ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
"William C. Martell is the Robert Towne of made for cable movies," (Washington Post reviewer) David Nuttycombe.
How many screenwriting teachers make their living actually writing and selling screenplays?
William C. Martell has written nineteen produced films, including three HBO World Premieres, two Showtime Originals, two MOWs for USA Network, and a whole bunch of CineMax Originals (which is what happens when an HBO movie goes really, really wrong). In 2009 he wrote the big budget studio remake of a low budget 1980s theatrical horror movie - which is still inching toward production, and in his 20 year career as a professional screenwriter has done everything from adapting a New York Times Bestseller to turning down the job adapting ANGELS & DEMONS. When he's not writing screenplays, he spends his time on film festival juries, including Raindance in London (twice - once with Mike Figgis and Saffron Burrows, once with Lennie James and Edgar Wright - and went back to "jury duty" in October of 2009). Roger Ebert discussed his work with Gene Siskel on his 1997 "If We Picked The Winners" Oscar show. and he's quoted a few times in Bordwell's great book "The Way Hollywood tells It". His USA Net flick HARD EVIDENCE was released on video the same day as the Julia Roberts' film Something To Talk About and out-rented it in the USA... resulting in many meetings at Warner Bros (who released both films). In 2007 he had two films released on DVD on the same day - one from Sony Pictures, one from LionsGate - and both made the top 10 rentals. He is currently working on several projects for studios.
See a video interview with Mr. Martell from London's The Writer's Room (from the BBC).
Interview series from Writer's Bloc Show on Virtual Network: Part 1
Interview series from Writer's Bloc Show on Virtual Network: Part 2
Interview series from Writer's Bloc Show on Virtual Network: Part 3
Interview series from Writer's Bloc Show on Virtual Network: Part 4
Interview series from Writer's Bloc Show on Virtual Network: Part 5
Mr. Martell has been interviewed in Variety (February 24, 1997), featured in The Hollywood Reporter's first Writers Special Issue (February 1994), was the cover interview in The Hollywood Scriptwriter (October 1996), and was interviewed in the first issue of ScreenTalk Magazine (Denmark). Entertainment Today (March 23, 2001) named his website ScriptSecrets.Net the Best On The Web for screenwriters... and his blog was selected as one of the best by Bachelor's Degree Org.
Last year a copy of his book THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING sold on e-bay for $999.00 - his two day class costs about a quarter of that!
Past students of Martell's big two day class have sold scripts to Miramax, George Clooney's Section Eight Productions, Joel Silver Films, and the amazing Steve Robinson took what he learned in the class and wrote the winner of the Nokia International Short Film Competition, "Have I Passed?".
Mr. Martell has taught screenwriting courses at Sherwood Oaks College in Los Angeles, for Project Greenlight in Los Angeles, at the Cripple Creek (Colorado) Film Festival, the Ft. Lauderdale (Florida) Film Festival, the Temecula (California) Film Festival, several times at the Santa Fe Screenwriters Conference along side Oscar winners William Kelley (WITNESS), David S. Ward (THE STING), and Oscar nominees Chris DeVore (THE ELEPHANT MAN) and Mark Medoff (CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD), twice at the Las Vegas Screenwriting Conference along side Steven Katz (SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE), Shane Black (LETHAL WEAPON), and Ross LaManna (RUSH HOUR), and three times taught classes at the Sacramento (California) Film Festival.
Mr. Martell's book, THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING (First Strike Press) has been called "The best book on the practical nuts-and-bolts mechanics of writing a screenplay I've ever read." - Ted Elliott, co-writer "The Mask Of Zorro", "Shrek", "Pirates Of The Caribbean".
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"William C. Martell knows the action genre inside out. Learn from an expert!" - Mark Verheiden, screenwriter, "Time Cop", "The Mask" and TV's "Smallville".
"This book is dangerous. I feel threatened by it." -Roger Avary, Oscar winning screenwriter, "Pulp Fiction".
"My only complaint with SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING is that it wasn't around when I was starting out. The damned thing would have saved me years of trial and error!" -Ken Wheat, screenwriter, "Pitch Black" and "The Fly 2".
"Finally a screenwriting book written by a working professional screenwriter. Bill Martell really knows his stuff, showing you how to write a tight, fast screenplay." - John Hill, screenwriter, "Quigley Down Under".
Mr. Martell is currently working on projects for major studios. He had two films released on DVD on the same day in 2007 - one from Lions Gate and one from Sony/Columbia - both landed on the Top Ten Rentals Chart. He has just written the remake of a hit 1980s film for a producer you've heard of.
Mr. Martell was born in the same hospital, in the same month, as Tom Hanks. Many believe they were switched at birth, and Bill should be the movie star. He lives in Studio City, California, and can be found most afternoons at Priscilla's coffee house in Toluca Lake writing some darned new script on his laptop.
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
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!
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What screenwriters do you absolutely hate? What films are over-rated? Are the Oscars rigged? Is Mel Gibson's APOCALYPTO one of the signs that the world is about to end? Be heard: Movie Discussion!
My friend Jeff Burr's movie is SAVING PRIVATE RYAN meets FREAKS!
CLASSES ON CD! Five Classes are ready to ship on audio CD: GUERRILLA MARKETING YOUR SCRIPT: NO AGENT? NO PROBLEM!, WRITING HORROR, WRITING THRILLERS (2 CD set), WRITING INDIES and IDEAS & CREATIVITY. Classes on CD - Click Here!
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