TOP 7 Under 5min. Short Screenplays from the last year

Watch the readings of the top screenplays performed by professional actors:

Paying the Night Differential by Paul Weidknecht
https://under5minutefilmfestival.com/2019/01/30/under-5min-screenplay-paying-the-night-differential-by-paul-weidknecht/
Two New York gangsters find the no-show job they’ve created gives new meaning to the term ‘ghost worker’,

NOSTALGIC, by Shannon Michelle
https://under5minutefilmfestival.com/2018/07/30/under-5min-short-script-nostalgic-by-shannon-michelle/
A Woman dives into a journey of self-discovery by walking through her dreams, as she comes face to face with memories and ghosts from her past.

IT LIVES WITHIN by Matty Farrugia
https://under5minutefilmfestival.com/2018/09/01/under-5-minute-short-screenplay-it-lives-within-by-matty-farrugia/
A middle aged woman finds herself in trouble when the power goes out and she starts hearing strange noises.

1801 BUCK by Jalen Thompson
https://under5minutefilmfestival.com/2018/09/01/under-5-minute-short-screenplay-1801-buck-by-jalen-thompson/
A dramatic piece about the sexual exploitation an enslaved African family endures leading up to the murder of their slaveholder.

GOD OF INSECTS, by James R. Cowley
https://under5minutefilmfestival.com/2018/07/17/under-5min-short-script-god-of-insects-by-james-r-cowley/
An insect fanatic of study brings to light a new purpose.

REAL TIME DENIAL, by Linda Hullinger
https://under5minutefilmfestival.com/2018/07/01/1pg-short-screenplay-real-time-denial-by-linda-hullinger/
After falling asleep while reading about doppelgangers, a young woman awakens to a horrific display on her security camera screen.

THE TRENCH, by Chris Beadnell
https://under5minutefilmfestival.com/2018/02/25/winning-short-screenplay-reading-the-trench-by-chris-beadnell/
After successfully shelling the German trench on the Somme battlefield, the British soldiers move in to clear the area of any enemy survivors.

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Under 5 Minute Short Screenplay: IT LIVES WITHIN by Matty Farrugia

Genre: Thriller, Drama

A middle aged woman finds herself in trouble when the power goes out and she starts hearing strange noises.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Sara: Pearl Ho
Weatherman: Peter Nelson

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

Director: Kierston Drier

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: Kimberly Villarruel

Camera Op: Mary Cox

Under 5 Minute Short Screenplay: 1801 BUCK by Jalen Thompson

Genre: Thriller, Drama

A dramatic piece about the sexual exploitation an enslaved African family endures leading up to the murder of their slaveholder.

CAST LIST:

Adell: Katelyn Vanier
Amiyah: Pearl Ho
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Cassell: Twain Ward
Ibo: John Leung

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

Director: Kierston Drier

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: Kimberly Villarruel

Camera Op: Mary Cox

Under 5 Minute Film Festival Testimonial – July 18 2018

Steve Vasiliou
Steve Vasiliou

“I Know” (title of my selected screenplay) says it all! I Know this festival will continue with top quality presentations and feedback. 🙂

5 Star Review

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Morning, noon or night, at home, on business or holiday, the real-life encounter of “I Know” touches all people. Unless you live as a hermit, there’s no way that you haven’t experienced an “I Know” meeting. For some, this tragic comedy repeats itself over and over again. The script describes in just one page a conversation that unfortunately can fill a book or a lifetime.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Sophia: Ariel Brooker
Harry: Hugh Ritchie

1pg. Short Screenplay – REAL TIME DENIAL, by Linda Hullinger

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Matt Barnes
Jill: Lauren Kristina Maykut

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

Director: Kierston Drier

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: Kimberly Villarruel

Camera Op: Mary Cox

Winning Under 5min. Screenplay – KEEP SMILING by Courtney Wallace

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Thriller

A battered housewife decides that enough is enough, her husband just has to go. By go she means six feet under. If only he would stop foiling her plans!

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Noah: Allan Michael Brunet
Emma: Angelica Alejandro

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

A battered housewife who reaches her breaking point with her husband’s abuse and decides to take matters into her own hands.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I would say, drama/dark comedy.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I feel that the best short films are the ones that take one moment in a life and examine it under a microscope. That’s exactly what this screenplay does, we see one moment inside a turbulent marriage but we are able to understand just who these people are and even sympathize with the protagonist. No one wants to be beaten down and no one deserves it either.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Karmic Justice

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

That’s a hard one, I would have to go with “The Addams Family” (1991). I watch it every Halloween, without fail. I love the balance between macabre and screwball.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

About a month on the first draft and another week on rewrites.

How many stories have you written?

Tons, loads, oodles, plethora, slathers, etc. Any word that means “a lot”. I write constantly, I don’t think I ever have less then 2-3 stories going at once.

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

It all depends on my mood. I listen to a little of everything, I never limit myself. I always listen to music when I write. I mostly listen to rock and alternative. Pop when I’m upset, RnB when it rains. My taste in music (as with most things in my life) is extremely eclectic.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

This was one of my first scripts ever. I was a strictly prose girl before this, so it was like culture shock when I started writing screenplays. I deep shock and anxiety. It’s wonderful and I love it, but learning to write scripts vs. prose was definitely a challenge at first.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

My education, as boring as that may sound. I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge. I love to learn and push and stretch my abilities to the limit. Sometimes beyond. I believe that we never stop growing and learning as a human being.

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

FilmFreeway is simply amazing. A friend and fellow writer introduced me to it and it was love at first sight, so to speak. It’s easy to use and very professional. I trust the site completely.

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

After I finished this screenplay, it quickly became one of my favorites. Then, when I opened my account on FilmFreeway, the Under 5min. Film Festival came up as recommended for me. The timing was so perfect, I had to enter.

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

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

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

Winning Under 5min. Short Screenplay – BABY LOUIE, by Mark Richards

Genre: Comedy

In the beginning, Louie’s had a lot going for him. But then he turned one and now, he’s going through an early life crisis.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Julian Ford
Louie: Steve Rizzo
Daddy: Dan Cristofori
Mommy: Penelope Corrin
 

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

Louie’s carefree bliss gives way to a midlife crisis when he turns one year old.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Lately it seems that younger and younger generations are starting to feel old (despite some of them still being in their twenties). Baby Louie takes that trend to its most extreme level with our hero seeing the effects of aging at age one. The result is pure hilarity.

The script’s power comes from Louie himself. This protagonist’s cynical worldviews pokes fun at the preconceived notion of childhood being the best years of our lives. Many people could relate to Louie whether he’s complaining about his newfound responsibilities of walking or his excruciating teething. This character’s monologues are the stuff comedic actors can only dream of.

As Boss Baby proves, there’s a market for comedies about babies acting like adults. This script is a chance for studios to take advantage of this trend.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Cynical baby.

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

I would say the Kung Fu Panda trilogy. On the surface, it seems like the typical underdog story. While it is, the film still feels surprisingly refreshing, from the beautiful animation to the surprisingly complex characters. I wrote an essay about how this film trilogy changed DreamWorks animation and created higher expectations for them.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

It all started in 2010 when I was watching Toy Story 3. I don’t know about you, but the way the Big Baby Doll entered the scene made it look drunk, especially with only one eye open. Then I imagined it say “Everything’s so wonderful and magical, but then you turn ONE! Then all of a sudden, they (the parents) expect more from you.” From that moment, the idea of Baby Louie was born.

During that time, a lack of opportunities had led my back to college. Sitting with younger classmates made me feel old (despite being 23 at the time). Eventually, I realized how silly this was, so I decided to use Baby Louie to take that mindset to its most extreme level. From there, I took the line “But then you turn ONE…” and wrote a rambling monologue from Louie’s perspective, looking at the downside of every aspect of a baby’s life, from learning to walk to being too big for bottles.

After some rewrites, I eventually tested the monologue out by reading it in open mike nights.

Then, around early 2017, I found out about the 5 page festival. I knew Baby Louie would be perfect for a short screenplay. So I wrote it as a screenplay and it was accepted.

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. After that, I wrote a short sketch for this festival Theatre on the Lake, which took Abbott and Costello’s classic “Who’s on First” sketch and applied to the band The Guess Who. In 2015, I’ve completed my first feature length screenplay; a horror comedy called Skullington Tales: The Dream Weaver. Now I’m currently in the process of writing a few screen plays.

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

I would say “No Self Control” by Peter Gabriel. After hearing it on an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, I bought the song off. From the opening guitar riff, I was hooked.

Peter Gabriel has always made great music, but this one stands above the rest. You can feel the despair when he screams “I don’t know how to stop! I don’t know how to stop!” People can relate to the feeling of loneliness when he sings “Gotta pick up the phone/I will call any number/I WILL TALK TO ANYONE!” And then there’s the drumbeat that jumpstarts this manic section of the song.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

While writing the monologue, I developed a lot of funny moments. There was just one problem; how do I put them all together to form a coherent story? I had a lot of trouble trying to link them all together. Then I learned of South Park’s rule of “but” and “therefore.” When they write an episode, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone has every plot element begin with either “but” or “therefore.” This happens, therefore this happens. But, this happens, therefore this happens. So I decided to use that to link various moments.

The next obstacle was what should Louie sound like? First I had to give him unique speech pattern. Should I replace the Rs with Ws? Should I replace the THs with Fs? Should I put them all together or just use one type? In the end, I took into consideration how hard it would be to pronounce the dialogue with these impediments. Next, I had to make sure the dialogue was consistent with the speech impediment.

The next challenge was what words should Louie not know? I gave him a limited vocabulary and had him mispronounce lines like “Soothie” (pacifier). I had to be careful to make sure the audience would believe a baby would talk like this.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I often volunteer for various stage productions in Edmonton. Anyone who goes there can find me acting in the Fringe Production of Sound Off and stage managing the musical Prom Night of the Living Dead.

I am also learning about film editing, which has led to the first episode of Random Richards Reviews, a series of video essays.

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

After the success of getting The Red Dot accepted into the 1 pg. screenplay contest, I’ve wanted to keep writing short screenplays. First of all, it allows my script to be read, bringing attention to my work. Second of all, you develop a stronger sense of story structure with short scripts, trying to get your point across with the fewest words possible.

In terms of feedback, I was proud to have received praise on the first reading. To me, this was a reward after hours of cutting word after word to keep the script within 5 pages and a reward for re-fixing the script after input from friends and colleagues.

The only criticism for the script was the lack of a central focus for the plot to fall back on. Since it concluded the script, I decided to make Louie’s teething the central focus of the story. It gave the script more focus, but I had to sacrifice a few funny moments. But then again, a real writer is willing to sacrifice the best scene for the greater good of the story.

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

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

Camera Operator: Mary Cox