FAMILY Feature Screenplay – PIXYLATIONS, by Joe Laudati

Watch the Winning Family Screenplay for February 2017.

Winning Screenplay – PIXYLATIONS
Written by Joe Laudati

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – John Fray
FAELA – Cynthia Crofoot
KATIE – Victoria Urquhart
ELSIE – Andrea Meister
MCBRIDE – Brian Carleton
SCUFF – Peter Mark Raphael
SEAN – Gabriel Cameron

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Fantasy, Family

‘One prank too many. That’s all it takes to get Faela, a mischievous pixy, nearly banished from the Faerie Realm. Whether tantalizing goblins, enchanting flowers, or enraging an entire Irish town with her magical mayhem, Faela can test the mettle of even the most patient fairy. Her friend Scuff warned her not to taunt the ‘big-folk’. But what does a ‘gnome’ know?

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your screenplay about?

One prank too many. That’s all it takes to get Faela, a mischievous pixy, nearly banished from the Faerie Kingdom. Whether tantalizing goblins, enchanting flowers, or enraging an entire Irish town with her magical mayhem, Faela can test the mettle of even the most patient fairy. Her friend Scuff warned her not to taunt the ‘big-folk’. (But what does a gnome know?)

Hauled before the High Court, King Auberon gives Faela a final chance to redeem herself: become a ‘house fairy’ to the home of a widower blacksmith, and restore ‘courage and joy’ to his little daughter Elsie. Of course, no one knows that Elsie has the ‘gifted sight’, the ability to see fairies. Not even Scuff, now sent as the king’s spy, whom Faela magically merges with the family dog!

But Faela longs to experience love as a human. Attracted to the former-beau of Elsie’s stern older sister Katie, she ‘pixylates’ the girl’s body to dance with him at a summer fair. Chaos ensues, as the personalities of girl and pixy collide.

Will Faela’s romantic distractions lead her astray?

And then there’s the Pooka, a sinister shape-shifting goblin who will spare no wickedness to see Faela’s mission fail. For the Pooka has claim over any banished pixy, and he has his heart set on Faela as his bride.

What genres does your screenplay under?

This is a whimsical fantasy-comedy, intended for children aged 8 to 80.

How would you describe this script in two words?

With all due respect to Disney’s ‘Tinkerbell’, it’s time we had a new fairy on the scene. Fairies are iconic creatures, as popular as dragons, vampires, and werewolves. Yet, apart from Tink, there have been almost no movies made about these elemental forces of Nature. I can name maybe two where a fairy served as the main character, and not simply as a
Peter Pan sidekick, or window-dressing for a Willow, or Labyrinth. Where’s the sylph-love? Fairies are everywhere in our culture, in books, artwork, toys, dolls, lingerie, New Age crystal and candle shops, Halloween costumes, greeting cards, even religions and paranormal science. (check out Theosophy and Wiccanism). A lot of poltergeist activity is actually attributed to mischievous nature-spirits. Fairies are like angels, but sexier. They can be perverse, unfettered by codes of ethics, and free as the wind. Faela is that character!

Faela is Taylor Swift, Tina Fey, and a bumblebee, put in a blender and poured over ice. She’s the ‘anti-Tinkerbell’, the ‘bad-girl with a heart of gold’, filled with spunk and an irreverent wit. Outcast, she cradles a lonely heart behind a pirate smile. ‘Pixylations’ is the story of her redemption, where she learns responsibility, and become a hero, while preserving that mischievous-spark that makes her the bane of her peers.

Though originally conceived as a fully animated film, this would work equally well as a live-action / CGI combo. With renewed interest in fairy tale projects, and the popularity of films like Maleficent, and Frozen, I think it’s time ‘Pixylations’ took wing. It has the potential to become a hugely successful family film. The sky’s the limit on this one, and fairies can fly.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Magical romp.

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

The original 1933 King Kong. I was only three years old, the first time I saw the film, and the movie totally captured my imagination. It also sparked an interest in stop-motion animation, the special-effects technique used in the film, that led to a successful career as animator, sculptor, and writer.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

About twenty-five years, give or take, for both the screenplay and the novel. Pixies don’t like to sit on a shelf for very long. They flutter before your thoughts until you give them your full attention.

How many stories have you written?

I am a published author of four books, including the horror novels ‘Ten Thousand Demons’, and ‘In Darkness It Dwells’, as well as the novelization of ‘Pixylations’, which is available now on Amazon. I have also written five screenplays, numerous short stories, magazine articles, and a chronicle of my sculpting work in ‘Pushing Clay: 22 Years of Garage Kit Sculpture’.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

To be ‘pixy-led’, according to the old definition, is to be enchanted and led astray by a fairy. There is no better way to describe my experience with ‘Pixylations’. When the idea first came to me, I was well involved with writing a demon novel, and a screenplay about dragons. Then suddenly, whoosh, my imagination was swept away by this impish little siren with insect wings. I come from a background of animation, and realized there had never been a decent fairy movie. It became a pet project. Despite suffering numerous attempts at production and publication, I kept returning to it, tweaking it with new details, and deepening the character values. It seems Faela will not let me rest until her story is told. When will this ‘spell’ be broken? Perhaps when the Blu-Ray comes out, and my shelf is filled with Faela novels.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I find there is a certain discrimination against the subject of fairies. Finding someone to read your work is always a challenge, especially if you’re a guy writing about a pixy. People turn their noses up at any fairy that isn’t Tinkerbell. It seems Neverland is the sole proprietor of fairy stories, but that’s like saying you can’t tell a good vampire tale unless it involves Dracula.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

My first love is for dinosaurs, and fantasy creatures. King Kong, and the films of Ray Harryhausen, helped launch my career as a stop-motion animator, and writer. For decades, I have made my living as a sculptor for the toy and model kit industries, creating the master patterns for many statues, action figures, and collectibles. I also have a strong interest in mythology, comparative religions, paranormal phenomenon, and metaphysics. You can check out my sculpting work and other projects at http://www.joelaudati.com.

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

They say ‘if at first you don’t succeed, enter a screenplay contest’. I have labored for years to see my screenplays achieve some level of success. Winning the ‘Festival for Family’ competition has not only validated my faith in my writing ability, it has improved it. I am very grateful for the insightful critique I received from the staff. They provided the best evaluation I ever received, and the suggestions were enormously useful in refining both the screenplay, and the novel. Plus, to finally hear my dialogue spoken aloud by seasoned professionals is a thrill. I highly recommend it.


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Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

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FOUR FOR THE BORDER – Feature Screenplay Reading by Toby Roberts

Four for the Border is the February 2016 Feature Screenplay Winner. It is considered the top spec screenplay in the world today!

Watch Four for the Border by Toby Roberts:

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Victoria Urquhart
SKYE – Amaka Umeh
TRAPPER – Hugh Ritchie
POLLY – Mohogany Brown
ARTURO – Isaac Alfie
RUDDOCK/GELARDI – Julian Ford
HODDER – Sean Ballantyne

Get to know writer Toby Roberts:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your feature film screenplay about? 

Toby Roberts: The story is about three teenagers from completely different backgrounds on the run in rural New Mexico with a thoroughbred racehorse. But the underlying theme is the triumph of hope over experience and whether you should grow up doing exactly what your parents tell you or sometimes trust your spirit , abandon convention and go live your dream.

Matthew: Why should this screenplay be made into a movie? 

Toby: It’s a fun, life affirming story that touches the heart, adults and kids alike. But it’s also got a profound message. I’ll leave it to you to watch the reading to discover that message.

Matthew: How would you describe this script in two words?    

Toby: Adventurous fun

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

Toby: Midnight Run

Matthew: How long have you been working on this screenplay?  

Toby: On and off for years. Quite a few of them!

Matthew: How many stories have you written? 

Toby: Stories? Too many to count…I’m always jotting things down. Screenplays? Three.

Matthew: What motivated you to write this screenplay? 

Toby: Ultimately, the desire to tell a good, entertaining story. My parents had a lot to do with it in that my upbringing was a little unconventional and I thank them for that. I like to think I share those parental choices in the script.

Matthew: What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay? 

Toby: Many. One of the hardest was avoiding procrastination and actually sitting down and writing. Then came the rewriting. In a sense this was more fun but the page count was always increasing as new ideas poured in and deciding what to rip out was extremely tough because once you undo one thread, the whole thing has the ability to fall apart. Then there’s a lot of patch work required. (I’ve no idea why I’ve come up with a sewing analogy as there’s no particular link to finely made clothing but it seems to serve the purpose!)

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

Toby: Directing. Soccer. And playing squash. On a broader level, taking life by the balls and giving it a damned good squeeze.

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

Toby: As soon as I saw what the festival was about I knew FFTB was the perfect match, there was no hesitation to submit. The feedback was excellent, really opened my eyes to a number of issues I hadn’t considered before.

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

Toby: Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” by which he meant, completing the script. (There are a lot more writers who talk about their ideas rather than get them down into completed script form.) So, bottom line is, write the damned thing! And to those who have achieved this, the next tip is keep rewriting. I too thought my first draft was it, that’s all I had to do…other than write my thank you speech at the Oscars. People told me it doesn’t happen that way…and I ignored them. Now I know. And I bet you most writers reading this will ignore it too. But here’s an indication of what it takes…I’ve done over 50 rewrites of FFTB. It’s won a couple of prizes, there’s been some professional interest, and yet I still dip into it and see ways of improving it. You might think it’s because I’m not good enough. But Woody Allen, one of the industry’s most prolific writers, still rewrites his scripts even during filming.

 


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