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* Formerly Naked Screenwriting

Refocused for 2007! SCRIPT SECRETS: THEME & CONFLICT - For 2007 we'll be using the Hitchcock movie NOTORIOUS as our primary example, with clips from that film as well as NORTH BY NORTHWEST, GODFATHER Part 2, REAR WINDOW, and THE BIG SLEEP.

DAY 1, 9am - 6pm - FOUNDATIONS

What is your story really about? What are you trying to say? A story without meaning is... well, meaningless and disposable. Theme is the most important element in any screenplay. We will start out finding your personal themes, then learning how to use theme to explore your character through story. How to use your personal themes to create stories that are high concept. The connection between theme and character. Pacing your script - do you have enough story? How theme connects all of the elements in your script. Examples will include NOTORIOUS, VERIGO, BODY HEAT, and MEMENTO.

INTRO: What is Theme? - Finding your personal themes and your voice as a writer.

1) Theme - Creating story and character from theme - how to find and use theme. Why theme is the most important element in a screenplay. Theme and nexus. Theme and dialogue.

2) Theme And Your Protagonist - Showing theme through character. 12 ways to make your lead character likeable. 20 character building techniques for protagonists. Why *you* are your protagonist.

3) Bringing Your Protagonist To Life - The 3 best techniques to make your protagonists three-dimensional.Emotional and physical conflict - why you need both!

4) Theme And Ideas - Movie ideas, novel ideas, stage play ideas - can you tell the difference? Where do you get your ideas? 15 fresh places to find great script ideas. Brainstorming - Methods for creating original ideas from nothing. Finding the RIGHT idea for your script. High Concept is MY concept - concepts that explore your personal themes - you are passionate about and producers will be passionate about.

5) Developing Ideas - Finding your personal connection to an idea, or growing a high concept idea from your personal experiences. Magnification, finding the core idea. How your idea creates the story, characters, subplots, theme, scenes and everything else!

6) Theme And Story - The 10 critical elements of any story. Growing story from theme and character... or theme and character from story. How story works. The connection between story and theme. Internal and external conflicts.

7) Story Form - Different ways to tell your story, from flashbacks to scattered chronology to multiple protagonists. How theme connects the characters in an ensemble story. Mystery and revealing information.

8) Structure & Pacing - 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.


Now that we have our story, characters, and theme... 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. Rewriting your script to make it producer perfect! Examples will include NOTORIOUS, REAR WINDOW, BREAKING AWAY, KISS KISS BANG BANG, and THE GODFATHER PART 2.

1) Your First Ten Pages - Hooks, lures, kickers, string theory. Six basic ways to start your screenplay - the opening scene. Theme and the 12 critical elements of your first ten pages - do you have them all? Your first ten pages sets the theme!

2) Emotion Pictures - A good script emotionally involves the reader. How to involve the audience by using reversals, suspense, and plot twists. How to create audience participation through choices.

3) Theme And Scenes - Ten ways to create new scenes. Using dramatic situations to expose character. Using story and theme DNA in scene creation. How long should a 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.

4) Advanced Dialogue - 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. Thematic dialogue - the nexus words!

5) Thinking In Pictures - Visual characterization and visual story telling - 12 tools you can use today! How theme is shown through actions and decisions.

6) Theme And Your Supporting Cast - Creating distinctive speech patterns for each character. Over 10 character building techniques for supporting characters - how to make them individual and memorable. Reflection characters, and symbolic characters. Character *purpose*. Vivid supporting characters and the subplot prism.

7) Creating Satisfying Endings - 14 types of endings for your screenplay - which is best for YOUR script? The themeatic ending. 5 critical elements that ALL screenplay endings need. Loose ends and unhappy endings.

8) Rewriting Your Script - Trimming the fat from your script. Focusing on character and character arc. 4 techniques for exploding cliches. Polishing and preparing your script for market - 30 rewrite tips. More!

FADE OUT: Seeing your personal themes on the big screen!


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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Buy The mug!Show Me The Monkey! The new Script Secrets *Typing Monkey* logo is here! He's busy working on PLANET OF THE APES 2... but you can have him *now* on a coffee cup or sweat shirt or messenger bag! I drink my morning coffee from a Script Secrets Monkey mug. Would you like a Script Secrets Typing Monkey mug of your own? The Script Secrets Store is OPEN!

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!

Jeff Burr's New Movie
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!

To discuss this Script Tip or ask a question, check out the Message Boards - and the FINAL DESTINATION 4 game in the game section!

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copyright 2007 by William C. Martell