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

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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

SHORT SCREENPLAY – PROTEST SEEN by Donald J. Bingle

Watch the Winning January 2017 Short Screenplay.

Best Scene from the screenplay PROTEST SEEN Screenplay
Written by Donald J Bingle

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
PROTESTER – David Straus
YOUNG MAN – Gabriel Darku
FLAME BOY – Nick Wicht
GIVER – Charles Gordon
BUSINESS WOMAN – Shannon McNally

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Drama

What if they held a protest and nobody paid attention?


Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

It’s about how America reacts to protest.

What genres does your screenplay under?

Dark humor; drama.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

In just a few pages, it touches on the commitment of protesters, the importance of protest movements, the futility of protest movements, and the apathy of the American public.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Protesting apathy.

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

Hard to say. No VCRs or DVRs when I was a kid. Probably something like the original Journey to the Center of the Earth (with Pat Boone) or Harvey (Jimmy Stewart) or Princess Bride.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I wrote it many years ago, but the process of actually writing it wasn’t that extended. It’s only a few pages.

How many stories have you written?

I have five books and fifty or so shorter stories published in the thriller, mystery, science fiction, horror, steampunk, comedy, romance, and memoir genres, along with a couple screenplays and a dozen or so adventures for role-playing game systems. More about me and my writing at http://www.donaldjbingle.com.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

It was a creativity exercise triggered by a prompt.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Screenplay formatting is a challenge for those who primarily write short stories.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Causation. People don’t think about both the intended and unintended consequences of their actions and they don’t seem to care about the reasons why people may disagree with them about all sorts of important subjects.

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

The feedback was specific, helpful, and good. I entered because I believe Protest Seen would make a good, limited budget, limit cast, limited location project for a film student to tackle and submit to film festivals, but I don’t have ready access to people who might be looking for that kind of project.

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

Understand not only your strengths, but your weaknesses, and challenge yourself to write things you never would have imagined yourself writing to develop your craft and expand your skill sets.

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

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TV SPEC Reading of MODERN FAMILY “Relax, I Got This” by Edward Pronley

Watch the January 2017 Winning TV SPEC Screenplay Reading.

Best Scene from the screenplay MODERN FAMILY Screenplay
Written by Edward Pronley

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
CLAIRE – Val Cole
MITCHELL/LUKE – Nick Wicht
GLORIA/ALEX – Shannon McNally
HALEY/LILY – Catherine D’Angelo
PHIL – David Straus
CAMERON/JAY – Charles Gordon

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Family

After refusing to fulfill Claire’s request to hire tree trimmers, Phil, with Luke’s help, takes matters into his own hands; Claire and Mitchell attempt to have a relaxing getaway; Gloria has problems trusting the Dunphys.


How does this screenplay fit into the context of this show?

When the idea for this story came to me, I knew it would be able to fit in nicely with the rest of the series. The conflict that arises from the three separate storylines converge in a way that I have definitely witnessed on the show before.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Trust family.

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

I have a problem with continuously re-watching, not only Modern Family, but also How I Met Your Mother. These two shows have great strengths in both writing comedy, and in writing characters we care about. I love seeing that in a comedy and hope to create something similar in my own writing.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I started this screenplay in the Summer of 2016 while pursuing a Screenwriting Certificate from NYU. It took me about the entire summer, with the help of my professor and my fellow classmates, to establish a good first draft. From there it went through many revisions until it was in it’s strongest form by around the end of December.

How many stories have you written?

Although this is my first spec script that I have written, I’ve written and produced a number short films (one that has gone on to be nominated for Best Screenplay at some festivals), I’ve written a feature, and most recently I finished a Two-Act comedy play that will be produced and performed around the end of April.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

Last Summer, before I even thought about writing this spec, I had been helping my father cut down trees around the yard. My mother begged him to hire professionals instead of doing it himself, but he thought it would save time and money. Well, a few days later as I was helping him cut down a rather large tree in our front yard, we miscalculated where it would fall and it ended up crashing into the top of our house. The A story of my script follows, almost exactly, this chain of events. After this occurred during the Summer, I had so many people telling that it would fit very well into an episode of Modern Family, so I decided to bring it to life.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

There were numerous obstacles that I faced when finishing this screenplay. It went through so many changes during my revision process and before even sending it to festivals, there was a point where I basically scrapped half of it and started over. The reason for this was due to the three complex storylines that intertwine throughout the script. I knew where I wanted them to go and how I wanted it all to end, however, it was getting them all to that point that had me scratching my head and scrapping rewrite after rewrite. In the end though, I feel that it came together very nicely.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I really enjoy doing anything that has to do with music. I play a number of instruments, including guitar and a little bit of piano, but I have recently got into the habit of trying to learn even more instruments. Most recently, I have picked up the drums and the trumpet.

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

Initially the biggest thing that made me want to enter this festival was the recorded performance of our written scripts if we were to win. After receiving my notes from the festival though, I would say that I now have two big reasons to submit to this festival again in the future. The notes I received were very well thought out and helped me immensely during my most recent revision of the script. The festival put a lot of effort into making the notes as thorough and helpful as possible.

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

The best advice I could give other writers would be to power through. There are times where you might think that you need to take a break from your writing and step back, maybe giving yourself an hour or a week to think about the story and your characters before you continue. I know in my experience though, that an hour turns into five and a week can turn into a month. If you sit down and write out your story, no matter how terrible it might seem to you, just know that the revision will always be better. Revisions can’t happen though, unless you actually write the script.

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

TV CONTESTSUBMIT your Best Scene Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Best Scene Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed
Screenplay CONTESTFIRST SCENE (first 10pgs) Screenplay CONTEST
Submit the first stages of your film and get full feedback!

 

HORROR SHORT SCREENPLAY – COMES AROUND by Gunnar Halldorsson

Watch the January 2017 winning short screenplay.

Best Scene from the screenplay COMES AROUND Screenplay
Written by Gunnar Halldorsson

CAST LIST:

TOM – Nick Wicht
BONNIE – Shannon McNally
PAMELA – Catherine D’Angelo
CECIL – David Straus
NARRATOR – Charles Gordon

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Horror, Thriller

A couple on the run happen across a murderous farmstead when their getaway vehicle overturns – will they survive?


Get to know the winning writer:

What is your screenplay about?

What you throw out in to the universe comes back

What genres does your screenplay under?

Horror

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Frightning, funny and tensional

How would you describe this script in two words?

Unexpected horror

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

Scarface

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

One year

How many stories have you written?

Five

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

An Australian looking for a short. I live in Iceland LOL

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Time

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Nature

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

The concept. The feedback was fantastic

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

Never stop imagining —

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

TV CONTESTSUBMIT your Best Scene Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Best Scene Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed
Screenplay CONTESTFIRST SCENE (first 10pgs) Screenplay CONTEST
Submit the first stages of your film and get full feedback!