BEST Scene Screenplay of NEVER SPEAK MY NAME, by Jo Ann Allen, Walter G Meyer, Stampp Corbin

Genre: Drama, History

The story of Bayard Rustin a civil rights activist who fought resistance to his participation in the civil rights movement because he was an openly gay man. Bayard triumphs by planning the seminal 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Martin Luther King: Rais Moui
Bayard: Christopher Huron
Randolph: Neil Bennett
Coretta Scott King: Daniella Zappala

****

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

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

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Winning TV PILOT of SIRINGO, by Nathan Ward

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Drama, Western, History

A TV series based on the life of the Pinkerton “Cowboy Detective” Charlie Siringo, who spent two decades working undercover across the violent American West, infiltrating gangs including Butch Cassidy’s. The show crosses the Western with undercover crime dramas like Sneaky Pete or The Americans, since the lawman lives as an outlaw.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Siringo: Neil Bennett
Jacky: Brandon Nicoletti
McParland: Christopher Huron
Deputy: Rais Moui
Mamie: Daniella Zappala
Mrs. Burke: Connie Wang

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

The true adventures of the cowboy detective Charlie Siringo, who worked undercover for the Pinkerton Agency all over the Wild West, employing a variety of personas. The job changes the man over time, mirroring the darkening changes that come to the West itself.

Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

I think it would make a wonderful star vehicle for an actor, given not just that it’s a vivid time period, but the person playing Charlie gets to mix it up, since Siringo is mostly acting undercover, and the part keeps changing —this week he’s investigating as a railroad tramp, then he’s infiltrating Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch (which he really did), now he’s posing as a silver miner to find a gang of dynamiting killers. He also did a lot of research in saloons and bordellos, so there’s room for guest cameos.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Undercover Western

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

Justified, Columbo, Mad Men, The Office, Patriot

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Three months

How many stories have you written?

Can’t say exactly. Have written three books and a lot of journalism. Some flash fiction as well.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Maybe it’s Johnny Cash’s version of ‘Hurt.’

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

My biggest challenge was in learning to let go a bit. As a history writer, the actual timeline of events was not negotiable, but the longer I worked the more I saw that the episode may demand its own dramatic timeline, and that it’s ok for something that happened in June to move to the following October, if it works better. That goes against all my training as a history writer, but was a lesson I had to learn for myself. The story is still true: it’s just not an exact transcript of events. The tinkering with timeline is merited if the whole thing works.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Movies, some sports (baseball, boxing, tennis), my wife and kids.

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

As I am primarily a history writer, I was looking at ways past the gatekeepers of this film world I know so little practically about. It seemed to me yours was a format where my debut script might actually be read by kindly insiders who might be generous with their knowledge.

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

I have greatly enjoyed the process so far of just writing a pilot and receiving feedback and (hopefully) improving the script. So you should write one just to do it—no matter what comes of it.

****

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

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

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

 

Short Screenplay – Drac’s Cafe by Scot Walker

Watch the August 2016 Winning 1pg. Short Screenplay 

Drac’s Cafe  by Scot Walker

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Fantasy, Comedy

Dracula, Political Correctness and Greenwich Village.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
DRACULA- Lorne Hiro
SERVER – David Straus
GAY VAMP – Rais Muoi

Get to know the winning writer: 

What is your screenplay about?

It’s a protest piece shortened from a fifteen minute play that was produced in Washington DC. As a gay man, I’m angry that the US government refused to accept blood donations from gay men and women. This is still sickeningly true after the massacre at the gay nightclub in Orlando—the survivors and friends, husbands, wives of the dead and wounded are barred from donating blood.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I’m a retired teacher and a long time activist—it’s time that people become more aware of issues affecting their GLBTQ friends and neighbors.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Boldly creative.

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

Gone With the Wind.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Only the gods know. It’s been produced in a much longer version and now minimized into a one-page script, so on and off, many hours. Many rewrites, Much fun!

How many stories have you written?

You’ll have to ask Apollo the Sun God for that information (see
that one-minute play on this same site. It was a winner of the L.. A. Fringe Film Festival. Or you could email me for more information about my half century’s worth of stories, poems, novels and plays at scotwalker2004@yahoo.com. There is only one “t” in Scoit. I was too poor to afford the second “t.”

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

It’s a chance to educate more people about the inequities in the Land of the Free.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

None. There is no such thing as an obstacle when a writer creates. As Maya Angelou once said, “When a writer begins a story, the entire universe conspires to help you.”

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Music, theatre, travel, gardening, mentoring, animals, the rain forest, and mostly urging the next generations to think outside the box—to be something differ to challenge, and dare to be.

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

Listen to your characters. Give them a little space in your head as you sit down to type YOUR story. Then let them run wild and free. Let them dictate their story to you.

*****

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne