Short Screenplay – HAPPY LITTLE PILLS by Kennedy Erin

HAPPY LITTLE PILLS
Written by Kennedy Erin

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Drama

A teenage girl struggles with the idea of self-medicating to escape the stress, loneliness, and emotional pain of her everyday life.

CAST LIST:

RACHEL – Alicia Payne
QUINTA – Katelyn Varadi
NARRATOR – Julian Ford

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your screenplay about?

“Happy Little Pills” is about a teenage girl who struggles with the idea of self-medicating to escape the stress, loneliness, and emotional pain of her everyday life.

What genres does your 1pg. short fall under?

“Happy Little Pills” would fall under the Drama genre.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

“Happy Little Pills” focuses on the character’s emotions, and seeing a character decide not to self-medicate even with all of her emotional pain can be an inspiration to many teens who are struggling with the same problem.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Conquering (the) self.

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

I watched Cloud Atlas (an almost 3-hour movie) three times in a row (the same day) when I first saw it.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I spent about 2-hours writing this specific 1-page screenplay.

How many stories have you written?

I have written 2 short films, 1 feature-length film, an array of short stories, and a self-published fictional novel

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

This contest for the LA Feedback Festival challenged me to write an intriguing story in 1-page or less. It was a difficult task, but I appreciated the chance to demonstrate my skills in condensing a long plot into a short time frame.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

It was difficult finding the initial idea for a screenplay that would be compelling in less than 1-page. The challenge lay in what theme to address in my script. Once I thought of the theme of self-medication, the rest of the writing became easier.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am passionate about conceptualizing, performing in, and editing YouTube videos, as well as building a community on the platform where people who are socially awkward or who have social anxiety can feel safe socializing on the internet.

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

It may sound cliche, but write what you know. I find I have the hardest time completing a story when it begins with a plot or theme I know nothing about. Why write something that you have to research if you can write something that flows from you?

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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

1pg Short Script – IF I DIE by Jean Nicole Rivers

Watch the September 2016 Winning Short Screenplay.

IF I DIE
Written by Jean Nicole Rivers

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Horror, Thriller

If I Die is about a young woman named Jaime that browses a garage sale and discovers something sinister. It’s about perception versus reality and deep betrayal.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Julian Ford
JAIME – Katelyn Varadi
LANA – Alicia Payne
MAN – Peter Mark Raphael

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

If I Die is about a young woman named Jaime that browses a garage sale and discovers something sinister. It’s about perception versus reality and deep betrayal.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I call it horror/thriller

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Because it is the epitome of horror. There are a number of horror movies out there that while they have blood and killing and monsters are just not scary. They follow an old formula that starts with masked man with weapon and after a while that boogieman fails to move us like he did before. If I Die gets under your skin because it is revealed that the very person that should be protecting you, the one who is the closest, is the one who may thrust the knife. If you’re not safe in the suburban home of your mother and father, are you safe anywhere?

How would you describe this script in two words?

Deadly secrets.

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

Nightmare on Elm Street, of course.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

From idea to final, it took a couple of days to write.

How many stories have you written?

Two novels, one short story and seven flash fiction stories.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I wanted to write something terrifying and what’s more frightening than your mother?

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I’m extremely busy so finding time is usually my number one obstacle.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Reading and making films.

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

Not my words, but my favorite writing quote, “Writers write.”

****

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

1pg Short Script – GLORIOUS by Brent Beath

Watch the September 2016 Winning Short Screenplay.

GLORIOUS
Written by Brent Beath

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Dark Comedy

A tragi-comedy about a man seeking spiritual enlightenment in all the wrong places.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Julian Ford
NERVOUS MAN – Peter Mark Raphael
YOUNG GUY – Donald Molnar

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

A tragi-comedy about a man seeking spiritual enlightenment in all the wrong places.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Dark comedy

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

It’s a quirky comedy that has fun with some profound questions.

How would you describe this script in two words?

tragically uplifting

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

Breathless

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

9 months

How many stories have you written?

10+

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

Motivated by an odd dream I had and wrote down immediately

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Procrastination!

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Politics, Rallycross racing

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

Keep writing, especially when it’s bad (get’s you through to the good stuff)

****

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

1pg Short Script – SAFE WORD by Darren Coyle

Watch the September 2016 Winning Short Screenplay.

SAFE WORD
Written by Darren Coyle

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Romance

‘SAFE WORD’ is about two people having an ill-fated affair.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Julian Ford
MAN – Khoen Clarke
WOMAN – Katelyn Varadi

 

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your screenplay about?

‘SAFE WORD’ is about two people having an ill-fated affair.

What genres does your 1pg. short fall under?

comedy

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I think given the parameter of a 1-page screenplay, it touches on a few different plot points in a limited amount of time and has a funny premise and ending

How would you describe this script in two words?

short & sweet

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

“A Few Good Men”

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

a few days

How many stories have you written?

many – too many to count

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I thought it was a good challenge to write a 1-page screenplay and try to give it a beginning, a middle and an ending. I think I did that.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

well, the 1-page limitation was certainly an obstacle. Also, in order for something to be funny in a short amount of time is challenging too. You only have a small amount of time to establish the world of the movie as well as the characters.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

filmmaking in general. I direct and produce.

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

just keep writing. a bunch of it will not be good, but that’s how you get better.

****

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

1pg Short Script – SAMMY’S PARROT by Dimitri Devyatkin

Watch the September 2016 Winning Short Screenplay.

SAMMY’S PARROT
Written by Dimitri Devyatkin

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy

Sammy’s Parrot is about a very dirty-mouthed parrot, whose proclivity to use swear words becomes a huge liability when Sammy gets married. Sammy avoids telling his fiance about the foul-mouthed bird until it is too late and a difficult circumstance ensues.


CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Julian Ford
SAMMY – Donald Molnar
PARROT – Nick Hendrick Wicht
BELINDA – Katelyn Varadi

 

Get to know the winning writer: 

What is your screenplay about?

Sammy’s Parrot is about a very dirty-mouthed parrot, whose proclivity to use swear words becomes a huge liability when Sammy gets married. Sammy avoids telling his fiancé about the foul-mouthed bird until it is too late and a difficult circumstance ensues.

What genres does your 1pg. short fall under?

Comedy, with psychological and social commentary.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Entertaining, has a story, but also has a message – Laugh, but still have something to say after the play is over.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Fowl-mouthed parrot

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

“It’s Raining in Brighton Beach” a classic comedy directed by Leonid Gaidai.
Dimitri was Line Producer. Named “One of 100 best Russian films 1992-2013” à Interview (with English translation) AFISHA magazine. Dec. 2013 about making this film. http://mag.afisha.ru/stories/100-glavnyh-russkih-filmov/

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

How many stories have you written?

10 +

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

a Russian joke

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Making the Russian humor work in an American context

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Making movies – feature films, documentaries, television and video art , social political issues

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

Follow your dream. Never give up. Try not to sell out.

****

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

1pg Short Script – TRUE REGRET by Matt Kasper

Watch the September 2016 Winning Short Screenplay.

TRUE REGRET
Written by Matt Kasper

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Drama

About a man seeking forgiveness during his final minutes on earth, for the one action he has ever felt regret for.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Julian Ford
NANCY- Alicia Payne
HEAD GUARD – Peter Mark Raphael
HENRY – Donald Molnar

Get to know the winning writer: 

What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay is about a man seeking forgiveness during his final minutes on earth, for the one action he has ever felt regret for.

What genres does your 1pg. short fall under?

This short falls into the drama category.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I think this screenplay should be made into a movie because even at one page the emotions felt are so rich. While writing this short, I was coming up with some of the backstory in my head, to help me make the characters and events real. After I finished, Henry’s story was still ping ponging around in my mind, so I actually started to write a script.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Emotionally charged.

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

This is a very tough question, my most watched movie would probably be Forrest Gump, it is just one of those movies you can turn off if you see that it is on.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I found out about this contest rather late so I was only able to work on it for about a week before having to send it in to meet the deadline. Just after entering a few months ago, I did start writing a complete screenplay based on this last scene. I have finished about fifty pages.

How many stories have you written?

I have written a few stories here and there since I was a kid, but recently I finished writing a graphic novel. This is the only thing I have written that I would consider a full complete adult story.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

If you are asking what motivated me to write this screenplay and send it in, the answer would be, I was excited to be able to see how my writing stacked up, and I was just interested in getting some professional feedback so that I could improve my skill. If you are asking what motivated me to write this particular story the answer is far less easy to explain. To be honest, my friend sent me this link and for the first day or so I spent my time thinking about what story could I tell in about a minute. While driving home from work, the image of an electric chair and the last moments of a mans life came into my head, it took the rest of the week to flesh the rest out.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

By far the toughest thing about this challenge was to try and tell a cohesive story while including all the emotions, dialog, and stage directions on just one page.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am really passionate about music, and looking back I guess I could say that the music I was listening to while writing this (Johnny Cash) sort of helped motivate me to come up with the tone of this piece.

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

The two biggest tips I can give that helped me are to just write, write, write. It is not all going to be very good, or even good at all, but the more you write the more comfortable you become. My second tip is to read a lot. It always helps me feel more creative before starting a new project.

****

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

1pg Short Script – WHAT IT FEELS LIKE by Travis Calvert

Watch the September 2016 Winning Short Screenplay.

WHAT IT FEELS LIKE
Written by Travis Calvert

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Drama, LGBT

About gender relations, sexual identity, and rape culture.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Julian Ford
GRANT – Nick Hendrick Wicht
WORKER – Khoen Clarke
WORKER 2 – Peter Mark Raphael
ANNA – Katelyn Varadi

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay is about gender relations, sexual identity, and rape culture.

What genres does your 1pg. short fall under?

This would fall under the drama/LGBT genres.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

How would you describe this script in two words?

Two words: rape culture

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

The movie I have watched the most time in my life would be either Pulp Fiction or Clockwork Orange.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I worked on this one page screenplay for approximately 2 weeks.

How many stories have you written?

Thus far I’ve written 10 shorts, 2 feature length scripts, and am just completing co-writing a 3rd feature.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I was motivated to write this script after a trip to NYC, wherein I experienced an internal revelation of sorts reflecting on an article I’d read on the Huffington Post entitled “A Gentlemen’s Guide to Rape Culture.”

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The main obstacle I encountered to finishing this screenplay was a reluctance to share my vulnerability, but then I remembered the power of vulnerability.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Apart from writing, I am also very passionate about directing films and writing/playing/watching live music.

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

To other writers I would say, don’t quit… keep going but make sure to get good feedback and always be looking to improve.

****

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Short Screenplay – Red Dot by Mark Richards

Watch the August 2016 Winning Short Screenplay.

Red Dot  by Mark Richards

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Suspense, Comedy, Action

Synopsis: An assassination attempt gets botched by an unlikely source.

CAST LIST:

TEXTILE MANAGER – Sean Ballatyne
NARRATOR – Julian Ford

Get to know the winning writer: 

What is your screenplay about?

An assassination attempt on a journalistic photographer gets botched by the sniper’s own lens.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

It all comes down to the punchline. The page delivers its setup with a tense rhythm, which leads to an slightly strange punchline. Honestly, it’s not enough to fit a whole movie, but it would make a great scene for an action comedy or a thriller.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Assassination catastrophe.

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

The Lion King.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I’d estimate a week at length. There were 2 nights of writing the script in April (one grueling night spent editing it). Then another 2 nights of rewriting and editing in May after a critique from the festival. I thought I was finished. But in July, inspiration struck and I rewrote it yet again for one long night. So 5 nights in total.

How many stories have you written?

I’ve written a few short scripts and one feature length screenplay. In College, my script “The Family Dinner” was accepted into the Scripts at Work reading. Last year, I’ve completed my first feature length screenplay; a horror comedy called “Skullington Tales: The Dream Weaver.”

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I came upon an ad for the 1 page screenplay contest and I couldn’t resist the challenge.

(Spoiler Alert) While watching a dog chasing a red dot, I wondered what would happened if that red dot came from a sniper rifle. I came up with the setup of a sniper attempting to assassinate a political activist, with the dog serving as the punchline.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Trying to fit the script into one page. It served as a lesson on create an image with as few words as possible. I had to strip the story to its bare minimum. Finally, I had to consider what is truly important for the story.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am also passionate about movies and theatre. Ever since earning a theatre technical production diploma from Red Deer College, I’ve seized any opportunity to work in either field.

I also write reviews for these mediums and graphic novels. You can check them out in my website http://www.randomrichardsreviews.ca. I’ve also created a webseries Random Richards Reviews. You can check it out here; https://vimeo.com/174790726.

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

First of all, I loved the idea of the challenge. Second of all, I wanted my script to be a part of a reading. Finally, it’s good to write some short scripts to get my name out there. After all, it takes a lot of time and mental strain to complete a full length script.

When I first received the feedback, I was conflicted at best. At first, I began with the image of the Cobra the assassin taking aim at Renaltta. I had the what, but I didn’t have the why. Specifically, I didn’t put in a reason why Renaltta’s being targeted in the first place.

When I saw this, I thought; how the hell was I going to fit this into a script? It was a strain the first time trying to fit the scene in one page. Just imagine having to sum up the motivation in one moment and squeeze it into an already tight script. But I met the challenge. It required images to be sacrificed, but it was worth it for the greater good of the script. The other criticisms were a lot easier to fix.

Though my ego may get bruised, I accept the constructive criticism. After all, I want the script to be the best it can be and I want to learn from my errors and be a better screenwriter. Suggestions, however, I’m not so accepting. While there are exceptions to the rule (especially when the feedback points out how it fixes a problem), I didn’t like the suggestion for the ending. I admit the first draft’s final image was just plain silly, but I found the suggestion too silly. I know it sounds petty, but that was my opinion. Instead of taking offense, I took it as a challenge to come up with better ideas. I eventually changed the ending that made more sense and changed Cobra to make him more interesting. There was a gag I originally put in the opening to set up the red dot and give Cobra a more comedic personality, but I removed it due to constraints with the page.

It reminds me of a quote from Neil Gaiman; “95% of criticisms are accurate, 95% of suggestions are inaccurate.” I believe it’s the sole responsibility of the screenwriter to figure out the solution. I want my scripts to be the best they can be, so I need selection committees to tell me what’s wrong with it? But I feel I need to come up with the solution myself. This way, I better learn from my mistakes. Plus, I have a chance to surprise the committee with the solutions.

But I don’t want to burn bridges with festivals. So, I consider suggestions not as offenses but as challenges to come up with better ideas.

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

Screenplays are like music. There should be a sense of rhythm with every image you create, connected by the beat of the cuts. As a whole, the story has a flow brought to life by an orchestra known as filmmakers.

*****

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

 

Short Screenplay – The Confessional by Jeremy Rigby

Watch the August 2016 Short Screenplay Winner.

The Confessional  by Jeremy Rigby

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Drama, Dark

With an unholy twist from a private confession, Jason, 15 unexpectedly exposes a potentially greater sin when provoked by a Priest in a confessional.

CAST LIST:

JASON – Sean Ballatyne
PRIEST – Julian Ford

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your screenplay about?

The Confessional is controversial with a thought provoking twist. From a private confession, Jason, 12, unexpectedy exposes a breach of trust and a far greater sin when pressed by the Priest.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I feel it is a story that would appeal to many different types of people and as it is short could be very appealing to festivals.

From a production perspective it could be produced on a very small budget as the confessional could be created in a studio / dark room with lighting. For a new Producer / Director this would be a perfect screenplay to take on board.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Thought provoking.

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

World’s fastest Indian starring Anthony Hopkins. It ticks my every box. It is visually stunning and is based on an amazing true story. Anthony Hopkins does a superb job portraying New Zealand racing icon Burt Monro.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I actually wrote this screenplay sitting on a train. Sometimes the words just seem to write themselves. I then over the next couple of days read and re-read a number of times making many small changes before I was happy to submit to the festival.

How many stories have you written?

I currently have six feature screenplays, a number of shorts screenplays and over fifty television concepts and outlines that are avaliable for option or representation. I have a produced tv series and am in final post production for a short film An Afterlife which I wrote and produced.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I really liked the challenge and concept of writting a one page screenplay that included a start, middle and an end. I feel very proud that I managed to achieve this.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I think the hardest part of any screenplay is having it make sence in a compelling way. In this story creating a believable and surpising twist in one page was my biggest obstacle.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love magic and performing. Being a street entertainer in Japan in the 90’s I found myself at times in change rooms with different Anerican performers who were always writing. What were they writing? The next Hollywood blockbuster of course! With time up my sleeve I thought I could do the same. Twenty years later and that is still my belief.

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

In this industry positive exposure on many different levels is important in building networks and contacts. I saw this festival as being unique in that it would offer through the live reading a valuable insight into my writting.

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

Accept that your work can always be better.
Accept criticism.
Be flexible.
Never give up.

P.S. I would be happy for this screenplay to go to a good home. Email if interested.

*****

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne