Interview with Michael Miceli, Feature Screenplay Winner (BESA)

WILDsound has a reputation for providing on-the-money professional feedback for each submission. I like to enter every project I do in WILDsound because it is a great barometer for comparing your work to what is hot in the industry.

– Michael Miceli, on the WILDsound experience (review)

    Watch the Winning Feature Script Reading of BESA

    CAST LIST:

    NARRATOR – Sedina Fiati
    Gino – Peter Nelson
    Ilir – Roman Spera
    Uke – Jarrid Terrell
    Carmine Jr. – Robert Notman
    Valbona – Erynn Brook
    Valbona – Steve Rizzo

Matthew Toffolo interviews winning writer Michael Miceli:

Matthew: What is your screenplay about?

Besa is the story of a loyal Italian father, forced to defend his son who has inadvertently sparked a New York mob war between Sicilian and Albanian crime families.

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

Besa is based on the electrifying novel by Louis Romano, who did an incredible job of capturing the criminal world as it exists today. Our version of the mafia is a weak fossil of what has been depicted in films over the past forty years. The real power is in the fresh blood: Albanians and Russians.

Matthew: How long have you been writing stories?

I wrote my first script when I was in second grade. It was for puppet show I put on for my class about a very lucky dog. Before I could write, I used to draw stories, frame by frame, on a piece of paper and then pull the paper past a make shift projector I had made – which was a flashlight aimed through a toilet paper tube, shining onto my bedroom wall. So I guess you could say storytelling and “filmmaking” has been there since the beginning for me.

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

I saw “Raiders of the Lost Ark” twice in the theatre when I was 4 years old. The moment that boulder came rolling , I was hooked.

Matthew: What artists would you love to work with?

Working or not, I’d love to be in the same room with Steven Spielberg for an hour with the hope that I’d catch whatever he has. E.T., Jaws, and Schindler’s List are three completely different genres and he mastered them all.

Matthew: How many stories/screenplays have you written?

I have written 13 feature film scripts. Most recently, “Beautiful Me”, a faith-based film being produced by Restoring Truth Media, and “Chimerism”, a medical thriller being produced by Girl On a Rocking Horse Productions. Both are going into production in 2015.

Matthew: Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?

On set, anywhere, bringing a script to the screen.

Matthew: Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?

Characters first. Once you’ve written everybody’s whole life from birth to the first page of your script, then you’re ready to begin the journey. From there, I don’t try to structure creativity. I write out of order, just tackling any scene as it grows out of my mind. The smoothing out comes in subsequent drafts.

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

I have three little kids that seem to be passionate about everything. So I am passionate about them being passionate about everything.

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

Every writer should always remember the golden rule of screenwriting: simple story, complex characters. If you can do that, you’re more than half way there.

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Chatting with Howard Fridkin, WILDsound Feature Screenplay Winner

I truly believe that a table read is the next best thing in seeing my script on the big screen — so I entered my new thriller “The Devil’s Larceny.”

– Howard Fridkin, On what influenced him to enter the WILDsound Screenplay Festival (Review)

Watch the entire feature script reading now:

NOTE: There is a TWIST in the end of this script. So pay attention!

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
KATIE – Kirsten Nolan
STEVEN – John Goodrich
PROF. ROTHBINE – Gabriel Dumas
DR. BURMAN – Roman Spera
SARAH – Stephanie Schmid
JUNE – Ida Jagaric
DET. DESMOND – David Schaap

Submit your own Feature Screenplay Today. Holiday Special: SAVE $15 off regular submission:
http://www.wildsound.ca/screenplaycontest.html

Watch past winning feature script readings performed at the WILDsound Featival:
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/feature_script_readings.html

WILDsound’s Matthew Toffolo sat with Howard about his screenplay and writing career:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your FEATURE SCRIPT about?

HF: Elements of the scenario have to be curtailed to prevent spoilers and the setup of a twist ending. The story is about two young law students, Steven & Katie, engaged to be married, who are researching the crimes of a dead pedophiliac serial killer for an important law assignment. As they begin delving into the killer’s psyche and the lives of his deceased victims, they begin noticing certain character traits resembling their own and eventually realize the horror that he is the reincarnation of the killer and she is the reincarnation of his last female victim. Katie, in order to survive Steven’s pursuing obsession to kill her, must plan to murder him first — but who’s going to believe her ludicrous story?

MT: Why should your script be made into a film?

HF: This is a highly unique psychological thriller which has never been executed in this type of fashion before. The credible blend of suspense and supernatural events (a la: “Psycho” meets “The Exorcist”) will throw the audience into a new realm of terror and thoroughly surprise them with its complex, yet all accountable twist ending. This makes for a low budget, high concept spec script with enough audience appeal for a commercial success.

MT: How long have you been writing?

HF: Since the 70s, but as a hobby and always for fun. I began taking writing seriously in the 90s and have since been aspiring to earn recognition.

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

HF: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (it’s a religion with me).

MT: What artists would you love to work with?

HF: Clint Eastwood

MT: How many stories/screenplays have you written?

HF: Eight.

MT: Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?

HF: Love to be earning a living by doing what I love: writing and, eventually, direct.

MT: Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?

HF: I try to write every day, even it if isn’t the main story I am working on. I may watch a film or listen to music that puts me into a certain mood for a story. Depending on the subject matter I’m writing about, I watch specific films to inspire me but then I make sure I go the extra 100 miles to create a new formula for that respective genre.

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

HF: I’m an incurable movie addict by nature and have been since I saw my first episode of the original TV show “The Outer Limits” at age 4. I’m also a fervent memorabilia and classic toy collector and have been declared by Joe Clokey (son of “Gumby” creator Art Clokey) “the biggest Gumby collector in the world.”

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

HF: I hate to use cliches, but when one really works, you have to go with it. Winston Churchill said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” And getting professional feedback on your screenplay doesn’t hurt either.

MT: Thanks.

– Enjoy!

Writing your TV PILOT. Showcase of November 2014 Winner John Fuhrman

This month’s TV PILOT Screenplay winner is John Fuhrman for his comedy script set in a car dealership called UP COUNTRY MOTORS.

Watch the full reading here:

SYNOPSIS:

Up Country Motors is a weekly sitcom in which over stressed Jack Matthews escapes from a New York car Dealership to manage a collection of misfits at a dealership in Northern Vermont recently inherited by the personification of a blonde joke.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
JACK – Nick Baillie
GEOFF/SANDERSON – Roman Spera
AIMEE – Melinda Michael
BOBBI II – Adam McNamara
ROLAND – Neil Kulin
NORMA – Val Cole
SHEREE – Elitsa Bako
DEALER – Kerstin Bradler

Submit your TV PILOT/SPEC Screenplay Today:
http://www.wildsound.ca/tvscreenplaycontest.html

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

Read testimonials of past submissions and the feedback they garnered:
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/wildsound_tv_screenplay_contest_festival_review.html

Q&A with the writer:

1. What is your TV PILOT about?

Up Country Motors is “Cheers Opens A Car Dealership” with a smart, tough New York City Manager who takes over a Vermont Car Dealership run by a living breathing blond joke.

2. Why should this script be made into a television show?

People have this fear about buying a new car. What happens behind the scenes in real transactions makes for humorous entertainment. It’s also a funny show about a big city success guy who has massive problems trying to fit into an environment he could never imagine.

3. What is your all-time favorite TV show?

It’s a toss up between great cop shows or classic sitcoms like “Newhart”.

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

There are two movies that I watch whenever they’re on. “Tombstone” as the best western ever and “A Christmas Story” just because.

5. What artists would you love to work with?

I would love to have been able to spend 10 minutes working with Robin Williams without any script. Demi Moore, Jon Bon Jovi, Mike Myers would be dreams to work with. For this pilot, I could cast actual people that worked for me in real car dealerships. Seriously, I think Jack could be played by the guy that plays Neal Caffrey on “WHITE COLLAR ” and his foil Aimee played by Penny from “The Big Bang Theory”.

6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?

I’m also working on a pilot called “Hook Line and Sinker”. It’s “Tool Time goes fishing,” where a Shakespearean trained actor who can’t find work gets a call from his agent to take over as host of a weekly fishing show.

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

I would like to be at a level where I could discover the next wave of talented writers.

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

Usually, an idea comes when I’m nowhere near my computer. Now I text ideas and then read them the next morning. If I’m still excited about them, I’ll work until I can complete the story.

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

I love history. I enjoy being places where something special happened and then I try and research the back story.

10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Script Contest?

It was recommended to me, but the real influence was watching the readings and seeing the comments of those who went through the process.

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

Take advice. Seek criticism. It doesn’t mean you change based on what others think, but you should see your work the way others do. After all, that’s who we write for.