Stanton native screenwriter brings plays to the screen
Although Stanton native Daniel L. Wolff is starting to get some recognition as a screenwriter — in Hollywood and elsewhere — he’s not waiting around for anyone else to turn his screenplays into movies.
Wolff, along with a mostly local cast and crew, have made two short films this year that bring his plays to the screen.
The films are “Suppose A Man,” a five-minute comedy piece, and “Matt, Max, Pam, Pat…,” which is considered a comedy short that will run about 25 minutes in length.
In March, the screenplay for “Suppose A Man” was submitted to the HollyShorts Screenplay Competition and was named as an official selection of the 14th annual HollyShorts Film Festival in August.
Wolff, along with his son, Micah, and daughter, Brenna, attended the festival in Hollywood. Most of the events were in the TCL Chinese Theatre, but the awards ceremony was held at the Harmony Gold Theater.
Although he didn’t walk away with an award, he did consider it a worthwhile experience that helped him appreciate what an honor it was just to be invited to attend.
“Everyone we talked to out there kept telling us actually how hard it is to be recognized by HollyShorts,” he said.
“Suppose A Man” is about an easily-frustrated high school physics teacher who tries to explain a complex concept to his students. It was filmed earlier this year in Wisner. It stars Dakota J. Vlotho of Rock Valley, Iowa, Elizabeth Kremlacek of Stanton, and Brenna Wolff and Rebekah McCaffrey, both of Norfolk. A number of students from area high schools were used as extras.
Some people may recognize Vlotho as a regular in several Northeast Community College and Norfolk Community Theater productions.
A crew from District 25 Productions of Norfolk provided the camera, audio and editing services.
On Oct. 14, “Suppose A Man” had its world premiere at the Prairie Lights Film Festival in Grand Island.
Four days later, Wolff began filming his next project, “Matt, Max, Pam, Pat…,” staged at The Uptown Café in Stanton. He recently wrapped up filming, and the project is now in the editing process.
Wolff called on Vlotho again, and added Aline Skogstoe of Norfolk as stars in this production.
“The first two people I asked were Dakota and Aline. I wrote this with Dakota in mind, and after seeing one of Aline’s performances, I was just praying I could get her to say ‘Yes.’ I knew if I had those two, it was going to have real potential,” Wolff added.
“Matt Max, Pam, Pat…” was written during a three-day period in March, shortly after Wolff and his daughter, Brenna, attended a dinner theater in Norfolk. Wolff initially thought what he wrote would make a great play. But when the script got into the hands of his friends and local film enthusiasts, the decision to put it on film was made.
“Matt, Max, Pam, Pat…” is a real-time story featuring the experience of three tables of diners. Not only does the audience see how each character responds to one another, but also witnesses what each one is thinking by the presence of an alter ego, whom interacts only with his own character. It is a fast-paced comedy which Wolff said he hopes audiences will appreciate.
District 25 Productions was called on again to provide technical support.
“I have many people to thank, but if it wasn’t for Seth Johanson, Drew Dolezal and Tiffany Jacobson from District 25 Productions, none of this would have been possible. They brought a great crew. Their expertise and extreme patience with me is appreciated more than they will ever know. They are real professionals down there,” Wolff said.
Wolff said he also appreciated having the opportunity to film at The Uptown. “It was a pleasure to film there,” he said.
Also cast in the film were several Northeast Nebraska residents, including Marie Kubo, Micah Wolff, Sheila Jenkinson, Tyler Wieseler, Jerry Wemhoff, Melanie Loggins, Laura Forker, Kody Erbst, Monte Kremlacek, Brenna Wolff, Shelby Jenkinson, Ian Cullin, Aaron Johanson and Jovie Wolff, who is Wolff’s niece.
Wolff said he has always had an interest in film but started out writing narrative poems, short stories, and occasionally worked on what he hoped someday would turn into novels. It wasn’t until 2010 that Wolff’s son, Micah, started writing screenplays.
That was when Wolff began working on some of his own.
Wolff said he, Micah and Brenna hope to be invited back to the 2019 HollyShorts Film Festival. They plan to enter a minimum of one screenplay and three short films next year. They believe they have a good chance of at least one being accepted.
The Wolff family members, operating under the business name, Union Creek Entertainment, have set as the main objective to showcase their short films through film festivals and other venues in order to garner financial support for larger projects down the road.
“If we can show everyone we can make quality short films with virtually no budget, I can’t wait to see what we can do with a little financial support,” Wolff said.
* * *
Want to learn more?
Union Creek Entertainment can be found on Facebook and Instagram (unioncreekentmt).