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New for 2007! SCRIPT SECRETS: CHARACTER IN ACTION - The action class is back! Writing an action movie? A thriller? Need to know how to create suspense and plot twists and amazing action scenes? This is the class for you! We'll be using BATMAN BEGINS as our primary example, with clips from THE MATRIX, DESPERADO and ROARD WARRIOR (and others).

DAY 1, 9am - 6pm - FOUNDATIONS

The action genre has been evolving over the last decade - today's action movie focuses more on character and spectacle and concept. Those generic cop and commando movies are a thing of the past - the new action film uses flawed superheroes (like Spider-man and Batman) and high concept ideas (like DEJA VU and THE MATRIX). We'll start with finding a great high concept idea, then create the new breed of hero and villain, then connect plot and character with theme and look at pacing your script - do you have enough story? Backstory and foreshadowing. Examples will include THE MATRIX, ROAD WARRIOR, DESPERADO and KISS KISS BANG BANG.

INTRO: Action movies for the New Millennium - Why James Bond no longer gives a damn if his martinis are shaken or stirred. Why Batman carries a gun. Why Jason Bourne has nightmares.

1) Ideas - Today's action requires an amazing high concept idea. Brainstorming - Methods for creatiung original ideas from nothing. 15 fresh places to find high concept action ideas. Finding the RIGHT idea for your action script. High Concept is MY concept - a story you are passionate about that producers will be passionate about.

2) Developing Ideas - Finding your personal connection to an action idea, or growing a high concept idea from your personal experiences (even if you've never been in a shoot out). Magnification, finding the core idea. How your idea creates the story, characters, subplots, theme, scenes and everything else!

3) Ultimate Villains! - The most important character in an action or thriller films isn't the hero, it's the Villain! How to create a great villain with a great villian's plan. The 3D villain - they are the hero if the story is told from their point of view! Flipsides - how villains and heroes are connected.

4) Unique Heroes! - Your hero's job - what is it? Cop? FBI? Weather Man? Crook? The 3 best techniques to make your hero three-dimensional. Emotional and physical conflict - why your hero needs both! 12 ways to make your action hero likeable - even if they're a crook! 20 character building techniques for action heroes.

5) Story - The 10 critical elements of any action or thriller story. Growing story from character... or character from story. How an action story works. Internal and external conflicts - what blows up? Mystery stories, thriller stories, revenge stories - how they work.

6) Theme & Character Arc - Just because it's an action film doesn't mean it has to be dumb. How to find and use theme in your action story. Why theme is the most important element in action. Character arcs for the strong, silent type.

7) Structure & Pacing - Pacing is the heart beat of your action script. How the traditional 3 Act structure REALLY works - why it's been used for over 2,400 years. 5 techniques to improve pacing... and why pacing is critical to every screenplay. "Genre juice" and pacing.

8) Sidekicks & Henchmen & Love Interests - Five kinds of love interests. 4 things every henchman needs. Creatuing vivid supporting characters and the subplot prism. Distinctive speech patterns for each character. Over 10 character building techniques for supporting characters - how to make them individual and memorable.


Now that we have our hero and villain and a great high concept action idea... it's time to put them to work! Proven techniques use by professional writers to make their scripts *great*! You'll learn how to heighten drama by using contrast. How to use slang, jargon, subtext, banter and non-verbal dialog. Demonstration, symbolism, leitmotifs, and other ways to tell stories with pictures. How to sell your action script - finding the right producer for your screenplay. Examples will include THE MATRIX, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, DILLINGER, THE BIG SLEEP, and NOTORIOUS.

1) Your First Ten Pages - Opening with action. Your very first page... and first *word*. Hooks, lures, kickers, string theory. Six basic ways to start your action screenplay - the opening scene. The 12 critical elements of your first ten pages - do you have them all?

2) Action Scenes - Ten ways to create new action scenes. Car chases, shoot outs, explosions! Using action to expose character. "Bullet Time": the high concept action scene. How long should am action scene be and how many should I have in my script? Match cuts and ways to connect scenes. 7 things all scenes *need* to work.

3) Suspense & Plot Twists - Four kinds of suspense. Rugpulls, Twists, and Reversals. How to create a plot twist. Diversion and anticipation. Holding a twist. Big clocks & scene clocks. Secrets & revealing information. Techniques to keep the reader on the edge of their seat!

4) Tough Guy Dialogue - Slang, banter and smart-alec remarks! Payback lines. 5 ways to create original dialogue... by making up your own words! Over 20 techniques to make your dialogue sing. 5 ways to remove OTN (on the nose) dialogue.

5) Thinking In Pictures - How to *show* character through action. Why action scenes *are* character scenes, too. Thinking in pictures. Visual characterization and visual story telling - 12 tools you can use today!

6) Blockbusters! - The essential elements of the summer blockbuster. Spectale. Big Bang Theory. The Gee Whiz Factor. How to write a GOOD blockbuster, from finding the right high concept to creating spectacle to remembering that character is at the center of story.

7) Creating Explosive Endings - Does your villain need to explode? 14 types of endings for your screenplay - which is best for YOUR action script? The high noon scene. 5 critical elements that ALL screenplay endings need. Twist endings and "to be continueds".

8) Marketing Your Screenplay - 25 methods to build your career... things you can do TODAY! What does Hollywood want? Writing scripts that sell. How to sell even without an agent or manager.

FADE OUT: Writing action movies that actually get made!


I got more from your class than any other.
- R. Sharp

Very practical information presented in an easygoing, approachable manner. With his no-nonsense presentation and nuts-and-bolts approach, Bill Martell demystifies the often obfuscated process of screenwriting. Using concrete examples from classic movies and recent blockbusters, Bill takes the "woo-woo" out of the art of writing for film and replaces it with solid craft.
- K. Sandler

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What screenwriters do you absolutely hate? What films are over-rated? Is DECK THE HALLS one of the signs that the world is about to end? Be heard: Movie Discussion!

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My friend Jeff Burr's new movie is SAVING PRIVATE RYAN meets FREAKS!

The new CDs are available now!


IDEAS AND CREATIVITY - 80 minute CD packed with information. Tools to find ideas that are both personal *and* commercial. How to turn your personal story into a blockbuster - or find your personal story in a high concept idea. Brainstorming and being creative. Ideas and Creativity is $14.95 (plus $3 S&H)

WRITING INDIES - Writing an Indie film? This class covers everything you need to know - from Central Locations to Confined Cameos. Using examples from SWINGERS, THE COOLER, STATION AGENT and others, this 80 minute CD is packed with information. How Indoe films challenge the audience (while mainstream films reassure the audience). Structures, using BOYS DON'T CRY, RUN LOLA RUN, HILARY & JACKIE, and others as example. Writing for a budget, writing for non-actors, getting the most production value out of your budget. Writing Indies is $14.95 (plus $3 S&H)

WRITING THRILLERS - a TWO CD Class - The first CD covers the essentials of a thriller screenplay, using examples from MINORITY REPORT, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, BOURNE IDENTITY, BREAKDOWN, THE LADY VANISHES, THE GAME and THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR as primary examples - what do all of those films have in common? This CD will tell you! Part Two covers the 20 iconic scenes in Thriller films, and explains how suspense works using MINORITY REPORT as an example and how plot twists work using BOURNE SUPREMACY and other films. Writing Thrillers: Two CD Class - $24.95 (plus $5 S&H)

Coming in 2007: The NAKED SCREENWRITING CLASS! The 2001 London Class on 8 CDs! Recorded *live* the morning after the Raindance Film wrapped. Over ten of the sixteen hours of class, plus a workbook, plus some sort of bonus CD... all for one reasonable price!

Click here for more information on CLASS CDs!

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