Interview with Carlo Danese (WINTER AFTERNOON)

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

Carlo Danese: How one experience can in a split second flip over into an ‘opposite’ experience

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

Sounds funny, but a remark I overheard from somebody about her brother. Plus a photograph I took of a snowy field in the finger lakes during the winter.

poetryphoto

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

30 years approximately

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

God, but if he/she is not available, the devil … don’t mean to be sarcastic but my real fantasy would be to have sort of a ‘last supper’ with a few dozen or more writers, artists, labor leaders, inventors ….nannies, cooks, carpenters, unemployed and/or unemployable types …

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

I saw your ad. To be honest, I do not send my work out very much — this poem is one of my first ‘narrative poems’

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

Yes – poetry, short stories, and I have had a few short plays produced. I have recently completed a screenplay named THE SAVIORS and ‘relocated’ to Los Angeles in order to try to get the script in the hands & brains of people who will see / understand the story and get it produced … It is partially sci fi but also ‘new age’ (for want of better term) as well as just a crazy tale … It is relatively low budget, and any ‘special effects’ simple to produce … The right director will understand that REAL sci fi entails getting the audience to see all that is NOT on the screen … It is called ‘imagination’ which is limitless tho I fear the 24/7 immersion of people into ‘media’ from birth does not give people, especially young people, the space and time to just dream – imagine – see & hear what nobody else sees & hears … connect to that universal consciousness with or without ‘religion’ …

7) What is your passion in life?

Keep going, help people ‘see’ – right now get THE SAVIORS produced. On another level, I am pretty political and along with keeping the present administration from endangering our society I hope our population becomes more aware of how politics works …

Some basic elements need to be radically changed … Real education is the first, most important aspect.

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

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Interview with Poet Mustofa Munir (FREEDOM)

1. What is the theme of poem?

Answer:

Freedom—the source of energy, rejoice, bliss and exuberance for every creature that exists in this world. It is an inherent privilege granted to all humankind too. It prevails but not all living souls enjoy the true freedom though it is so inseparable from the life.

2. What motivated you to write this poem?

Answer:

The true freedom we never achieve in our life time. This way or that way we are slave to our own desire. The weaker entity concedes defeat to the passion, greed and power of the stronger one. That has an impact on the society as well as on the world at large. Out of these there evolves a strong urge that motivated me to write a few lines as poem.

3. How long have you been writing poetry?

Answer:

Since my boyhood in middle school.

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

Answer:

The one I can depend, trust and love.

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

Answer:

I saw and heard brilliant poems are published and read by someone whose voice injected an appeal and emotion that made the poem more vibrant.

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

Answer: Yes I do.


7. What is your passion in life?

Answer:

What I loved during my childhood I want to preserve them in my thoughts and actions till my death by being true to myself.

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

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Interview with Screenwriter P.J. Palmer (NORTH STAR)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

P.J. Palmer: This story is ultimately about the families we are born into and the families we choose. While on the surface, the story is about a couple who has fallen on hard times and must downsize their life. But the struggle is with one part of their extended family that feels it has the best solutions for the couple, while the couple themselves have a different idea of what is best for themselves. Part of the issue is that the couple in the story is queer – and the rest of the family doesn’t fully accept or grasp that the couple is their own legitimate family unit. Put another way: if the queer couple was not married – if the story happened just a few years ago, before marriage equality – then the blood family would have been able to successfully be imposed their will on them.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

This is a drama.

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

This is an important conversation to have. It has been written to be gentle and subtle in its assertions, but the characters are strong and un-moveable in their commitment to each other, their commitment to stay together at all costs – even when the rest of their world is finding ways to split them apart.

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

This is hard……
True Loyalty

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

LOL. Probably JAWS. Maybe Back to the Future. Harold and Maude. The Shining. I have seen all of these many times.

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

I wrote the first draft a couple years ago – then shelved it. This past year I re-wrote it and added a lot of my personal story into it –

7. How many stories have you written?

So many. Long and short. About a dozen so far.

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

U2 Joshua Tree – the entire album, in order, is like one great song to me. (

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

I had to really be honest about my own life and struggles and be willing to express myself and my story – to be vulnerable. It’s a scary thing to do – but is also the most satisfying. And it’s the best way to connect with an audience.

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

Directing. Telling a good story is my passion – either writing it, directing it or both. Also – I am pretty passionate about getting good sleep!

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

FilmFreeway is fantastic – I find it very easy to use and to navigate – I like all the options it provides writers to build up their projects and submit to festivals.

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

When I first read about this festival, my initial reaction was “why have I not heard of this before?!” I felt happy that there was a festival dedicated to Diversity – and that the festival also did table readings. Which is something I really love. The feedback was very encouraging. Which, as a writer who spends most of the time writing alone, was very much appreciated.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

While struggling to keep his marriage intact, a rural rancher makes hard sacrifices to survive an ongoing crisis.

CAST LIST:

News Anchor: Jarrod Terrill
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
James: Kirk Gordon
Erin: Gauri Prasad

Submit your Film & Screenplay via FilmFreeway:

Interview with Novelist Jerry L. Harvey Jr. (SPACE TANGENTS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Jerry L. Harvey: Four rednecks are abducted by aliens while playing golf in Kansas. They are drawn into rescuing a princess as they try to return to earth.

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

Science Fiction

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

Mindblowingly Ludicrous

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

That’s a toss up between Tequila Sunrise and The Fifth Element.

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

One Week, By: Bare Naked Ladies.

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

No, but Douglas Adams, Robert Aspirin, Harry Harrison, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and Terry brooks are all favorites.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

A recurring image of a one-legged Gautemalan pigmy hooker.

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

Isaac Asimov or Kurt Vonnegut come to mind, I forgot to mention them earlier.

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

I do a fair amount of hiking in the Smokies.

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

I just thought it would be good to have it performed by a different perspective than the writer’s.

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

Keep trying, keep writing, write because you have things in your heart and soul to share with the world.

Performed by Kat Smiley

Buy on Amazon

Four Rednecks from Kansas are abducted by aliens and have an unbelievable adventure as they travel to several planets, fight Kelvekians, battle the Elvi, rescue a damsel in distress, party with Elvis and then, there is the incident on Herpe.

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Interview with Novelist Chynna Laird (PASSING LOOP)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Chynna Laird: The novel is about three generations of very strong women, each set in their ways, who are brought together in a time of tragedy. It was not an easy transition for any of them, to say the least. And on top of their personal hurdles they’re trying to overcome, they are thrown other unexpected curve balls to deal with. They teach one another that no one way is the ‘right’ way and through it all, despite how hopeless things may seem, together they are a force to be reckoned with.

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

This story is clean and can be read by anyone anywhere but the main genre it targets is NA/YA.

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

Finding peace.

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

I really love old movies. I’d have to say the black and whites are some of my favorites. But the movie I’ve seen over and over without wanting to blow DVD up has to be ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.

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

Blackbird by the Beatles. This song has tremendous meaning for me for a multitude of reasons.

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

That is such a hard question. I should really show a picture of my ever-growing, over-stuffed bookshelves. lol I am an avid reader, which is important in becoming a good writer. I’m not sure I could narrow all of the books I’ve read down to one specific all-time favorite. I do have a certain kind of book that draws my attention. I like a strong main character who is going through or facing tough times and dealing with it in the most positive way he or she can under their given circumstances. Books, like good movies, need to make you think, open a new door (or view an opened door in a new way), draw you in, surface emotions and have moments of laughter because that is what real life is made up of.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

You know, it’s funny because I am usually more comfortable showing a story through a male main character’s perspective than a female one. But this story not only has a very strong female main character, but also revolves around her mother and grandmother. What motivated me to write this novel were the words my own grandmother said to me many years ago, “Life is a passing loop with many trains going in different directions and with different end destinations. As fast as they go, it’s the sudden or unplanned stops made along the way to that end place that you learn from the most. Just always make sure to keep your back to where you’re leaving from, and face where you’re heading.”

There are sprinkles from my own experiences mixed in there but all in all, it’s my way of thanking my grandmother for all of her pearls of wisdom, even when she didn’t think I was listening to her.

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

There are several people I’d love to have this opportunity with for different reasons. Not just for what they do, but to be enlightened by their unique view of the world. If I had to pick one person of all of those I highly respect (dead or alive, famous or not), I’d have to say Alan Alda. I have admired him and his work for many years. He’s not just a superior actor and director, he sees things with the most profound wisdom and undying curiosity. I love that!

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

I’m passionate about giving a voice to issues or causes that aren’t discussed or dealt with as strongly as they should be. Giving those a voice whose own aren’t always strong enough to be heard over what other people believe or think, is so inspiring. The most important things in my life are my four children. They are my reason to keep going, the daily reminder of why I’m still here and the motivation to trudge ahead through each day I wake up to.

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

I won’t speak for every other author, but I spend endless months hearing my stories in my head. I see the characters, hear their voices and experience the story right alongside them. But it’s a beautiful thing to hear your words being read by another person. It brings to mind a quote I came across recently by Maya Angelou who said, “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

After reading that, I considered it my sign to enter the story and see what happens.

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

Keep writing. Even on days when you think you don’t have anything useful to put down, keep that writing craft active. There will be days where ideas may not come as easily and trust me, I know how frustrating that can be. But don’t stop. If you need to, get away from your writing space for a while and surround yourself with all that life has going on around you. It won’t be long before your inner idea jar will overflow again.

So, keep writing, don’t give up, hold strong to what you believe in and absorb the advice from those you aspire to be. That will always keep you motivated.

Watch the Novel Reading: 

Performed by Kat Smiley

BUY Author’s Novel on Amazon

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Interview with Poet Lauren White (First Contact)

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

Lauren White: The theme was initially love, loss, and heartbreak. Towards the end, it turned into hope.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

I wrote this about the last man that I dated. He had a huge impact on me in a short amount of time. Most of the lines in the poem have some ring of truth, including the nicknames and the Star Trek First Contact Day reference, which is the day we started talking to each other. It was a whirlwind that ended abruptly. I had a lot of thoughts and emotions afterwards that I have been processing through poetry. This was the second of several poems about him.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

I’m actually not sure how long I have been writing. I believe that i’ve probably always written on scraps of paper here and there. The earliest poems that I can remember are those from high school. I was in high school the first time I won a poetry contest. I also participated in a literary magazine. I had been writing off and on since then, but am currently trying to write each day, as I find the process therapeutic.

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

My maternal grandmother. She died when I was about two months old, so I never got the chance to know her. I hear a lot about her big heart and kind personality from my family. I like to believe she would motivate me in my writing and be very proud of me.

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

In part, the discount to be honest, lol. But, I did also want to see what it would be like to have someone else put feeling to my words. It was even better than I expected. Esther captured the emotions perfectly.

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

Nope, just poetry and occasional prose in the form of rants.

7) What is your passion in life?

I’m still trying to figure that out, but I believe this – writing poetry – is it. I’m enjoying exploring new forms and styles of writing and finding inspiration in places that I’ve never looked. I’m interacting, making friends, and writing with fellow bloggers. The process is relaxing and calming and helps me keep my depression and anxiety issues at bay. I’m also very into music and have been doing a “From My Playlist” series on my blog to introduce others to new genres and songs.

Go to the poet’s website: https://hellolaurentms.com.

Performed by Esther Thibault

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Interview with Writer Pat Jourdan (DECEMBER)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your story about?

Pat Jourdan : The story is about the secret lives of holiday towns once summer visitors have left.

What genre?

It is in a plain literary genre.

Describe it in two words

Season’s end.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Great Expectations (David Lean version)

What is your favorite song?

A Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum)

Do you have an all-time favourite novel?

Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaniel West

What motivated you to write this story?

Noticing the changes in the last weeks of Sepember.

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

Emily Bronte

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am an artist, usually painting in oils

What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Testing if it worked in another medium, and through the voice of someone else.

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

Get a big (real book, with pages) dictionary and read it, discover more words. Read as many books as possible. Books you don’t like are just as valuable, as they are teaching you what works and what does not. Always have biro & paper or other means to jot something down as it occurs to you -writing is not some ‘grand’ occupation at a desk!

 

Synopsis: A café closes for the winter and the waitress re-invents herself.

Performed by Esther Thibault