Six Degrees of Separation – From What I Loved to A Life of My Own — A life in books

Novel Writing Festival

Six Degrees of Separation is a meme hosted by Kate over at Books Are My Favourite and Best. It works like this: each month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six others to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the titles on the list, […]

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Review- The Jane Austen Society — Kristin Kraves Books

Novel Writing Festival

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable. One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home […]

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Cat Ears and Tiger Bites – Imagination — “Expert” – Parenting Beautiful Minds

POETRY FESTIVAL. Submit to site for FREE. Submit for actor performance. Submit poem to be made into film.

I had safely secured both my children into their buggy and the snacks were packed. We headed into our beautiful local town. It was a decent three-kilometre walk from our house and the children and I generally chatted, recited well-known storybooks and played games such as I Spy or anything else we could conjure up. […]

via Cat Ears and Tiger Bites – Imagination — “Expert” – Parenting Beautiful Minds

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Writing about writing about writing Review 3 — petewsutton

POETRY FESTIVAL. Submit to site for FREE. Submit for actor performance. Submit poem to be made into film.

3rd in an intermittent series of reviewing my writing books, with an aim of reducing how many I have. (4th really but the on and off the shelves post didn’t include any reviews) Exercises In Style by Raymond Quineau This is an odd little book. On a crowded bus at midday, the narrator observes one […]

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Interview with Author Mary Barr (HOW TO BUY A HUSBAND)

Matthew Toffolo:. What is your novel about?

Mary Barr: In brief, my novel centres around a rich lonely woman in Texas. Lyme Carrington-Lynch and her wacky group of girlfriends. She is thirty-five years old and has a life style most of us only dream of; but with her lifestyle comes responsiblity. Her powerful controlling father has always made it known she must be married and produce a son before she turns 35. The time is now and she has failed to do so. Now her father will choose her husband for her. But from a strong wiled and stubborn father comes a daughter who knows her own mind and now the battle of the wills will commence. Lyme has never been in love, doesn’t understand it, and since the loss of her mother doesn’t want to be loved. Until, she has a chance encounter with a stranger on a plane. Her attraction is instant and deep. Her desires knows no bounds. Before she even speaks to him she is hopelessly in love. The fact he is married, doesn’t care to know her, and doesn’t even appear to like her, makes no difference. He hardly knows she exists; but Lyme knows money can buy anything, it is how she was bought up and she believes it. So if, he doesn’t want her maybe she can buy him, This is the story of how Lyme Harrington-Lynch sets out to buy a husband – before, her father finds one for her.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Romance /adventure

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

Ambitious/romantic

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

I have never been to the movies

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

The summer of ’69. By Brian Adams

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

‘Boy’ by Roald Dahl

7. What motivated you to write this story?

I write mainly, suspense thrillers, murder mysteries and childrens’ books. I only write fiction but I wanted to try a different Genre. So, I thought how does a woman marry a man who doesn’t even like her? And this book is the answer….. although I had to make it interesting and fun to read.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Roald Dahl
Such a brilliant mind and a crisp, clean, uncluttered writer. He adds humour and excitement into his words just by being ‘him.’

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

I am passionate about many things, but writing has been number one since I was seven years old. I design and make jewellery, I paint colour on canvas using wax. I build houses and have been known to cook. I also enjoy cycling,, playing tennis, golf, boxing, rowing… etc

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I have entered several times before, and it is not about entering but more about which manuscript to enter. I have many completed manuscripts, they are unpublished and one day I must do something about that. Although I have been published eight or ten times, for me its about finding a publisher who is a good fit and has the same vision for my work as I do. That’s the key and that’s what makes it happen. I love writing, and I tend to write another book rather than send out pitch letters to publishers and get rejected…lazy I guess…but one day!

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

I am not really in a place to pass on advice; But I have read a lot of work from first time writers and to you I would simply say, keep it simple. Have one story line and stay focused. Always write your synopsis and index first. And refer back to them often. If you don’t love it don’t do. Find your passion and each day will be perfect.

 

Performed by Allison Kampf

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

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

Interview with Poet David Cook (A LAST LOOK BEFORE LEAVING)

 1) What is the theme of your poem?

A woman admitting to herself that her relationship is abusive

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

An anecdote told me which I thought was instructive and had a twist

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

35 years

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

William Shakespeare

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

A good offer coupled with enjoyment of much on YouTube

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

Mostly poetry

7) What is your passion in life?

Writing complex things with clarity and economy

Performed by Allison Kampf

POEM:

Suddenly she hadn’t the heart to quarrel.
‘He’s faithless and won’t change’
and with that thought was freed.
After he had gone out, she packed
and put her suitcase by the door.
A last look before leaving.
The rug chosen together in Istanbul,
chess set lovingly given him.
‘Three years and nothing.’

She walked towards the traffic and hailed a taxi,
in her raised hand the black queen.

Interview with Poet Bill Mumford (THE KEENING CURLEW)

1) What is the theme of your poem?

Despite the sense of desolation the poem is about hope- the curlew’s call sounds like a mourning lament but actually it is a love song to attract a mate. The poem finishes with the observation that people who are very sick in hospital will smile and feel more hopeful when they hear the chimes celebrating the birth of a baby.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

The poem is based on a real event- a hike in the local hills in The Lake District, England just before lockdown. The emerging news of Covid-19 had created a sense of foreboding and sheltering from the mountain storm seemed like a metaphor. The curlew’s song brought hope- just like the birth of an infant.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

I am a relative novice- inspired by the likes of Seamus Heaney I decided to give it a go a couple of years ago.

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would
that be?

Seamus Heaney!

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

Although I love the written word poetry is all about sound and I have never heard one of my poems read aloud before- such a treat. Also it is interesting to hear how another person interprets the flow and where they put pauses and stresses- it is like a fresh interpreation.

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

No sticking with poetry for now and even then find myself hooked on the sonnet form- 14 lines. Not too daunting!

7) What is your passion in life?

Mountains

Performed by Allison Kampf

POEM:

Hail, blown by Artic Maritime wind
Stings. Westmorland whitens, all sound freezes.
I take shelter in a silent lime kiln
Stone cold. No fire here, all warmth has been mined.
Pulled my dog close- wary with unease
Numbed. Quiet, waiting as the cold seeps in.

Steam of light cuts through an icy veil
Glimpses of a silhouette, then the lament
As a curlew keens his incantation.
His lovelorn song tells such a sad tale
Memories of moors filled with enchantment-
His thoughts turn- for hope and expectation.

They say: birth chimes bring the sick belief
Moment of joy in a landscape of grief

Interview with Screenwriter Brendan O’Connell (PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Brendan O’Connell: It is about a woman attempting to get her husband’s murder investigated in an Ireland where the criminal justice system has been privatised.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Black comedy, film noir, crime.

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

Because as a satire on the seemingly unstoppable drive towards privatisation and intelligent deconstruction of the police procedural it will likely enjoy commercial and art house interest.

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

Satisfyingly unsatisfying.

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

Chinatown, Goodfellas or The Ladykillers(the original).

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

On and off about 4 or 5 years.

7. How many stories have you written?

Couldn’t tell you. I have 4 short films to my name and an award winning all-ages graphic novel called Death’s New Lease on Life, with a follow-up in the works.

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

What a waste by Ian Dury & the Blockheads.

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

I haven’t it yet but the obstacles so far have been many and varied. It started as a pitch for a web series and I have been playing around with what format it should take ever since. So that’s stalled things a little.

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

Football(soccer).

11. You entered your screenplay via Coverfly. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

Limited but I’ve had no problems.

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

It was the feedback, from someone with no vested interest or reason to take it easy on me, that initially interested me, especially as I was really just sitting down to have another run at the script at that time. And to that end, I was very happy with the feedback, it even highlighted something I’d missed.

 

 

 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

The opening sequence between Helen and the recorded Emergency Operator creates an unsettling feeling of visual dissonance for the audience, particuarly when the “perky muzak” overtakes the heavy breathing and awkward moments of silence.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allison Kampf
EMERGENCY OPERATOR (F): Hannah Ehman
HELEN (F): Val Cole
Recorded Voice and WOMAN (F): Kyana Teresa
EILEEN (F): Alicia Ryan

Interview with Screenwriter Heather Farlinger (NO GOOD DEED)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Heather Farlinger: My screenplay is based on the life of Oliver Wellington Sipple, who was a decorated marine and wounded Vietnam veteran with PTSD, who heroically saved the life of President Ford from an assassin’s bullet. The would-be assassin, Sara Jane Moore, actually fired twice, and Mr. Sipple intervened, with no thought to his own physical danger. This one heroic act, a split-second reflex, landed Mr. Sipple directly in the crosshairs of history, with major irreversible and terrible consequences for his own life.

Living as a gay man in San Francisco in the 1970s, he was working for gay rights in perhaps the most transformative decade in American gay and lesbian history, especially in New York and San Francisco. That time in history was tense, with the US in the midst of a cold war with Russia, and there was much violence against members of the LGBTQ community. In many cities, gay people were denied their civil rights, and the police were often part of the problem, inflicting serious violence with impunity. In the state of Florida, there was even a Miami ordinance toward the end of the decade, banning gay people from adopting children, courtesy of Anita Bryant and her venomous crusade against the community overall.

Before the assassination attempt, Mr. Sipple was able to live a happy, quiet life in San Francisco, but at the same time, maintain his relationships with friends and family back home. In his conservative home town of Detroit, he knew that his religious family would never accept him if they found out the truth. When he saved Ford’s life, his first instinct was to remain anonymous, and even asked the police not to release his name, but they released it anyway. A few days later, his good friend, Harvey Milk, spilled the beans to a local columnist. To his great misfortune, at a tenuous time in history for minority rights, and gay rights in particular, he was outed and betrayed by the media, and propelled into the national zeitgeist, which destroyed his life forever. Sadly, his religious mother severed ties with him, and his father refused to allow Mr. Sipple to attend his mother’s own funeral, in accordance with her wishes. It’s a shocking narrative with themes that resonate today, such as the right to individual privacy versus freedom of the press, civil rights for minorities in general, and LGBTQ rights in particular.

At a time when basic human rights are once again being questioned in our highly polarized culture, my project screeched out of my head and onto my computer screen in a kind of fever dream, probably because when I first researched the story, I was completely gutted by it, and still am.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama/Historical


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

I can only repeat here what I just said above, but I think it’s worth repeating:

It’s a shocking narrative with themes that clearly resonate today, such as the right to individual privacy versus freedom of the press, civil rights for minorities in general, and LGBTQ rights in particular.

At a time when basic human rights are once again being questioned in our highly polarized culture, my pilot project screeched out of my head and onto my computer screen in a kind of fever dream, probably because when I first researched the story, I was completely gutted by it, and still am.

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

Gut punch.

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

Almost impossible to say, because I love so many different kinds of stories, but some films (probably in equal measure) would be as follows:
The Shining, The Wizard of Oz, and 2001: A Space Odyssey

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

About 9 months, if you include research.

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

The obstacles for this story were the same as all writers face, I suppose, when trying to convey the raw emotional truth of something, without being redundant or didactic in any way. Especially for historical pieces, there is an obligation to convey the time period in a cinematic way, without sugar-coating it or writing revisionist history to meet current-day world views, which are (thankfully) more evolved than the time period that the story occurs in. It’s important to understand how we got here, even when how we got here is often ugly, hateful and cruel. Stories are important generators of hope, which is something we all need now more than ever. My intention with this screenplay is to reveal a story that many people don’t know about, or have forgotten completely, and in some small way, I’m hopeful that we can learn from our mistakes as a society and engender greater empathy, understanding, and action that will create a better world for those around us, and for those who come after us.

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

I’m passionate about life in general, but certain simple things really touch my heart these days, probably because we’ve all been in lockdown mode for a while now. Where I live, we have so many months of winter that we really need a break from it, and usually can’t wait until summer, so we travel to somewhere warm. Before the Corona virus, we were always planning our next trip, our next adventure, our next restaurant, our next project, our next … whatever. At the moment, I’m finding extra pleasure in basic things like nature, the Twitter writing community, our backyard, and the little wildlife creatures who live there! Thankfully, the weather is beautiful right now, so I’m trying to take advantage of it as best I can, before the cold sets in again, which will be way too soon. (I have to admit, however, that I’m sooooo looking forward to going to a restaurant again one day!)

9. You entered your screenplay via Coverfly. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

I have found Coverfly to be excellent overall. It’s very easy to use in terms of submissions, and offers straightforward tools that provide insight if you choose to drill down into what the algorithm flags as being especially good, or similarly, areas that could be improved. I love it.

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

I really felt that this story needed to be told, and I felt this was the perfect festival to participate in!

My feedback made me jump over the moon and back, I was so thrilled. To be received so well by the people I want to impress the most, who matter so much to me, and who are the backbone my story, well, there are no words to express my gratitude and joy. I’m getting misty-eyed just writing this. It’s the best feeling imaginable, and I feel so grateful to the entire team for taking the time to read my screenplay and honouring me with such positive feedback. My heart is really bursting over this entire experience, and I it’s so personally meaningful that this amazing festival endorses this project, it’s the best gift I could ever receive. I will never forget it!
 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

In 1975, a decorated Marine and wounded Vietnam veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder heroically saves the life of President Ford, only to be outed and betrayed by the media, destroying his life forever. Based on true events.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allison Kampf
Wayne (M): Bill Poulin
Adrian/Patrillo (M): Geoff Mays
Billy/Coroner (M): Scott Beaudin
Ludwig/Sanchez (M): Allan Michael Brunet

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