TEARS OF JOY Short Story Reading by I E Hughes

Watch the July 2016 Winning Short Screenplay Reading. 

Story performed by actor Julian Ford

TEARS OF JOY by I E Hughes

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your 1pg Short Story about?

“Tears of Joy” recalls my experience as a plebe member of the victorious 1995 Army Football team following the 96th Army Navy Game.

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

Creative nonfiction.

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

Pertinently succinct.

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

Hal Hartley’s “Henry Fool”.

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

20 years.

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

The Monkey Wrench Gang, written by author Edward Abbey.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

Reading Pat Conroy’s memoir, My Losing Season.

8. What artist would you love to have dinner with?

Nietzsche’s Übermensch.

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

Environmental philosophy.

10. What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

My desire to write for a living.

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

Rise above the herd to be heard.

Winning Short Story: Mama’s Purfect Day by Richard Marra

Watch the June 2016 Winning Short Story

Mama’s Purfect Day by Richard Marra

Story performed by Marsha Mason

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your 1pg Short Story about?

The story is about a cat, Mama, who is taken out of her comfort zone and has to learn how to have fun on her own.

Through her day alone, she finds out she doesn’t always need people around and could find activities that make her happy.

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

Children’s story.

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

Self reliable.

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

“Blue Velvet” David Lynch

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

This story came to me pretty fast and I wrote it in a day. The tough part is editing and figuring out which parts you should leave and cut.

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

Kurt Vonnegut “Slaughterhouse-Five”

7. What motivated you to write this story?

My sister had just had her first kid and I wanted to write a story for her.

8. What artist would you love to have dinner with?

David Lynch, in a heartbeat.

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

I love directing and editing films.

10. What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

I felt like it was a cute story that needed to be introduced to people and to show kids that they could have fun on their own, just like Mama.

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

Just write. The hardest part of writing is never putting the pen to the paper. Whatever it is; fragmented sentences, ideas or an actual full story, just write.

***

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Watch Chapter 1 Transcript Reading: Water for Blood by Brett Bacon

Watch the May 2016 Winning Novel Transcript Reading.

BUY Novels on Amazon by Brett Bacon

Watch Water for Blood:

Transcript reading performed by actor Sean Kaufman

Get to know writer Brett Bacon:

1. What is your novel about?

In “Water for Blood,” when a young woman escapes from an oppressive cult that is a front for a covert, international business trading in government secrets, the NSA-trained cult leader will stop at nothing to silence her.

2. Why should this novel be read by people?

“Water for Blood” is a contemporary, fast-paced thriller about a strong, young woman fighting against overwhelming odds.

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

Contemporary Thriller

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

In terms of action movies, “Heat” with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro is one of my favorites.

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

About a year.

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

In terms of thrillers, it is “Eye of the Needle” by Ken Follett. Follett is a master at keeping the reader in suspense throughout the story.

7. What motivated you to write this novel?

I wanted to tell a story about a strong woman who overcomes incredible obstacles to be free and independent.

8. What artist would you love to have dinner with?

No question it would be Mark Twain-not only because he was a brilliant writer, but also because he had an incredible sense of humor.

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

My family, reading, fly-fishing, and travel.

10. What influenced you to enter the Novel Festival?

I appreciate the great feedback that I get from the judges.

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

I find this quote by one of my favorite poets, Robert Service, to be helpful:

“There’s nothing gained by whining, and you’re not made of that kind of stuff;

You’re a fighter from away back, and you won’t take a rebuff;
Your trouble is that you don’t know when you have had enough;
Don’t give in.”

Submit your NOVEL to the Festival Today

Winning Short Story: AFTERNOON CABARET by Grey Hall

Watch the May 2016 Winning Short Story Reading.

Watch AFTERNOON CABARET:

Get to know writer Grey Hall: 

Matthew Toffolo: What is your 1pg Short Story about?

Grey Hall: It is about meeting Andrea Marcovicci in NYC as part of my research on a book about Carolina Ballet.

MT: What genres would you say this short story is in?

GH: Memoir

MT: How would you describe this story in two words?

GH: New Friendship

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

GH: The Graduate, Casablanca (tie)

MT: How long have you been working on this story?

GH: I started it in 2003. It stayed dormant for years, only to resurface now.

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

GH: The Great Gatsby

MT: What motivated you to write this story?

GH: My experiences with Andrea Marcovicci at the Algonquin Hotel in NYC. The New Yorker liked it for Talk of the Town, held it for 90 days and eventually decided not to publish.

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?

GH: Renee Marino (Jersey Boys)

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

GH: Reading, travel, fine dining

MT: What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

GH: I was searching for new avenues of expression.

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

GH: The publishing world keeps changing. Look for new venues and never give up.

Winning Short Story: THE END by Lionel Walfish

Watch the May 2016 Winning Short Story Reading.

Watch THE END:

Get to know writer Lionel Walfish:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your 1pg Short Story about?

Lionel Walfish: The trials and tribulations of a Broadway actor.

MT: What genres would you say this short story is in?

LW: Fiction

MT: How would you describe this story in two words?

LW: Pure Fiction

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

LW: Alfred Hitchcock’s STRANGERS ON A TRAIN

MT: How long have you been working on this story?

LW: Two days .

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

LW: YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN (Thomas Wolfe)

MT: What motivated you to write this story?

LW: I love writing stories about Broadway and the theatre

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?

LW: REMBRANDT (if he were alive)

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

LW: Theatre and classical music

MT: What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

LW: I enjoy participating in writing contests.

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

LW: Always carry a paper pad and pen with you. You never know when a idea comes (and goes..)

Winning Short Story: The Dad Sweater by Joshua Collins

Watch the May 2016 Winning Short Story Reading.

Watch THE DAD SWEATER:

Story performed by actor Sean Kaufman

Get to know writer Joshua Collins:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your 1pg Short Story about?

Joshua Collins: In a short synopsis: its about realizing one’s self worth based on ‘social-titles’, in a culture where self worth is measured by ‘what you’ve done’. Nothing worse than getting older and feeling like you’ve wasted your entire life on bad ideas and failed attempts at even mediocre success. Our culture’s unintended pressure of being ‘somebody’. And being a ‘somebody’ for someone else.

MT: What genres would you say this short story is in?

JC: Mostly comedy. But more like ‘dramedy’.

MT: How would you describe this story in two words?

JC: Life Crisis

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

JC: At the moment, because I’ve seen too many to remember, I’d say THREE COLORS TRILOGY: BLUE by Kieslowski.

MT: How long have you been working on this story?

JC: Not too long, but the subject matter I’ve been tackling for some time.

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

JC: No, like film, there’s too many. But I’d pick INFINITE JEST for the top spot followed by THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA.

MT: What motivated you to write this story?

JC: My own crisis. Pieces of me (self-loathingly so).

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?

JC: Jeez… uh, can I have a ‘dinner party’ ??? David Foster Wallace, Keith Haring, Banksy, Jean Baptiste Basquiat Salinger, and let’s throw Hunter S. Thompson in there too. Thom Yorke would provide the musical ambience accompanied with Zbigniew Preisner. With stand up comedy provided by Doug Stanhope. But it would be BYOB and over with by 10 p.m. on the dot. I like sleep.

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

JC: Directing film.

MT: What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

JC: Who doesn’t want to hear their work read aloud??? It’s priceless and motivating as it is rewarding.

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

JC: I’m no place to give advice but a writer I love once said something like, ‘write and keep writing until it doesn’t suck.’ . That changed my life.

Winning Short Story: Spookies by Alan Hostetter

Watch the May 2016 Winning Short Story Reading.

Watch SPOOKIES:

Story performed by actor Sean Kaufman

Get to know actor Alan Hostetter:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your 1pg Short Story about?

Alan Hostetter: “Spookies” is about a personal anecdote that happened to me early in my career as a motion pictures gaffer.

MT: What genres would you say this short story is in?

AH: It is part horror, part human interest, part coming-of-age, part adventure, part romance, part tragedy.

MT: How would you describe this story in two words?

AH: In two words, it’s a true story.

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

AH: The movie I’ve seen most in my life is “Taxi Driver.”

MT: How long have you been working on this story?

AH: I’ve been thinking about this story for over thirty years.

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

AH: My favorite novel is “Slaughterhouse Five.”

MT: What motivated you to write this story?

AH: I was challenged to tell the story within the parameters of your contest.

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?

AH: I’d love to have dinner with Charlize Theron, a longtime crush.

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

AH: I’m passionate about movies, watching them and working on them.

MT: What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

AH: It served my story.

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

AH: I would tell young writers to think about what they know and to write something that forces them to learn something new relating to that experience in order to share who they are with future generations. That is the enviable legacy we all aspire to, whether we know it or not. We aspire to make our mark.

Winning Short Story: Lorna’s Island by Louise Johnson

Watch the May 2016 Winning Short Story Reading.

Watch LORNA’S ISLAND:

Get to know writer Louise Johnson:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your 1pg Short Story about?

Louise Johnson: A father travels to a tiny Greek island to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding his daughter’s death. But he’s obstructed by shifty cops and insular locals.

MT: What genres would you say this short story is in?

LJ: Psychological thriller, maybe, or murder mystery.

MT: How would you describe this story in two words?

LJ: Greek tragedy.

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

LJ: I’ve seen The Man Who Fell to Earth three or four times and right now I would very much like to see it again.

MT: How long have you been working on this story?

LJ: It’s part of a longer story I wrote a year or so back. The ending still needs some work.

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

LJ: Possibly The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I love the rich world she creates and her seductive yet flawed characters. I wish there were more of her novels!

MT: What motivated you to write this story?

LJ: This little island used to almost be my second home. It’s an idyllic spot but there was a dark side – some years ago a fisherman came across a yacht drifting out at sea. There was a dead body on board…

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?

LJ: Van Gogh. He’s my favourite artist and he also wrote beautiful letters to his brother, Theo.

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

LJ: Movies! I would probably live in a cinema if I could.

MT: What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

LJ: I’m trying to write screenplays so the idea of having my work performed by an actor was really attractive.

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

LJ: I reckon it’s good to have a bit of ego – but not too much! Have a support group of writers and listen to their feedback, especially if they are all picking up on the same flaw in your work.

Winning Short Story: Together and Separate by Herb Schultz

Watch the May 2016 Winning Short Story Reading.

Watch TOGETHER AND SEPARATE:

Story performed by actor Sean Kaufman

Get to know writer Herb Schultz:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your 1pg Short Story about?

Siamese twins resigned to lifelong existence in each others company unexpectedly separate after a car accident.

MT: What genres would you say this short story is in?

Black comedy, Noirish dramedy

MT: How would you describe this story in two words?

Siamese Untwinned

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Casablanca

MT: How long have you been working on this story?

Published a novel called “Ronnie and Lennie” in 2009 from which this story was derived.

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Lolita

MT: What motivated you to write this story?

Long-time fascination with the trials of living tethered permanently to another person.

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?

Caravaggio

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Movies, music, driving fast

MT: What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

Seemed like a cool challenge to winnow down a story to an elemental level

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

Be wary of who you let read your rough drafts

Interview with Novelists Adam Steven Page (A Victim of the Times)

Adam Steven Page has been fond of film and literature for as long as he can remember, what better to do than write his own novel. In early 2015 he penned his debut ‘A Victim of the Times’. Despite being born and raised and still living in the UK, Adam has written in an American style and dialect. Considering the story is set in a fictional American city and has an American protagonist and characters, it felt like the right thing to do. He believes that a book is only as strong as its protagonist, and in his debut novel, he has what he considers to be a well rounded yet flawed lead character. Adam prefers to write first person narratives and particularly likes writing in this way as it allows a character to be explored on every level.

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avictimofthetimes.jpgInterview with Adam Steven Page

Matthew Toffolo: What is the general theme and tone of your novels?

1. Adam Steven Page: Violence and aggression is a large theme of the novel, but it was important to me that it was explored in a manner which wasn’t glorified.
As a whole, A Victim of the times looks into how easily we can be influenced by two things. One: the times we live in –media, current events and technologies.
Two: how we are influenced by our surroundings and the environment we lived and/or are raised in. However it goes deeper than the simple nature vs. nurture debate.
The story has a very dark tone to it but at its core its realistic, the world isn’t a large space devoid of light but it isn’t full of sunshine and rainbows either and it’s important to have that balance. When you take into account what Orchard City is like (a decaying cesspit filled with hate with an enormous crime problem) I feel the darkness is warranted and not overdone.

MT: Why should people buy your novels?

1. ASP: Many will agree that a great book can hang solely on the strength of its protagonist; after all it is what drives the story. Having a character who is both relatable and multilayered was very important to me and in my future works that will always be the case. We as human beings are far from one dimensional, so why would we read about somebody who is different.

With the crime thriller genre, serial killers are commonplace, (this novel being no exception) but a lot of these novels rely solely on the cat and mouse element, the unorthodox detective trying to catch a killer. Although this is highly enjoyable and in fact one of the reasons I love the genre so much, I felt a fresh perspective was needed is order to tell my story.

A serial killer thriller from the perspective of someone who is almost detached from what’s going on, a man with his own struggle.

So whether you are a lover of the genre or not you should buy it for this reason, it’s a fresh story told from a different perspective. It’s fast paced, unrelenting and will keep you on your toes throughout. Think ‘Summer of Sam’ meets ‘Falling down’.

MT: How would you describe your novels in just two words?

ASP: Relatable, intense

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

ASP: Kick boxer, I must have watched that film hundreds of time when I was growing up, it was always on TV and I love a revenge film.

MT: Was being a novel writer something you’ve always dreamed of doing?

ASP: I have always had a love for film and literature and I guess in many ways I always knew I wanted to write, that there was a story within me just urging to get out, however I feel I have come into writing fairly late and that’s down to a few things really. One of the great things about starting late is that I have found my voice fairly quickly. I know what I want to write and I want to create stories that both meet and challenge our expectations of a range of genres. I have always dreamed of writing something and thankfully what I have written so far is being well received.

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel? Have you read a novel more than once?

ASP: American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis, I have read this particular novel numerous times and a lot of the time if I enjoy a book I will read it more than once, especially if I go on holiday, there’s something about having some sort of familiarity with home when you’re in another country.

MT: What motivates you to write?

ASP: Motivation comes from anywhere for me, it can be a film or documentary, or something as simple as standing in line at the supermarket. Music however does play a big part and often a certain song or piece of music can inspire a stream of different ideas and scenarios.

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?

ASP: What artist would I love to have dinner with; well a friend and I went to a Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate modern a few years back, which I found to be incredibly interesting.

A lot of his pieces resonated with me on various levels and it was one of the few exhibitions I had been to where I felt I had a real experience. If we were to have dinner I would pick his brains about his work and particularly the ins and outs of his process and way of thinking.

____

Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.