InkTip.com, a long-time festival supporter, offers the unique opportunity for all annual Moondance screenwriting winners to have their winning title, logline, synopsis & script posted on the InkTip.com website for literary agents, producers & directors to see! Submit your screenplay now:moondancefilmfestival.com
Imagine you have the ability to save the lives of 15,000 dolphins per year! Well, you do! Right now, you can help complete a shocking film exposé to pressure Peruvian legislators to put a stop to the slaughter of dolphins for shark bait. You can save these sentient, thinking, friendly dolphins from a dreadful fate. Please make a donation at our crowd-funding site to help us finish this film. We already have the footage documenting the slaughter. It is the key to stopping this needless brutality. As you know, crowd-funding depends on the involvement of many people. So do thousands of dolphins. So please pass this along to your animal -loving friends. We all have a unique opportunity to save thousands of dolphins. Please help. We have a matching grant that enables you to double your donation. Please contribute and make this film a reality so these dolphins can lead free, safe lives in the ocean with their families.With your help, we can expose this tragedy worldwide.
Our international community media organization equips women and men in underdeveloped areas with video journalism skills, enabling entire communities to expose underreported stories from their communities and take action to right the wrongs of poverty, injustice and inequality. We empowermarginalized communities to produce stories, take action & devise solutions!
Video Volunteers is an international media organization empowering the voices of the world’s unheard communities. Its mission is to empower the world’s poorest citizens to right the wrongs they witness by becoming players in the global media revolution. Providing disadvantaged communities with the journalistic and creative skills they need, our models for locally-owned and managed media production teach people to articulate and share their perspectives on the issues that matter to them – on a local and a global scale. Sign-up for our Newsletter: Click Here!
“The beauty of the land around me inspires me in the creation of my art. Jewelry is not just an ornament or decoration but more of an expression of our personality. Jewelry is an extended expression of who we are and how we feel. At times we want to be serious or elegant, subtle, sometimes playful or fun, and sometimes we want to express our essential uniqueness and desire to be different. All of my jewelry designs are created with the highest quality beads, pearls, gemstones and metals collected from around the world. I think of my jewelry as a collage of vintage style embellishments, creatures and stones, crystals and pearls, hand crafted lamp work & beads.” ~ Sage Ryen, designer
SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
“Do not follow only where the path may lead. No, instead, go where there is no path, and leave a trail for others.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“A life without stories would be no life at all. And stories bind us together, do they not, one to another, to the animals, to the land, to the past and to the present?” ~ Alexander McCall Smith(edited excerpt) “In the Company of Cheerful Women”, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series
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The Moondance International Film Festival, featuring its distinct cinematic visions and bold film selections, has distinguished itself around the world as much more than an annual film festival! The Moondance is a unique community, a supportive, productive, and creative year-round collaboration between independent filmmakers and movie audiences, between writers, composers and the world of top-quality filmed entertainment.
“The Moondance International Film Festival is well known for offering the best venue to raise awareness of social issues through films and showcasing talented international independent social impact filmmakers’ works to audiences. We believe that your organization has a very good potential to share this important message to our global audiences who love social impact films as well as support social and environmental change.” ~ Michelle Lam, Founder ofwww.Visiomi.coma WebTV on-demand startup that focuses on streaming independent films, music, TV shows and sports.
MOONDANCE INSIDER TIPS:
WRITERS: WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW!
By Elizabeth English
“A good writer needs to know what it’s like, and “it” can be just about anything. We have far too many writers today who have never ridden a horse, or fired a gun, or sharpened a knife, or fought with their fists, or been shot at. And so on and so on.” ~ Gene Wolfe, science fiction & fantasy writer, interview in a Barnes & Noble book review.
“Write what you know” is the vital, traditional message for all fiction and non-fiction writers, screenwriters, television writers, playwrights and journalists. You need to know the details, the visuals, the emotions, the reactions to events, and the totality of the experience, in order to write coherently about a subject, and action, a character and his or her dialog, and for your reader, or audience to relate to the story, the character and the action.
If you don’t know much, or very little, about a subject, do deep research, learn about it from others, ask an expert, read about it online or in books, go experience it yourself, pay attention as you go through your daily life, listen and look, remember what you’ve seen, heard, learned and experienced, then use it in your writing. It’s a vital element of your “job” as a writer. You would never be hired by any company if you didn’t know anything about the job and had no experience in the work required!
Expand your knowledge and your experiences beyond television, movies, even books, your home or workplace, neighborhood, town or state, or country, your computer, your smart-phone, Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube & so on. Go on out there and see the world, watch and listen to other people, experience other events than the usual. Learn to tango, ride a horse, go to a rodeo, learn to cook a foreign dish, give a themed party, go for a long hike in the woods, join a political group, plant an organic garden, take a train ride, go hiking in the woods, attend a concert or stageplay.
Build a snow sculpture or sand castle, surf the waves, swim with wild dolphins, visit with the elderly in a nursing home, practice yoga, learn to meditate, shop at a farmer’s market, volunteer to work with an environmental group or peace activists, go SCUBA-diving, attend a lecture, get involved in a political campaign, go to a museum or an art gallery, study improv acting, travel to a foreign country, play hide-and-seek with a child, listen to teenagers to learn their lingo, sit in on an Al-Anon meeting, volunteer at a hospital, sign on as an extra in a local indie film shoot, pick apples from a tree, chat with some homeless folks, go on an archaeological expedition, and, above all, pay close attention to the people and the real world around you, and remember and use your past, discover your roots. Don’t just rely on movies, TV, social media and the Internet for your writing ideas…that’s not necessarily real life!
Screenwriters absolutely need to know how movies are made, what goes into the project, the budget considerations, and how and why scripts are selected by agents, investors, producers, directors and actors. When deciding upon a location for your story, consider how that location or those locations will affect the success of the film. You also need to know what story, style and subject matter different potential clients want to see. A script is merely a story, a blueprint for a film. Imagine an architect designing a building properly, if he or she knows nothing at all about what the client wants, the details, the budget, and how the blueprint is ultimately selected by the client, is paid for and built by the contractors!
To learn how and why a script is selected and made into a movie, a TV show, or a stageplay, you can volunteer to work as an intern at a production company. Read scripts that have been rejected or won at film festivals and competitions, rejected or successfully produced by a production company or studio, and pay attention to why they work or don’t work. You can audition for a part in a film, television or theatrical show, even as an extra, or apply for work on the crew. Direct your own short film. Take note of all the credits at the end of successful films to see how very many people work on a film (and need to be paid!). Attend professional workshops and seminars on writing and filmmaking. Networking & making valuable connections is another very important method of learning about the film business from all aspects, and for getting your work and talents noticed.
Most importantly, keep writing and experiencing as many aspects of life as you can! Write in different genres to expand your knowledge and talents. Are you a writer of drama? Write a great comedy! Romance writer? Write a scary mystery or an action story. Sci-fi writer? Write a contemporary romance or drama. Have at least 3 to 5 completed, edited and polished screenplays to show. Create fabulous loglines and one-page synopses for all of them. And get a good agent or manager.
Norm is very enthusiastic about developing the Moondance website and actively supports the festival’s mission & goals. Strassner Web & Video creates websites and produces professional videos, since opening in 1999. Owner Norm Strassner spent nearly two decades in the Hollywood television production community as a Directors Guild member and editor for popular TV shows such as Entertainment Tonight and Real People, as well as for CBS, NBC and Paramount Pictures, among others. Norm uses his programming talents to create a very successful line of broadcast-quality video editing systems, Strassner Editing Systems. He now applies all these skills to producing “Moving Pictures, Compelling Stories and Dynamic Websites”. Check out his portfolio of websites and videos, along with client testimonials, at www.strassner.com
Dr. Linda Seger
Linda Seger created the script consulting profession in 1981 and is considered one of the foremost script consultants and screenplay coaches in the world today.
She is the most prolific author on the subject of screenwriting with 9 books and is known world-wide as one of the best experts in the field of award-winning screenwriting. Linda has consulted on over 100 produced feature films, television shows, and stage plays, and her clients have won numerous awards, including Academy Awards, awards from numerous film festivals, as well as having major box-office hits. She has lectured on screenwriting in 33 countries on all 6 continents, her books on screenwriting are best-sellers, and she is a regular and very popular Moondance Film Festival workshop presenter, consultant & supporter.
Linda’s clients include writers, directors, producers, executives and production companies, in film, television, and theater. They range from beginners to Academy Award winners such as Peter Jackson and William Kelley. One of her clients, Ray Bradbury, called her technique, “a light to see by.” To discuss a script project, seminar or keynote speaking opportunity,please contact Linda.To read more about Linda’s popular, best-selling screenwriting books and her background,please click here.
Agnesfilms.com is named in honor of Agnès Varda, the French filmmaker who has been making women-centered fiction films and documentaries for over 50 years. Varda, in spite of the high quality of her work, remains an obscure figure to mainstream audiences around the world. This is not surprising, since the film industry is not always supportive of women who want to work behind — as opposed to in front of — the camera. In an effort to provide support to emerging and established women filmmakers, our site aims to do the following:
Foster a community of women filmmakers, scholars, instructors who teach film and filmmaking, and film lovers who support each other.
Shed light on the work of talented and committed women filmmakers working today.
Help women not trained in cinematic techniques be able to tell stories in this powerful medium.
“Prejudices are rarely overcome by arguments and wars; not being founded in reason, they cannot be destroyed by logic.” ~ Tryon Edwards
“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.” ~ Demosthenes
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” ~ John F. Kennedy
“Analia”, Paraguay, photo by Britt Newell
“For man(kind), as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.” ~ D. H. Lawrence
“Few are those whose contribution to humanity — be it art, or music, or literature, or some other enchantment — fills the heart with uncontainable gratitude for their very existence, be it intellectually, creatively, spiritually, of paying compassionate attention, or making a supreme art of bearing witness to our world. “ ~Maria Popova,Brain Pickings bloghttp://www.brainpickings.org
Please forward this news-blog to your creative artist colleagues!
The Moondance International Film Festival is much more than an annual film festival! It is a unique community, a supportive, productive, and creative year-round collaboration between independent filmmakers and movie audiences, between writers, composers and the world of top-quality filmed entertainment.
Martin Luther (1483-1546) famously said (way, way before computers, cameras & the Internet were in use), “If you want to change the world, pick up a pen and write.” And that’s exactly what we want to accomplish at the Moondance! We hope to change the world by inspiring universal stories and themes. Our ultimate goal is to connect talented writers, filmmakers & composers with industry insiders who can make dreams a reality.
Filmmakers have a chance to create a sequel to or a short film inspired by “Thelma & Louise,” which stars Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon and is turning 25 this year. Sponsored by the Utah Film Commission and Zions Bank, winners will receive $5,000 and a screening at the next Sundance Film Festival Women’s Leadership Celebration. The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)
Brit Marling of Sundance TV’s “Babylon” believes female writers are helping turn the tide for women in Hollywood. “Watching Kristen Wiig and Lena Dunham and a lot of women take the reins and be like, ‘I’m not finding the characters that I need. I’m just going to sit down and write them,'” is bringing about the shift, Marling said while speaking on a panel at the Sundance Film Festival.
MOONDANCERS WRITE TO US:
“Moondance Is unique. It seems to vivify good things to everyone who comes into contact with it. I simply mean its encouragement and open arms to creativity, across the globe, dazzles me with its generosity, chutzpah and reach. The award I won does indeed open doors! The Manhattan Theatre Club in New York, and the Geffen Theatre in L.A. both asked for submissions. I am sure it was paid attention to because of your name and the festival’s impact.” ~ Gino Matteo, writer, Moondance 2014 winner for “Nellie”
“I’ve entered screenplays in your festival three or four times and it has been a blast!! Thanks for all the work you do to make it a rich experience.” ~ Jack Vendargriff, screenwriter
“Moondance is a personal first choice of mine, since your festival is so intimate and has such a great reputation for quality!” ~ Marlane Barnes, filmmaker
For all you “Downton Abbey” fans, here’s a clever, wry & fun spoof on the show, played by many of the regular cast members:
“Watch this Oscar® award-winning short animation video, Disney’s Paperman. It’s a 5-minute masterpiece with a powerful theme that offers the choice: Push papers or let our dreams take flight.” ~ Michael Maurer, writer-producer.com
SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
“It is by believing in roses that one brings them to blossom.” ~ French Proverb
“To one in whom love dwells, the whole world is but one family.” ~ Buddha
“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” ~ Sydney Harris
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” ~ Winston Churchill
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First, call or write to literary agents who are listed as being willing to look at 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 Guild of America (East & West)
Guidelines for getting an agent:
Write killer titles, loglines and one-sheet synopses for the all the scripts you want to submit to agents.
Write up a one-sheet document with titles and loglines of all your completed screenplays. You may be asked to send these before sending in a screenplay.
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 the top and bottom hole.
“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. These days, however, most agents only want to see submissions as attachments via email. Be sure to have a great cover letter with your contact info and with the script attachment.
Have more than one screenplay completed. At least three of your best screenplays need to be ready to go, when and if requested.
In your 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 call.
Story: This is the first thing agents look at, when considering whether to read your script or not. Unique story, well-told.
Writing ability and style. Everything depends on this.
Dialog: your ability to write good, memorable and believable dialog is paramount.
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. Edit every word of the script with a fine-toothed comb, and correct all spelling, punctuation and syntax errors.
Budget: yes, a screenwriter needs to know about this. Many buyers are looking for specific subjects with very specific production budgets. Currently, a low-budget feature film will be $10-20 million, for example. If your script requires action scenes and/or CGI graphics, double that figure.
If you know The Business at all, make the agent aware of this, so he or she will know you are a professional.
Let the prospective agent know you are open to re-writes and edits of your scripts. You will almost always be asked to do re-writes, sometimes “on spec”, so prepare yourself mentally and be agreeable to it.
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.
Be friendly and easy-going, yet professional and self-confident. 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.
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 and studios keep lists of what has been submitted, and you don’t want to embarrass your new agent!
How to get “discovered”:
com is a 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 parties and other events where Hollywood types will be.
Enter film festival 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
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, 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 130 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 spelling errors
A cover letter that is more than one page long
A script that is mostly descriptions of people and locations, like a novel
A script with unrealistic or stilted/boring dialog
A script with more than 100 scenes (each scene costs money)
A script with a prospective production budget over that what is requested
A script that is not in the genre requested
A 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
Written and directed by Rabbi Moshe Mones (Paul Mones on Google and imdb.com) and produced by Mones and Darren Schwartz, this film, on the redemptive power of faith, parallels Mones’ own life.
Mones became seriously ill in 2010 and, by the next year, he could barely walk. His doctor introduced him to Darren Schwartz, who told him of a small book he had read: “Dovid MEYER: The orphan From Jerusalem.” Mones read the book and it was, indeed, something special, a blessing. A gift. A miracle. From it, Mones has learned that life is full of immeasurable surprises.
A brief synopsis of the film: the Kalmans, a proper British, non-observant Jewish family, think they are hiring an au pair for their two children. Hoping for a Mary Poppins-type nanny, the family is shocked when the au pair who appears on their doorstep is Dovid Meyer, a 13-year-old Hasidic boy. They agree to keep him for few days, not knowing how he is about to change their lives. One young boy, full of life, humor and faith, brings a spiritual awakening to the Kalmans and unites two desperate families as he spreads his wisdom, wonder and magic into our world.
The Moondance International Film Festival has been recognized as a 2013 Colorado Excellence Award recipient.
The panel of industry executives and consultants oversees an annual survey commissioned by the Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce (SBIEC) on various industries and determines which companies meet and exceed the industry benchmarks that have been set forth. Moondance International Film Festival was one of those selected this year!
Moondance is putting together a photo album from this year’s film fest held in Mysitc, Connecticut. If any of you have pictures you’d like to share with us of the screenings, workshops, events or parties and ceremonies, please send them firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth & Jim Steffman, feature screenplay winner
Talented filmmakers, writers & composers from all over the world, some 46 countries & counting, submit their projects to the annual Moondance competition. Some film festivals claim to be international but Moondance, with our commitment to representing the voices and viewpoints of the underrepresented, strives to attract talented writers, musicians and filmmakers from as many countries and in as many languages as we can.
This year, at Moondance 2013, we were pleased to welcome films from ___,_____, and _____. In fact, half of our “audience favorite” films were from countries other than the United States.
Our 2014 call-for-entries opens December 1, 2013, so get ready to send in your submission & represent your country!
If you have any great ideas on how to encourage more international submissions, please share them!