Winning HORROR BEST SCENE Screenplay – THE INTERVIEW, by Laszlo Tamasfi

Winning Screenplay – THE INTERVIEW
Written by Laszlo Tamasfi

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
AGENT – Dan Cristofori
SARAH – Jane Hailes

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Thriller, Horror

When a mysterious black box haunts a young couple they take it to a supernatural expert. With the help a strange boy they examine each item inside the box, each item having a more haunting story than the last.

 
Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

‘Exiles’ is a feature length horror anthology. It’s about a séance held in an oddities museum, and the strange objects that the medium examines. In the case of ‘The Interview’ –the segment performed- this object is a dog collar.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror/Supernatural

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

It would make a really interesting, strange horror movie. I like the idea of turning genre tropes on their head and playing with audience expectations. And it could be made on a low budget!

How would you describe this script in two words?

Strange, weird

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

The Fly (1986)
It was the very first horror movie that I saw as a child (I think I was about nine) and it absolutely blew my mind. When I rediscovered it as an adult it managed to blow my mind all over again: it’s a masterpiece, and I watch it quite frequently.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

The short films that make up the body of the anthology were written out of order, over the course of three years.

How many stories have you written?

Although ‘Exiles’ is only my second feature length movie script, I also write comic books. I’ve been publishing my flash fiction webcomic since 2014 (www.observatorycomics.com), which at this point is a library of about sixty or so short stories. I also have a horror miniseries coming out the end of March from American Gothic Press (the comic publishing imprint of Famous Monsters of Filmland) called ‘Invisible Hands’, which I’m very proud of!

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

I’m a HUGE Nine Inch Nails fan! I couldn’t pick just one song, but I’ve definitely listened to more NIN than any other music in my life…. combined.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Honestly, it was nothing but joy to write. I had no deadlines and I did it on my own terms. It was one of the best writing experiences of my life.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Nine Inch Nails, horror comics, animals, and LGBTQ+ equality.

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

I was really excited to see actors perform a table read of my script! I thought this would be very useful to gauge how well the story works. I also felt that the initial feedback was encouraging and insightful.

 

 

****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

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Winning Feature Screenplay Reading – INCURABLE, by Jeff York

Winning HORROR Feature Screenplay for January 2017.

INCURABLE
Written by Jeff York
CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Hugh Ritchie
JIM – Robert Notman
CATHERINE – Victoria Kucher
SARAH – Olivia Jon
DR. NEUBER – Julie Sheppard
GABRIEL – David Occhipinti

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Romance

Jim has ALS. Feeling he has no hope, he wants to end it all. Then he meets Catherine – who is a Vampire!

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

INCURABLE is about Jim Reed, a man in his early 30’s, with his whole life ahead of him, who is stricken with ALS. He contemplates suicide to avoid the painful death sentence that the disease usually is, but then he meets Catherine Adler, a woman whom he will soon discover is a vampire. They fall for each other and then Jim decides to let Catherine bite him to give eternal life and thwart his ALS forever. Of course, becoming a vampire is not that easy and that’s where the drama ensues. Jim discovers that there’s a whole helluva lot more to his new lease on life, as well as his relationship with Catherine.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Because it deals with vampires it readily falls into the horror category, but it is also a romantic drama as it really examines the relationship that develops between Jim and Catherine. I’d also argue that it has an indie character study feel to it as it is far from the typical violence and gore found in the horror genre. INCURABLE is more head and heart than than blood and guts.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

INCURABLE is a more unique horror tale for the reasons I listed previously, but also because of the unique proposition that enables Jim to accept Catherine’s offer to turn him. Because she’s rich and gets her blood supply from the black market, Jim will not have to kill anyone to sustain his vampirism. I’ve never encountered the idea of murder taken off the table in a vampire tale.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Character-driven horror.

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

“Jaws” is my favorite film of all time, and truly set the template for INCURABLE in that it too was a character-driven piece that had thrills and chills, yes, but it never lost sight of the complex humans in battle with the shark.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

It took three months to write originally, with a few months of rewrites after that incorporating reader’s notes, friends’ opinions, contest feedback, etc. From there, it did very well in contests, but I’ve always tweaked it along the way. As the saying goes, you’re never really done rewriting until the film is in the can!

How many stories have you written?

I’ve written nine movie screenplays, two TV series pilots and pitches, and a theatrical play. (I also write a movie blog and am a film critic, but those are different stories!)

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I love horror but often found myself cheering for the monster to defeat the stupid characters being pursued. It occurred to me that the genre needed more complex storytelling as well as characters. I’ve always been a fan of vampire lore as well, and wondered if one could be a vampire without killing. The idea of a rich vampire who didn’t have to kill for blood, who could buy it on the black market instead, came to me shortly after that.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Editing. Writing isn’t difficult for me, but honing, polishing, editing, really examining every word – that is a lot of work. And it’s a challenging and incredibly detailed kind of intricate surgery as well.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am passionate about movies, the arts, cats, animal rights, and politics, those less so these days with Trump’s victory. I worry we’re going into some very dark days ahead.

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

I loved that such an organization felt a similar passion for horror. And that winning entries would be read by actors and filmed for all to see! I’ve always loved table reads. Also, the feedback I received from the festival was terrific. And I rewrote INCURABLE to reflect the terrific suggestions.

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

Be patient. Writing takes time. Connecting with people who can help you with your scripts takes time. Waiting for someone to find the money to greenlight your script will likely take a lot of time. Thus, enjoy being a writer no matter what the outcome, and if you’re lucky to get your work on the big screen remember that’s the icing on the cake, not the whole cake.

***

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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editing: John Johnson


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Horror Best Scene Reading – THE LEGEND OF YAKATUTCH by Sean Francis Ellis

Watch the winning January 2017 Horror Best Scene Screenplay Reading.

Best Scene from the screenplay THE LEGEND OF YAKATUTCH Screenplay
Written by Sean Francis Ellis

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Horror, Action, Sci-Fi

In the Canadian wilderness, a snowboarding champion must embrace his indigenous legacy to save his girlfriend from a legendary creature, which has kidnapped her in order to become human once more.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Julie Sheppard
CLAUDE – Hugh Ritchie
ELDER – David Occhipinti
THOMAS – Robert Notman

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

A young man, the descendant of a First Nations warrior, must embrace his destiny in order to save his girlfriend from a legendary creature, which has escaped its icy prison and threatens his small Canadian town.

The story explores our relationship with nature and the loss of traditions that once kept us in balance with it. It is a redemption story, and a coming-of-age story, about the passing of traditional values from one generation to the next.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Action, Adventure, Horror.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

“The Legend of Yakatutch” is inspired by a long tradition of ‘Creature-Features’, which includes blockbuster franchises “Jurassic Park”, “Jaws” and “The Mummy”. Recent hits like “Godzilla”, “Pacific Rim”, The “Twilight” Series and “Snow White and the Huntsman” prove the genre remains popular internationally, with many more examples on TV, like “The Walking Dead”, “True Blood”, “Grimm”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “Roswell”, “Smallville”, “Sleepy Hollow”, “Supernatural”, “Hemlock Grove”, “Haven” and “The X Files”. These hit movies and TV shows all bring to life incredible monsters that excite our imagination, and take us to the fascinating worlds they inhabit.

The mystery of Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, and the creature’s Asian relative, Yeti, have always fascinated the public. Thousands of stories and reported sightings have spawned a culture of pseudo-scientific research, known as ‘cryptozoology’. The character of Yakatutch combines elements of this legendary ‘cryptid’, with Canadian First Nations mythology. But unlike Bigfoot, Yakatutch is a creature that was once an ordinary man.

As humanity faces the threat of extinction caused by our lack of respect for the environment, the conflict between modern man and a creature that represents our primal nature, is a timely one, reminding us that we need to respect the natural environment and learn from the past, if we are to survive. But it also tells a coming-of-age story, about a young hero embracing his destiny through rites of passage that connect him to his heritage and First Nations identity. He must embrace the past to save the future.

The outdoor, ‘filmed on-location’ visual elements of the script would be compelling on the cinema screen. The spectacular frozen wilderness is a dramatic backdrop to the action-adventure elements in the film, with sequences on glaciers and mountains, and within the forests and small towns of the Yukon Territory. Action elements such as snowboard chases, helicopters, airplanes, and off-road vehicles, combined with ancient threats, such as the mysterious curse that created Yakatutch, and his journey to redemption, would produce an exciting and emotionally engaging movie. The mix of First Nations and European/Canadian culture found in the Yukon will also set “The Legend of Yakatutch” apart from recent films in the genre, and give the film broader audience appeal.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Nature triumphs.

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

Hard to say for sure, but probably “Superman: The Movie”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, or “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I started writing a version of this script in 2004. It had many of the same elements, but has evolved significantly. I’ve reworked the story several times, with various titles, including “Out of Bounds”, “Prey”, and “Claws”. I’ve also worked on several other feature and short screenplays during that time, but mostly this one.

How many stories have you written?

Dozens since I started writing short stories in school, but there are many more I haven’t written down.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

When I started this one, I’d written two screenplays in very different genres. The first was a sort of Romantic Comedy with Action, the second was a Crime-Drama with Comedy. So, I wanted to write something closer to what I love watching most, which are movies with lots of suspense, action, and elements of sci-fi or horror. As a nine year old, I was inspired by the Wampa Snow Monster from “The Empire Strikes Back”, and always thought that creature deserved a movie all its own. I felt sympathy for it, living in isolation inside its cave. It was frightening, and Luke killed it to save himself, but it wasn’t a monster in the usual sense. It was just an animal. So I thought it deserved to have its story told.

I was also motivated by my interest in extreme sports like snowboarding, my love of snow-capped mountains, and the cinematic potential that goes with a creature stalking people in the frozen wilderness. As I did research into the Yukon Territory, I became fascinated with the history of the area, the protected wildlife parks and the First Nations who live there. I added these elements to the story and built them into the creature’s backstory.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Many years worth! The obstacles were mostly about making time and finding a space where I could write, and sacrificing other things to make time (like a steady income!). After spending a year or so on the script, I went to the US and stayed for several months at a time in Los Angeles, for about 5 years. I survived on a very tight budget, and after interning and finding a short-lived assistant job, I decided to live as a struggling writer, writing in cafes and libraries. It was lonely, exhausting work. I spent most of 2007 & 2009 writing in LA, then from 2012 to 2015 (back in Australia), writing either part time or full time. At times I had no money, no social life, and my relationships suffered. I invested a lot of savings in the process. I pitched regularly, paid for professional coverage and sought feedback as often as possible, to improve my writing. I had help from a producer in Australia, who was a sounding board for several years, helping me edit and tighten the story. The feedback improved over time, and I believed I had something with potential, so I pressed on. It was a lot of sacrifice, but I learned a lot about writing and myself.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love everything about film and have been making films since I was 10, using super 8 equipment, then video, to shoot, direct, edit and produce short films. I love history, sociology, art, design, architecture, dance, choreography, music and language, as well as travel and great food. I’m also passionate about social justice, environmentalism, conservation, and the preservation of art for educational purposes.

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

I have entered the festival and received feedback before, which was helpful, so I knew the contest and the services they offer. The feedback I received was encouraging and gave me something new to think about, which I hadn’t really considered before. But I felt some frustration too. It’s always hard to be told what is lacking, or not working, after so much hard work. Feedback is a great way to start you thinking, and to make you look at your story from a new viewpoint. That’s always valuable. I think it helps to get several viewpoints and find a consensus.

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

While developing your abilities as a writer, develop other skills and passions as well, whatever they are. Balance is key to productivity. Along with good health and plenty of sleep. Observation is a crucial aspect of good writing, and so much of writing is done when you aren’t at your desk. Once you know the concept and the dramatic need of your characters, play the movie in your head whenever you can, so the pacing becomes clearer. Then, you’ll be prepared to drop something if it doesn’t move the story forward. Outlining is so important, and I think the more time you put into plotting the story first, the easier it is to write scenes that will stay in the script.

***

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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editing: John Johnson


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2016 Horror Screenplays from the Festival

Submit your Horror Screenplay to the Festival Today: https://festivalforhorror.com/

ACTORTV PILOT – MIDLIFE CRISIS
December 2016 Reading
Written by Erica Barfield Peterson
ACTORSHORT Screenplay – BLOOD DRIVE
December 2016 Reading
Written by Myka J. Friscia
ACTORBEST SCENE Screenplay – THE WORK OF ZOMBIES
December 2016 Reading
Written by Patricia Semler
ACTOR1st SCENE Screenplay – YOU’VE CHANGED
December 2016 Reading
Written by Sam Sexton
ACTORSHORT Screenplay – THE SAND AND WATER OF STYX
December 2016 Reading
Written by Peer Ynt
ACTORSHORT Screenplay – BUREAUCRACY
December 2016 Reading
Written by Sharmini Kumar
ACTORSHORT Screenplay – THE SAND AND WATER OF STYX
December 2016 Reading
Written by Peer Ynt
ACTORSHORT Screenplay – BUREAUCRACY
December 2016 Reading
Written by Sharmini Kumar
ACTORSHORT Screenplay – THE PROVING GROUNDS
December 2016 Reading
Written by Michael Boyd
ACTORSHORT Screenplay – COLLAPSE
December 2016 Reading
Written by David Sweet
ACTORFAN FICTION Screenplay – GILLIGAN’S ISLAND OF THE DEAD
November 2016 Reading
Written by Jerry Kokich
ACTORTV PILOT Screenplay – THE MYSTERIOUS LIFE OF MADELEINE
November 2016 Reading
Written by Eve Noel
ACTORSHORT Screenplay (Under 5pg.) – EXORCISE
November 2016 Reading
Written by Matt Holland
ACTOR1st SCENE Screenplay: CRIME CYCLE
October 2016 Reading
Written by Donald R. Brown

ACTORSHORT Story – GOBLIN
October 2016 Reading
Written by J.F. Capps

ACTORLONG SHORT Screenplay – THE SON, THE FATHER
October 2016 Reading
Written by Lukas Hass

ACTORLONG SHORT Screenplay – CUCKOLD PICASSO
October 2016 Reading
Written by James R. Adams II and Lance Larson

ACTORLONG SHORT Screenplay – TOGETHER
October 2016 Reading
Written by Jade Syed-Bokhari

ACTORSHORT Screenplay – IF I DIE
September 2016 Reading
Written by Jean Nicole Rivers

ACTOR1st SCENE Screenplay: OLD BONES
September 2016 Reading
Written by Dermott Hayes

ACTORSHORT Screenplay – MATCHSTICK
August 2016 Reading
Written by Mike Fardy

ACTORBEST SCENE Screenplay – ELAN VITAL
July 2016 Reading
Written by Maroun Rached

ACTORSHORT Screenplay – MATERNAL FEAR
July 2016 Reading
Written by Stephen Milek

ACTOR1st SCENE Screenplay – NINE SCARS
July 2016 Reading
Written by Kelly Crawford

ACTORFEATURE Screenplay – FIEND
July 2016 Reading
Written by Jeff York

ACTORShort Screenplay – DEATH’S LADY LOVE
June 2016 Reading
Written by Stephen M. Hunt
ACTORFEATURE Screenplay – INKED IN BLOOD
June 2016 Reading
Written by Paul Corricelli

ACTOR1st Scene Screenplay – EXISTENTIAL QUANDARY
June 2016 Reading
Written by Brandon Maline
ACTORBest Scene Screenplay – LONG IN THE TOOTH
June 2016 Reading
Written by Mark Wasserman

ACTORBest Scene Screenplay – IX
June 2016 Reading
Written by Eric Irizarry
ACTORFeature Screenplay – THE BOO
May 2016 Reading
Written by Scott McEntire

ACTORBest Scene Screenplay – MATSQUI MASSACRE
April 2016 Reading
Written by Mark Curtis Dunn & Pamela C. Royal

ACTORShort Screenplay Screenplay – WALL IN THE GARDEN
April 2016 Reading
Written by Thorsten Loos

ACTORFeature Screenplay – DEAD NORTH
April 2016 Reading
Written by Alexander Nachaj

ACTOR1st Scene Screenplay – THE SHOT
February 2016 Reading
Written by Michael DeMattia

ACTOR1st Scene Screenplay – ROAD TO TEXAS
February 2016 Reading
Written by Emanuel Ruggeri

ACTORShort Screenplay – THE NEW NEIGHBORS
January 2016 Reading
Written by Filippo Santaniello

ACTORFeature Screenplay – MOTHS TO FLAME
March 2016 Reading
Written by Fredric Maffei

 

 

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

2016 December Horror Films, Screenplays & Stories

Submit your Horror Screenplay to the Festival Today: https://festivalforhorror.com/

ACTORSHORT Screenplay – THE PROVING GROUNDS
December 2016 Reading
Written by Michael Boyd
ACTORSHORT Screenplay – COLLAPSE
December 2016 Reading
Written by David Sweet
ACTORSHORT Screenplay – THE SAND AND WATER OF STYX
December 2016 Reading
Written by Peer Ynt
ACTORSHORT Screenplay – BUREAUCRACY
December 2016 Reading
Written by Sharmini Kumar
ACTORBEST SCENE Screenplay – LIVING PROOF
December 2016 Reading
Written by Herschel Medlin
ACTORBEST SCENE Screenplay – CELLULAR MEMORY
December 2016 Reading
Written by Jesse Prevost
ACTORBEST SCENE Screenplay – THE WORK OF ZOMBIES
December 2016 Reading
Written by Patricia Semler
ACTOR1st SCENE Screenplay – YOU’VE CHANGED
December 2016 Reading
Written by Sam Sexton
ACTORTV PILOT – MIDLIFE CRISIS
December 2016 Reading
Written by Erica Barfield Peterson
ACTORSHORT Screenplay – BLOOD DRIVE
December 2016 Reading
Written by Myka J. Friscia

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Short Screenplay – BLOOD DRIVE by Myke J Friscia

BLOOD DRIVE
Written by Myke FrisciaCAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
SIMON – Chris Reid Geisler
JACKIE – Angela Cavallin
HUMAN RESOURCES – Dana Thody
BOSS – Brian Carleton
LAWYER – Ucal Shillingford
DOG – Noah Casey

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Thriller, Crime, Horror

A man’s life spirals out of control when he becomes obsessed with meeting the woman behind the voice of his car navigation system.

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your screenplay about?

Things go terribly awry for a man who becomes obsessed with meeting the woman behind the voice of his car navigation system.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

A dark comedy, Twilight Zone-like thriller

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

It is unique in that it is a SOLO actor performance. The outside world exists only as voices heard, but not seen. Being that, it can be made on an extremely low budget. It’s darkly funny, thrilling and entertaining for an audience for beginning to end. It is a challanging and fun role for an actor. It’s based on a situation where millineal technology backfires in way that could possibly happen to anyone.

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

Quirky. Thrilling.

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

The original Star Wars!

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

About a year and a half on and off.

6. How many stories have you written?

10 Features, 3 original TV pilots, 10 shorts.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

A story I read that something similar happened. I thought it was a great premise for a story that was based on reality. I also tried to come up with something easily producable.

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

For contest purposes, trying to keep the whole story under 30 pages while keeping it entertaining, while at the same time developing the characters. Also trying to write it in such a way that only one physical actor was needed for the whole story, which was very challanging in itself.

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

I love movies! But also am passionate about baseball, Texas Hold’em and getting involved with my daughter’s school activities.

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

Keep learning about your craft and never stop. Try every means available to get your work out there, all the while just keep writing and writing. Write what you know best. Experiment with different genres, concepts, story lengths and formats. Never give up!

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Watch the Winning Horror Screenplay – 1st Scene: NINE SCARS by Kelly Crawford

NINE SCARS
Written by Kelly Crawford
Read 10 Questions with the writer

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Thriller

A teen romance thriller that takes place in a world in which everyone has nine lives. In this world of nine lives, an aspiring football player must risk all of his lives to rescue his girlfriend from the ruthless leader of a gambling syndicate who�s trying to fix the college football championship game.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
KEITH – Dan Cristofori
PRINCIPAL – David Occhipinti
ROBBIE – Michael Gaty
MATT – Mark Boutros
JAMIE – Viktoria Napolenova

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

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Short Screenplay – MATCHSTICK by Mike Fardy

Watch the August 2016 Winning HORROR Screenplay.

MATCHSTICK  by Mike Fardy

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Caitlyn’s therapist convinces her to try a new form of hypnosis that allows her to communicate with her anxiety but when her thoughts appear as a violent, ghostly woman Caitlyn discovers her therapist has held back crucial information about the procedure.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Holly Sarchfield
CAITLYN – Dorian Kolinas
GUY – Kris Hagen
BRANDEAU – Geoff Mays
MODEL – Elizabeth Griffin

Get to know the winning writer: 

What is your screenplay about?

Matchstick is about Caitlyn and her struggle against a dark part of her mind which turns violent after a botched therapy session. It touches on trust of authority figures and how it can sometimes feel to live with anxiety.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I think it might spur important conversations or at the very least scare the pants off some people.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Pretty Spoopy.

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

Jurassic Park. Followed pretty closely by Fast Five. (No judgment please.)

How many stories have you written?

I’ve been working on this for about a year and half with my friend and fellow filmmaker Ross Moore. We’re applying for funding this year to make it so fingers crossed!

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

A lot but this is my first pure horror script. I’m mostly a comedy writer and when I was younger I focused on fantasy writing. I’m pretty sure there’s still an X-page out there somewhere of the fan-fiction Redwall spin-off novel I wrote when I was 13. I get nauseous just thinking about it..

I suffer from ‘The Old Hag’ or Sleep Paralysis and a few of the scenes are based on real hallucinations I’ve had while in this state.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

It’s always length for me. There are so many things I want to say and show but even getting it to 13 pages was a big struggle. I’m always so happy when I can cut something and tighten the script up but unless someone is forcing me to make it shorter I have a difficult time finding those scenes that can go.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love the outdoors. Camping, kayaking, hiking but even though I think about it all the time I rarely make time for it any more, especially since moving to Toronto.

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

I’m still quite an amateur writer so I love any opportunities for feedback and I was not disappointed. The feedback I got from this festival actually helped me shave off a couple of pages and gave me some tips I’ll be able to carry into all my future scripts.

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

Get strangers to read your scripts! Sometimes you can find a brutally honest friend who will give the hard feedback you need but you’ll learn things about your scripts you never dreamed were there when you listen to a room full of strangers analyse them. Find a writer’s circle in your town or start one yourself!

***

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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Feature Screenplay Reading: FIEND, by Jeff York

Watch the July 2016 Winning Feature Screenplay Reading.

FIEND, by Jeff York

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Crime, Mystery, History

When famed Jekyll & Hyde author Robert Louis Stevenson turns out himself to be a dangerous split personality, the only one who can save him and London from his fiendish alter ego is a maverick American psychiatrist with daring, unconventional methods.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Kaufmann
PRINCE – Michael Kazarian
STEVENSON/WOLFE – Robert Notman
BURKE – Devin Upham
CLAY/CARTLER – Neil Bennett
ANNE – Elizabeth Rose Morriss
FANNY – Mandy May Cheetham

Get to know the winning writer Jeff York: 

1. What is your screenplay about?

It’s historical fiction, based upon two men who were contemporaries of each other in 19th century Europe. Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scotsman living in England who wrote the famous story about split personalities called “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.” And Dr. Morton Prince was an American psychologist working in Salpetriere Hospital in Paris treating split personalities and other psychosis. The two never met, but with so much in common, I deemed that they should.

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

“Fiend” would make for a elevated thriller that the Cineplex could use more of these days. It’s kind of a cross between “Sherlock Holmes” and “The King’s Speech” and it has a lot of smarts and a lot of heart.

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

Historical faction.

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

“Jaws” is one that I watch all the time, even when I come across it on TV, and see something new and amazing in it every time. It in itself is an elevated horror movie that has so many layers and nuance, in addition to being very primal.

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

All told it took me about a year to get “Fiend” into tip-top shape to start entering it into contests, where it has done very well, but I still tinker with it here and there. One never really stops rewriting until it’s filmed and in the can. And even after that, there may still be reshoots and additional rewriting!

6. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written 8 feature scripts, 3 television pilots, 1 short film script and a play.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I am a history buff and was drawn to Stevenson’s history as a man who was sick most of his life and longed for a life where he wasn’t hampered by his frailties. Hence, he wrote things like “Jekyll and Hyde”, as well as “Treasure Island.” His writing about mental illness and dissociative personality disorder (split personalities) in “Jekyll & Hyde” was incredibly insightful, such that there were those who wondered how he could grasp it all so well. Then, when I found out about Prince’s work in the same area and how Salpetriere wanted the rest of Europe to follow suit in bettering their treatment of the mentally ill, it struck me that there could be a entertaining juxtaposition in those two stories.

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

The balance of fact and fiction. Most movie bio’s take a ton of liberties with the real story, and because this one was clearly made up, I didn’t have to be quite so faithful. Still, I wanted to be true to the actual history known of the two men, and striking the right balance between reality and fantasy is what presented the biggest challenge.

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

I love movies, theater, art, reading…most anything from the arts world. I have an orange tabby so I’m partial to cats. And I find current events and politics to be endlessly fascinating and spend a lot of time watching MSNBC. (I’m quite the liberal at heart.)

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

I love those that embrace horror, and it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to connect with similar fans of the genre. The notes I received were superb, and I incorporated all the terrific suggestions into the rewrite of the script that was recorded. So thanks for making it better!

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

Breaking into Hollywood is very difficult, and you’ll run into a lot of pretenders and wannabe’s. Gravitate towards those who remain positive in their response to your work, or at least encouraging, and realize that not everyone is going to do cartwheels over what you’ve written. Still, if you really enjoy writing and want to be a cinematic storyteller, keep at it and you will find advocates. You just need to find that one who also has money to make your script into a movie. That is THE struggle, but if you’re good, write a lot, and remain persistent in learning, rewriting, writing more and more scripts, and keeping the faith, you’ll find yourself getting closer and closer. And hopefully that day when you get the dream call, you’re ready for it all.

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Watch the April 2016 Horror Feature Screenplay Reading

Submit your Horror Screenplay to the Festival Today: https://festivalforhorror.com/

Feature Script: DEAD NORTH
by Alexander Nachaj

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Horror, Comedy, Adventure

Survivors battle zombies and rival groups in post-apocalyptic Northern Canada

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Frances Townend
OWEN – Rob Notman
MAG – Christina Santos
PILOT – Kaleb Alexander
CAINE/STEIN – Jarrid Terrell
BARKER/REESE – David Occhipinti

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson