Tag Archives: screenplay winner

Interview with Screenplay Winner John Pisano-Thomsen, (Climactic Scene: Dietrich Danzig)

Although a fictitious character set against a historical background, Dietrich Danzig is the last known living survivor of the Pink Triangles arrested for homosexuality during the reign of the Third Reich.Through a 2011 interview with Dr. Theodrik Bitten of the United States Holocaust Museum, Dietrich, at the age of 95, takes us back to his young life as a successful ballet dancer in 1935. Coping with life under the Nazi re-enforcement of immorality law Paragraph 175 (a law that makes homosexuality illegal and punishable), Dietrich pursues an impossible romance with a resurfaced, childhood friend named Karsten. Charming, yet conflicted, Karsten is controlled by his stepfather, a Lt. Colonel in the Nazi SS who has forced his stepson to become a Nazi officer through extortion. Eventually, Dietrich’s pursuit to keep this love affair going leads to his tragic interment to Dachau Concentration Camp. However, through a synchronicity of lucky circumstance, smarts, and unforeseen assistance, Dietrich eventually finds his escape from Germany.

– John Pisano-Thomsen, on his screenplay Dietrich Danzig

    Watch the Climactic Scene of Dietrich Danzig:

    CAST LIST:

    NARRATOR – Andrew Farr
    Dietrich – Andy Bridge
    Karsten – Geoff Mays
    Bitten – Ryan Fisher
    Sabine – Holly Sarchfield

Matthew Toffolo interviews writer John Pisano-Thomsen:

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

John: The screenplay’s messages of courage, perseverance and being true to yourself in the face of unjust adversity ring true to this day — especially in the 21st Century where roughly 80 countries still legally oppress, punish and even kill their own people for being queer (or for knowing someone who is queer). Life has a clearer meaning when you are true to yourself.

Matthew: If you can go for dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be and why?

John: Sophia Loren. I’ve just read her autobiography and I have always been fascinated by her journey. I would love to speak with regarding the old days of Hollywood and her perspective on Life. Plus, since she is Italian and Italians love their food, I would imagine we would have a very animated conversation that would touch on what we were eating as well. I think it would be a truly memorable evening.

Matthew: What was your favorite television show as a kid?

John: Bewitched. I always wanted to have magic powers.

Matthew: Who was your hero growing up?

John: Walt Disney. His boundless vision and endless creativity inspired me to want to be and do so many things. He also proved that dreams and reality can be the same.

Matthew: Where in the world would you like to travel to that you haven’t been yet?

John: Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Canary Islands, Malta, Switzerland, Southern France

Matthew: What’s been the best year of your life?

John: 1998. I broke out of a toxic, co-dependent relationship, went into therapy, discovered who I was, learned what I SHOULD be, stopped worrying about finding the “right relationship” and learned to focus on myself. Then, before the year ended and without being preoccupied on romance, I met my husband and we’ve been together almost 17 years.

Matthew: Besides your writing talent, what else are you good at?

John: I’m somewhat good at cartooning and designing. I can sing, give presentations, and pretty much act my way out of paper bag, I can cook and bake. I am an excellent travel planner. I love everything New Age. I’m a pretty damn good mediator when things between two people get heated. And I’m also quite good at reading people and predicting their personality when meeting them for the first time.

Matthew: Do you have a favorite possession?

John: I have a note card mailed to me from lyricist Fred Ebb (embossed with his name) thanking me for my generosity. And he simply signed it. “Fred”. I had the great fortune of meeting him in person after the opening night of the revival of Chicago. His kindness and attentiveness prompted me to send to his home little houseplant, thanking him for his time. And in return, he responded with this beautiful notecard saying, “I truly believe that the most talented people are the most generous.”

Matthew: What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival?

John: A friend who works for Corus Entertainment recommended it to me.

Matthew: What has been the best compliment you have ever received?

John: The best compliment I ever received was when I had the opportunity to interview Victoria Clark at Joe Allen’s for a fan-based Broadway organization in New York City. This was during her run in Titanic the Musical long before she won her Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for The Light in the Piazza. After the interview, she wanted to chat and know something about me and I told her of my theatre and writing ambitions. I remember her looking me with her bright blues and saying to me, “I see a greatness in you. I really do. Don’t give up.”

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Interview with Kim Godfrey, winning TV Pilot writer (Eraser)

I joined the ISA a year back and after reading about the competition through their website thought it would be a great opportunity to get some feedback from experienced minds. I found WILDsound’s feedback on my screenplay invaluable.

– Kim Godfrey, on the WILDsound Experience.

Watch the full reading of the TV PILOT “ERASER”

Matthew: What is your TV PILOT Screenplay about?

Kim: Eraser revolves around two psychology students who practice an illegal form of hypnotherapy that allows them to enter the darkest memories of their troubled clientele and erase the sources of trauma. Their ambitions lead them into a violent criminal underworld that seeks to exploit their unique skillset.

Matthew: Why is this a TV show people would love to watch?

Kim: I believe the initial appeal comes from its high concept. But I have tried to construct a complex, multi-layered narrative that becomes more and more satisfying as each chapter unfolds. Tension and the ever-increasing threat of danger has always been what has kept me absorbed in a series and so I have been very aware of this need throughout the development of my own story. I have tried to create a variety of rich, flawed characters that are both exciting and relatable. Making all characters vulnerable to the threat of unexpected death is also something I believe is key to keeping people invested in your story. If they inhabit a world where audience popularity doesn’t dictate their mortality I think we become far more attached to them and their journey.

Matthew: How long have you been writing stories?

Kim: Really only the last three or four years. I knew I wanted to be involved in film and television since I was a child but really only focused on screenwriting during my university years.

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

Kim: The Prestige by Christopher Nolan. I don’t think I’ve ever been so absorbed by a films narrative. It’s complex and told from multiple perspectives over several timelines with a twist ending that is satisfying and unexpected. It’s one of those films that becomes more rewarding upon every additional viewing.

Matthew: What artists would you love to work with?

Kim: It’s a toss up between Christopher Nolan and Nicolas Winding Refn. Nolan makes high concept films that appeal equally to both the ‘art’ audience and ‘blockbuster entertainment’ audience. I don’t think anyone else is quite as effective at making intelligent blockbusters. Nicolas Winding Refn on the other hand has such a unique and distinctive style with his films. The stories he tells might seem a little simplistic but he has such a mastery over pacing and camera. His films are dreamy and somewhat surreal in their style. I love it.

Matthew: How many stories/screenplays have you written?

Kim: Eraser is the first script I have properly fleshed out and written multiple drafts for. I wrote a rough draft for a psychological thriller a few years back but didn’t like the result and wanted to really build up my skills and understanding of the craft before having a proper crack at a feature. I have been developing several stories over the past five years that I want to start writing this year though.

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

Kim: I’m moving to the UK in a month to chase up more film and television work, as the industry is far smaller at home in Australia. Ideally I would like to be writing scripts professionally and building towards a career in filmmaking too, hopefully somewhere in the US or UK, but wherever the opportunities are really.

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

Kim: Narrative structure is always the key factor of any story I want to create. So I find it essential to create a scene-by-scene outline before I start writing a project. I always need to have a clear beginning and end. I am not someone who just starts writing and let’s the narrative unfold as they go but I admire people who do. I am only now getting in the habit of writing daily, but it really is important to be consistent. I need to get it out on paper or I can’t switch my mind off at night.

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

Kim: Music has always been a big passion. Listening to music always helps me set the tone of what I want to write. Although I have zero ability when it comes to playing instruments.

I have been fortunate enough to work a series of very diverse filming jobs over the last six years too. From filming Marlin along the Great Barrier Reef to interviewing Aboriginal Australian Elders in remote Western Australia, I have always loved filmmaking as cinematography and editing are passions I want to build upon too.

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

Kim: I’m probably not qualified to give advice but I have always been mindful of a piece of advice I was given, which was to ‘take every rejection as a stepping stone forward.’ From what I’ve read, what separates those who succeed in this industry from those who don’t is their ability to not only accept failure, but gain motivation from it too. Failure always precedes success so don’t let it stop you. Take on constructive criticism as well, don’t get defensive, it’s the best tool you have for improving your work while trying to get a foot in the door.

Interview with First Scene Winner Jacob F. Keller, (The Curse of Sam Hain)

It was the first contest I’ve come across that didn’t require an entire screenplay to be submitted. A first scene allows for a much more focused effort on polishing a really good sample. Getting those 5-10 pages right takes a few days to a week while an entire screenplay can take many weeks or months to get right. Plus, the price of submission made it much more appealing. Really, there was nothing to lose.

– Jacoob F. Keller, on why he submitted to the WILDsound Festival (Review)

    Watch the 1st Scene Reading THE CURSE OF SAM HAIN:

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Frances Townend
Belenus – Sean Ballantyne
Sam Hain- Neil Kulin
Daughter – Julia Vally
Rider – Kaleb Alexander
Wife – Jacqueline Brown
Man #1 – Charles Gordon
Man #1 – Rob Salerno

Submit your First Scene Screenplay:
http://www.wildsound.ca/firstscenescreenplaycontest.html

Matthew Toffolo interviews Jacob F. Keller:

Matthew: What is your screenplay about?

Jacob: The lone survivor of a crash landing on a distant world becomes the surprising savior to the aborigines facing genocide.

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

Jacob: It’s Cast Away meets Alien. It is a story that is can be both visually and metaphorically engaging with its strong ties to Dante’s Inferno. It is also a role that a lot of actors fight over. It has a lot going for it.

Matthew: How long have you been writing stories?

Jacob: It started in junior high. So, 20 years? Yeah, that’s about right.

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

Jacob: Easy, Ghostbusters. Probably watched it 30-40 times. I can almost quote the whole thing.

Matthew: What artists would you love to work with?

Jacob: It’s not so much about who I work with but what kind of projects I would want if I could choose. There are properties I would love a shot at, things nobody has thought about developing or projects that haven’t gone anywhere. I’ll work with anyone that has the same passions I do.

Matthew: How many stories/screenplays have you written?

Jacob: Last I counted 7 finished, and another 4-5 in various stages of development.

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

Jacob: Ideally, still living and working in Hollywood developing any number of projects in various forms.

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

Jacob: I try to get an early start and save personal errands and such for the afternoon and evening. If I flip it, I’m usually too worn out to sit in front of a computer for 3-4 hours. I also try to break it down in chunks. If I write one scene or get a problem figured out, I’l reward myself with some Netflix or playing one of my video games. And I always walk away mid-scene so I know exactly where to start the next day.

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

Jacob: Old school, 8-bit video games. I play almost every day as a break between projects. And my family. I have one brother but many, many cousins all across the country and we try to stay in touch as best we can over Facebook.

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

Jacob: Don’t follow trends or write what you think a producer or executive wants to read. Write what you want to write. Your passion will shine through and the right audience will find you.

Interview with John Pisano-Thomsen, Winning 1st Scene Screenplay Winner

    WATCH the 1st Scene Reading of “Dietrich Danzig” performed by professional actors:

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Susan Q Wilson
Dr. Bitten – Todd Dulmage
Ziggy – Barry Minshull
Zaki – Rob Young
Pearce – Jacob Klick
Emma – Alissa DeGrazia

SYNOPSIS:

A 95-year-old Pink Triangle survivor recalls his romance with a Nazi Officer’s son in 1935 that led to his interment at Dachau.

Interview with John Pisano-Thomsen:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

John Pisano-Thomsen: Although a fictitious character set against a historical background, Dietrich Danzig is the last known living survivor of the Pink Triangles arrested for homosexuality during the reign of the Third Reich.Through a 2011 interview with Dr. Theodrik Bitten of the United States Holocaust Museum, Dietrich, at the age of 95, takes us back to his young life as a successful ballet dancer in 1935. Coping with life under the Nazi re-enforcement of immorality law Paragraph 175 (a law that makes homosexuality illegal and punishable), Dietrich pursues an impossible romance with a resurfaced, childhood friend named Karsten. Charming, yet conflicted, Karsten is controlled by his stepfather, a Lt. Colonel in the Nazi SS who has forced his stepson to become a Nazi officer through extortion. Eventually, Dietrich’s pursuit to keep this love affair going leads to his tragic interment to Dachau Concentration Camp. However, through a synchronicity of lucky circumstance, smarts, and unforeseen assistance, Dietrich eventually finds his escape from Germany.

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

John: This script should be made into a movie for two reasons (both interrelated):

1) The screenplay’s messages of courage, perseverance and being true to yourself in the face of unjust adversity ring true to this day — especially in the 21st Century where roughly 80 countries still legally oppress, punish and even kill their own people for being queer (or for knowing someone who is queer).

2) It is important to remind the younger and future gay generations who have (or will have) LGBTQ liberties of the pain and suffering endured by those courageous LGBTQ of the past, to never forget their sacrifices, and to not assume that all freedoms are permanent. We must always be aware of injustice and the role that government plays in protecting or persecuting others for their differences.

Matthew: How long have you been writing stories?

John: On and off for 25 years. I have a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Utah (1989). Most of my writing has been short stories, librettos (books and lyrics for musicals), poetry and plays.

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

Equally: Defending Your Life or Victor/Victoria

Matthew: What artists would you love to work with?

John: Actors: Sir Ian McKellen, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, Hugh Jackman, Matt Damon, Josh Hutcherson, Ralph Fiennes, Joseph Fiennes, Sean Penn, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, Harvey Fierstein, Nathan Lane, Allan Cumming, Ben Schnetzer.

Actresses: Emma Thompson, Anne Hathaway, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Julia Roberts, Angela Lansbury, Sally Field, Kathy Bates, Charlize Theron, Nathalie Portman, Whoopi Goldberg, Sandra Bullock, Hillary Swank, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Imelda Staunton, Dame Maggie Smith.
Composers: Maury Yeston, Stephen Sondheim, John Kander, Stephen Flaherty, Marc Shaiman
Directors: Gus Van Sant, Sam Mendes, Baz Luhrman, Rob Marshall, Ang Lee, Stephen Fry, Todd Haynes, Joel Schumacher, John Cameron Mitchell, Craig Zadan, Brian Percival, Spielberg, Zemeckis, Tom Ford, Bill Condon, Jonathan Demme, Gary Marshall, Susan Stroman.

Matthew: How many stories/screenplays have you written?

John: Three short stories, two plays, two librettos, one screenplay and various prose/poetry.

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

John: To have at least 1 play/musical produced on Broadway and/or 1 screenplay produced as a major motion picture. From there, I hope it will lead to a successful writing career for both mediums.

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

John: I always keep a notebook by my bed. I get the best ideas when I awake and before I go to bed and I write them down.

I avoid writing at home or near friends and family; their energies are distracting. However, I cannot write where it is completely quiet. I prefer to write in various cafés where I can be surrounded by white noise and anonymous energies. Since I have a full-time job and a family to take care of, the majority of my writing time is during the weekend, however, I “push” to get at least two weekday evenings to write when I can.

I get close supporters to read my first drafts and provide creative criticism (with the understanding it is a first draft). This way I can obtain raw, first hand feedback and understand if it is worth undertaking or to take in another direction. A good response to the initial context and themes is a good sign to keep going.

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

John: Spirituality and humanity, food, live theatre, opera, music (classical, jazz and world), most HBO and Showtime series, Project Runway,

Matthew: What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival?

John: A friend who works for Corus Entertainment recommended it to me.

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

John:

1) There is no perfect way to construct and deliver a first draft. Just dump out what’s in your brain. Reconstruction and re-calibration can follow later. Stories are never written. They are always re-written — and usually right down to the final wire.

2) Have confidence in what you write — don’t worry. Avoid the inner critic in your head at every chance you can get (this is advice from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way.

3) Lastly, write what YOU want to see and what compels YOU. Don’t worry about what you think producers, directors, agents or the audience wants to see. It will be more authentic and will contain your passion. There will always be those that don’t connect to you material or your message.

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Deadline: SUBMIT your FEATURE Screenplay to the Writing Festival. Get your works showcased at 2015 festival events.

http://www.wildsound.ca/screenplaycontest.html

– Get FULL FEEDBACK on your script. Winners get their script performed by professional actors at the Writing Festival!

Watch WINNING Screenplay Readings – Watch videos of past winners performed by professional actors

http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/winning_screenplays.html

READ 100s of testimonials for past submitters –

http://www.wildsound.ca/wildsound_festival_review.html