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Character & Characterization In Screenplays

Creating Character & Characterization In Screenplays

By Elizabeth English

Interesting flaws humanize a character who is challenged to overcome inner doubts, errors in thinking, guilt or trauma from the past, or fear of and hopes for the future. Weaknesses, imperfections, quirks, and vices make a character more real & appealing. The audience can identify with the character.

Flaws and imperfections give a character somewhere to go – the character arc – in which a character develops and grows, overcoming obstacles and gaining knowledge and wisdom and is recreated and restored to wholeness. A real character is not just a single obvious trait, but a unique combination of many qualities and drives, some of them conflicting.

Character Development

Character development is essential to a good story. Characters should enter the story as dimensional, non-stereotypical characters, and become more dimensional as the story and other characters act upon them. They should be big as life; capable of developing and being transformed. We should see different sides of them, understand how they think and act, learn about their philosophies and attitudes. We should be aware of their emotional make-up through their responses to their surroundings, to others with whom they interact, and to events which occur.

If your characters don’t come alive in the script, they won’t come alive on the screen. Answer these questions, as you characterize the protagonist and other characters within your storyline: what is this character’s goal or motivation, why does he or she want to achieve this goal, who or what is trying to stop this character from reaching this goal and why, what strengths or weaknesses of this character will help or hinder in the pursuit of this goal?

Characters have emotional lives which define the character just as their attitudes define them. Their emotional responses expand this definition. It’s the emotional response to events and to other people in the story that makes the character understandable and believable. How she/he feels creates sympathy in the audience, and creates identification with the character, wherein we experience vicariously the character’s journey through the emotions and the story.

These dimensions create a dimensional sequence, which helps define the character on each level, and through the transformational arc of that character. A character’s philosophy creates certain attitudes toward life. These attitudes create decisions that create actions. These actions come out of the character’s emotional life, which predisposes the character to do certain things or to react in a certain way, and as a result of the actions of other characters, who each have their own dimensions, the character responds emotionally in a certain characteristic way.

Examples: A cynical attitude might result in despair, or depression, or in a withdrawal from life, causing the character to be morose, bitter or angry. A positive attitude might result in a character who smiles or laughs a lot, or is always optimistic, accessible, and reaches out. Or a character might be cool as a result of inaccessible emotions, or hard-hearted, or hostile and vengeful.

Each character feels the influence of the other, and responds through new actions and new emotions. The story influences the character and the character influences the story. Creating dimensional characters demands close observance of real life: noticing the small details and character traits and listening for character rhythms, and utilizing a broad range of thoughts, actions and emotions. The character of the individual should be expressed in a screenplay through actions rather than merely through dialog/talk. Action details will help expand and reveal characters, while still focusing on the necessary actions to advance the story; the film becomes more dimensional because of the dimensional character(s).

Creating a Character

In order to create a character, the writer must have a character to express. The process of identifying the character inevitably requires an identification with and an awareness of that character. You must discover the personal boundaries and singular identity which separate the character from his or her fellow man. Clarify your perceptions, eliminate the ambiguity, vagueness, misconceptions and illusions.

Do not construct a mannequin or dummy with an assortment of attributes attached to him or her like stick-on labels. In characterization, present not a puppet, an automaton, a generalized abstraction, a flat, one-dimensional figure, a cardboard cut-out, but a rounded, individualized, three-dimensional figure. The character must come alive for you as well as for the audience.

Realize your character with all six of your senses, react to him or her with your emotions, be able to follow the character with your mind. Fully breathe life into characters by covering their ancestry, past life, environmental influences, occupations, future aims, physical appearance, emotional drives, and basic unique traits. Get inside his or her skin; become the character.

Know what the person’s face is really like, as well as hair, eyes, facial expressions, how hands and feet are used, gestures, how does the person walk and talk, what are the mannerisms, urges, aversions, body language. Realize the character’s inner feelings. Observe physical details, inclinations, tastes, interests, habits, ambitions. How does your character treat and react to others?

Create an empathy within the audience for your character – that special kind of imagination which allows the audience to put themselves in another person’s shoes, a suspension of reality in which the audience identifies with the character. The memorable character who truly lives for the audience is one who walks off the screen and into their minds and their hearts.

Good screenwriting is really about character, as well as story and structure. Show the characters, don’t tell about them. Create memorable characters, such as Scarlett O’Hara, Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca, the James Dean character in Rebel Without a Cause, the characters played by Hepburn and Bogart in African Queen, Zorba, in “Zorba the Greek”, and the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. The writers and the screenwriters who created these characters, as well as the film directors and the actors’ interpretations of them gave birth to and fleshed out these memorable figures, magically bringing them to life in the mind of the audience.

Often, characterization can be further enhanced by the use of a metaphor which can give visible shape to a character. A woman feels unloved, ugly and unhappy, she goes to a mirror, looks at herself, bangs her head on the glass, shattering it. We see her distorted image as the camera lingers on the mirror, and we, and she, realize that it is she herself who has made herself ugly, outside and in. Another, perhaps more subtle method of defining character to the audience, is by the use of symbolic objects in proximity to the character, or by the manner in which the character is placed in the frame. The figure may be placed alone in the frame, or at a distance, to convey his or her feelings of abandonment or loneliness. A character may be ascending a staircase, passing dark portraits of his or her ancestors, glowering down in a seemingly judgmental manner; he or she pauses at a brightly-sunlit window and looks out at a winding road, perhaps to freedom.

Film is a visual medium which is particularly capable of revealing insights that cannot be verbally expressed, and can be especially meaningful when associative, unconscious innuendoes are utilized. Words and incessant verbal dialog, by its very nature, often arrest and paralyze thought instead of permitting it and fostering its development. The frequent absence of dialog heightens the hypnotic power of the visuals.

You should not write the dialog; let the characters write it for you. Don’t block them. Look for your characters to lead the way. Allow each character to speak in his or her characteristic, individual manner. Consciously focus on character, while making sure that character and story/plot intertwine. In the more vertical character stories, the protagonists affect the events of the story; humans control their own destiny. In the more horizontal plot stories, destiny more significantly controls the characters.

Story structure and character are interlocked. The event structure of a screenplay is created out of the choices that characters make, and the actions and reactions they manifest on the screen. Deep character and the relative complexity of character must often be adjusted to genre. Action/Adventure and farce usually demand simplicity of character because complexity would distract from the actions of the character.
Dramatic stories of personal and inner conflict require complexity of character because simplicity would rob the audience of the insight into human nature requisite to that genre.

Characterization is the sum of all observable qualities of a human being, everything that is knowable through careful scrutiny. The totality of these traits makes each person unique. This singular assemblage of traits is characterization, but it is not character. True character is revealed in the choices that a human being makes. The screenwriter must strip away the mask of characterization, and peer into the true, inner natures of their characters.

The revelation of true character, in contrast to characterization, is fundamental to creating real and memorable characters who not only are driven by the story, but who themselves drive the story.

From The Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary:
Characterize: describe the character of, describe as, be characteristic of, impart character to

Character: the collective qualities or characteristics, especially mental or moral, that distinguish a person or thing, written description of a person’s qualities, consistent with a person’s character

From Roget’s Super Thesaurus:
Character: personality, nature, makeup, individuality, temperament, appearance, type, sort, kind, qualities

Characteristic: attribute, trait, feature, peculiarity, aspect, distinction, individuality, idiosyncrasy

Characterize: portray, describe, represent, depict

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“Story, Substance, Structure, Style
and the Principles of Screenwriting”
by Robert McKee
Regan Books
Harper Collins Publishers, NY 1997

“Screenwriting 434″
by Lew Hunter.
Perigee Books
Putnam Publishing, NY 1993

“The Writer’s Digest Handbook of Short Story Writing”
Writers Digest Books, Cincinnati
Ohio, 1981

“The Writer’s Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers”
by Christopher Vogler.
Michael Wiese Productions
Studio City, CA 1998

“Making a Good Script Great”
by Linda Seger.
Samuel French Trade
Hollywood, CA 1987

“Successful Screenwriting”
by Jurgen Wolf & Kerry Cox
Writer’s Digest Books
Cincinnati, Ohio 1991

“The Figure in Film”
by N. Roy Clifton
Associated University Presses, Inc.
East Brunswick, NJ 1983

Film as a Subversive Art
by Amos Vogel
Random House, NY 1974

The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
by Julia Cameron
G.P. Putnam, NY 1992



A HAPPY MOONDANCE NEW YEAR!

A wish for this new year: “A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, and a sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.” (Old Irish Blessing)

Happy New Year, and welcome to the January 1st issue of the Moondance International Film Festival’s newsletter! This month we have lots of info, recommendations, insider tips, great photos & thoughts for the day!

SCROLL ON DOWN:

For news, info, insider tips, recommendations, great photos & thoughts for the day!

The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is open for submissions!

Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.entry.html

(save $5 on entry fee)

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

http://www.acteva.com/go/miff

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1240

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

INSIDER TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS:

CREATING CHARACTER & CHARACTERIZATIONS

By Elizabeth English

Interesting flaws humanize a character who is challenged to overcome inner doubts, errors in thinking, guilt or trauma from the past, or fear of and hopes for the future. Weaknesses, imperfections, quirks, and vices make a character more real & appealing. The audience can identify with the character.

Flaws and imperfections give a character somewhere to go – the character arc – in which a character develops and grows, overcoming obstacles and gaining knowledge and wisdom, and is recreated and restored to wholeness. A real character is not just a single obvious trait, but a unique combination of many qualities and drives, some of them conflicting.

Character Development

Character development is essential to a good story. Characters should enter the story as dimensional, non-stereotypical characters, and become more dimensional as the story and other characters act upon them. They should be big as life; capable of developing and being transformed. We should see different sides of them, understand how they think and act, learn about their philosophies and attitudes. We should be aware of their emotional make-up through their responses to their surroundings, to others with whom they interact, and to events which occur.

If your characters don’t come alive in the script, they won’t come alive on the screen. Answer these questions, as you characterize the protagonist and other characters within your storyline: what is this character’s goal or motivation, why does he or she want to achieve this goal, who or what is trying to stop this character from reaching this goal and why, what strengths or weaknesses of this character will help or hinder in the pursuit of this goal?

Characters have emotional lives which define the character just as their attitudes define them. Their emotional responses expand this definition. It’s the emotional response to events and to other people in the story that makes the character understandable and believable. How she/he feels creates sympathy in the audience, and creates identification with the character, wherein we experience vicariously the character’s journey through the emotions and the story.

These dimensions create a dimensional sequence, which helps define the character on each level, and through the transformational arc of that character. A character’s philosophy creates certain attitudes toward life. These attitudes create decisions that create actions. These actions come out of the character’s emotional life, which predisposes the character to do certain things or to react in a certain way, and as a result of the actions of other characters, who each have their own dimensions, the character responds emotionally in a certain characteristic way.

Examples: A cynical attitude might result in despair, or depression, or in a withdrawal from life, causing the character to be morose, bitter or angry. A positive attitude might result in a character who smiles or laughs a lot, or is always optimistic, accessible, and reaches out. Or a character might be cool as a result of inaccessible emotions, shyness, or hard-hearted, or hostile and vengeful.

Each character feels the influence of the other, and responds through new actions and new emotions. The story influences the character and the character influences the story. Creating dimensional characters demands close observance of real life: noticing the small details and character traits and listening for character rhythms, and utilizing a broad range of thoughts, actions and emotions. The character of the individual should be expressed in a screenplay through actions rather than merely through dialog/talk. Action details will help expand and reveal characters, while still focusing on the necessary actions to advance the story; the film becomes more dimensional because of the dimensional character(s).

Creating a Character

In order to create a character, the writer must have a character to express. The process of identifying the character inevitably requires an identification with and an awareness of that character. You must discover the personal boundaries and singular identity which separate the character from his or her fellow man. Clarify your perceptions, eliminate the ambiguity, vagueness, misconceptions and illusions.

Do not construct a mannequin or dummy with an assortment of attributes attached to him or her like stick-on labels. In characterization, present not a puppet, an automaton, a generalized abstraction, a flat, one-dimensional figure, a cardboard cut-out, but a rounded, individualized, three-dimensional figure. The character must come alive for you as well as for the audience.

Realize your character with all six of your senses, react to him or her with your emotions, be able to follow the character with your mind. Fully breathe life into characters by covering their ancestry, past life, environmental influences, occupations, future aims, physical appearance, emotional drives, and basic unique traits. This is called “the back story”. Get inside his or her skin; become the character.

Know what the person’s face is really like, as well as hair, eyes, facial expressions, how hands and feet are used, gestures, how does the person walk and talk, what are the mannerisms, urges, aversions, body language. Realize the character’s inner feelings. Observe physical details, inclinations, tastes, interests, habits, ambitions. How does your character treat and react to others? How does that character grow and change as a result of the story?

Create an empathy within the audience for your character – that special kind of imagination which allows the audience to put themselves in another person’s shoes, a suspension of reality in which the audience identifies with the character. The memorable character who truly lives for the audience is one who walks off the screen and into their minds and their hearts.

Good screenwriting is really about character, as well as story and structure. Show the characters, don’t tell about them. Create memorable characters, such as Scarlett O’Hara, Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca, the James Dean character in Rebel Without a Cause, the characters played by Hepburn and Bogart in African Queen, Zorba, in “Zorba the Greek”, and the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. The writers and the screenwriters who created these characters, as well as the film directors and the actors’ interpretations of them gave birth to and fleshed out these memorable figures, magically bringing them to life in the mind of the audience.

Often, characterization can be further enhanced by the use of a metaphor which can give visible shape to a character. A woman feels unloved, ugly and unhappy, she goes to a mirror, looks at herself, bangs her head on the glass, shattering it. We see her distorted image as the camera lingers on the mirror, and we, and she, realize that it is she herself who has perceived herself as ugly, outside and in. No dialog is necessary to indicate this.

Another, perhaps more subtle method of defining character to the audience, is by the use of symbolic objects in proximity to the character, or by the manner in which the character is placed in the frame. The figure may be placed alone in the frame, or at a distance, to convey his or her feelings of abandonment or loneliness, for example. A character may be ascending a staircase, passing dark portraits of his or her ancestors, glowering down in a seemingly judgmental manner; he or she pauses at a brightly-sunlit window and looks out at a winding road, perhaps to freedom. No dialog is necessary in this scene, either. The visuals tell it all.

Film is a visual medium which is particularly capable of revealing insights that cannot be verbally expressed, and can be especially meaningful when associative, unconscious innuendoes are utilized. Words and incessant verbal dialog, by its very nature, often arrest and paralyze thought instead of permitting it and fostering its development. The frequent absence of dialog heightens the hypnotic power of the visuals.

You should not write the dialog; let the characters write it for you. Don’t block them. Look for your characters to lead the way. Allow each character to speak in his or her characteristic, individual manner. Consciously focus on character, while making sure that character and story/plot intertwine. In the more vertical character stories, the protagonists affect the events of the story; humans control their own destiny. In the more horizontal plot stories, destiny more significantly controls the characters.

Story structure and character are interlocked. The event structure of a screenplay is created out of the choices that characters make, and the actions and reactions they manifest on the screen. Deep character and the relative complexity of character must often be adjusted to genre. Action/Adventure and farce usually demand simplicity of character because complexity would distract from the actions of the character. 
Dramatic stories of personal and inner conflict require complexity of character because simplicity would rob the audience of the insight into human nature requisite to that genre.

Characterization is the sum of all observable qualities of a human being, everything that is knowable through careful scrutiny. The totality of these traits makes each person unique. This singular assemblage of traits is characterization, but it is not character. True character is revealed in the choices that a human being makes. The screenwriter must strip away the mask of characterization, and peer into the true, inner natures of their characters.

The revelation of true character, in contrast to characterization, is fundamental to creating real and memorable characters who not only are driven by the story, but who themselves drive the story.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulties lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein

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Phuket, Thailand

The thought manifests as the word; the word manifests as the deed; the deed develops into habit; and habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love.  Born out of concern for all beings…as the shadow follows the body, as we think, so we become. ~ Buddha

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“The Bodhi-Tree meditation is based on the symbol of a tree, a banyan tree, which provides a multi-layered, rich, and complex symbol of the self and its journey towards enlightenment. The Bodhi-Tree, or wisdom-tree, is the world tree, and its roots drink deep of the waters of infinity.” ~ http://www.wisdom-tree.com/index.html

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So divinely is the world organized that every one of us, in our place and time, is in balance with everything else.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)

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“The Universe constantly gives us feedback through synchronicity of
 events and through subtle signs, symbols, and messages throughout
 our everyday life. Such messages mirror to us where we are on the
 path of alignment, our consciousness journey, and help us see
 where we may be obstructing our own progress. Although sometimes we may feel like we are taking a detour, or
 we’re getting side-tracked by life’s circumstances, we may actually 
be right where we need to be and life will find a way tell us.” ~ Lynn Forrest

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“With affinity, people will meet even if they are thousand of miles apart; without affinity, people will remain as strangers despite standing face to face.” ~Chinese Proverb

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To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” ~ Anatole France

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

THE MOONDANCE STATEMENT ON NON-VIOLENT CONFLICT RESOLUTION

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/05_other.nonviolence.html

THE BRADY CENTER TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE

http://www.bradycenter.org/

WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS

A National Convesation on How We Can Prevent Gun Deaths and Injuries

http://www.bradycampaign.org/toomanyvictims/

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

www.moondancefilmfestival.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in G-mail, and I’ll have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

• Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!



~ MOONDANCE 2013 ~ news & info

Wild bottlenose dolphins, Bimini, Bahamas, photo by Atmo, www.wildquest.com

The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is now open for submissions!

Get your entry in NOW for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

WHAT IS MOONDANCE LOOKING FOR?

I’m looking for unique stories, well-told! I don’t much like gratuitous violence, blood and guts, page after page of murders, rapes, zombies, killer space-aliens, Hollywood car-chases, old standard boy-meets-girl, & etc. I’d like to see some attempts at non-violent conflict resolution, by writers & filmmakers, if possible. Quality and originality is my criteria, as well as great entertainment. Take a look at some of the titles & loglines of the films screened at MIFF 2012 in NYC

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

(save $5 on entry fee)

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

MOONDANCE NEWS:

ARTISTS: Moondance 2013 has added a new category for submissions: Graphic Novels!

“ The Connoisseurs” ‘toon by Elizabeth English

FILMMAKERS: Moondance International Film Festival is now an IMDb Qualifying Festival, granting all eligible film submissions (via Withoutabox),  a fast-tracked title page on IMDb.com!

SCREENWRITERS: www.InkTip.com offers a free listing of all Moondance winning feature screenplays for 2013!

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SCROLL ON DOWN for more news, info, recommendationscomments on the tragedy in Connecticut, recommendations, photos & thoughts for the day

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

MISSION OF MERMAIDS

http://www.missionofmermaids.com/

What you can do every day to make a difference:

~ Refuse single use plastics. When you can, don’t accept plastic bags in supermarkets, shops or local markets. There are many practical, small cloth bags that you can now carry in your purse and unfold very easily to hold your purchases. Instead of plastic bottles for your juice, soft drinks or water, try to carry around a reusable bottle. There are plenty of attractive options.

~ Be selective with your fish. There is plenty of information available about what species are endangered, which ones are enduring unnecessarily painful deaths (such as sharks for shark fin soup), and what fishing practices have a lethal impact on the ecosystem of the oceans (such as trawling). And there are restaurants, shops and fishermen who are making sure that what they serve or provide as catch is done with more attention to the conservation of the ocean and its creatures. Read up this information and on the suppliers of your food. Consume with care.

~ Walk, bike, run. Find alternative means of transportation. Or alternate the days that you use the car. Your body will appreciate the effort as much as the environment. The extra carbon dioxide contributes to ocean acidification, which is a major threat to the creatures at the bottom of the ocean food chain.

Follow the 7 C’s of ocean conservation: Commit to making a real difference, Conserve in your home, Consume consciously, Communicate your interest and concerns, Challenge yourself daily, Connect to your community, Celebrate our beautiful oceans.

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Your Online Shopping can Save Dolphins & Whales!

When you shop on-line this holiday season, you will be supporting our work of saving dolphins and whales worldwide. Shopping at Amazon.com? Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchases to BlueVoice. Just designate BlueVoice Organization (just as it’s written here) as your charity of choice and each time you click to a retailer through GoodShop and make a purchase, you’ll help save dolphins, whales, coral reefs and our ocean habitats.

The BlueVoice Shop: Shop for the holidays at the BlueVoice store for great merchandise such as t-shirts, caps, totes, water bottles, stationery and much more! Get our new Dolphin Defender cap, new iPhone, iPad cases & more. http://www.cafepress.com/bluevoice

Please consider a gift to BlueVoice.org to honor a friend or relative this holiday season, while helping to protect our oceans!

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OPERATION VETERAN’S PROMISE is a nonprofit organization and contingent of private individuals, consisting of American civilians and military veterans who have come together to achieve a noble and most important mission: To help U.S. military veterans across the country reintegrate into American society and to be able to live and lead normal, dignified lives. 

Our mission is to help them, whoever they are and wherever they are, be they homeless, jobless, or even cast-outs from their own homes and communities.

OPERATION VETERAN’S PROMISE is now here to help them. 

This includes providing financial and material assistance, education and training, housing and sustenance, employment, medical and dental assistance, and offering them the warmth and camaraderie of friendship and acceptance and respect which each and every veteran so unequivocally deserves. 

The truth is, we need them. And by helping them, we help ourselves and America become stronger and better than ever before! Please visit http://www.indiegogo.com/operation-veterans-promise?a=1606978 to donate and show your caring support.

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Peaceable Kingdom, Jenny Stein, director, Moondance doc film winner

What is Tribe of Heart?

Award-Winning Films that awaken compassion and deepen each individual’s understanding of the interconnectedness of all life.

A Charitable Organization that empowers caring people everywhere to become agents of peaceful social change.

A Global Community of people from all walks of life dedicated to living with kindness and respect for all living beings.

A Commitment to actions guided by publicly stated values, ever mindful that the means are the end.

A Vision of a world free of violence and full of beauty.

http://www.tribeofheart.org/

DVD: Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home

A Tribe of Heart Documentary
©2012, USA, 78 min
Multi-lingual DVD: SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese

Director: Jenny Stein. 

A riveting story of transformation and healing, PEACEABLE KINGDOM: THE JOURNEY HOME explores the awakening conscience of people who grew up in traditional farming culture and who have now come to question the basic assumptions of their way of life. Presented through a woven tapestry of memories, music, and breathtaking accounts of life-altering moments, the film provides insight into the farmers’ sometimes amazing connections with the animals under their care, while also making clear the complex web of social, psychological and economic forces that have led them to their present dilemma. This important film had its world premiere at Moondance, and won best feature documentary award.

Preview & buy the DVD here: http://www.peaceablekingdomfilm.org/

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• Comments in regard to the Connecticut school killings:

I’m sickened, just sick at heart. And angry. Innocent little children getting ready for the holidays, learning their ABC’s, maybe finger-painting, with their whole lives ahead of them. Perhaps a budding little Beethoven, a Mozart, an Einstein, a Martin Luther King, a Marie Curie, a Mother Teresa. And I feel so, so bad for the parents of those kids, the adults killed, and all the families touched by this senseless tragedy. And fear for the other kids who witnessed this horror by a deranged sicko, who killed his own mother first, before he turned his guns on those 20 little children and 6 adults. WHY?? This is an incomprehensible and profound loss of innocence.

New York Times photo, Newtown, CT, December 14, 2012

  • Charlotte Bacon, 6
  • Daniel Barden, 7
  • Olivia Engel, 6
  • Josephine Gay, 7
  • Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
  • Dylan Hockley, 6
  • Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
  • Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
  • Chase Kowalski, 7
  • Jesse Lewis, 6
  • James Mattioli, 6
  • Grace McDonnell, 7
  • Emilie Parker, 6
  • Jack Pinto, 6
  • Noah Pozner, 6
  • Caroline Previdi, 6
  • Jessica Rekos, 6
  • Avielle Richman, 6
  • Benjamin Wheeler, 6
  • Allison N. Wyatt, 6
  • Rachel Davino, 29, Teacher
  • Dawn Hochsprung, 47, School principal
  • Nancy Lanza, 52, Mother of gunman
  • Anne Marie Murphy, 52, Teacher
  • Lauren Rousseau, 30, Teacher
  • Mary Sherlach, 56, School psychologist
  • Victoria Soto, 27, Teacher

Gun control, yes, better security, yes, but what about all the violence shown 24/7/365 on TV, in film, video games, and etc. You’re angry at someone or something? Is the only option to just get your guns and start shooting people, as you’ve seen over and over in the entertainment industry, and as on 9/11, as well as too many other horrific incidents of this kind, in the US and around the world? Never a mention or depiction of viable alternatives to violence as a means to solve conflicts.

Moondance, after the Columbine High-school massacre, annually presents the coveted Moondance Columbine Award to those filmmakers and writers who have offered alternatives to killings and wars, and who show this senseless violence as being counterproductive. ~ Elizabeth English

Please read:

MOONDANCE FILM FESTIVAL STATEMENT ON NON-VIOLENCE

Newtown, CT is 20 miles from here and we have many friends there with children, but, thank God, they are all safe. Our 10 year-old grandson was supposed to wrestle at that same school last night – how blessed we are. Everyone in the country is devastated, as we all are. This day will forever be remembered along with Columbine, Virginia Tech and every other senseless murder of innocents. Twenty children gone from their parents, grandparents and friends by a man whose mother, a teacher, signed for his gun permit. What are intelligent people thinking, or not thinking?” ~ J. C., award-winning documentary filmmaker, Ridgefield, CT

“If we are to achieve any measure of success in creating a more peaceful, just, sustainable, and healthy planet, it will require more than the participation of governments and businesses. We’ll need a critical mass of consciousness. I feel that the only solution is the creation of networks of creativity and “love in action.” New ideas would be offered, and as people backed them with time, effort, and funds, the solutions would become self-organizing – they would grow along natural lines of enthusiasm and support, bypassing blocks imposed by special interests and nationalism. A critical mass of people need to be engaged in the process while also undergoing personal transformation through spiritual practices of every kind.” ~ DEEPAK CHOPRA, excerpted from a comment on Linkedin.com

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

Cottage, Normandy, photo by Michele Agniel

“The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome, And say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was yourself. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.” ~DEREK WALCOTT

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“Real sharing includes consciousness as well as action. When we start to share more unconditionally with the right consciousness, doors open where we didn’t know there were doors, and the more we become beings of true sharing.” ~ YEHUDA BERG, The Kabbalah Centre (excerpted from his Daily Tune Up blog) http://www.kabbalah.com/

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“Charlie”, photo by Chris Anastasiadis

“Happiness unshared can scarcely be called happiness.” ~ CHARLOTTE BRONTË

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“The greatest wisdom is in simplicity: love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, beauty, and forgiveness. It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way.” ~ CARLOS BARRIOS, Mayan Elder

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Humpback whales, photo courtesy of NOAA

“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by every kindness, we birth our future.” ~ Cloud Atlas

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Sacred Bodhi tree leaf

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” ~ THE DALAI LAMA

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Japanese moss garden & pond

“Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” ~ ALBERT EINSTEIN

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“The lotus is a most beautiful flower, whose petals open only one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life. The mud speaks of the common ground that all of us share.” ~ GOLDIE HAWN

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"Hollow Man", by Bruno Catalano, France

“Apathy can only be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal which takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.” ~ Arnold Toynbee

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A Joyous Musical Thought For the day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=GBaHPND2QJg&feature=youtu.be

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in Gmail, and I have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

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MOONDANCE 2013 OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES ANNOUNCEMENT & NEWS

2013 MOONDANCE CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

~~~ Let’s Make a Splash! ~~~

http://www.clarklittlephotography.com/

The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is now open for submissions!

Get your entry in NOW for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

www.moondancefilmfestival.com

SUBMISSION CATEGORIES: Feature Films, Short Films, Documentary Films, Animation Films, Music Videos, Feature Screenplays, Short Screenplays, Original Music & Film Scores, Stageplays, TV Pilot Scripts, Filmed TV Pilots, TV Episodics, Short Stories, Libretti, Radio Plays, & More…

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

(save $5 on entry fee @ Acteva)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

• FILMMAKERS: Moondance International Film Festival is now an IMDb Qualifying Festival, granting all eligible film submissions (via Withoutabox),  a fast-tracked title page on IMDb.com!

• WRITERS: Moondance requires hard-copies of screenplays, stageplays, TV pilots, short stories & radio scripts to be mailed to the competition for judging. Writers may request feedback & a professional critique on your work submitted to Moondance 2013,  for a nominal fee.

• COMPOSERS: Moondance requires CDs of film scores & original music to be mailed to the competition for judging.

SCROLL ON DOWN for more news, info, recommendations, insider tips on THE POWER OF MUSIC IN FILM, photos & thoughts for the day:

Are you undecided about which film festival competitions to enter this season?  You can’t go wrong by choosing Moondance first, because our finalists & winners, writers, composers and filmmakers, are very happy to discover that doors are finally opened to them, after being a part of the Moondance! Please check out our SUCCESSES page, to see what great new opportunities Moondancers can access.

• MOVIEBYTES.COM lists Moondance as one of the top ten film festival competitions worth the entry fee!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOONDANCE:

  • Every single submission received is quickly acknowledged by a personal email to the entrant.
  • As Moondance’s artistic director, I have had the rare pleasure of personally previewing and judging every single film, reading all screenplays and other written works, and listening to all music and film scores submitted to the annual competition.
  • I have selected all the films to be screened and all the winners in every category, and have done so, successfully, from the very first Moondance, in 2000, and continue to do so.
  • I do not travel to other film festivals looking for films to invite. In the rare event that a very special film is invited to be screened at Moondance, it is clearly labeled as “invited”, and it can have no chance of winning an award. Only submitted films have that opportunity.
  • All entrants to the annual competition are notified of the status of their submission, whether winner, finalist or semi-finalist, by the news blog and on the website. All selected filmmakers are notified in advance as to when and where their film will be screened.
  • When submitting your work to the Moondance annual competition, you can be 100% assured that it will be carefully previewed and judged fairly, and that you will be kept informed during the process.

~ Elizabeth English

A MOONDANCER WRITES US:

Good news! The General Manager of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra  got to hear my music, and he loved it! He flew to Florida to play my music for the Pops music conductor there, and he wants to see if they will use it for the Pop Music series, next year. It’s not definite, yet, but they love my work!” ~ STEVE WILHELM, Moondance film score winner, for “I Fell in Love With You”, which was played at the official wedding reception for Kate Middleton & Prince William, at their request.

MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

Help bring peace to families around the world with your Heifer gift.

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL’S mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth. By giving families a hand-up, not just a handout, we empower them to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity, but our approach is more than that. By bringing communities together and linking them with markets in their area, we help bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty.

Our animals don’t just provide project partners with a reliable source of food, but also a reliable source of income. Extra agricultural products, such as milk from cows or goats, honey from bees or eggs from chickens, can be both shared within the community and sold at market. This new income, coupled with the training in sustainable practices that our partners receive, allows partners to clothe their families, provide them with medical care and send their children to school.

And when not just one but many families gain this new sustainable produce and income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural co-ops, and forming community savings and loan groups to help fund entrepreneurial start-ups. Newly formed women’s groups help increase the communities’ full potential, as neighbors who may have never interacted now come together to help the community prosper.

It’s a lofty goal, but it’s happening! In communities around the world, our 12 Cornerstones model is helping people lift themselves from hunger and poverty.

Give a goat, a flock of geese, a hive of bees, seeds of corn, or even a buffalo, as holiday gifts to friends & family!

http://www.heifer.org/give-landingpage/campaign/peace

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photo by Virginia Blaisdell

“SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY” This feature documentary film, directed by Mary Dore & Nancy Kennedy, resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1972. SHE’S BEAUTIFUL will take us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of WITCH (“Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!”). Artfully combining dramatizations, performance, and archival imagery, the film will recount the stories of women who fought for their own equality, and in the process created a world-wide revolution. Remarkably, there has never been a feature film on the early days of women’s liberation.

Please consider making an individual donation to the SHE’S BEAUTIFUL Film Project! All donations are fully tax-deductible, through our non-profit sponsor, City Lore, or through our Kickstarter site. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SLOW FOOD, INTERNATIONAL

http://www.slowfood.com/

Slow Food stands at the crossroads of ecology and gastronomy, ethics and pleasure. It opposes the standardization of taste and culture, and the unrestrained power of the food industry multinationals and industrial agriculture.

Our Philosophy: We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to the pleasure of good food and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our association believes in the concept of neo-gastronomy – recognition of the strong connections between plate, planet, people and culture.

Our Vision: We envision a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet.

Our Mission: Slow Food is an international grassroots membership organization promoting good, clean and fair food for all.

Slow Food is working to help communities around the world to rebuild their local food systems in order to eat better, protect the environment and maintain cultural diversity. Together, we defend the right to access food that tastes good…
a fresh and flavorsome daily diet which is part of our local culture. is clean…
production methods than don’t harm the environment or human health. And fair…
accessible prices for consumers and fair compensation for producers.

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INSIDER TIPS FOR FILMMAKERS & COMPOSERS:

The Power of Music in Film!

By Elizabeth English

A film’s production and post-production phases include: editing, sound, foley, dubbing, special effects, background ambience, music, lab work, color, title, trailers, director, assistant directors or ADs, cinematographer or DP, focus-pullers, gaffers, best boy, key grips, script supervisor, body doubles, sound and light, still photographer, videographer, production assistants or PAs, studio execs, wranglers, extras, location manager, foley, prop master, special effects, extras, stunt coordinator, tech advisors, book-keeper/accountant, fire marshall, production designer, art director, storyboard artists, line producer, editor…all those elements that make the world of the film believable to the audience: story, set design, lighting, sound, special FX, continuity, locations, props, extras, stunts, costumes, hair and makeup, musical score composer & arranger, music…

Music! Ah, yes. The power of music in film. A feature film needs 30 to 40 minutes of music, which is one of the most important elements in a film.

A film score can be artfully used:

  • to arouse
  • to manipulate
  • to frighten
  • to soothe & calm
  • to aid in transitions from scene to scene
  • to punctuate
  • to comment
  • to move the plot along
  • to focus attention
  • to add sense of continuity
  • to add information
  • to heighten tempo
  • to add dramatic tension
  • to change mood
  • to add character
  • to define
  • to add dimension
  • …and to give the film a new or different meaning

The major categories of a film score are:

THEME, such as the musical theme from the James Bond films.


SOURCE, as from a radio, TV, iPod, or a band shown on screen.

MOVIE SONG: like the music from “Titanic”

UNDERSCORING: such as soft, “seen but not heard” music.


DEVELOPMENTAL or NARRATIVE music. adds to the story as it unfolds, weaving in and out, through the entire film

COUNTERPOINT music and FORESHADOWING themes.

OVERTURE: the central core. Sets mood, sets time, sets location.


LEITMOTIF: identifies the character or repeated action on screen., such as the famous tune from the film, “Jaws”.

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

Angelina & Alison

“What’s the best measurement for success? Happiness! How happy are you? Success and money can contribute to happiness, but happiness itself is another thing altogether. Words like ‘family’, ‘friends’, ‘love’ and ‘laughter’ have a lot more to do with happiness than words like ‘gross’, ‘capital’ and ‘revenue’.

Money is a by-product of bigger, more meaningful goals such as passion, fun and wisdom. As I’ve said before, have fun, do good, and the money will come.” ~SIR RICHARD BRANSON (excerpt from a LinkedIn text)

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Guatemalan girl & tourist

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” ~ MAYA ANGELOU

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Fig Tree in Greece, photo by Chris Anastasiadis

“The key is to keep watering the tree, not just picking the fruit.” ~ CHINESE PROVERB

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Rock Formations in the Sea, Thailand, photo by Alan James

“Never, ever give up! No matter what.” ~~EE’S PERSONAL MOTTO

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“There is applause which is superior to that of the multitudes: one’s own.” ~ ELIZABETH ELTON SMITH

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“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” ~ ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

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“Follow your inner moonlight, don’t hide the madness.” ~ ALAN GINSBERG

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NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR: Thanks for the many nice LinkedIn.com endorsements for my screenwriting, filmmaking, directing & etc., everybody! I’d also love to see some heartfelt endorsements for my 15 years of work as founder, executive director, artistic director, programmer, festival event director, & blogger at the Moondance International Film Festival, too! ~ Elizabeth English & Moondance Film Festival

~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!

~~ NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in Gmail, and I have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

~~ Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

Winter view from the Moondance office, Boulder, Colorado

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LAST CHANCE: MOONDANCE 2013 EARLY ENTRIES!

~~~ LAST CHANCE! ~~~

MOONDANCE FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD

CALL-FOR-ENTRIES!

Fall, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, photo by Medford Taylor

SCROLL ON DOWN

for more news, info, recommendations, insider tips

photos & thoughts for the day

SPECIAL EARLY-BIRD CONTEST OFFER!

THE “FAST-FORWARD WITH MOONDANCE”

EARLY-BIRD CONTEST!

Can’t wait until the Moondance 2013 call-for-entries in December?

NOW, through November 30, 2012, Moondance is offering you the opportunity to get your submission in right now for this special Early-bird competition! Here’s the deal: Submit your screenplays, short stories, TV pilots, films, music & etc. (see all competition categories) for the lowest discounted entry fee of the year, only $25, during October & November 2012. Postmark deadline November 30, only for the “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” contest. Regular entry fees start December 1, 2012.

ALL SUBMISSIONS WILL BE AN OFFICIAL ENTRY INTO THE

2013 MOONDANCE COMPETITION!

Here’s what you can win:

  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will receive an official certificate of your project’s award status!
  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will be listed on the December 2012 blog & website!
  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists can get 2 free 2013 Moondance film festival movie tickets (a $30 value)!

ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/pdfs/MIFF_ENTRY_FORM.pdf

For submission info, go to:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/Sub_submissions.html

EARLY-BIRD Application not available via withoutabox.com

TO PAY THE ENTRY FEE, SEND A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER IN US $ TO THE ADDRESS ON THE ENTRY FORM, OR TO PAY BY CREDIT CARD, GO TO: www.acteva.com/go/miff

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A SPECIAL NOTE TO 2012 MOONDANCE WINNERS*

WHO COULD NOT ATTEND THE AWARDS CEREMONY:

If you would like to have your award star & official winner certificate mailed to you, please go to www.acteva.com/go/miff to pay the postage. $10 for US addresses & $20 for foreign addresses. Remember to also EMAIL moondancefestival@gmail.com your mailing address & the title of your winning 2012 project. This offer expires December 31, 2012. *Award stars & certificates are sent to 2012 winners only, not finalists & semi-finalists.

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2012 MOONDANCE LAUREL WREATHS http://moondancefilmfestival.com/06_other.laurels.html

If your submitted project was chosen as a Moondance 2012 Winner, Finalist or Semi-finalist, please feel free to download the Moondance laurel graphic to use in your publicity. This offer expires December 31, 2012.

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THE 2012 MOONDANCE POSTER NOW AVAILABLE!

If you’d like to order a full-sized, full-color original Moondance NYC 2012 poster, co-designed by Joe Gilpin, Jr. and Elizabeth English, please go to www.acteva.com/go/miff to place your order. The cost is $25 each, plus US or foreign postage. This offer expires December 31, 2012.

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

The Michael Weise publication, “FILMMAKING FOR CHANGE, How to Make Films That Transform the World”, by Jon Fitzgerald, is a marvel, a revelation, and a must-read, for film buffs, indie filmmakers, film festival programmers, studio heads, film distributors, and screenwriters! This important book entertains, informs, inspires, encourages and educates the reader. Filmmakers, writers and composers are vocal and active participants in the social forces that can shape our culture. Films, scripts and music can all greatly contribute to a healthier society, and these creative works should encourage the active involvement of audiences to connect and act collectively to address social and environmental challenges. http://www.mwp.com/ Sign up now for the MWP newsletter and get your complimentary e-book: ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MOVIE MAKING MASTERCLASS. You can also check out our free filmmaker resources. There you’ll find sample budgets & forms, course outlines, and more…

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MOONDANCERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD!

In our continuing efforts to promote top-quality original filmmaking, writing and music composition by talented artists from around the world, the Moondance International Film Festival is very pleased to announce that our festival competitions have brought in great submissions, in all categories, from: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curaçao, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lithuania, Malta, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Serbia/Montenegro, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tasmania, Turkey, United Arab Republic, the UK, the USA, Venezuela, Zambia, and more!

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A MOONDANCER WRITES US:

The November 5th Moondance blog is really a masterpiece…. and I don’t say that lightly.  The insider tips article on how to get an agent is the best help I’ve ever seen for screenwriters – new or old-timers.  It is brilliant piece of work.  This alone is well worth the price of the 2013 competition entry fee.” ~ LORNA KANTER

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INSIDER TIPS FOR FILMMAKERS:

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION !

Adventures in Judging
Film Entries in a Film Festival

(Ways to Better Your Chances of Winning)

By Elizabeth English

~~~ Make sure your entire submission package is festival- friendly! ~~~

PREPARATION TO SUBMIT TO A FILM FESTIVAL: Send in your entry as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the last day of the entry deadline.
 Send your film in the format required by the festival. If they ask for a preview DVD in NTSC format, don’t send a PAL format. Do not attach a paper label directly to the face of the DVD! Paper labels very often cause the DVD to stop, stick, and/or pixilate. Have the title and other info printed onto the DVD, or handwrite it with a marker pen. Most film festivals will not accept or preview DVDs with paper labels. Don’t make the festival wait while you try to get back your lone screener from another festival!

FOR MAILING: Package your screener safely, and send it, and with your WAB tracking number, if you have one,  on the DVD or the box (or entry form, release form, & entry fee, if not via WAB) in one envelope or box, if using WAB’s submission service. Do not use those padded envelopes filled with grey shredded kapok, as it can damage DVD. It also makes a big mess when opened. Use correct postage.

Do not send the submission as registered mail. This often requires the person at the festival who gets the notice of registered mail to go to the post office & stand in line to sign for it. Usually, the mail carrier will not leave the package if no-one is available to sign for it, and it may be sent back to you.

US post offices have a good option: Delivery Confirmation notice. It’s a lot less expensive than registered mail & you can track the package online, to see when it was delivered, and even get a print-out that it was delivered properly, for your records. If you want a confirmation that your submission was received, please send (with your submission package) an attached post card with US postage (if entering a US competition). Write on the postcard: your name and address in the mail-to area, and on the back or in the message area, write: (name of festival) has received the film (title of your entry) on this date_________. Or request email confirmation.

Do not send an SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) with your submission for return of your preview video or DVD, if the festival or competition announces that they will not return preview submissions. You’ll be wasting the postage. If you are sending your film to the US from another country, note on the customs declaration that the film has no (or $1) commercial value, or is a commercial sample, so the film festival is not charged a customs fee, in which case, the festival will probably refuse to accept your entry at all, and it will be discarded by the post office or returned to you. Please remember to write the WAB tracking number on the DVD and the box, not just on the mailing envelope, , if using WAB’s submission service.

ENTRY FEES: Attach the check or money-order with a paper-clip (don’t staple it in) to the front of the official entry form, if you have not paid via WAB. If it’s for a US festival or competition, make sure the funds are in US dollars. Don’t just toss the entry fee into the bottom of the envelope, as it may be missed. When sending a money-order, write your name on it, so we know who it’s from. When sending a check from someone else or a production company, write your name and the title of the submission on it, for the same reason.

balisha-neverenoughtime.blogspot.com

CONTACT INFO: Be sure to add your current email address to your submission form. If you have a spam filter, add the festival’s email address to your white list, so you can receive emails from them. If you change your address, phone number or e-mail address, please let the festival know this right away, so they can contact you if your film is selected for screening. Send e-mail addresses for all others who may want to be notified of the film’s status in the contest.
 If the festival has a news blog, subscribe to it, and read the blog when it arrives in your in-box.

MEDIA PACKAGES: If required for previews, send several publicity stills via e-mail, or a CD Rom with titled stills of your film in the submission package. If not required for previews, don’t send publicity materials. If your film is selected for screening, the festival will ask you for stills for their print program and media promo. The film stills need to sell your film to an audience, and make them want to see it. Use the best quality photos you have, and label them.

LABELING YOUR FILM: Please label the jewel-box or sleeve the DVD or film comes in, as well as printing the info directly on the DVD. The festival needs the following information on all film labels: Title of film, name of filmmaker, format, running time of film & genre (narrative feature or short, documentary, animation, etc.).

BUDGET FOR ENTRY FEES: Plan your film production budget to include film festival entry fees as the main method of marketing your film and your work.

Don’t ask the film festival to waive or reduce the entry fee for you. If the festival has a scholarship program available, it will be announced, and you can apply for it. Most film festivals are made possible by the entry fees collected.

BE PATIENT: Do not call, write or email the film festival to see if they’ve watched your film and if they liked it. Do not ask for comments or critiques unless the festival has announced they will give them. If you want a written or oral critique on your film and the festival charges a fee for that, add that amount to your entry fee.

Most film festivals will email you about your submission status, and will announce the winners, finalists and semi-finalists on their website and/or blog.

threeofakind-themovie.com

ATTEND THE FILM FESTIVAL: If your film should be a finalist or winner, and is selected for screening at the film festival, plan to attend the screening and participate in the festival by watching others’ films, too, as a courtesy to both the film festival that is promoting your film and to the other filmmakers.

Attending a film festival, and actively participating, is the best way to network.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS: If your film is not in English (for a US festival), do not have it dubbed into English. Use English subtitles, instead, written by a native English-speaker. Most festivals will not preview nor screen a dubbed film.

HAVE A GREAT, EYE-CATCHING TITLE & GRAPHICS FOR YOUR FILM! The title & graphic images should be memorable and unique, whether it’s a narrative fiction feature, a short, a documentary or animation.

HAVE A GREAT LOGLINE &/OR MINI-SYNOPSIS FOR YOUR FILM! This should also be memorable and unique, and sells the film to the festival programmer, and the audience, making them want to see your film, whether it’s a narrative fiction feature, a short, music video, a documentary or animation.

“Stangeface”, short film by Lynne Vincent McCarthy, Australia

OPENING SCENE: Have a great opening scene and a compelling first 5 or 10 minutes. Don’t start your film with long minutes of credits on a blank screen. Or with these two all-too-common openings: Shot of a bedroom, guy or woman in bed asleep, alarm clock rings, hand reaches out to shut off alarm, clock falls to floor, anonymous feet pad to the bathroom. OR: camera pans across a mantle or table or wall filled with family photos, showing viewer who the story is about. Been done a million times. Be creative! Do something unique!

Catch the festival programmer’s and the audience’s attention!

STORY: Make sure your film has a story. Even if it’s a documentary, it must have a story to follow and keep the viewer’s interest. Select a really good screenplay or story that will be of interest to festival programmer, festival director AND the potential festival audience, who will be glad to have paid for tickets to see your film!

FILM SCORE: Have a fantastic, memorable, original film score. The film score is one of the most important elements of your film.

PRODUCTION VALUES: Be sure to utilize good cinematography, lighting, sound, costumes, hair, makeup, locations, music, sets and props. Make sure the film’s lighting and sound is the same value throughout each scene. Production values count as much as the story, directing, editing and acting. Block out blue outside light, so your film’s colors are natural.

DIRECTING YOUR ACTORS: The actors shouldn’t be perceived as reading their lines and hitting their marks. They should not even be acting, but should BE the character, thinking and feeling and reacting, as the character.

Acting is re-acting, to dialog, situations, action, emotions. For documentary films, avoid all those “talking heads”. Use voice-over visuals to tell your story in a cinematic manner as much as possible.

EDITING: Edit “invisibly”, so that the film segues seamlessly and always flows forward. Edit out all but the gem of the story.

CREDITS: Consider adding the credits to the end of the film, rather than at the opening. Make them interesting, visually, maybe with stills from the film, bloopers, or out-takes, and with music from the film. Film credits shouldn’t be longer than the film! Please keep them short and sweet, and moving quickly.

RUNNING TIME: Make your film as short as possible. Consider ruthlessly cutting that 60-minute film to 30, 45 or 50 minutes!

Be aware that film festivals often want to screen films in one-hour segments, and need time between screenings for each audience to get seated, and then to exit the theater, between each screening.

Let’s fill ALL those seats!!

SPECIAL TIPS FOR DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS:

1. STORY, STORY, STORY! Doc films absolutely need a story, to be of interest to the general audience. A unique story, well-told.

2. And a unique protagonist for viewers to relate to. The protagonist can even be the filmmaker or narrator.

“Alaska Women Mariners” documentary TV pilot, directed by Anna Young

3. LOCATIONS, LOCATIONS, LOCATIONS! Film at interesting, cinematic, unique locations, and let the audience know where the film takes place.

4. Do a lot of voice-overs while showing visuals, scenes…try to eliminate all those boring talking heads!

5. Add in natural, ambient sounds to the sound track.

6. Keep color, lighting & sound even, in all shots, where possible.

7. Have an Act I, II, III (beginning, middle & end), with a good, memorable climax or resolution.

“Afghan Nightmare” feature doc, directed by Klaus Erik Okstad, Norway

8. Imagine you’re doing a fictional, narrative film, and try to end on a positive note.

“Blue velvet in Sinai” feature doc directed by Gulrukh Khan, UK

9. Select a subject or theme for your film project that is of great interest to a film festival programmer and a wide audience, and which will make them enthusiastic about your film’s subject.

10. Edit and cut relentlessly. Keep it as short as possible.

Considering a consultation?

Contact Elizabeth English at: mermaid7seas@gmail.com.

Visit her blog-site for more info and affordable rates!

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EE & Obama, @ 2012 Election Night Victory Party

An Australian Moondance winner commented, on seeing this pic, “I hear that he’s been showing this picture to everybody on Capitol Hill. They all stare incredulously and ask him: Is that really Elizabeth English?“ ;o)

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

metal sculpture by Charlotte Zink

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. ~THOMAS JEFFERSON

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Mahatma Gandhi

Be as great in act, as you have been in thought.” ~ WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

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To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.” ~ FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

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picture-insights.blogspot.com

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” ~ ANATOLE FRANCE

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The Brooklyn Bridge

“The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~ THOMAS A. EDISON

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog! ~~

NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in Gmail, and I have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

Please forward this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

Mermaid sculpture by Charlotte Zink, www.ZinkMetalArt.com

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MOONDANCE CALL-FOR-ENTRIES: BE AN EARLY-BIRD!

Come join the stampede!

SCROLL ON DOWN FOR MORE NEWS, INFO, RECOMMENDATIONS, INSIDER TIPS, PHOTOS & THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

SPECIAL EARLY-BIRD CONTEST OFFER!

THE “FAST-FORWARD WITH MOONDANCE” EARLY-BIRD CONTEST!

Can’t wait until the Moondance 2013 call-for-entries in December?

NOW, through November 30, 2012, Moondance is offering you the opportunity to get your submission in right now for this special Early-bird competition! Here’s the deal: Submit your screenplays, short stories, TV pilots, films, music & etc. (see all competition categories) for the lowest discounted entry fee of the year, only $25, during October & November 2012. Postmark deadline November 30, only for the “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” contest. Regular entry fees start December 1, 2012.

ALL SUBMISSIONS WILL BE AN OFFICIAL ENTRY INTO THE 2013 MOONDANCE COMPETITION!

Here’s what you can win:

  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will receive an official certificate of your project’s award status!

  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will be listed on the December 2012 blog & website!

  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists can get 2 free 2013 Moondance film festival movie tickets (a $30 value)!

“FAST-FORWARD” CONTEST APPLICATION FORM*

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/pdfs/MIFF_ENTRY_FORM.pdf

*EARLY-BIRD Application not available via withoutabox.com

TO PAY THE ENTRY FEE, SEND A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER TO THE ADDRESS ON THE ENTRY FORM, OR TO PAY BY CREDIT CARD, GO TO: www.acteva.com/go/miff

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

To our American Moondancers: Be sure to vote on Tuesday, November 6th!

Moondance enthusiastically supports & endorses

Barack Obama

for a second term as US President!

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A SPECIAL NOTE TO 2012 MOONDANCE WINNERS* WHO COULD NOT ATTEND THE AWARDS CEREMONY:

If you would like to have your award star & official winner certificate mailed to you, please go to www.acteva.com/go/miff to pay the postage. $10 for US addresses & $20 for foreign addresses. Remember to also EMAIL moondancefestival@gmail.com your mailing address & the title of your winning 2012 project. This offer expires December 1, 2012. *Award stars & certificates are sent to 2012 winners only, not finalists & semi-finalists.

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2012 MOONDANCE LAUREL WREATHS

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/06_other.laurels.html

If your submitted project was chosen as a Moondance 2012 Winner, Finalist or Semi-finalist, please feel free to download the Moondance laurel graphic to use in your publicity.

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MOONDANCE POSTER FOR 2012 IN NEW YORK CITY!

This is a full-sized, full-color Moondance 2012 poster, co-designed by Joe Gilpin, Jr. and Elizabeth English. The cost is $25 each, plus US or foreign postage. Please go to www.acteva.com/go/miff to place your order.

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity.” ~ JOHN F. KENNEDY

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” ~ ABRAHAM LINCOLN

No matter how much you’ve done or how successful you’ve been, there’s always more to do, always more to learn, and always more to achieve.” ~ BARACK OBAMA

Hide not your talents, for they were made to be of use. Of what use is a sun-dial in the shade?” ~ BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Photo by S. Vinegar

Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” ~ SAMUEL JOHNSON

“If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” ~ OPRAH WINFREY

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

FOR FILMMAKERS, WRITERS AND EVERYONE:

THE CENTER FOR NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION:

An International Organization

Non-violent Communication (NVC) is based on the principles of non-violence, the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart. NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in their communication, increased understanding, deepening connection and conflict resolution. The NVC community is active in over 65 countries around the globe. Find out more about how NVC is changing the world and how you can get involved. https://www.cnvc.org/

SUGGESTED READING: “THE HEART OF SOCIAL CHANGE”

https://www.cnvc.org/catalog/The%20Heart%20of%20Social%20Change

Moondance promotes, encourages, educates and rewards non-violent conflict resolution in the arts and film. Our much-coveted Columbine Awards are given to the filmmakers and/or writers who best depict alternatives to violence as a method of dealing with conflicts, whether personal, local, national or international, and/or show why violence as a solution to conflict is ultimately counter-productive and inhumane. We believe that films, scripts and music can contribute to a healthier society and that these works should encourage the active involvement of writers, filmmakers and audiences to connect and act collectively to address social challenges.

Thanks to Brian MacEvilly, Moondance 2012 feature screenplay winner, for the timely reference to this organization.

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GREENLIGHT MY MOVIE!

http://www.greenlightmymovie.com/

Have a short film, web series, book, pilot script or screenplay? Maybe you just have a movie pitch or an idea for a TV show. If you’re looking for representation or a buyer for your project, submit and/or pitch your material directly to Hollywood production companies, studios, agencies and management companies via Greenlightmymovie – for a guaranteed response! TWO FREE SUBMISSIONS IN NOVEMBER (with purchase).

Thanks to www.MovieBytes.com, for this timely info!

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INSIDER TIPS FROM SIR RICHARD BRANSON:

Here are five top tips I’ve picked up over the years:

1. Listen more than you talk: To be a good leader you have to be a great listener. Brilliant ideas can spring from the most unlikely places, so you should always keep your ears open for some shrewd advice. Get out there, listen to people, draw people out and learn from them.

2. Keep it simple: You have to do something radically different to stand out in business. But nobody ever said different has to be complex. Maintain a focus upon innovation, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel. A simple change for the better is far more effective than five complicated changes for the worse.

3. Take pride in your work: Remember your staff are your biggest brand advocates, and focusing on helping them take pride will shine through in how they treat your customers.

4. Have fun, success will follow: If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will flourish.

5. Rip it up and start again: If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture isn’t a success, welcome to the club! Don’t allow yourself to get disheartened by a setback or two, instead, dust yourself off and work out what went wrong. Then you can find the positives, analyse where you can improve, rip it up and start again.

(Excerpted from a LinkedIn.com post)

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INSIDER TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS:

HOW TO GET AN AGENT

What Agents Want (and Don’t Want) to See

Gromit, by Aardman Studios, UK

By Elizabeth English

First, look them up online, then call, email or write to literary agents who are listed as being willing to look at and consider unsolicited screenplays. Do not send a script unless you are invited to do so!

How to find listed agents:

  • The Hollywood Creative Directory’s Agent/Management directory
  • Writers Digest
  • Writers Guild of America (East & West)

Guidelines for getting an agent:

  1. Write killer titles, loglines and one-sheet synopses for the all the scripts you want to submit to agents.
  1. Have more than one completed screenplay for consideration.
  1. Write up a one-sheet document with titles and loglines of all your completed screenplays. You will be asked to send these before sending in a screenplay.
  1. Presentation of script: be sure to have a plain cardstock cover, front and back; a title page with all your contact info; three-hole punch white paper; two solid-brass brads in only the top and bottom holes.
  1. “Attachments”, in the form of actors, director, producer, and most importantly: money, to your project, will always help get almost any agent interested. Mention this, if applicable, in your cover letter. Many production companies will expect the writer to secure production funds!
  1. Have more than one screenplay completed. At least three of your best screenplays need to be ready to go, when and if requested.
  1. In your Internet searches, and/or initial phone call or e-mail, try to find out what genre of story that agent is looking for, at the moment. Agents generally know exactly what the buyers want to see, and will usually only request those genres. But needs change all the time, and at a moment’s notice, so let them know what you have, even if they’re not looking for that at the time of your contact.
  1. Story: This is the first thing agents look at, when considering whether to read your script or not. Unique story, well-told.
  1. Writing ability and style. Everything depends on this.
  1. Dialog: your ability to write good, memorable and believable dialog is paramount.
11. Format and structure: in submitting your work to an agent, you should be sure the script is in proper format and structure. There are many books and online articles on these vital subjects, and screenwriting programs, such as Final Draft, to make sure your script is in proper format. 12.Budget: yes, a screenwriter needs to know about this. Many buyers are looking for specific subjects with very specific production budgets, and may have an actor or director in mind for the project. Currently, a low-budget feature film will be around $20 million, for example. If your script requires action scenes and/or CGI graphics, double or triple that figure. 13.If you know The Biz at all, make the agent aware of this, so he or she will know you are a professional. 14.Let the prospective agent know you are open to re-writes and edits of your scripts. You will always be asked to do re-writes, sometimes “on spec”, so prepare yourself mentally and be agreeable to it. 15. Be willing and able to pitch your screenplay to production companies and studios, with the agent, in person. If you live far from L.A., let the agent know you can arrange to go there for pitching appointments. 16.Be friendly and easy-going, yet professional and self-confident, without being egotistical. Hollywood, even though it’s a “snake-pit” at times, is run on connections and contacts. If they don’t like you, and don’t feel they can work with you, you don’t have a chance there. 17. Be honest! Never, ever hype yourself or your script unless the information is absolutely provable. If you’ve won a contest with your script, let them know. And if you’ve been submitting your scripts around to everybody for years, and they ask, tell the truth. Production companies, agents and studios keep lists of what has been submitted, and you don’t want to embarrass your new agent!

How to get “discovered”:

  • InkTip.com is a very good website to post your scripts on, to be seen by many agents, producers, and development company executives.
  • If you live in or near Los Angeles, attend important parties and other events where Hollywood types will be, and network with the right people.
  • Enter film festival & writing competitions, and win!

What should an Agent do for you?

  • Send out your loglines and one sheet synopses, and scripts to Development Executives at production companies and studios, with whom he or she has a good working relationship.
  • Give suggestions on potential edits and re-writes that may be needed to sell the script
  • Set up pitch sessions for you at production companies and studios
  • Get the best deal he or she can for you, at or above schedule of WGA minimums.
  • Encourage and inspire you to create new material and projects.

What agents DO NOT want to see:

  • A script sent to them “cold”, with no phone call, e-mail or letter first
  • A script that is too long (over 140 pages), or too short (under 90 pages)
  • A script that is bound incorrectly (no brads, no cover, no title page)
  • A script that is not formatted correctly & has grammatical and/or punctuation and spelling errors
  • A cover letter that is more than one page long
  • A poor title, logline & synopsis
  • A script that is mostly descriptions of people and locations, like a novel
  • A script with unrealistic or stilted/boring dialog
  • A film script that is episodic, like for a TV show
  • Scenes and/or dialog that are too long
  • A script with more than 100 scenes (each scene costs money to produce)
  • A script with a prospective production budget over that what is requested
  • A script that is not in the genre or budget requested
  • An impatient writer who calls or e-mails sooner than 2 weeks after the agent received the script
  • A writer who is unwilling to consider re-writes and edits
  • A script that has any typos, misspellings or poor syntax
  • A script without conflict in the plot and story-line
  • A script without interesting, memorable characters
  • A script with a boring or a derivative, been-there-done-that storyline.

RELEVANT ARTICLES FROM THE MOONDANCE E-ZINE:

Considering a consultation? Contact Elizabeth English at: mermaid7seas@gmail.com. Visit her website at: www.mermaid7seas.com

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NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in Gmail, and I have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

Please forward this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

Sculpture by Charlotte Zink, www.ZinkMetalArt.com

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SO, WHAT’S THE STORY?

SO, WHAT’S THE STORY?

8 Key Ingedients

by Screenplay & Novel Consultant
MICHELE WALLERSTEIN

Every agent is waiting for you to bring them the next big saleable screenplay that will knock the business off its axis. They want you to show them that piece that will have producers and studios panting at their doors with huge offers of money and multiple deals of future movies. Agents want the best for you, because it means the best for them. I happen to believe that this relationship is a great one. It is an honest quid pro quo – if you are successful…I am successful. How bad is that?

OK, so how do you make that happen? How do you deliver the perfectly written project that will make the town sit up and take notice? It’s not as difficult as it sounds. The first thing you have to do is STOP thinking that you have to write the most unusual script of all time. This kind of thinking will destroy your chances of not only selling the script, but of keeping your agent. I’ve found that new writers often have the tendency to try to impress people by “thinking outside the box”. Well folks, the “box” is there for a reason, it works. Throughout movie history, audiences have loved certain types of films. They go to see them over and over again. When you are working to get in to the business, go with the flow. Perhaps, after you’ve established yourself as a player, you might be able to expand your horizons, but it’s not the way to get into your chosen field.

Insofar as your early spec scripts are concerned, here are some rules to live by:

1. No Togas.

By this I mean to say period pieces. Keep your early scripts contemporary. Period pieces are extremely difficult to sell. They go in and out of favor with the studios by the minute. You never know whether you are too early or too late with your piece. They are not good as writing samples since they are too specifically time/era dependent. This means manners, customs, morals, societal relationships, styles of speech, etc… . Oh, and by the way, try to stay on this planet.

2. Keep it simple.

Stay away from twins. Don’t make a script too complicated to produce. As soon as a development executive or producer sees this they will toss it into the “circular file”. It is too much of a pain in the neck. Try not to write a script that is so complicated that it would make the casting a horror. Another example, besides twins, is a multi-generational story of the entire cast. This means a nightmare of casting as well as costume and set changes that are a financial pain. Don’t go there. Besides, no one really wants to watch Brad Pitt or Ashton Kutcher age before their eyes.

3.  Keep ‘em Young.

If you really want to kick start your writing career, try to have your early scripts feature a fairly young cast. In my mind the term “young” means any age up to 29 years old. Not one minute older. The youth market is what is the most viable today. Actually if you can write a script for 9 year old boys, you are really in good shape. The research shows that those boys will return to see the same film over and over again with different friends and family members. Recidivism is the word. Let’s not forget our little friend, Harry Potter.

4.  Loation, Location, Location.

This is not simply a rule in real estate. This is a real consideration in movie making. A studio never has a problem putting their money in a viable movie star who can “open” a movie. That means that any movie starring a particularly huge actor is guaranteed a certain bottom line of huge dollars at the box office in its opening weekend. Foreign or multiple locations do not promise this type of money for the film and they are very expensive. It is not a hard and fast rule to keep everything set in one location but simply something to keep in mind. You always want to be realistic in your writing. Think bottom line.

5.  The Star.

Here are the rules for your main character and they are hard and fast. These points apply to all genres. Do not try to change them for any reason.

  • The Star’s character is on every page
  • The Star’s character resolves the problem
  • The Star’s character has the most lines
  • The Star’s character gets the girl (or the guy)
  • The Star’s character is the smartest person in the cast
  • The Star’s character has the last word in the film
  • The Star’s character must grow as a person
  • The Star’s character must learn something about him/herself

6.  Coincidences.

They only complicate the plot. Coincidences never, ever resolve the problems. When you have a coincidence resolve a plot point the audience feels cheated.

7.   Depressing/Dramas?

There is a fine line between being depressing and being dramatic. You need to understand the difference in your early writing career of dramatic film writing. I love a good dramatic relationship film. I hate depressing movies that have no other saving grace but to be sad. “HUD” was a great drama starring the late Paul Newman, another great drama was the 1957 film titled “A FACE IN THE CROWD” starring Patricia Neal and Andy Griffith. These are films that must be seen by serious film writers. As an agent, some years ago a client brought in a brand new script that he had never discussed with me. He proudly handed over a large box of them, with leatherette covers with gold embossed titles. This sent a clear message that I was not to give him any notes and that he wanted them to be sent out just the way they were. The story in those scripts was about the murders of elderly, helpless people in an old age home. It was so depressing that I could barely read it. Not only couldn’t I submit this well-written script, but I had to let the client go.

8.  Choices.

Write a contemporary drama, comedy, suspense, thriller, murder/mystery, teen-comedy, romance, etc… . Keep your characters interesting and believable- make us care what happens to them. Try to write “up” to the audiences’ intellect and emotions. We want to leave the movie theater feeling like we were entertained and that we learned just a little bit about the human condition. The movie studios like this too.

Michele Wallerstein is a former Literary Agent who now works as a Screenplay and Novel Consultant.
She can be reached at: email: novelconsult@yahoo.com  / novelconsultant.com



MOONDANCE EARLY-BIRD 2013 CALL-FOR-ENTRIES!

~ May your harvest this season be just as bountiful!  ~

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SPECIAL EARLY-BIRD CONTEST OFFER!

THE “FAST-FORWARD WITH MOONDANCE” EARLY-BIRD CONTEST!

Can’t wait until the Moondance 2013 call-for-entries in December?

NOW, through November 30, 2012, Moondance is offering you the opportunity to get your submission in right now for this special Early-bird competition! Here’s the deal: Submit your screenplays, short stories, TV pilots, films, music & etc. (see all competition categories) for the lowest discounted entry fee of the year, only $25, during October & November 2012. Postmark deadline November 30, only for the “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” contest. Regular entry fees start December 1, 2012.

ALL SUBMISSIONS WILL BE AN OFFICIAL ENTRY

IN THE 2013 MOONDANCE COMPETITION!

Here’s what else you can win:

  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will receive an official certificate of your project’s award status!

  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will be announced in the December 2012 blog & on the Moondance website!

  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists can get 2 free 2013 Moondance film festival movie tickets (a $30 value)!

Join the stampede!

“FAST-FORWARD” CONTEST APPLICATION FORM*

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/pdfs/MIFF_ENTRY_FORM.pdf

*EARLY-BIRD Application not available via withoutabox.com

TO PAY THE ENTRY FEE, SEND A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER TO THE ADDRESS ON THE ENTRY FORM, OR TO PAY BY CREDIT CARD, GO TO: www.acteva.com/go/miff

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A SPECIAL NOTE TO 2012 MOONDANCE WINNERS*

WHO COULD NOT ATTEND THE AWARDS CEREMONY:

If you would like to have your award star & official winner certificate mailed to you, please go to www.acteva.com/go/miff to pay the postage. $10 for US addresses & $20 for foreign addresses. Remember to also EMAIL moondancefestival@gmail.com your mailing address & the title of your winning 2012 project. This offer expires December 1, 2012. *Award stars & certificates are sent to 2012 winners only, not finalists & semi-finalists.

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2012 MOONDANCE LAUREL WREATHS

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/06_other.laurels.html

If your submitted project was chosen as a Moondance 2012 Winner, Finalist or Semi-finalist, please feel free to download the Moondance laurel graphic to use in your publicity.

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SPECIAL MOONDANCE THANKS!


  • Thanks a million for the many years of dedicated, creative, user-friendly website work to our long-time Moondance webster, the multi-talented Stephanie Vidergar! Stephanie is moving on now to other ventures, and the 2012 Moondance Film Festival in NYC was her last. We certainly wish her well!

  • Thanks to many of the Moondance 2012 volunteers at the 2012 film festival event in New York City! Special big hugs go to Chris Anastasiadis, awards ceremony photographer & special assistant to Elizabeth; Karen Woodall, volunteers coordinator & advertising coordinator; Joe Gilpin, Jr., graphic designer; Miles McAffee, screenings coordinator; Shayna Prophet, social media coordinator; Carol Sajous, volunteer;  Bermet, awards ceremony assistant; and Big Joe, event security.

  • Special appreciation to the entire staff of the TRIBECA CINEMAS!

“Moondance and the City”

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MOONDANCE NEWS:

IRISH SCREENWRITER WINS TOP AWARD AT US FILM FESTIVAL

From: IFTN The Irish Film & Television Network 24 October, 2012

Irish screenwriter Brian MacEvilly has won the 2012 Atlantis Award at the Moondance International Film Festival in New York City for his screenplay ‘Song of the Lost Sister’. The Atlantis Award is given to the best script submitted from a foreign country outside of the US. ‘Song of the Lost Sister’ is a script for a feature film, which tells the story of a feminist entrepreneur who finds herself trapped in a remote village. With only one way out across a dangerous mountain pass, and only one man who can guide her – an untamed masculinist straight out of the old west – her worst nightmares come true. MacEvilly, who was an advertising copywriter before he became a full-time screenwriter, said he was “humbled” to be recognised by the Moondance Festival. ‘Song of the Lost Sister’ was also a finalist in this year’s StoryPros International Screenplay Contest, Creative World Awards and Extreme Screenwriting Contest.

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

To all our American Moondancers: Be sure to vote on or by November 6th!

Moondance enthusiastically supports & endorses

Barack Obama for US President!

Official portrait

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

Vermont Sugar Shack photo by Tim Seaver

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” ~ WILLIAM FEATHER

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“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” ~ ELMER LETTERMAN

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Photo collection by Abraham Louis

“A soul without a higher aim is like a ship without a rudder.” ~ EILEEN CADDY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Griffon Vulture, National Geographic photo by Marcello Spiazzi

“I love the recklessness of faith; first you jump, then you grow wings!” ~ WILLIAM SLOANE COFFIN

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“Today, you have 100% of your life left to live.” ~ TOM HOPKINS

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NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in Gmail, and I have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

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Please forward this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

Charlotte Zink, www.ZinkMetalArt.com

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MOONDANCE FALL SPECIAL CONTEST OFFER!

THE “FAST-FORWARD WITH MOONDANCE” CONTEST!

Can’t wait until the official Moondance 2013 call-for-entries in December?

Starting NOW, through November 30, 2012, Moondance is offering you the opportunity to get your submission in right now for this special short competition! Here’s the deal: Submit your screenplays, short stories, TV pilots, films, music & etc. (see all competition categories) for the lowest entry fee of the year, only $25, during October & November 2012. Postmark deadline November 30, only for the “FAST-FORWARD” contest.

Here’s what you can win:

  • All “FAST-FORWARD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will receive an official certificate of your project’s award status!

  • All “FAST-FORWARD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will be listed on the December 2012 blog & website!

  • All “FAST-FORWARD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists can get 2 free 2013 Moondance film festival movie tickets (a $30 value)!

* The Fast-Forward contest is not just a less expensive way to enter the main film festival competition. No event will be held for it, and no winning films screened at an event. The 3 possible awards for Fast Forward are listed here on the blog & on the Moondance website. Fast Forward is a way to get your project important early notice at Moondance, and to fill the hiatus before the main competition starts on December 1, 2012!

GO TO: http://www.moondancefilmfestival.com/06_other.fastforwardcontest.html

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MOONDANCERS WRITE US!

New York City street scene, sunset

“I wanted to thank you for the Moondance Film Festival. It was such an amazing opportunity in such an amazing city. I noticed on your blog that my pilot would be posted on inktip.com. That is a yet another pleasant surprise that you have thrown my way! Also, I made a great connection at the festival from the panel “NY Women in Film and Television.” One of the panelists agreed to be my mentor! She has kept in contact with me, read my script, and says it cracked her up, and when she gets time, she is passing it along to several producers. One more time, thank you for all that you do. ~ NICOLE SIDDIQI

“Thanks so much for reviewing “Snapatoonies” and giving us your Semi-Finalist category - much appreciated. This was our first film award, so as you can imagine, we are very excited to have placed at Moondance with “Snapatoonies”. It has been a very busy two weeks for us – we have just now signed an exclusive worldwide agency agreement with a London Distribution company, who already have some interest, and they are taking it to MIPCOM/Kids. Hopefully we will have something by next year to enter into your competition again. In the meantime – our sincere appreciation. Best wishes for a great year” – LEE AND JORDI BRIGHTON, Australia http://www.snapatoonies.com/

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A SPECIAL NOTE TO 2012 MOONDANCE WINNERS*

WHO COULD NOT ATTEND THE AWARDS CEREMONY:

If you would like to have your award star & official winner certificate mailed to you, please go to www.acteva.com/go/miff to pay the postage. $10 for US addresses & $20 for foreign addresses. Remember to also EMAIL moondancefestival@gmail.com your mailing address & the title of your winning 2012 project. This offer expires December 1, 2012. *Award stars & certificates are sent to 2012 winners only, not finalists & semi-finalists.

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

Ancient Cornwall labyrinth petroglyph

WAYSEERS: All you rule-breakers, you misfits & troublemakers, all you free-spirits & pioneers… watch & listen to this amazing & inspiring 10-minute WAYSEERS video! http://wayseermanifesto.com/

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THE FREE HUGS CAMPAIGN

http://www.freehugscampaign.org/ Free hugs is a real-life controversial story of Juan Mann, A man whos sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives. In this age of social disconnectivity and lack of human contact, the effects of the Free Hugs campaign became phenomenal.

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Wild Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins photo by Atmo, www.WildQuest.com

MERMAID7SEAS PRODUCTIONS

  • Affordable script notes, editing & coverage!
  • Film feedback and critiques!
  • Titles & loglines for the best first impressions!

CLICK HERE

Mermaid7seas Productions donates 10% of all consulting fees to the Moondance International Film Festival!

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MOONDANCE INSIDER TIPS FOR FILMMAKERS:

Questions from a UK filmmaker:

What stands out for you in a short indie film? ~~First & foremost: story. Unique story, well-told. Or even an old story, told in a new & unique way. Title and logline, plus short synopsis count a lot, too, and can make the best first impression. (see my article on First Impressions in the Moondance E-zine)

What do you reject almost immediately? ~~ Clichés. Poor openings. Too many credits at the opening. DVDs that are not cued up to the start. Bad lighting, jumpy editing, inappropriate score. Boring, slow, been-done-a-million-times opening scenes like this: dark bedroom, guy in bed, alarm clock rings, hand reaches out, trying to find clock, knocks clock onto floor, gets up but we see feet only, follow feet to the bathroom,  toilet flushes, shower runs, teeth are brushed, feet go to the kitchen, guy drinks coffee, gets dressed, goes out door, gets in car, car drives on highway, guy on cell phone….ad infinitum. Or: camera slowly pans along past long, long hallway walls of photos showing history of family from day one to present time. No story. Indicates no creativity, no fresh thinking, or not thinking of viewer, egotistical director/editor.

Is everything equal when you judge the film, the production values, the acting, the direction, the music or do you have a priority? ~~Not so much the script, as I usually don’t see it for film submissions, and I know from experience that the film does not always follow the original script. My first judging priority is quality, top quality of all of the above, plus lighting, sound, costuming, color, framing, and editing. If even one of these elements is not top quality, the film will probably be rejected. I also consider the audience…will they like it, too? (see my articles on Adventures in Judging a Film Festival, in the Moondance E-zine and Filmmakers Read This) All of the above comments relate to both narrative and (except for acting) to documentary films.

What was it about the most successful shorts in 2012 at Moondance that really stood out for you? ~~All of the above desired points were covered, and none of the bad ones. Good story, well-filmed, superb acting, thoughtfully directed, invisible editing, lighting, sound, appropriate score, & etc. Plus, and this is important to me, personally, as a film viewer/judge: I learned something, felt involved and could relate to the story, was inspired to learn more, and/or was cheered by the story. I had a reaction, suspension of disbelief may have occurred, & the film was seamless & memorable.  ~~ELIZABETH ENGLISH, Moondance Founder, Executive Director, Artistic Director

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MOONDANCE E-ZINE ARTICLES INDEX:

Read about: how to win a screenplay competition; how to win a film festival competition; winning titles & loglines for films & scripts; screenplay submissions; movie script writing; writing character, dialog & action; how to get an agent; what Hollywood wants to see; directing indie films, documentaries, short films, animation; film scores; stage plays; short stories; TV MOW; TV pilots; kids films; music videos; radio plays, and more! CLICK HERE!

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

Jones Beach (NY) Sunset photo by Chris Anastasiadis

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and places to pray in, where Nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” ~ JOHN MUIR, Scottish-American naturalist and preservationist

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Al Capone's 1938 Cadillac

“Hollywood is a place where people spend money they don’t have to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.” ~ WALTER WINCHELL (paraphrased), American newspaper and radio commentator

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“One of the difficulties with all our institutions is the fact that we’ve emphasized the reward instead of the service.” ~ HARRY S TRUMAN

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painting by Andrew Wyeth

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night.” ~ EDGAR ALLAN POE

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Beech trees of Mariemont, Belgium

The end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

~ T. S. Eliot

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“If you seek what is honorable, what is good, what is the truth of your life, all the other things you could not imagine come, as a matter of course.” ~ OPRAH WINFREY

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NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in Gmail, and I have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

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Please forward this popular news blog to your friends and colleagues!



FAST-FORWARD WITH MOONDANCE!

www.alphabetphotography.com

www.moondancefilmfestival.com

SPECIAL QUICK CONTEST OFFER!

THE “FAST-FORWARD WITH MOONDANCE” CONTEST!

Can’t wait until the official Moondance 2013 call-for-entries in December?

Starting NOW, through November 30, 2012, Moondance is offering you the opportunity to get your submission in right now for this special short competition! Here’s the deal: Submit your screenplays, short stories, TV pilots, films, music & etc. (see all competition categories) for the lowest entry fee of the year, only $25, during October & November 2012. Postmark deadline November 30, only for the “FAST-FORWARD” contest.

Here’s what you can win:

  • All “FAST-FORWARD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will receive an official certificate of your project’s award status!

  • All “FAST-FORWARD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will be listed on the December 2012 blog & website!

  • All “FAST-FORWARD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists can get 2 free 2013 Moondance film festival movie tickets (a $30 value)!

“FAST-FORWARD” CONTEST APPLICATION FORM*

*Application not available via withoutabox.com

TO PAY THE ENTRY FEE, SEND A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER, OR TO PAY BY CREDIT CARD, <— CLICK HERE

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INKTIP.COM annually sponsors the Moondance with a generous offer to post the feature screenplay winners’ projects on their website for free, where producers and directors visit often to preview and select scripts for a read, an option and/or a sale! Watch for an email from InkTip, coming to your inbox soon. These are the 2012 winners of this very special prize:

FEATURE SCREENPLAY WINNERS
A Certain Charm Betty Ellington-Smith
Coach Rob Bruce Leaf &  Denny Dressman
Count Roller Skates Todd Gordon
Fixing Jack Jennifer Ussi & Adam Couper
Hockey Night in Cromdale Penny Frazier
It Never Rains in California Timothy Earl Burger
Jason’s House Murray Spitzer
Nekropolis Kevin Walker & Jason Beever
Roughnecks! Michael L. Edwards
Separate > Equal Thomas Lidd
Song of the Lost Sister Brian MacEvilly
Vlad, the Inhaler Mark Lysgaard
FEATURE SCREENPLAY FOR KIDS WINNER
The Huggisons: a Furry Sensation Rebecca Kavanaugh
TELEVISION PILOT SCRIPT WINNERS
Annabelle Mary MacDonald Rival & Allan Wylie
Men of Leisure Nicole L. Siddiqi
The Tweeters Wendy Brache
Wheels -The June Bug Donna Lisa

Nicole Siddiqi

Tom Lidd

Donna Lisa

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Sign up now for the MOVIEBYTES.COM newsletter! MOVIEBYTES.COM lists Moondance’s writing winners each contest season, to promote winning screenwriters to buyers! A list of all 2012 Moondance writing winners has been sent to them, and that special listing is online at www.moviebytes.com now!

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A SPECIAL NOTE TO 2012 MOONDANCE WINNERS* WHO COULD NOT ATTEND THE AWARDS CEREMONY:

If you would like to have your award star & official winner certificate mailed to you, please go to www.acteva.com/go/miff to pay the postage. $10 for US addresses & $20 for foreign addresses. Remember to also EMAIL moondancefestival@gmail.com your mailing address & the title of your winning 2012 project. This offer expires December 1, 2012. *Award stars & certificates are sent to 2012 winners only, not finalists & semi-finalists.

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READ WHAT MOONDANCERS WRITE US!

EE & son, Chris, official festival photographer

Dear 2012 Moondancers, It was really great to meet you all at last, and I’m very happy to know you were pleased with the 2012 Moondance in New York City. Thanks a million for being there with us, and for making this event a great one. I look forward to seeing your Moondance 2013 projects! ~~ Cheers, Elizabeth

  • “The festival was incredible and the connections were so helpful.  Bottom line, it was vital for me at this point in my process to be around and talk to other aspiring writers/filmmakers, as much as it is nice to hear from people who have experienced success.  It gave me back some sanity that had begun to flee as I was so alone for a long time writing without anyone to relate.  I hope to stay in touch with everyone’s process and progress.  Thank you again for the opportunity and especially thank you for putting a festival up that promotes alternative views from the norm.  Such is the very kind of film I intend to live my life pursuing.  And offer social change, unheard perspectives, and unlock the endless possibilities of this art.  Thanks again.” ~ CONNOR McLEAN, feature screenplay, “All the Day Nowhere”
  • “It was such a pleasure to be at the Moondance festival and be awarded a prize for best documentary feature. There was a great buzz to being in New York and meeting Elizabeth, a women of great integrity, innovation and tons of fun to be with. My film series ‘Blue Velvet In Sinai’ with (Oscar winner Ric O’Barry) fitted the ethos of the festival, and I am honoured to have met so many like-minded, inspirational fellow film-makers. The award ceremony on the yacht added to the fun…especially as we could see the Statue of Liberty during the awards. As so many of the films were about liberation from the confines of negative things in life – it was a perfect setting. Thank you, Elizabeth, for making my trip from the UK, specially to be at the awards, so wonderful.” ~ GULRUKH KHAN – Director / Producer www.bluevelvetinsinai.com

EE & Gulrukh Khan

  • Thank you so much for Moondance!! The whole concept of it and your total commitment to every aspect of it truly brings out the best in everyone and is inspiring. It was wonderful to see thought-provoking films of such substance, artistry, to meet and share the passion of the filmmakers and people involved, and be part of a very special film festival. The awards cruise was the best yet, as Tom Lidd says, “A blast”! Your description of the GAIA award I won is “The award is presented to the person who seeks to elucidate and improve the spiritual quality of all life on the planet, and contributes to the betterment of the world spirit.” This particular recognition means so much to me and the Indian NRITYAGRAM dancers — I feel this is the goal of us all in some way! Brava to you and all participants at Moondance!” ~ NAN MELVILLE, director

Nan Melville

  • My son and I had a great time in NY, it was very special for us as he has only just arrived in the US to attend high school.  This was his first trip to NY.  I felt it important to bring him because it was his comment 5 years ago about there being no Marshallese-language films that got me on this filmmaking roller coaster ride. The opportunity to screen our film in NY was huge for not just me, but the Marshall Islands as a whole.  I was so surprised and pleased to see that people who had been connected with the Marshall Islands for decades wound up coming to watch the film.  Some of those people had done some great things for the Marshall Islands, so it was heartwarming to see them again.  My college roommate was there, who I hadn’t seen for 30 years; my cousin was there, who I hadn’t seen for over 20 years.  My daughter’s friends were there.  There were even people who had adopted Marshallese children who came to show their kids a little slice of what their birthplace looked like.  It was a great experience for all of them, and I really enjoyed the Q & A afterwards. The awards ceremony on the ship was so unusual.  Boats are not new to those of us who live on islands, but boats cruising by the Statue of Liberty as we were receiving an award for our film, was!  My son felt so proud of that day, as did I.  I have attached the picture of us with our Atlantis Award.  I know that putting on that festival is an awesome task, but from those of us who benefited tremendously from it, PLEASE keep the Moondance going!  Let me know if I can be of any help to you.  I’ll keep you posted on Cricket’s journey into the festival world; it certainly had a grand start!” ~ JACK & MAX NIEDENTHAL

Jack & Max Niedenthal

  • I wanted to take a brief moment to thank you for your efforts at making the Moondance International Film Festival a positive experience for all who attended…you managed to maintain the spirit of the Moondance festival even when it wasn’t so easy to do…and used your determination to ensure the film makers had a platform for their work to be seen and to be heard. We all owe you a personal thank you for bringing this to life for all who attended and all who enjoyed the recognition of having been part of the Moondance Film Festival. So from my team, I want to recognize you…for your long-standing efforts in this but more importantly, for your efforts in helping to raise awareness, via the film format, to issues which affect women and their lives from around the globe. “Black Inside-Three Women’s Voices” wasn’t in competition of course, however we were honored with your invitation to make the work created for the UNF-GACC, the voices of three women who equally invited us into their lives, available to those interested in the issues which prematurely lead to the deaths of millions of people, predominately women and children, while breathing the toxin-laced smoke from cooking over an open wood fire to feed their families. As director of this series of short films for the UNF-GACC, I’ve been inspired to take the cookstove story to a wider audience, so I’m pleased to announce that we are in pre-production for two independent feature-length films. “When Sparrows Fall” is a slice-of-life story with locations from the Pyrenees of northern Spain to the Western Isles off the coast of Scotland, where cooking over open fires is cultural and loving, yet often deadly for women who simply want to serve their families. We want to bring this serious issue to a world stage, and now you and Moondance, with us, are part of this effort. Moondance will always be where we enjoyed our US Premiere, giving credit where credit is due. In this spirit, I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to you, from our US/London based production team, and know that we wish you the best of all things good in your efforts for others..in the days to come.” RODNEY RASCONA, Director, “Black Inside – Three Women’s Voices”


Rodney Rascona (at right)

  • “Thank you for honoring “Coach Rob” with the Seahorse Award. Both Denny Dressman and I were thrilled when we learned we had been named winners at the Moondance Film Festival, an indication that our script, about former Grambling State University Coach Eddie Robinson, resonated with people who likely didn’t know about his achievements. We were fortunate to have good material to work with. I enjoyed meeting you at the awards ceremony onboard the yacht and look forward to seeing you again. I offer my best wishes to you and to the continued success of the film festival.” ~ BRUCE LEAF

Bruce Leaf, EE & Bermet

  • I just wanted to thank you for recognizing my script and for hosting the awards ceremony.  It was a most remarkable group of filmmakers and other people in the arts.  My wife and I had long conversations with several people whom we will not soon forget.” ~ TODD GORDON, feature screenplay, “Count Roller Skates”

  • “Spirited by your empathetic intelligence and infused with a buoyant grace, Moondance is a joyous festival that enacts a world view reminding us that, though connection is elusive, we are all noble and bound by our perseverance in envisioning resolution.  I am honored to have been included and to have had two stories awarded. Thank you.” ~  ROBIN MARTIN, 2 short stories, “Bob & Hope” & “On the Ocean Boulevard”

  • I wanted to thank you for the wonderful time we had at the Moondance International Film Festival! The producers, Rosemary and Sabrina, and Tom and I had so much fun! The award ceremony and reception was pitch-perfect – what a beautiful day on the water! All of our family and friends loved the screening of “Surreal Estate” – we’re thrilled we were able to share the film at such a great festival! Thank you.” ~ LORI ROMERO

Lori Romero & her film’s leading character

  • It was so wonderful meeting you this weekend at the Moondance International Film Festival.  I had such a great time, and am very grateful for the opportunity to meet so many impassioned individuals. The festival provided me with many networking opportunities, which were invaluable experiences. I am eager to get back to work, especially after helping with Moondance. Thank you again for the opportunity to be part of the Moondance International Film Festival, and I hope our paths cross again in the future!” ~ SAMANTHA WALSH
  • “We’re very excited to have our first screening in New York City and where the idea for Mission of Mermaids all began. After two years of work and dedication to this project and the cause behind it, we’ve come full circle. the NYC screening at the Moondance International Film Festival. M.O.M. had its NYC premiere at this lovely festival, perfect for our topic. Aside from having a Mermaid as their logo, their mission is right in tune with our own. ~ SUSAN ROCKEFELLER, director

Nan Melville & Susan Rockefeller

  • Elizabeth, I want to thank you for your great encouragement and the enormous positivity you showed me, and to say how proud I am to be recognised in a festival whose ethos I so respect. It means a great deal to me. Although attending the festival would have battered me financially, I’d have been there in a heartbeat. I’ve no doubt that I’d have met some fantastic people, and, who knows, perhaps even done business, too. You’re doing a terrific — and, more significantly, important — job. (My friend Eilis Mernagh, a former Moondance winner/attendee, refers to you as a legend.) I’ve had a number of successes this year, but this win is particularly special to me. I promise to keep producing accountable, life-affirmative work. And I look forward to competing in Moondance again in the future. As my old school motto used to say, ‘Certa bonum certamen’ (‘Fight the good fight’). ~ BRIAN MAC EVILLY, screenwriter, “ Song of the Lost Sister”, Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland www.writerscut.net

Brian Mac Evilly

  • In searching for appropriate film festivals to submit to, yours in particular struck me not only because the spirit and vibe seem so positive, but because you make a point to emphasize film scores, something that seems pretty rare in the independent film world, but something that is so important to us and our film (it being a musical and what not).” ~ MARK BLACKMAN
  • On behalf of Rich West and myself, I want to thank you so very much for honoring our film “The Last Paperboy” by selecting it for your film festival.   Its screening in NYC, and especially at the Tribeca Cinemas, was beyond words. I was thrilled to be there and was especially happy to meet you and to network with all the wonderful people who attended Moondance. I think I may have made some new friends for life. Especially exciting was the cruise around NY. Your thoughtfulness in stopping the awards presentation so we could step outside and see the Statue of Liberty was a kindness that I will never forget. The emotions I felt in seeing the Statue surprised me and will be with me for a long time. It was extremely kind of you. Regarding the awards, the star is lovely. I plan to mount the Star and certificate in a frame and proudly hang it on the wall. Thank you again for a very special weekend.” ~ SHERI RATICK STROUD itsme-sheri.com Wonder Pictures

Sheri Ratick Stroud

  • My short story, “Another Way to Die”, was a 2012 Moondance International Film Festival Semi-Finalist. The award has led to my newest book, Gladiator, cracking Amazon’s top 100, twice. I have now received an invitation from Southern Writers Magazine to guest-post on their blog, and my first print book, Bounty Hunter, will have a full-on launch at Joseph Beth Booksellers, one of the largest independent book chains in the United States. Thank you, Elizabeth at Moondance; you and your festival make all artists dreams come true.” ~ AMY MCCORKLE http://amylmccorklekentuckyauthor.webs.com

  • I want to take a moment to thank you for giving me the award for “The Huggisons” (feature screenplay for kids). I got the good news on the very day I was moving into a new apartment here in Chicago to spend a year in the States pushing my screenplays (I am American but normally live over in Marrakech, Morocco and yes…with my seven cats). It is surely a “going into the unknown” time in the US for a year is a bit intimidating and so receiving the award that day confirmed perhaps I’m on the right track :). I’ve got “The Huggisons” with a friend of a friend who is an animator at Disney, and Zero Gravity Management has requested to see a different script I wrote (an embarrassingly raunchy romantic comedy). …So I threw in The Huggisons into the Zero Gravity package, as well, and was very proud to mention in the pitch that I was a winner of YOUR contest. ~ REBECCA KAVANAUGH, Morocco/US

  • Thank you so much for including my short film “Death, Inc.” at Moondance 2012. I had an amazing experience at the festival in NYC, culminating with that glorious awards cruise to the Statue of Liberty and back. It is an honor to be able to be a Moondance winner. The experience is fuel for pursuing my dream to write and direct a feature film. Thank you! ~ SANDRA PAYNE

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Please send .jpeg photos from Moondance, for the online 2012 festival photo album, to: moondancefestival@gmail.com, with MOONDANCE PHOTOS in the subject line of your email.

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

BLUE VELVET IN SINAI

Directed by Gulrukh Khan

This Moondance Award-winning 4-part series (for Best documentary feature) has been made with Ric O’Barry (Oscar winner for ‘The Cove’ in 2010). It is the very beautiful story of a solitary dolphin who turns up on the coast of a fishing village in the Sinai desert, Egypt. The Bedouin there are ‘challenged’ in speech and hearing. The dolphin, whom they name Olin, changes their lives and village life forever. She has a baby and that further develops this powerful story of love, interspecies connection and humankind’s involvement with its natural world. Ric O’Barry and other dolphin specialists share profound scientific and other knowledge about dolphin healing and why it is important to keep these precious creatures out of captivity. The story in the Sinai is the microcosm of a greater global picture that unfolds throughout the series. You can support this important environmental issue by watching the series online at www.bluevelvetinsinai.com

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Beluga family, photo by www.fish-journal.com

Action Alert! SeaWorld Imports 18 Belugas Largest Import of Belugas Ever! We Must Stop this NOW or More Dolphins and Whales Will Suffer the Same Fate. This odious transaction would support the capture and international trade of this highly intelligent and social species. It is not acceptable to subject these animals to being ripped from their pod-mates and home waters and flown half way around the world in extremely noisy Russian planes. The highly stressful flight from Russia will be nothing less than inhumane, and thus violates the marine mammal protection act. There have been no captures of wild dolphins in US waters since 1993, mainly because of public pressure and opposition. 

We are counting on each and every one of you to help us block this import and return these captured belugas to the wild or permanent sanctuary. Please take a few minutes to help these wonderful whales and let the U.S. know that we won’t tolerate the cruelty of importing dolphins and whales for captivity. Go to: www. bluevoice.org for more info.

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READ THE MOONDANCE E-ZINE ARTICLES HERE!

Don’t miss reading all the great filmmaking & writing articles written by the pros exclusively for Moondance.

Read all about: how to win a screenplay competition; how to win a film festival competition; winning titles & loglines for films & scripts; screenplay submissions; movie script writing; writing character, dialog & action; how to get an agent; what Hollywood wants to see; directing indie films, documentaries, short films, animation; film scores; stage plays; short stories; TV MOW; TV pilots; kids films; music videos; radio plays, and more!

The editor is always open to suggestions & submissions for the Moondance E-ZINE, too! E-mail suggestions & articles to: moondancefestival@gmail.com,
with MOONDANCE E-ZINE in the subject line.

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MERMAID7SEAS PRODUCTIONS. Focusing on the elements crucial to creating a compelling and readable script, or a winning, marketable film, our helpful comments, suggestions & edits will allow you to concentrate on solving the problems that will make your material move toward receiving a CONSIDER or a RECOMMENDED from a studio or prodco reader, and will assist in advancing your script or film up toward WINNER in screenwriting competitions & film festivals. An advantage of this low-cost professional critique & editing service by the founder, executive director & artistic director of Moondance, and her professional team, is that we will help you prepare your screenplay or film before sending it to producers, agents, managers and others who may have requested it. EMAIL: mermaid7seas@gmail.com

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At the request of a winning Moondancer from Australia, please watch this amazing, musical 3-KITE BALLET by master kite-flyer, Ray Bethell, a resident of Vancouver, B.C.. He is the most famous and the best multiple kiteflyer in the world.! http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=nr9KrqN_lIg

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MOONDANCE IN THE NEWS:

“ALASKAN WOMEN MARINERS” FILM WINS AT MOONDANCE

Alaska Women Mariners onboard at the 2012 Moondance Awards ceremony

Frontiersman Newspaper, NEW YORK — Adding to her list of accolades, Capt. Anna Young has won the coveted Moondance Film Festival’s Filmed Television Pilot Spirit Award on Sept. 17 in New York City. Young arrived in Alaska 50 years ago and is a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, third generation Alaskan, as well as a 100 Ton Captain and fishing boat owner. Her 29-minute film, “Alaskan Women Mariners gives the world a bird’s eye perspective of Alaska’s fishing world. Included in the film are fishing all-stars like Alaska’s youngest 100 Ton Captain, Capt. Lilly Lane of Homer, Chelsea Bollinger of Kodiak, Capt. Sarah Brooks of Ninilchik, Sydney-Jane Armstrong of Homer and Capt. Lindsey Johnson of Ketchikan. The win includes bragging rights for the Mat-Su Valley, too, since Capt. Brooks lives here, but fishes on the Kenai Peninsula. Young was a salmon drift gillnetter in Prince William Sound in 1989, when the Exxon “Valdez” oil spill occurred, and was the first responder out of west Prince William Sound in Whittier, to assist on her boat F/V “The Sugar.” Most recently she lent her expertise and services to remove debris from Alaska coastal waters because of the Japanese tsunami disaster. ~ Heather Resz, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, Managing editor

ALASKA BUSINESS MONTHLY Alaska’s Premiere Business Site. “This award is a wonderful testament to the world of fishing and maritime industry in Alaska and how integral women have been for its success,” said Anna Young. “I’m not only honored to receive the award for our film, but also very proud of Alaskan women who dedicate their lives to this growing market despite abundant risks and harsh environments in a historically male-dominated industry,” added Young. Captain Young is now in the process of promoting her film for interest by U.S. and international producers in television and big screen for larger audiences in a multiple-episode T.V. series and cinematic format.

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At the 2012 Guam International Film Festival, close to 200 films were entered from 27 countries, only 53 were chosen to be shown at the festival, hundreds upon hundreds of actors from all over the world were in these films: Tonight, Salome Fakatou, a little ten year-old Bikinian girl from the Marshall Islands has won the Grand Jury Award for Achievement in Acting (the only award given for acting) for her role in Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ (The Sound of Crickets at Night)!  It’s really what we have been trying to promote with these films; self-esteem for the children of the RMI. The crowd went crazy when she was chosen.” ~ JACK NIEDENTHAL, director

Salome Fakatou, at left & sister

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

Imagination is more important than knowledge…” ~ ALBERT EINSTEIN

The happiest excitement in life is to be convinced that one is fighting for all one is worth on behalf of some clearly seen and deeply felt good ~ RUTH BENEDICT

“Usefulness, whatever form it may take, is the price we should pay for the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the privilege of being alive.” ~ ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

Eighty percent of success is showing up.” ~ WOODY ALLEN

Act as if it were impossible to fail.” ~ DOROTHEA BRANDE

“I, alone, cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ~ MOTHER TERESA

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore.” ~ ANDRE GIDE

“All of a sudden, I’m back to knitting. I’m not sure what possessed me; perhaps it was the need to ravel what feels like something coming unraveled. As I knitted, I thought things over, row by row. Whenever my thoughts got in a rut, I told myself: You did that row already. Next. Knitting relaxed and soothed my mind. I understood, suddenly, why it was so important for women to knit for their sons and husbands overseas during war, in the old days. (Do they still?) How knitting kept in play the sense of being able to control the outcome, the sense of staying in touch, the sense of being able to protect and cherish a loved one, knowing that what your fingers touched will soon caress one who holds your heart. Knitting kept me from skidding out in anxiety. Will the moon rise over another meadow? Of course. Will the stars shine over other trees? Of course. I don’t yet see the pattern. But the next adventure is stitches away. Everything is, in the grand scheme of things.” ~ DOMINIQUE BROWNING, www.slowlove.com

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Please forward this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

Charlotte Zink, www.ZinkMetalArt.com

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