Stage Play Reading – TWO MERCHANTS OF VENICE by Stephen M Hunt

Watch the August 2016 Winning Stage Play Winner.

TWO MERCHANTS OF VENICE  by Stephen M  Hunt

 

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
SHYLOCK – Lorne_Hiro
PORTIA – Susan Wilson
ANTONIO – Stephen Flett
BASSANIO – David Strauss
GRATIANO – Rais Muoi
LORENZO/LANCELOT – Adam McNamara
NERISSA/SALLY – Laura Darby
JESSICA/SOPHIE – Victoria Urquhart

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your stage play about?

Two Merchants is a radical adaptation of The Merchant of Venice

2. Why should this play be produced?

This adaptation is unique and groundbreaking because switching around the lines of the original delivers a story with real bite for 21st century audiences that deals with feminism, anti-Semitism and homophobia.

3. How would you describe this play in two words?

Promotes inclusiveness.

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

“Lie To Me” starring Tim Roth.

5. How long have you been working on this play?

I wrote the first version in 1998 and have striven ever since to improve it.

6. How many stories have you written?

6 plays, 5 feature screenplays and 10 short screenplays.

7. What motivated you to write this play?

I’ve seen many productions (films and stage plays) of The Merchant of Venice and found them all hugely dissatisfying because they’re always an Elizabethan mish-mash of not very funny comedy that clashes with crucially important social themes.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this play?

The biggest and most enjoyable challenge was an extremely close study of The Merchant of Venice to select lines that I could take from one character and give to another to tell a seamless, familiar yet radically different story.

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

Family.

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

Not every piece I’ve submitted to WildSound has met with their ecstatic acclaim but their inspirational feedback has been really beneficial. Consequently, they’ve produced for me readings of (1) this Shakespeare adaptation, (2) a short WWII screenplay, (3) a short screenplay about Death falling in love and (4) a one-page comedy screenplay.

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

Enter competitions like WildSound that will put your work “out there”. After the WildSound reading of my fantasy about Death falling in love, that screenplay was selected for production and begins filming on location in Maine, later this year.

***

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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Advertisements

WILDsound Announces the TV PILOT Screenplay Winner for July 2016

Watch the winning TV PILOT screenplay winner for July 2016.

TV PILOT Screenplay – THE SPECTRAL CITY
July 2016 Reading
Written by Arthur Vincie

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

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Sci-Fi, War, Supernatural

Three refugees, thrown together by chance, flee a modern-day civil war set in an unspecified country. Evading the army, rebels, bandits, gods, and demons, they head to the one place no one dares go – the Haunted City at the heart of the country. There they seek out the White Witch, who rules the City and who’s either their ticket out or their worst nightmare.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
JULIET – Courtney Keir
ISHMAEL – Brandon Knox
THEO/MATTHEW – Julian Ford
STEVEN/ADJAI – Sean Ballantyne
JIM – David Guthrie
NURIYAH – Meghan Allen

***

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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

WILDsound Announces the Fan Fiction Screenplay Winner for July 2016

Watch the winning Fan Fiction screenplay reading for July 2016.

FAN FICTION Screenplay – STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE
July 2016 Reading
Written by Jennifer Renner

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

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Action, Fantasy

Synopsis: Episode 32.5 of the TV series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The station welcomes visitors from a planet in the Gamma Quadrant that allows only women to hold positions of authority.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Brandon Knox
BENNI – Susan Wilson
SORYA/KIRA – Meghan Allen
DAX/LELA – Courtney Keir
ODO – Julian Ford
BASHIR/QUARK – David Guthrie
SISKO/RISHTA – Sean Ballantyne

***

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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

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

Watch the Feature Script Reading of BELLE BREZING, by Margaret Carlyle Price

Winning October 2015 Feature Screenplay.

Watch BELLE BREZING, by Margaret Carlyle Price

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Allison Kampf
YOUNG BELLE – Meggie McKinnon
OLDER BELLE – Susan Wilson
CHILD BELLE – Maya Wolozyn
MABON/BILLY – Hugh Ritchie
MUCCI/SINGERLY – Sean Kaufmann

Get to know writer Margaret Carlyle Price:

1. What is your screenplay about?

Somewhere between a paperboy’s first cup of chicory coffee and the memories of the Madam who inspired Belle Watling of Gone With the Wind, there lies a story of sex, secrets and spiritual redemption. Interweaving portals to the past with the magic tricks of a spirit called back to his lover’s deathbed, BELLE BREZING is a haunting love story about a loyal paperboy on a high-stakes mission: To guide his former lover to remember the secret that forged her rise to fame but closed her heart to love. The screenplay focuses on this turn of the century scandalous madam who over-powers men of political fame and fortune, while keeping secret her ambiguous beauty. As her house at 59 Megowan Street rises to international prominence, she remains untouchable by the law or pulpit – a woman of influence, secrets and ambiguous beauty whose shadowed past belies her power. The screenplay illumines one of the South’s most charismatic, scandalous and powerful Madams – Belle Brezing, She was a magnetic business woman who brought herself out of poverty and an emotionally and physically painful early childhood. Abused by an alcoholic mother, raped by a pedophile when she was fourteen and accused of murdering her lover at sixteen, Belle Brezing gave birth to an illegitimate little girl (Daisy May) before spending Christmas eve at age nineteen in a house of ill repute. Fate or choice charted her dynamic rise to power. When she died, both the New York Times and Life Magazine ran Brezing’s obituary on the front page.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Shedding light on the connection between a wounded past and a life lived in quiet desperation, the screenplay exposes the scandals and secrets of this dynamic woman whose life speaks to timely issues in the arena of child abuse, prostitution and sex trafficking.

WHY CARE ABOUT BELLE BREZING?

 QUINTESSENTIAL BUSINESS WOMAN at the turn of the century; a successful entrepreneur. She built a lavish “resort” called by the NY Times the “most orderly of disorderly houses” and her classy clients included a “Who’s Who” among prominent men of the day. Horse owners, million-dollar newspaper publishers, politicians, governors and possibly a few “Crown Princes” from Europe. She knew how to entertain in a style comparable to the pleasure houses in Paris.

 FAMOUS MADAM: Her obituary appeared on the cover of the NY Times and Time Magazine. Inspired the character Belle Watling in GONE WITH THE WIND.

 CONNECTION BETWEEN THE “INVISIBLE CHILD” AND YOUNG WOMEN LIVING ON THE STREETS (prostitutes and/or sex traffic victims.)

 REMINDS US OF OUR OWN HUMANITY: She awakens us to the power of the indomitable human spirit – the power to rise above circumstances of birth (poverty, violence, discrimination) and conquer.

 COMPASSION: Despite being an out-cast, Belle Brezing lived her life with compassion for those in need – specifically orphan children, men with troubled pasts (alcoholics, poor, etc.) and young women who found their way to her house.

 PASSION: Belle is a striking example of a woman who lived her life fearlessly, with great passion. She rose above her circumstances through sheer ingenuity, intelligence and a natural charisma.

 FORGIVENESS: Despite being raped by a pedophile, giving birth to an illegitimate child (with severe challenges), being accused of the murder of her sixteen year old lover and being shunned by the southern “elite”, Belle Brezing forgave all who had hurt her. Through a deep faith she was able to find a way out of her past and through forgiveness, ultimately found spiritual redemption. On her mother’s gravestone she had these words inscribed (which perhaps speak more to her own life than Sarah Brezing’s): “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

 RELEVANCE TO CURRENT SOCIAL ISSUES: Sex trafficking in Kentucky (and elsewhere) is a highly volatile, tragic and critical issue; a recent federal case brought to light the wide extent of young women being trafficked into three southern states. Although Belle was a prostitute (and there are important differences between prostitutes and women trafficked) the core issue is the same: What are the circumstances that allow or force young women into these lives? Ironically, a fire in Belle’s life that cost the lives of three young women was tragically mirrored in a similar fire in the third floor attic of 59 Megowan Street (several years after Belle’s death). This fire also took the lives of three young women, probably prostitutes.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Self-forgiveness

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

EVER AFTER

5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

It would not be an understatement to admit that I have lived, breathed and danced with Belle Brezing for almost thirty years. About a year after I graduated from law school, a child advocacy organization approached me about writing a stage-play based on the life of Belle Brezing. The idea was to shine a light on the path between the wounded child and the adult woman who ends up in prison or on the streets. I visited what remained of Belle’s house at 59 Megowan Street (stone steps) and sat for hours gazing at a painting of the house – trying to figure out why she lived the last 20 years of her life shut up on a sunporch, addicted to drugs, a recluse. Her library, journal and poetry opened portals into the secrets of this brilliant but tortured soul. The stage-play opened at the Lexington Opera House and then the play began its journey … to LA and NY … then shaped itself into a novel and finally a screenplay. It has been in many respects a spiritual journey.

6. How many stories have you written?

I live a magical life – for I have been gifted the soul-stories of strangers since I was a child. I grew up wearing red cowgirl boots, catching crawdads in Elkhorn Creek; my southern roots cut deep in the coal-seamed Appalachian mountains of Eastern Kentucky. I wrote my first story (“Ponies, Picnics and Ghosts”) at age six. The number of stories/scripts I’ve written? I’m a storyteller; and sometimes the stories shape themselves into novels, sometimes screenplays or stage-plays (or a musical) … or poetry. I’ve written five novels. (Four published) One sitting on my shelves – waiting for the magic to happen. I’ve written 9 screenplays and about a zillion rewrites of those scripts. In the rather daunting stack behind the door to my “writings” there are also five stage-plays , some Law Journal articles, and a poem “Resilience” – which won serendipitously second place in Horticulture Magazine’s Poetry Contest!

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

Please consider the answer to #5.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I often debate with my dad about whether it is possible to “actually move a mountain – by faith”. In many respects, writing, re-writing and “finishing” Belle Brezing has been moving a mountain. And it took a good deal of faith in something bigger than my own drive, energy – cups of Starubcks” to see the script to the finish line. The obstacles came in the guise of tough reviews – critics who didn’t like some of the story’s spiritual dimensions (visits from Spirit Guides, etc.) and in the voice of the critic in my own head who wondered if I’d chased the right rabbit down the rabbit hole. In the end, I simply committed to the characters who first drew me into Belle’s 59 Megowan Street and the story in many ways wrote itself. On that note, I am grateful to whatever Spirit (on the other side) guided me in shaping the details of this extraordinary woman’s life. And I am oh so grateful to my dogs (some who are also now “spirit guides” – Tucker and Chelsea and Gavin) who faithfully sat beside me while I wrote and re-wrote Belle Brezing.

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

Animal rights.
Child advocacy.

10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival?

This is a chance for me to thank a wonderful friend (Holly Arnold) who told me about the Festival. Thank you, Holly!

What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

Excellent!

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

I am an admirer of Andrew Harvey who wisely suggested that we follow not simply our bliss, but also our heartache. As writers, we have a chance to speak for those who are silent, a chance to stand up for the child or trafficked victim… the homeless animal – to shine a light on LIFE. We can choose to look for the Wonder and Beauty; and we can also choose to illumine those places where there is little light. My only suggestion is simply this: Don’t give up on the story in which you believe. Be resilient.

    * * * * *

Deadline: FEATURE Screenplay Festival – Get FULL FEEDBACK. Get script performed by professional actors
http://www.wildsound.ca/screenplaycontest.html

Watch WINNING Screenplay Readings – Watch videos of past winners performed by professional actors
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/feature_script_readings.html

READ 100s of testimonials from past submitters –
https://wildsoundfestivalreview.com/feature-screenplay-submission-testimonials-wildsound-screenplay-contest-review