Tag Archives: Mark Sparks

CARRION – Short Screenplay Reading by Karen Palmer

Watch the May 2016 Winning Short Screenplay.

CARRION Short Screenplay:

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Drama, Family

CARRION is a dramatic short film about two 11-year-old girls who scour the crumbling streets of Detroit looking for items needed to perform black magic against their abusive foster father.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
LUCIA/MAMA JO – Lavinia Latham
WREN – Isabella Bontorin
OTIS – Mark Sparks

Get to know writer Karen Palmer:

What is your screenplay about?

“Carrion” is about two 11 year-old-girls who scavenge the streets of Detroit looking for items to perform witchcraft against their abusive foster father.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

It’s a hopeful story, told in a place and through a premise that initially seem pretty bleak. We could use more stories like that!

How would you describe this script in two words?

Emotionally powerful.

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

It’s a toss-up between Baraka and Pride & Prejudice. I love the visual storytelling in both.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I started with an idea in January 2015, finished the first draft in April 2015 and have been shaping and reshaping it ever since.

How many stories have you written?

Many! I was a journalist for years, then moved to corporate storytelling, which meant telling a certain kind of story in a certain kind of way. I’m happy to have returned to writing stories, albeit now through fiction and film.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

While researching a short story about “mining” for copper in Detroit, I read a beautiful New York Times article about how much this type of scavenging had hurt the city, to the point that dozens of houses were razed because they had been stripped to the studs and were simply dangerous. I happened across some photos by a pair of French photographers that showed the disintegration of the city in an almost romantic light. All of that, plus a couple years living in Ghana and writing extensively about witchcraft, was roiling around in my brain when this story came to me.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I was fortunate to have a great group of readers encouraging me to finish – they helped me see what was needed and what could land on the cutting room floor. At one point I had a dog in the script and couldn’t see the story without it. But some gentle questions and some encouragement to try it without the dog showed me that it wasn’t adding much but a trope. So there were some deep cuts and a few characters who were lost along the way.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Traveling. I’ve been fortunate to live in Africa, where I traveled from Ghana to Senegal along the western coast of the continent over three years, then from Kenya south to Malawi over another year. I also lived in the Philippines, which made a great base for exploring an incredibly vibrant region. It’s where I fell madly for scuba diving. I had a life where my weekends were free – and I spent three of every four under water.

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

An actor friend encouraged me to enter. It sounded like a great way to get a sense for your work – actually hearing it! Then a producer who’d been reading the script suggested it as well. The feedback I received was excellent – I wasn’t sure what else I could do to tighten the script, or deepen it, and the reader made some fantastic suggestions that opened up the POV and made Otis a much more complete and believable part of the script.

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

When you’re stuck, reach out to a trusted reader. They can help you decide whether your script is “ready” or whether you need to keep going. Keep challenging your scenes: is this clear, is it concise, can I convey this in more than just words? The thing I love about screenwriting is that it gets deeper and deeper into the subject matter with every draft. So just keep going!

****
Director/Produceer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Advertisements

Short Screenplay Table Reading – TURN ON DESIRE by Lauren Hoekstra

TURN ON DESIRE is the February 2016 Short Screenplay Winner.

Watch TURN ON DESIRE by Lauren Hoekstra

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
LUKE – Mark Sparks
PIMP – Neil Kulin
BOY – Gabriel Darku
LOUDSPEAKER – Elizabeth Rose Morriss

Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller

Get to know writer Lauren Hoekstra:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your short screenplay about? 

It’s set in a not-too-distant future where the proliferation of virtual sex has killed meaningful relationships and created a society in search of ever-more extreme forms of gratification. Luke, the protagonist, is caught in this vicious circle of gratification and craving. Until he discovers he’s yearning for something long since forgotten.

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

Everyone wonders where we’re headed in the future and this story takes a trajectory of something we’re experimenting with today and shows a potential consequence.

Matthew: This story has a lot going for it. How would you describe this script in two words?    

A surreal romance

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

 Cinema Paradiso

Matthew: This is  a very tight, emotionally engaging and fun screenplay. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

 I wrote it very quickly as a short story a couple of years ago, then tried, and failed to turn it into a short screenplay. After that, I abandoned it for a few years, until recently. This time, the screenplay flew.

Matthew: How many stories have you written? 

 Not that many. I’m a director first, writer second.

Matthew: What motivated you to write this screenplay? 

I was about fifteen when internet became a standard household item. Over the next decade, I personally felt the effect it had on relationships and it made me want to capture what I think we might be losing.

Matthew: What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The main obstacle was the fact that the protagonist and antagonist never meet, so I had to create secondary characters to explain the story.

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

 I love directing and producing.

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

I’ve had another work featured and it’s amazing to hear your screenplay performed. I’ve found the feedback to be very helpful and I’ve incorporated nearly all the recommendations.

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

Contests that give feedback, like WILDsound, are invaluable.

 

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

 

 

Feature Screenplay Table Reading: HENRIETTA’S ODYSSEY by L R Whittinger

Henrietta’s Odyssey is the February 2016 Feature Screenplay Winner

Watch HENRIETTA’S ODYSSEY by L R  Whittinger:

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
HENRI – Amanda Pereira
EANIE/ARTHUR – Gabriel Darku
GEEGLE – Mark Sparks
ADA/MRS. STRICT – Elizabeth Rose Morriss
VARIOUS – Neil Kulin

Get to know winning writer L R  Whittinger:

1. What is your feature screenplay about? 
To save her Henrietta’s life, she is left on an earthling’s doorstep by Geegle one of the most untrustworthy characters in the plot. It so happens she is left on the wrong doorstep. She falls into the hands of the greedy Fritzgrumpy’s and becomes their slave. After Henri discovers she is a foundling and her supposed parents were only interested in being paid for looking after her. Her life turns upside down. Eanie Meanie saves Henri aided by with Geegle. So she can to find her way back to her real place in time and space.  However, the Black Cardinal who has taken her rights away wants her dead.
 
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie? 
This is a rare comedy script, as weird as Edward Scissorhands and as compulsive as Time Bandits. The story is told in the style of Alice in Wonderland with animated sequences. 
 
3. This story has a lot going for it. How would you describe this script in two words?    
Humungously funny
 
4. What movie have you seen the most times in your life? 
City of Ember (2008). It is always on TV and has a deep interesting plot.
 
5.  This is  a very tight, emotionally engaging and fun screenplay. How long have you been working on this screenplay?  
This story began as a manuscript around 2006. It was published as Henri and the Alien (2008) and one London publisher immediately said it should be a film. Within a few years, I had developed a children’s TV series. I had interest at MIPCOM, Kidscreen, and CMC, but thought a feature film would allow me to build a stronger brand. I have been working on the screenplay with other projects for two years. 
 
6. How many stories have you written? 
I have written nine stories if one does not include different versions of the same story for different media. 
 
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay? 
I think taking this story from novella to TV series, to Screenplay has been an enjoyable experience. I laughed and cried along with it. I had another screenplay on my PC about dolphins at the same time, which is now in pre-production under another writer’s name. It taught me how to write in multiple mediums for different audiences. 
 
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay? 
Writing screenplays is like learning a language, very different from novels and literary fiction. It has a different grammar and tense. This problem is common to all writers, who switch from TV to films, or to books. One obstacle is always the problem, what to cut and what to keep, and which character leads and when. Another problem with a visual medium is leaving the right clues, for an actor to pick up the character’s emotional state. How many films have you watched, where a dialogue line can be interpreted many different ways with, pauses, expressions, etc. 
 
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about? 
I love history and am sad that many writers do not use authentic situations in historic films. The past is very intriguing and can offer enormous opportunities emotionally. I tend to be a workaholic because I was born on Saturday. I love the irony of politics, sport, and religion and wonder how they can subsume people. That is the novelist and thinker coming out. I think everyone should study anthropology, so they, can see how ridiculous humans are.  
 
10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I feel WILDsound is a great way to develop a screenplay and get friendly feedback. It can be slow, but that has advantages, as every writer needs, at least, three projects underway at a time. You cannot keep reading the same thing repeatedly without a break. You need to be on the ball and creative.   
 
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers? 
As William Nicholson (Gladiator, 2000) told me screenplays are about story. Never be possessive about you work. If you are, no one will want to work with you. The real trick for someone like me who writes book to film screenplays is, think out of the box and remember films are about seeing not feeling. Lastly, unless you are also a director or producer you will likely be undervalued for your contribution. The industry is geared to publicizing a few directors or actors to attract audiences. Thankfully, WILDsound is giving screenwriters the place they deserve. 
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Watch Short Screenplay: FOR HOPE by Cindy Lee

For Hope is the February 2016 Winning Short Screenplay.

Watch FOR HOPE by Cindy Lee:

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
NIC – Elizabeth Rose Morriss
THEMBA – Mark Sparks

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Drama

Get to know writer Cindy Lee:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your short screenplay about?

Cindy Lee: My short screenplay is about two rhino poachers who flip their car in the Kruger National Park. Even though their lives are literally hanging in the balance none of the locals who arrive on the scene will help them. The locals decide to take a stand and send a message. Enough is enough.

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

Cindy: Rhino poaching will wipe out the Rhino population if it isn’t stopped soon. We need to get this message across in an interesting and dramatic way that will find a larger audience. Hope is a young female Rhino who had her horn hacked off, but survived thanks to some amazing Doctors. This story is For Hope and all the other Rhinos.

Matthew: This story has a lot going for it. How would you describe this script in two words?

Cindy: For Hope.

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

Cindy: Requiem For A Dream.

Matthew: How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Cindy: About a year.

Matthew: How many stories have you written?

Cindy: A lot in my head. Only a handful to paper.

Matthew: What motivated you to write this screenplay?

Cindy: I travel to the bush a lot and the one time we went we didn’t see any Rhino. When we asked the ranger why, he said they weren’t allowed to call out their positions on the radio any more because poachers may be listening. That made me very sad. Sad enough to want to do something about it.

Matthew: What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Cindy: None really. I did do lots of rewrites and eventually had to say ‘Okay stop, it’s done.’

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

Cindy: Directing. That’s my other big love.

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

Cindy: I loved that not only did we get feedback but you also did a live reading of the screenplay so I could hear it come to life.

The feedback was great. I changed the title – good call – and took out the directing notes (hard not to write them in when you’re a director). It made the screenplay flow much better.

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

Cindy: Get a comfortable chair.

 

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

WILDsound Performer Jan. 31st Event: Mark Sparks

Actor Mark Sparks will be performing at the January 31 2016 Writing Festival event.

See the winning screenplays that will be performed at the festival on the 31st

mark_sparks_2Height: 6’4

Hair: Black

Eyes: Brown

Watch past screenplay readings the actor has performed in:

ACTORTV SPEC – ARROW “Second Chances”
March 2015 Reading
Written by Molly Driscoll

ACTOR1st Scene – THE UMPIRE HAS NO BALLS
March 2015 Reading
Written by Debbie Bolsky

ACTORTV PILOT – NO LOVE DOVES
March 2015 Reading
Written by Alexandre Kounde

ACTORSHORT – BATMAN/SUPERMAN FAN Script
March 2015 Reading
Written by Glenn Magas & Dale Fabrigar

ACTORBEST SCENE – BIONIC (From Bionic Man TV Pilot)
March 2015 Reading
Written by Craig Glatt

ACTORSTAGE PLAY: THE NIGHT WATCHMAN
September 2013 Reading
Written by E. Thomalen

ACTORTV PILOT: REDEEMING GRACE
May 2015 Reading
Written by WL Gorman

ACTORTV SPEC: NEW GIRL “Career Day”
May 2015 Reading
Written by Melissa K. Willis

ACTORTV SPEC: GIRLS “Camping”
May 2015 Reading
Written by Melissa K. Willis

ACTOR1st Scene: MYA’S TURTH
May 2015 Reading
Written by Thomas L. Ferguson

WILDsound TV Screenplay Festival Announces May 2015 Winners

The WILDSOUND TV Screenplay Festival has announced its May, 2015 Winners. Watch the 3 Winning Screenplay performance readings from the monthly screenplay festival:

Script #1: TV PILOT: REDEEMING GRACE
May 2015 Reading
Written by WL Gorman
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/redeeming_grace.html

SYNOPSIS:
A fractured and unstable near-future Canada where danger is ever-present and anarchy is just a breath away. In the centre of this cauldron is an ex-military gun-for-hire who seeks redemption from both his country and his father. With the odds stacked against him, will he be able to achieve it?

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
STEVEN – Mark Sparks
WOLF/PADDY – Rob Salerno
YOUNG – John Marcucci
ALEXIS – Jillian Cameron
FLINT/FAUSTIN – Peter Bent
CAROLINE – Erynn Brook
SHEPPERD – Sean Ballantyne
MARTY – Graciela Martinez
JULIE – Leah Doz

Script #2: TV SPEC: NEW GIRL “Career Day”
May 2015 Reading
Written by Melissa K. Willis
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/new_girl.html

SYNOPSIS:
“Career Day”, an on speculation of the Fox sitcom New Girl, finds Jess in charge of the school’s Career Day activities in which she must deliver or possibly lose her job.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
JESS – Erynn Brook
SCHMIDT – Rob Salerno
NICK/BANKS – John Marcucci
CECE – Leah Doz
WINSTON – Peter Bent
COACH – Mark Sparks
STUDENT 1 – Graciela Alexandra Martinez
STUDENT 2 – Jillian Cameron

Script #3: TV SPEC: GIRLS “Camping”
May 2015 Reading
Written by Yolanda R. Easiley
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/girls.html

SYNOPSIS:
Conflicts occur when Jessa and Marnie go to pick up Hannah at the airport. Ray and Shoshanna run into a troubled taxi driver, as Adam connects with a hooker.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
HANNAH – Jillian Cameron
MARNIE – Erynn Brook
JESSA – Graciela Alexandra Martinez
SHOSHANNA/THERESA – Leah Doz
ADAM – John Marcucci
TOM – Peter Bent
RAY – Rob Salerno

* * * * *
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

Interview with Winning Novelist David John Roberts III (THE SZGANY CHRONICLES)

Watch the 1st Chapter Novel Reading of THE SZGANY CHRONICLES: THE UNTOLD TALES OF DRACULA

Novel performed by Mark Sparks

Get to know winning writer David John Roberts III:

1. What is your novel about?

My novel is a sequel to Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” It is the fictional account of Dracula’s reconstitution after he was thought to be destroyed by the vampire hunters.

2. Why should people read your novel?

My novel is action-filled, suspenseful and includes rich, well-rounded characters with interesting conflicts.

3. How long have you been writing stories?

I’ve been writing for several years.

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

Angels in America

5. What artists would you love to work with?

All deceased. Salvador Dali, Michelangelo.

6. How many stories have you written?

3

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

Exactly where I am right now with a couple of novels under my belt.

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

I try to write daily even when inspiration falters. I like to write electronically.

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

The theatre.

10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival?

I wanted to see what interest there might be in my novel.

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

Write with honesty and passion. Write every day whether you feel like it or not.