Winning THRILLER Feature Screenplay: WORD GAMES, by Joel Stern

Genre: Thriller, Horror, Drama

A commercial airliner flying to Paris explodes off the U.S. East Coast killing sixteen members of a high school French Club and a young pianist destined for greatness; a pair of deranged teens go on a terrifying high school shooting spree ending the life of a young girl devoted to serving God and mankind. If there is a master plan, how could these horrific events be allowed to happen?

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Sal: Kris Hagen
Dave: Peter Nelson
Monica: Shania Belton
Julie: Katelyn Varadi
Tanya/Shannon: Carina Cojeen
Lassen: Mike Ruderman
Bill: Nick Wicht

 Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

“Word Games” is about two strangers in a nursing home who are isolated because of the “Blizzard of the Millennium” . One man – Sal Genesinni – is the janitor. The other is Dave Phillips, an old man, wheelchair bound, who was found abandoned in the storm. While Phillips’ true identity remains a mystery, he and Genesinni play “Scrabble” to kill time. As they spell certain words it takes us back in time to real life events. As they recall these events they actually change what happened. This affects the destiny of the promising young people they speak of. As the story unfolds, we realize their “game” is a battle of wits between good and evil – one they engage in as different people throughout time.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Suspense/Horror

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

“Word Games” would provide moviegoers with a suspenseful, alternative view of destiny and attempt to explain why bad things happen to good people.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Story in two words: Inescapable destiny.

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

The movie I’ve seen the most: “Pineapple Express”

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I wrote the short story two years ago (now on Amazon). I began writing the screenplay in January, 2016.

How many stories have you written?

I’m currently writing my third screenplay. I began my first, “Trickle Down”, a dramatic comedy based on the 2007 mortgage meltdown, in 2012.

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

Favorite song – Rod Stewart’s “Have I Told You Lately…”

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Obstacles to writing screenplay: Trying to think as God

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Other passions: Sports, politics, travel, history

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

Film Freeway: Easy to work with

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

I entered the festival to gage interest in my work and to get it produced. “Word Games” also won a Finalist Award at the Cannes Film Festival Screenwriting contest in April of this year.

I was thrilled with the feedback I received. I made a few clarifications when asked to.

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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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Best Scene from 3 FAMILIES Screenplay Written by J.D. Poland

Watch the Winning September 2016 Best Scene Screenplay Reading.

Best Scene from 3 FAMILIES Screenplay
Written by J.D. Poland

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Romantic Comedy

At its heart, it’s about unselfish love along with the challenges of cultivating integrity and bravery, given internal limitations and external pressures.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Julian Ford
FIONA – Alicia Payne
VIRGINIA – Katelyn Varadi
PAUL – Peter Mark Raphael
THOMAS- Nick Hendrick Wicht
VINCENT – Kheon Clarke

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

At its heart, it’s about unselfish love along with the challenges of cultivating integrity and bravery, given internal limitations and external pressures.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s a screwball romantic comedy.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

It’s fun for all ages. While it has universal appeal, it has particular appeal to a large, but under-served demographic: Asians. And it portrays strong, intelligent women.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Fast-moving romp. Is that 3 words?

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

When I was 8, I talked my parents into letting me see Star Wars 8 times. I slipped a few Star Wars references into the B-story.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

The idea came to me about a year ago. I spent 6 months letting it rattle around in my head, 3 weeks creating an outline, and 3 weeks in Kathmandu, Nepal, writing the first draft. It’s the second screenplay I’ve written in Kathmandu.

How many stories have you written?

I’ve got 4 features and 4 shorts under my belt.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

A funny thought and time on my hands.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Writing in Kathmandu has its obstacles, but that’s part of the reason why I like to write there. Because of power-rationing, there’s only electricity for a few hours a day. So I can write while there’s power and while I have battery left. And WIFI is unreliable at the budget guesthouses I prefer. But those limitations impose a discipline and urgency that I struggle to maintain in a more developed country. Probably my greatest obstacle was maintaining my sense of humor in the face of the destruction caused by the earthquake…and no tandoori thanks to India holding up gas shipments. Nepal without tandoori is like sex without orgasm.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Business analysis and Buddhism – basically anything beginning with a B.

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

Good advice? Let’s see. Always begin with the end in mind. Make sure there’s a point to your story (and you know what that is). Outlining is super helpful. And when you’re finally ready to hammer out the first draft, try to create an environment/routine that encourages discipline and a sense of urgency.

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne