Parts #1 & #2 – Best Scene Script Readings: By Way Of Prague

Part #1 reading of By Way of Prague:

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allison Kampf
Tucker: Geoff Mays
Ambassador Bowes: Steve Rizzo
Charlie Greyeyes: Sean Ballantyne

Part #2 reading of By Way of Prague:

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allison Kampf
Sergei: Steve Rizzo
Washerwoman: Hannah Ehman

Winning BEST SCENE Feature Screenplay Reading: GREENWOOD, by Jody Hadlock, ,A.J. Orr

Based on a true story, a 1920’s African-American lawyer takes on the system to defend the residents of Greenwood, the all-black district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, when it’s destroyed by an angry white mob.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allison Kampf
John Ros: Geoff Mays
B.C: Sean Ballantnye

Winning 1st Scene Screenplay Reading: THE RED CLOTH, by Bo Svenson

 Largely based on historical facts, “The Red Cloth” tells of men and women fleeing the cruelty of early Christianity in what is now Norway, their arrival in North America five hundred years before Columbus, and the birth there of the first European child.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allison Kampf
Parks Canada Voice/Norse Boy (M): Sean Ballantyne
Young Norse (F): Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Grumpy Norse (F): Val Cole
Ibrahim (M): Geoff Mays
Thorall (M): Steve Rizzo

LA Festival 1st Scene Script Reading: AWAY WITH MY HEART, by Hoyt Richards

A washed up, womanizing, alcoholic country singer is forced to revaluate his life when he discovers not only is he dying of cancer but he also has a twenty-year old daughter that he never knew he had.

CAST LIST:

Stage Manager: Sean Ballantyne
Beau: Pierre Simpson
Narration: Esther Tribault
Sally: Elizabeth Erhart
Groupie Girl: Nadine Charleson
Carol: Tiffany Davison

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

Festival Moderators: Matthew Toffolo, Rachel Elder

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Ryan Haines, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Ryan Haines, Temitope Akinterinwa, Efren Zapata, Zack Arch

Feature Screenplay Reading of AT THE MERCY OF FAITH by Samuel Taylor

A fourteen year old preacher renounces his faith in God in the wake of a terrifying and traumatic event. Eighteen years later, the psychotic demons from his past, viciously return to wreak havoc on of his home and collect his soul for the god of their hell.

CAST LIST:

Tall Man: Malcolm Taylor
Sylvestus: Christopher Bautista
Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Marvin: Luke Robinson
Susan: Erica Levene
Myesha: Cassandra Guthrie

****

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

Festival Moderators: Kierston Drier, Shepsut Wilson
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Kyle Drier, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Mary Cox, Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Hugh Fraser, Andy Camp, Aser Santos Jr., Zack Arch

Best Scene Reading of THE WAITING ROOM by Joel Stern

In this suspense/comedy, Bill Egan, a crusty Alcatraz corrections officer, suddenly finds himself in a waiting room along with a one-armed Medal of Honor award winner-turned hitman, a ditzy bank teller and a Bronx street hoodlum. From different time periods, they try to piece together the events that brought them there.
Little do they know they are about to face the ultimate judgement.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller

CAST LIST:

Linda: Cassandra Guthrie
Chuck: John Marcucci
Narrator: Kat Smiley
Bill: Shawn Devlin
Oscar: Sean Ballantyne
Reggie: Sam Fazli

Submit exclusively via Film Freeway:

******

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

Director: Kierston Drier

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: Kimberly Villarruel

Camera Op: Mary Cox

Winning Feature Screenplay Reading of Fear by Peter Jang

 

The father of a slain Muslim-American soldier attempts to help a bullied Middle Eastern teen who has turned to Muslim extremists online as the current wave of Islamophobia hits their Pennsylvania town.

CAST LIST:

Monica: Cassandra Guthrie
Ibrahim: Sam Fazli
Joseph: Shawn Devlin
Narrator: Kat Smiley
Suliman: Sean Ballantyne
Anthony: John Marcucci
Hasna: Zena Driver
Linda: Corinne Sutton-Smith

Submit exclusively via Film Freeway:

******

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

Director: Kierston Drier

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: Kimberly Villarruel

Camera Op: Mary Cox

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

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