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Nick Wicht – April 19th Actor for Screenplay Festival

nick_wicht

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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!!

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

Director: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: Kimberly Villarruel

Camera Op: Mary Cox

 

STAGE PLAY Best Scene of IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, by Christopher Hemmens

 

Genre: Comedy

“In The Middle Of Nowhere is a farcical family comedy about Kate; a 30-something, newly-cosmopolitan university lecturer who travels home to see her parents, Penny and Bill, in their new house on the weekend of her father’s 60th birthday. It isn’t long before she’s butting heads with her fiercely right-wing father while her mother tries to keep the peace. Things take a turn for the surreal, however, when a strange man called Fish, who claims to have been exiled from a cult in the woods, barges in on their breakfast and refuses to leave.”

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Jane Hailes
Kate: Kelci Stephenson
Penny: Penelope Park
Fish: Nick Wicht
Bill: Charles Gordon
Sidlebrand: Todd Thomas Dark

Get to know the writer:

What is your stage play about?

The play is about a daughter coming home for the first time in a long time for her Dad’s 60th birthday. Unfortunately, her politics and her father’s come to loggerheads almost immediately and her mother is left to mediate. The arrival of Fish, a stranger who claims to have grown up in a cult in the nearby woods and who believes he will die if spends too long outside, forces the family members to find out how similar and how different they really are.

What genres does your play fall under?

It’s an eccentric comedy.

Why should this play be produced?

The play’s central themes deal with what it means to accept something is true – something that has become increasingly relevant in recent years. The first part was written before recent political events so the second part will be written with those events in mind.

How would you describe this play in two words?

Surreal, Surprising

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

Adaptation (2002) or The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)

How long have you been working on this play?

I worked on this play for about 4 years while I also worked on my PhD. Soon I will begin drafting a second part to this play to make it full-length.

How many stories have you written?

Ten. Six of them are just short pieces.

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

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of George Ezra so probably Blame It All On Me.

What obstacles did you face to finish this play?

This was my first try at writing a piece of this length so I made a lot of mistakes. I ended up writing the whole thing all the way through three times! Submitting the play for feedback taught me a lot about writing drama, character, but especially about how language is used in drama. Figuring out how to make the story make sense while also including all the beats I wanted to include was an enjoyable puzzle to solve but it didn’t come without a lot of headaches! It’s still not perfect but I’m very happy with where the final piece is at.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m very passionate about performing. I’ve been doing amateur theatre for 8 years and been chairman for 2. Doing this helped me understand what plays looked like and inspired me to write my own. It also gave me a platform to present my own work and an audience who helped me develop my work. I’m also passionate about philosophy and I find that writing plays is a great way to write about philosophical ideas like truth and reality in a fun and entertaining way that I find extremely satisfying.

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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

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

Best Scene STAGE PLAY Reading of LOOKING FOR REDFEATHER, by Linda Collison

Genre: Coming of Stage, Drama

Three troubled runaways meet up by chance on the road — but it ain’t Jack Kerouac’s road trip!

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Ramie: Nick Wicht
Chas: Mike Ruderman

Get to know the writer:

What is your play about? 

Looking for Redfeather is about coming of age on the road in America in the 21st century.  A boy on a father quest meets up by chance with two other runaway teens on the road to Denver. He has two weeks to find his father, an Apache named Redfeather.

What genres does your play fall under?

Drama/coming-of-age/humor/musical

Why should this play be made into a show? 

 

Looking for Redfeather is about growing up in America in the 21st century. It encompasses contemporary issues such as functionally dysfunctional families, friendship, American myths and legends, substance use and abuse, learning disabilities, the fictionalized past and present of Native Americans – specifically Apaches.

How would you describe this script in two words?  

Vibrant, adaptable

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

 

Tombstone (Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer)

How long have you been working on this screenplay?  

About three years. Adapted from the novel, written in 2007, and published in 2013.

How many stories have you written? 

Impossible to say! I’ve been writing stories all my life.  I have seven published novels and numerous published stories, articles and essays.  I have only written a few plays, though I love theater.

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

The one I’m singing along with at the moment. Seriously, it’s impossible to name one.  Music is the most powerful art form there is, and a universal language. OK, I’ll pick one that leaps to mind: As a writer, I admire Mark Knopfler’s Sailing to Philadelphia, as much for the lyrics as for his fine guitar playing.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay? 

I found it challenging to adapt my own novel to the stage.  The dialogue is strong and the heart of the story is there but I knew the plot was episodic, rambling, and in need of condensing. But I felt the story is malleable enough to be interpreted and re-interpreted by directors and young actors, following characters’ lead. This story is character driven, yet open to interpretation.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about? 

Music, travel, art, adventure, road trips, environmental theater, reading, learning… Writing is how I connect with myself and with others; it’s how I make sense of life.

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

I have always been positively challenged by writing contests; I’ve entered many and won a few. I’ve learned from them all.  Contests give me a deadline – and a purpose – to finish the project in a timely manner. A contest compels me to do my best work, and quickly. It keeps me from over-editing because a story is never perfect, it’s never finished to my satisfaction. Each time I rewrite it, it’s a slightly different story. It has grown and changed, a living thing.

That being said, my work requires many rounds of editing! I wanted professional feedback on this script to discover its strengths and weaknesses, its possibilities for production. I was very pleased with the detailed initial feedback I received and am incorporating some of the suggestions on the next iteration.  Thank you for the critique and the suggestions – and for the impetus to finish the script and send it in!  

 

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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

SHORT Screenplay Reading – EVERYONE HAS THEIR DEMONS, by Dustin Prince

Watch the August 2017 Winning Short Screenplay.

Genre: Thriller, Comedy

The willpower of a recovering alcoholic is put to the test when he takes shelter from the apocalypse in a sports bar.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Hugh Ritchie
John: Nick Wicht
Luke: David Occhipinti
Pop Star: Michael Lake
Business Woman: Alicia Payne

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

One man’s struggle to stay sober against all odds.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy/sci-fi

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

All characters has a strong presence.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Risk/Reward

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

The Punisher

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Two days to write and one to revise.

How many stories have you written?

Nine.

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

Arctic Monkeys- when the sun goes down

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Finding the proper ending.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Sometimes passionate with my wife….if I’m lucky.

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

To receive proper and helpful feedback that we actually put to good use. Thank you!

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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