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WATCH Mid-Year FEATURE SCREENPLAY Winners (January-June 2017)

Watch the Winning Feature Screenplays for the first half of 2017

June 2017 Reading
by Joanie Fox

May 2017 Reading
by Christopher J. Valin

May 2017 Reading
by Guy Quigley

April 2017 Reading
Written by Byron Anderson

March 2017 Reading
Written by Carl Joglar

February 2017 Reading
Written by Joe Laudati

January 2017 Reading
Written by Jeff York

Festival Deadline

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Best Scene Screenplay Reading of WAITING TO CRUMBLE by John Ott

Watch the November 2016 winning best scene screenplay.

Best Scene from WAITING TO CRUMBLE Screenplay


NARRATOR – Andrea Lawrence
IRENE – Val Cole
BOBBY – Vince Jerad
STU – Peter-Mark Raphael
VICTORIA – Cassandra Guthrie
ROB – Matthew Lawrence


Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy

Separated from his wife Barbara in the nursing home in which they live, Stuart White befriends Rob Jefferies, a new resident. Soon their friendship turns into more and Stu and Rob become romantically involved.

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your screenplay about?

It’s about two elderly men who live in a nursing home and who fall in love with each other. One is a widower, and the other’s wife has dementia. Their families have very mixed reactions to the love affair. It’s also about issues of aging and how that affects love and sex.

What genres does your screenplay under?

Probably comedy, but it has dramatic elements. I suppose it could also be called a drama with comedic elements. Is there a category called a funny drama?

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

It’s a timely issue. With the LGBT movement and people feeling a freedom to be themselves at any age, situations like this will become more commonplace. A significant part of the story is how the families react to what the men are doing. Regardless of how a person feels about this issue, most of us have a family member or friend who is part of the LGBT community, whether or not we know it.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Entertainingly thought-provoking. (Is that two?)

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

Interesting question. Growing up, it would have been “Gone With the Wind,” as that was my parents’ favorite film. Back then it was still being released theatrically from time to time, and our family always went to see it. And I still enjoy watching the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which remains touching, but not sappy, no matter how many times you watch it. I have a weakness for old classics. With no overt sex or violence, there had to be a good script, good direction, and good acting to keep an audience’s attention. My children, like most children, watched the same movies over and over when they were young. I thought my son would never tire of “Nightmare Before Christmas.” For the girls, it was “Twister,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “Watcher in the Woods.” Those four films were constantly playing at our house. Remember, those were their choices, not mine.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I probably worked on it for over a year, but I’d put it away for long periods of time. I have a bad habit of starting something, but not finishing. For some reason, I felt a need to finish this one.

How many stories have you written?

Does that mean finished? I have several other finished screenplays, maybe three, but this is the first one I’ve entered in a contest. I began writing short stories as a child and wrote a short play in middle school. I have a book that was completed years ago. I recently dug it up and began editing and rewriting. I also have another collection of writings I hope to one day put in book form. And I have a number of projects, including a couple of plays, that were begun but remain unfinished.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I felt it was a timely and important topic to address. In another generation situations like this will not be uncommon. This isn’t just a gay story, it’s also about aging, which is universal if we live long enough. But so much has changed since I wrote the screenplay. Gay marriage was not yet legal, and I was totally unaware of the Netflix television series, “Grace and Frankie” with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The first time I saw that show, which was long after my screenplay was finished, I thought “They stole my idea!” Actually, it’s different in many ways because the focus in the TV show is the wives and the divorces and how the women are coping with the loss of their marriages. The situation is totally different in my screenplay, where the focus is on the men. The only real similarity is that two older men fall in love. How many love stories have been made into films during the past 100 years? This is just one more.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I work full-time, I’m married, and my children, while young adults, still need time and attention. We live in the country and have animals, so finding time and motivation is always an obstacle for me.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I act in local community theatre productions, which I do about once a year. Theatre, even community theatre, takes a lot of time, and my work schedule generally won’t allow more than one production a year. I also enjoy spending time with family and trying to keep up with everything around the farm.

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

If you feel called to write, then just write. Don’t worry about having that perfect topic. Don’t worry about having that perfect character or perfect storyline. There’s a theory of writing called free writing, You sit down and begin writing, even if you have absolutely nothing to say. You just write, one word after another, one sentence after another. Before long, you’ll find a story. Or maybe a story will find you.

I tend to write from a character point of view, but I like it best when my ending pops into my head early on. I may not know the route my character will take to arrive at that ending, but I like knowing the final destination. This motivates me and give me a sense of purpose. I don’t always write this way, as sometimes I have no idea of the ending until we get there. For me, once I have created the character, then he or she will simply live, and all I have to do is write down what’s happening.

I don’t do it, but my personal goal is to become more disciplined and to write something everyday. My son, who also writes, encourages me to do this, to write a paragraph (or equivalent) every day. I absolutely agree with this, but I just don’t do it. I guess I should make this another New Year’s resolution that I won’t keep, like going to the gym and eating Brussels sprouts.

My advice for writers can be summed up in three words: write, write, write.


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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

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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


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



Watch November Winning Stage Play Reading. PAPER WALL, by Gina Surles (with Q&A)

I think I watched the whole video performance of my play with a smile on my face. I’ll have to watch it again to be more objective. DEAR ACTORS – thank you! I’m so thrilled with your performances, you don’t know how happy you have made me. I think the actress who played Maggie (Marsha Mason) is amazing. From now on, I’ll only see her in the role!

– Gina Surles, on her reaction watching the PAPER WALL reading at the WILDsound Festival (Review)

Gina’s amazing play PAPER WALL was just performed at a recent WILDsound Festival. Watch it here:


A New York playwright who hasn’t produced anything in ten years, struggles to complete a new play while having major repairs done to a wall in her apartment, while alternately being helped and hindered by an ex-stripper, a priest, and a carpenter.


NARRATOR – Amaka Umeh
MAGGIE – Marsha Mason
CATHERINE – Michelle Alexander
THOMAS – Rob Notman

WILDsound’s Matthew Toffolo chatted with Gina about Paper Wall.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to write this play?

Gina: I wanted something on a small scale that would be relatively easy to produce, yet, something that had interesting characters that actors would enjoy playing. My first love has always been acting and, for me, it felt natural for acting and writing to go hand in hand. I’ve written a few screenplays but I love plays, too, and I love actors and I’m always amazed at how they bring words to life and communicate a story. I wanted to try writing in a different format and felt inspired to write a play.

As far as subject material, well, for both actors and writers, we deal with so much rejection on a daily basis, both from others and within ourselves, questioning our abilities or hiding behind something. It was a theme I wanted to explore through Maggie. She was knocked so low to the point where hope was a very dim light yet there’s a point where we realize we have to take the action. And I’m attracted to underdog characters that find a way to overcome their fears.

MT: You have four characters in this play, each with a full story arc. Are these characters based on anyone?

Gina: No, there characters are not based on anyone. I wanted each to have a secret that affected their behavior and that they needed to overcome in order to change. Except for Thomas, really. He pretty much stays the same but causes change to happen in the other characters. As he rebuilds Maggie’s wall, he also helps rebuild Maggie’s self-esteem.

MT: What is the theme of your play? What are you really trying to say?

Gina: A few themes, overcoming our fears, dropping our facade however fragile it may be, having belief in ourselves, trying to prove your own worth to people who have the ability to help you. What I think I was trying to say was almost a pep talk for myself in a way, through Maggie, and also through Thomas, he being the voice of reason, saying, yes, we can make changes, we can move on, we just have to believe it and then take action. The hardest part is actually believing it can be done. The intruding self-doubt. It seems many of us take the easy way out when the going gets tough, we have a plan B that we can fall back on and that is more comfortable. But Thomas would say forget plan B, just believe in plan A and follow through.

MT:The role of Father Frank is interesting. Why do you think he finally revealed his secret?

Gina: I think Father Frank was fed up with himself and because of his feelings for Catherine, he wanted to come clean. Thomas also had a role in confronting him, in seeing through his facade. As much as Father Frank pushed to manipulate, Thomas pushed harder to confront his bullying.

MT: Maggie is someone who’s locked inside in more ways than one. And a character many of us can relate with. How would you describe your main character?

Gina: I love Maggie, and I love how the actor portrayed her (thank you!!!). Actually I think all five of the actors (I’m including the narrator) were awesome! I think Maggie is a lot like myself, tough on the outside but feels necessary to hide her vulnerability. Frustrated, hopeful, needing to create, wanting her voice to be heard. She’s trying to stay ahead of the constant rejection, yet she knows her talent is there, she, like so many of us, just needs to get it into the right hands.

MT: Catherine is a total free spirit who seems to really like herself. After the play ends, where do you think she ends up?

Gina: I think Catherine and Frank actually make a good go of things. She always wanted to be a dancer so I think she opens her own dance school!

MT: Thomas is a man who seems like really understand who he is. What attracts him to Maggie?

Gina: I don’t think he’s attracted to Maggie at first, until he sees some of her work and begins to understand what is behind her “facade.” As he said, he appreciates artists and when he understands her difficulties, he feels sympathetic first, and then the relationship develops from there.

MT: Do you have a favorite play?

Gina: Yes. In 2006 I was in London and saw “A Voyage Round My Father” with Derek Jacobi. Oh, my God. I think the combination of the material and Sir Derek’s acting was INCREDIBLE! His performance made me want to keep doing both, writing and acting.

MT: What influenced you to submit to the WILDsound Festival?

Gina: I only submit to contests that offer feedback so that’s why I submitted here. I wanted to get an idea of where I needed to improve the script and never thought it would win a table read. I live in Honolulu and have extremely limited access to anyone who is willing or qualified to give me feedback on my writing. IT’S SO FRUSTRATING.

MT: Thank You

Watch other winning readings from the festival at http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Submit our story/script/play to the festival at http://www.wildsound.ca

Submit your Stage Play to the festival at http://www.wildsound.ca/play_contest.html

7 Questions with Poetry Writer Donald Carroll

We just showcased 6 poems from writer Donald Carroll. All unique in nature. Take a look at them here on his own YouTube channel playlist:

Submit your own poem today and get it performed:

Get to know Donald. 7 Questions with the poet:

1) What is the theme of your poem?

1. A Little Help Required – Introversion and Social Awareness
2. Shaping It Sexy – Dating and Love
3. Retreats In Sustainability – Healing, Recovery and Social Awareness
4. Her Chorus Is All That Matters – Romance, Passion, Love and Loneliness
5. Stagnation And Starvation – Self Development, Social Awareness and Goals
6. Drunk On Ambrosia – Passion, Love and Romance

2) How would you like people to respond when they read or watch your poetry reading?

I want people to feel them in an universal sense. To unlock doors for those that are introverted. The creative element needs to be brought into the schools early so that students can have a sense of individuality and not have to feel like they have to fit into the collective and sacrifice on the cuffs of mainstream.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

As to writing poetry. My early indoctrination started in high school and primarily influenced by Rush in the late 70’s but it really didn’t start until I reached the age of 32 when a series of tough life events and filling voids with the use of alcohol and getting nabbed in one of those kind of roadblock kind of things. I didn’t have any positive reinforcements as to the way I was developing as a person of which added extra layers of introversion. But that can be a good thing as it protects you because you know how to retreat when things get difficult. It was when an uncle provided me a tip on my genealogy research is when I found Zane Grey as a very distant cousin on my mom’s side of the family. I knew at that point that was an identity that I wanted and that it gave me the positive reinforcement that I needed to pursue what I had felt inside all along because I knew I was good with words as being able to see them metaphorically.

4) Do you have a favorite poet?

It will probably come as no surprise to you that my primary influence is Charles Bukowski. I’ve got a considerable large library by the man. I flat simply identified with the man.

5) What influenced you to submit to WILDsound and have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

First off, Wildsound followed me on twitter. That would give a writer a good indication and to get some really great exposer. Also, the fact Wildsound is out of Canada and Rush is from Canada. I saw those guys when I was in high school. I had to sneak to go to that concert in 76 or 77. It was my first ever concert and absolutely loved it. A small reflection on how impacted I was by them.

6) Do you write other works? Scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

I’ve written a couple small prose pieces of which aren’t very long. However, I’d be inclined to think they could be developed into something much bigger. I do have a piece a poem that is actually a plot for a script for the paranormal/ horror category. That’s a big big project. I do have the final draft software and I do have some samples on how to create it.

7) What is your passion in life?

My passion Mathew is simply to be a writer. That Whitney Jitney I operate for my day job has simply got to go. I want to be around the right people that get me and know how I function.

– Matthew Toffolo