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Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists

13th Great Movie Idea Contest Results

By | Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists

Grand Prize Winner

Mommy Is Missing by Matt MacDonald

Born with a fiery passion for storytelling and high-SPF sunblock, writer/director MATT MACDONAL

D grew up in the sweltering desert heat of Phoenix, Arizona. Scourged by the sun’s villainous UV rays, Matt opted at an early age to embrace air conditioning — devouring books, video games, and large quantities of sugared cereal.

An accomplished voice-over actor and nationally published author, Matt received his MFA in Film & Television Production from the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts. His work has screened at more than 40 film festivals worldwide (including the Palm Springs International ShortFest and San Diego Comic-Con), been highlighted multiple times as a Vimeo Staff Pick, and featured by the likes of Mashable, Kotaku, io9, Bloody Disgusting, Rolling Stone, and HBO’s Project Greenlight. Matt’s dad frequently tells him to “keep up the good work.”

As a writer, director, and editor, Matt has worked with brands such as Microsoft, Playboy, McDonald’s, Nike, Activision/Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Taco Bell, among many others. He was most recently selected as a writing fellow to the 2017 Shudder Labs, an independent horror development retreat produced by AMC, as well as directed the viral sensation “Not Normal,” a 12-minute animated short film created entirely with the video game Grand Theft Auto V and nominated for a 2018 MPSE Golden Reel Award. Collectively, Matt’s work has amassed close to 16 million online views.

In his free time, Matt enjoys spin class, theoretical science, and pie. His favorite Beatles song is “Hey Jude” and you’ll frequently find him in one of the many Greater Los Angeles Area Yogurtlands.


Seen by Cate Smierciak & Nick Clifford

12th Great Movie Idea Contest Results

By | Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists

Grand Prize Winner

The Maidservant Cap by Jeff Opdyke

Jeff Opdyke is a Louisiana-born writer who has traveled the world for his jobs (62 countries, six continents). He spent 17 years at The Wall Street Journal and seven with a Florida-based newsletter traveling globally to write about geo-politics, economics and investing. He has also written eight books under his own name and two as a ghostwriter for others.

He graduated from Louisiana State University in 1989 with a B.A. in journalism. He recently chucked everything in his life to relocate to California to attend UCLA, with an eye toward pursuing a lifelong dream of writing for television and movies. He’s currently at work on a comedy pilot. Wherever he lives, you should probably flee, since he moved to Los Angeles just in time for the Rodney King Riots, which he covered for the Orange County Register; he was in New York City as 9/11 unfolded, which he covered for The Journal; and he relocated to South Louisiana, only to get caught up driving into the maw of Hurricane Katrina, for which he was part of The Journal team nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. With that in mind, Jeff currently lives in Long Beach, California. You’ve been warned.


Wasps by Albert Cook

11th Great Movie Idea Contest Results

By | Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists

Grand Prize Winner

Curly Sue Found Dead by Natalia Arias

Natalia Celine Arias is a multifaceted artist and designer from Miami, Florida. She received her BFA in Graphic Design from Maryland Institute College of Art, where she also strongly focused on Video/Film Arts.

With a passion for creative direction and writing, she dedicates herself to music, film, and pop culture while emphasizing strong ties to diversity in the entertainment industry within her work.

She lives in Baltimore, MD and works as a Senior Graphic Designer for Jean Hill Studios, a full-service impact media firm specializing in film, design, photography, and social impact events. – www.nataliacarias.com



Guilda by Francine Labrecque

10th Great Movie Idea Contest Results

By | Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists

Grand Prize Winner

The Jersey Tapes by Pierce Vaughn & Steven Freeman

PiercePierce Vaughn is a British-American filmmaker who was born in France and raised in Germany. He has Swedish, Portuguese, Russian, Brazilian and Scottish ancestors. Today, he lives on the island of Borneo in faraway Indonesia.

In 2009, he graduated from Berlin’s Broadcast School for Audio Visual Media Design, working in German television as editor and motion graphics designer. That same year, he and his brother moved to Borneo, Indonesia, where they started Borneo Productions International (BPI), a film production company that went on to produce numerous documentary films about environmental and social issues. Clients include the BBC, United Nations, Channels NewsAsia, and multiple others. His film company has won several awards, including a Peabody Award shortlisting. Pierce has written numerous scripts, directed several short films, and supports young filmmakers in Borneo develop their passion for film.

After meeting Steven Freeman in 2014 and developing the idea The Jersey Tapes, they both knew they had an unbelievable story that needed to be told to a large audience.

StevenSteven Freeman is an American photographer from New Jersey with a love for travel and adventure. If he’s not in his hometown of Ventnor, he’s likely taking dodgy canoe trips up the jungle rivers of Borneo or shooting lions in Tanzania with his DSLR.

Steve graduated in 2004 from the University of Miami, majoring in photojournalism and cultural anthropology. In 2014, Steven traveled to Indonesia for a teaching job, where he met filmmaker Pierce Vaughn. With a shared passion for horror movies, Steve and Pierce started developing the idea The Jersey Tapes–a stranger-than-fiction story based on true events from Steve’s years as a teenager growing up in New Jersey. They believe they are on to creating something dark and authentic.


Death Warrant by Scott McCloud

Untitled Comedy by Leigh Smith

9th Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists

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Grapes smallerGrand Prize Winner

The Interlopers by Jason Vaughn

Jason M. Vaughn earned a degree in Painting from the University of Kansas back in a majestic time called “the nineties,” then drifted away from visual art and found himself addicted to books. Writing naturally followed. His poetry and short prose pieces have been circulated by various print and online journals, including Contrary, Monkeybicycle, and The Missouri Review. His first screenplay, The Synth House Wife (now titled The Green Sea), was a grand-prize winner in the 2012 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition. His third feature script, tentatively titled Interlopers, is being developed with Script Pipeline following a Great Movie Idea Contest win.


The Somali by Andy Criss
The Wellness Plan by Wendy Burt-Thomas

7th Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists

By | Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists

Grand Prize WinnerMattTolbert

The Starter Marriage (Romantic Comedy)
by Matthew Tolbert

Matthew Tolbert is an award-winning screenplay, comic strip, comic book, short story, and greeting card writer. And beer snob. His works have been syndicated and published nationwide. Proving that espresso works, he has written for Marvel, Malibu, and other comic book companies, has had science fiction, fantasy, nonfiction short stories, and poetry published in a variety of magazines, and greeting cards produced for Gibson Cards, Allport Editions, and Beyond.com.

The Starter Marriage, a romantic comedy, is his first feature length screenplay. Present writing projects include his fifth script (this one is on Leif Eriksson) and a nasty email to his cable company.


Download Me (Sci-Fi/Comedy) by Mel Hamill

Hell Week (Comedy/Horror) by Monica Byrnes & Toria Sheffield

VMS (Sci-Fi/Action) by Alexander Janko