before an assembly of aspiring writers at a major university. Hundreds of students sat in the auditorium with pencils in-hand, waiting for the great Hemmingway to share his secrets for writing the great American novel. The author is said to have walked onto the stage, taken his place at the lectern, and paused for more than a few moments, just looking out at those assembled. When he spoke, he was short and to the point. He reportedly said: “So … you all want to be writers, eh? Then what the hell are you doing here? Why aren’t you home writing?” – and then he walked off the stage. There’s no substitute for exercising your creative muscles. Use them, or lose them. And best of luck to all of us.

    * * * * *

Deadline: FIRST SCENE (first 10pgs) SCREENPLAY FESTIVAL Get it performed at the festival. Full feedback
http://www.wildsound.ca/firstscenescreenplaycontest.html

– Submit the first stages of your film, get it performed at the festival, and get full feedback!

WATCH past 1st Scene Festival readings:

Watch Winning TV PILOT “FAUST” by Niel Thompson (plus interview)

I entered the WILDsound Festival because it was recommended on moviebytes.com. It was highly rated, and I liked that I would receive feedback regardless of the outcome of my script. Good feedback is hard to find, and so I decided to do it. The feedback received was very valid and constructive.

– Writer Niel Thompson

Watch “FAUST” Winning TV PILOT by Niel Thompson:

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
Faust – Krista Morin
Abby – Christina Aceto
Malchior – Allen Brunet
Amarete – Pip Dwyer
Donovan – Dan Fox
Ward – Ryan Anning

Matthew Toffolo interviews winning TV PILOT writer Niel Thompson:

1. What is your screenplay about?

Detective Amelia Faust is a wizard, the last wizard. It is her job to protect humanity from what is left of the supernatural. Abby is a young girl who can’t go home. She becomes Faust’s assistant. The two fight and defeat an ancient vampire, mummy queen and Faust decides to take Abby on as an apprentice.

2. Why does would this script make a terrific TV show?

There aren’t many female led action shows, and “Faust” would help fill the growing demand for that kind of content. How Faust uses magic is also a fresh, unique spin on an old story concept. While belief and heart are necessary components for a wizard’s magic, Faust also has to rely on her knowledge of science and natural intelligence to properly use magic and solve crimes.

3. How long have you been writing stories?

Years and years. I didn’t start thinking I wanted to be a writer as a profession until I was eighteen, but I was making stories long before.

4. What TV shows did you watch when you were a kid?

I watched a lot of different shows. I had four older brothers, and so I watched what they watched. I grew up on 80’s Transformers as well as British Comedy and Scifi like Black Adder and Doctor Who and anime among other things.

5. What artists would you love to work with?

If he were still alive, I would’ve loved to work with Terry Pratchett. Neil Gaiman and Stephen King would be others I’d like to work with not just because I like their writing but because they’ve worked in multiple media with both books, scripts, and comics.

6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?

I’ve lost track of the number of stories I’ve written. Writing screenplays is something that’s still a little new to me. As of now, I’ve written about four and am working on a fifth.

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

Getting paid to write.

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

I try to come up with the main character or characters and the conflict they have to overcome and start from there. I don’t rely heavily on an outline, but if I get stuck and don’t know where to go, I’ll write a basic one up just to give me a goal so that I don’t lose momentum.

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


I love stories, all stories in all mediums. I also like traveling and living in other countries. I’m also very passionate about theater. I did a lot of plays when I was a kid and in high school and college. Because of where I currently live, I haven’t been able to do any plays, but it’s something I’d like to do again in the future.

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

Don’t be afraid to write crap. You have to write crap before you can write something good. If you can’t bring yourself to write crap, you’re never going to be able to write anything meaningful.

    * * * * *

Deadline: SUBMIT TV PILOT/SPEC Script – Get FULL FEEDBACK. Get script performed by professional actors
http://www.wildsound.ca/tvscreenplaycontest.html

Watch WINNING TV PILOT Screenplay Readings
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/tv_pilot_readings.html

Watch WINNING TV SPEC Screenplay Readings
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/tv_spec_readings.html

READ 100s of testimonials for past submitters –
http://www.wildsound.ca/wildsound_festival_review.html

Watch COUGAR TOWN TV Spec Screenplay Winner (plus Interview)

One of the biggest reasons I entered WILDsound was the feedback aspect. Not a lot of contests offer that. What I heard back about my script was spot on and I was able to process the comments to come back with a stronger script.

– Screenwriter Felicity Flesher

    Watch COUGAR TOWN “Jammin Me” TV Screenplay by Felicity Flesher:

    CAST LIST:

    NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
    Jules – Pip Dwyer
    Ellie – Krista Morin
    Grayson – Dan Cristofori
    Andy – Allan Michael Brunet
    Bobby – Dan Fox
    Travis – Ryan Anning
    Laurie – Christina Aceto

Matthew Toffolo interviews Felicity Flesher:

1. What is your screenplay about?

“Jammin’ Me” is a Cougar Town spec script. In this episode, Jules and the Cul de Sac Crew’s world implodes when there is a wine drought.

2. Why does this script fit into the context of the show?

A wine drought is just about the worst possible thing that could happen to Jules and the Crew. And thus, one of the most hilarious. They have to scramble and take action to preserve their livelihood while breaking apart at the seams.

3. How long have you been writing stories?

For almost all of my life, my favorite movies have been the Indiana Jones trilogy. Growing up, I thought this meant that I should be an archaeologist and I started building my life around that career path. However, sometime in high school, I started getting into filmmaking and I realized that the career that really attracted me was that of the people that made Indiana Jones, not the character himself. Ever since, I’ve been dedicated to writing stories.

4. What TV shows did you watch when you were a kid?

I was a weird kid with weird parents, so the shows that interested me were a lot of the older British ones like Are You Being Served?, Allo, Allo, Sherlock Holmes, etc. While I want to be a good ‘Murican, I’m still drawn to a lot of shows from across the pond like QI and The IT Crowd probably because it’s a sensibility and humor that I was exposed to as I was developing my own voice.

5. What artists would you love to work with?

One of my favorite artists is Ray McKinnon, who won the Oscar for his short film “The Accountant” and who now gives us Rectify. I love his take on the South and I think it’s a perspective that has been missing for a long time. I also love a lot of the more stylized film directors like Wes Anderson, Edgar Wright, the Coen Brothers and Jean-Pierre Jeunet and how they are able to use their visuals in interesting ways to support great stories. In the comedy world, there are far too many artists that I’d kill to work with, so I won’t bore you with a list.

6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?

This Cougar Town script is actually the first television script I ever wrote. It began as an assignment for a college class and the experience and feedback spurred me to continue hacking away in TV.

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

In 5 years, the dream would be to work on a writing staff with cool people writing stuff that moves us and makes us laugh. My first job in Hollywood was as a PA on The Odd Couple where I was able to see a writing staff that worked hard, but clearly enjoyed each other’s presence and cracking jokes with their friends all day. I hope that one day I can be a part of a similar community.

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

About that writing routine… I need to work on getting one of those.

My process often begins with a set of notes I keep that range anywhere from a full plot to a character name that inspires me to a funny phrase I heard one day. Sometimes it’s those smallest details that are peculiar enough to warrant a full script for me.

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

There is life beyond a video screen???

But actually, I enjoy playing tennis and still hold a great deal of passion for my alma mater, Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

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

Dear Writers — you people enjoy reading advice, but maybe ignore people like me for a while, stop procrastinating, and just start telling your own stories.

    * * * * *

Deadline: SUBMIT TV PILOT/SPEC Script – Get FULL FEEDBACK. Get script performed by professional actors
http://www.wildsound.ca/tvscreenplaycontest.html

Watch WINNING TV PILOT Screenplay Readings
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/tv_pilot_readings.html

Watch WINNING TV SPEC Screenplay Readings
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/tv_spec_readings.html

READ 100s of testimonials for past submitters –
http://www.wildsound.ca/wildsound_festival_review.html

Watch Best Scene Script Reading of LEGACY (plus interview)

I got a lot out of the feedback I received from WILDsound. It was thoughtful, and intelligent. I didn’t always agree, but then after a few days of sleeping on it, it sinks in, and you think “Okay, maybe they’re right, let me try this to get there.” Then, after I added it, I could tell it was better.

– Writer Marc W. Johnson

    Watch Best Scene Reading of LEGACY by Marc W. Johnson

    CAST LIST:

    NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
    Virginia – Krista Morin
    Rose – Christina Aceto
    John – Allan Michael Brunet
    Diane – Pip Dwyer
    Julio – Dan Fox
    Vince/Damon/Carl – Ryan Anning
    Gary/Giles – Dan Cristofori

Matthew Toffolo interviews writer Marc W. Johnson:

1. What is your screenplay about?

How the secrets that are kept from us, and the betrayals we encounter have the ability to destroy who we are and remold us into something dangerous.

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

Because, in my humble opinion, there hasn’t been a decent werewolf movie that has used the Brothers Grimm Fairytale of Red Riding Hood in an effective modern day setting.

3. How long have you been writing stories?

I started writing short stories in/after high school unfortunately, I was unable to keep at it. It wasn’t until two years after the depression (sorry), recession of 2008 when I decided to combine two passions of mine while still trying to find gainful employment, writing and horror movies. Also, I continued to write while going for my college degree which I started in 2010.

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

That’s kind of a toss-up between Halloween (’78) Halloween II (’81), and Aliens. I love how the two Halloweens blend together, you can’t really watch one without the other, and Aliens, well, you got aliens, space marines, and firepower, what’s not to love.

5. What artists would you love to work with?

Okay, let’s see, there is John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Tom Savini, Greg Nicatero, Rob Zombie, Guillermo del Toro… I could go on and on…

6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?

I was going to college 2010-2014, and during that time I punch out two horror scripts, the last two years of college I spent a lot of time on Legacy, getting feedback from Wildsound and others, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting, you get the idea. I decided to put my effort into this one because of my previous answer as to why this movie should be made, plus, it’s a movie I would go see.

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

In 5 years I would like to be a respected (and profitable) writer. By profitable, I mean I would like to be able to make a living at something I really love to do, which is truly a rare thing.

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

I never really know how to answer this question. I feel I should come up with an answer that is deep, thoughtful, and on some level, cosmic, but the reality is, I get an idea, write down what I want to tell, and build my story around that. For instance, take Legacy, The very first thing I thought of was the ending, and “how cool would that be.” So, I wrote to that ending in 21 days. I promised myself 5 pages a day, and initially they were crap pages, let me tell you, but then the real work started.

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

My friends and family. No body messes with me and mine. I am the first one there backing you up, and I expect the same.

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

Well, there are probably more experienced writers out there than I am at the moment and, as my granddad used to say “Free advice is worth what you pay for it.” However, at this point in my own journey, all I can be comfortable saying is – Always be open to feedback, and sleep on it before accepting it as gospel, or totally dismissing it. This is the only way you will become skilled as to whether those giving it know what they are doing.

    * * * * *

DEADLINE: Submit your best scene from your screenplay. Have it performed using professional actors:
http://www.wildsound.ca/submit_your_favorite_scene.html

WATCH the past best scene readings and see what happens when you submit:
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/best_scene_readings.html