FRIDAY'S SCRIPT TIP:

KITCHEN SINKING YOUR SCRIPT


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You have this great idea for a cop-drama about police corruption, there's this cop who discovers that one of the guys he works with is taking bribes, and when he investigates, he discovers that *all* of the cops on the force are taking bribes! And when he goes to the chief and tells him about it... even the chief is also on the take! And now all of the cops are after our hero!

But you have this other idea about a cop chasing a serial killer, and discovers that the serial killer is the son of a millionaire who has the best lawyers in the world and can bribe anybody and change all of the evidence, so that the cop can't make an arrest.

Then you come up with the genius idea - combine both ideas! Now it's the millionaire who is bribing all of the cops!

But you also have this idea about a guy whose wife is a drug addict and gets divorced and has to raise his son alone, and get back into the dating world. Hey! Even a story about a cop hunting a serial killer while he deals with rampant police corruption needs some romance, right? So you add this idea in with the others.

Hey, and just when the cop is getting close to finding the evidence, the bad cops kill his ex-wife with an overdose!

And the cop is dating again, right? So we could use this as a great way to throw in some gratuitous nudity! He can date some hot chick who takes off her clothes in one scene... or maybe two.

But our cop hero can't ride off into the sunset with the hot chick, because she's naked and likes sex... that makes her a slut. What kind of a mother is that for his son? No - we need a nice girl, too. The one he doesn't even notice at first. Hey, she could be his kid's 2nd grade teacher! They could meet at a parent teacher conference... because his son is acting out due to the divorce. We can have all kinds of scenes on the playground where the kid gets into fights or gets teased or both.

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Hey... what if one of the other kids is the son of a corrupt cop? And they're best friends, but their dads are mortal enemies! And we could have this great father and son scene where he talks about the difference between adults and kids and the real value of friendship. People would love that!

And to show what a nice guy our hero is, let's give him a dog - people love dogs! Hey, it could be a police dog! A *retired* police dog!

But, wait - we need some story things for the serial killer and his father! And the chief of police needs some cool scenes! And the hero should have a lucky leather jacket that he wears all the time. And then he leaves it somewhere right before the big shoot out! And we also need some scenes that...

I have read scripts like this. The writer wants to put every good idea they have in one script, thinking that will make it supergood. Instead, it just makes it a mess. You end up with a scatter-shot plot that reads like four producer's assistants carrying scripts slam into each other in the hallway on their way to the copy machine and all of the script pages get mixed up... because they are in a hurry, everyone gets pages 1-110... but not all from the same script. The movie seems like it has ADD.

That's what LEATHERHEADS seemed like. You can't do everything in one film, you have to make decisions. You can't please everyone, and though Ricky Nelson is right that you have to please yourself, it's also nice to please some segment of the paying public while you're at it. The problem with making a movie that tries to please everyone is that it usually pleases no one... and LEATHERHEADS suffers from trying to be all things to all men and women and ending up being nothing. They try to cram in everything but the kitchen sink, and it ends up sinking the film.

ALL KINDS OF COMEDY

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LEATHERHEADS tries to be every single kind of 1940s comedy in one film: a Howard Hawks screwball comedy, a prat-fall physical comedy that seems Keystone Coppish, a Preston Sturges style ironic comedy, and a half dozen other styles and tones... all at the same time. Plus, it's a newspaper story and a romance and a football story and a war hero movie and another half dozen subjects all crammed into one film. They may have been able to pick two types of comedy and two types of story and come out with a film that works, but we end up with everything but the kitchen sink.

There are some laughs, but it doesn't add up to anything... so the laughs don't build,

George Clooney is a pro football player when teams played in cow pastures and were sponsored by small businesses, the way they sponsor little league teams today. They have one football, and if anything happens to it - the game is over. When the team's sponsor pulls out, everyone goes back to their day job except Clooney - he has never done anything but play football. When he finds out that *thousands* of people go to Princeton football games every week to see Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski) play, he decides to find some way to get the college kid to play on their team. Meanwhile, in another plot, Rene Zellweger is a saucy reporter who is given the assignment to expose a war hero (Krasinski) who is cashing in on his fame, is really a fraud. Oh, wait, they're the same guy. And he has a shady agent, played by Jonathan Pryce... even though he's a college player and there really isn't any such thing as pro football at this point... so why does he need an agent? Anyway, when Clooney makes them an offer to go pro, pro football is kind of born. Zellweger now covers the birth of pro football, as she also tries to expose Krasinski as a fraud... and this leads to a love triangle, and hijinks ensue.

Sounds a lot like my fake police corruption and serial killer story, doesn't it?

TOO MANY STORIES

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My friend John Hill (QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER) says that movies are simple stories about complicated people. Too many writers confuse being complicated with being complex. You want to go *deeper* into the story, pulling back layers; rather than go *wider* by adding extra subplots and bits that are glued on from the outside. You want to start with a streamlined story that is easy to understand, then really dig into it.

I think LEATHERHEADS should have just gotten rid of the whole fake war hero thing and focused on football. That's what it was supposed to be about, right? The early days of pro football. They should have had Zellweger be given the assignment to cover Krasinksi due to his product endorsements (which don't get much time in the film, yet are a major part of the world of emerging pro football). By removing the whole war hero thing, we could spend more time on football - and instead of *talk* about how pro football has all of these fun, colorful plays, we could actually *see* them. More football in the movie about football! We do get a Statue Of Liberty play, but I want to know what the Crusty Bob is - they talk about it throughout the film.

When Krasinski first joins the team, there's a ten second discussion about the difference between college plays and pro football plays... but it would have been nice to see them try some college plays in the pro world. Since an important part of the story seems to be the difference between the structured world of college ball vs. the unstructured world of pro ball... and how that changes when pro becomes "legitimate"... it would be nice to see more of that on film. That's going deeper instead of wider.

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It would have been nice to see more of the guy's day jobs, and more personality and character for the other guys - they don't have much screen time right now. Football is a team sport, except in this movie. The other guys on the team are basically extras who pop up in those rare scenes where football is actually played. And the film misses some great moments - when Clooney tries to sign up for unemployment, they ask what skills he has and what jobs he's had... and that's the end of the scene. They could have had him say he's been playing pro football for the past 20 years, "You can't make a living playing football", and Clooney responds that is why he's here. And find some other ways for Clooney to show his love for the game - which we really don't get in the film. Again - if the film is about football, let's make it about football.

There are some laughs here and there in LEATHERHEADS, but I also wonder is a story this muddled and difficult to describe is the best choice for a period film - where the average audience member may not identify with the time period... and the cost of recreating that time period makes the film somewhat expensive to make. A straightforward romantic comedy against the background of the birth of pro football would have been less confusing and maybe appealed to a larger audience.

Often on a movie like this, all of the extra plots and extra characters and that dog they threw in are the result of over-development. That was probably the case here. All of the execs think that everything they add makes the script that much better, and like the screenwriter of that cop corruption/serial killer script - they end up with a mess. As with all things in Hollywood - no one wants to *buy* a script this messed up. That gives them nothing to do. They want to buy the great script, then mess it up... "Kitchen sinking" it until it has completely sunk.

My suggestion - write a 3 sentence logline for your script. Tape it to your monitor. Everything in your script must be included in that logline. No extra plots, no characters that are not part of telling that story, no scenes that aren't part of that story. *That* is the story you are telling. You want a focused story - not everything but the kitchen sink.



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OUTLINES & THE THEMATIC!

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OUTLINES & THE THEMATIC Blue Book.

ARE YOUR SCENES IN THE RIGHT ORDER?
AND ARE THEY THE RIGHT SCENES?

Your story is like a road trip... but where are you going? What's the best route to get there? What are the best sights to see along the way? Just as you plan a vacation instead of just jump in the car and start driving, it's a good idea to plan your story. An artist does sketches before breaking out the oils, so why shouldn't a writer do the same? This Blue Book looks at various outlining methods used by professional screenwriters like Wesley Strick, Paul Schrader, John August, and others... as well as a guest chapter on novel outlines. Plus a whole section on the Thematic Method of generating scenes and characters and other elements that will be part of your outline. The three stages of writing are: Pre-writing, Writing, and Rewriting... this book looks at that first stage and how to use it to improve your screenplays and novels.

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DESCRIPTION & VOICE Blue Book!

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DESCRIPTION & VOICE Blue Book.

IS HALF OF YOUR STORY IN TROUBLE?

Most screenplays are about a 50/50 split between dialogue and description - which means your description is just as important as your dialogue. It just gets less press because the audience never sees it, the same reason why screenwriters get less press than movie stars. But your story will never get to the audience until readers and development executives read your script... so it is a very important factor. Until the movie is made the screenplay is the movie and must be just as exciting as the movie. So how do you make your screenplay exciting to read? Description is important in a novel as well, and the “audience” does read it... how do we write riveting description?

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*** STRUCTURING YOUR STORY *** - For Kindle!


William Goldman says the most important single element of any screenplay is structure. It’s the skeleton under the flesh and blood of your story. Without it, you have a spineless, formless, mess... a slug! How do you make sure your structure is strong enough to support your story? How do you prevent your story from becoming a slug? This Blue Book explores different types of popular structures from the basic three act structure to more obscure methods like leap-frogging. We also look at structure as a verb as well as a noun, and techniques for structuring your story for maximum emotional impact. Most of the other books just look at *structure* and ignore the art of *structuring* your story. Techniques to make your story a page turner... instead of a slug!

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LEARN SUSPENSE FROM THE MASTER!

*** HITCHCOCK: MASTERING SUSPENSE *** - For Kindle!

Alfred Hitchcock, who directed 52 movies, was known as the *Master Of Suspense*; but what exactly is suspense and how can *we* master it? How does suspense work? How can *we* create “Hitchcockian” suspense scenes in our screenplays, novels, stories and films?

This book uses seventeen of Hitchcock’s films to show the difference between suspense and surprise, how to use “focus objects” to create suspense, the 20 iconic suspense scenes and situations, how plot twists work, using secrets for suspense, how to use Dread (the cousin of suspense) in horror stories, and dozens of other amazing storytelling lessons. From classics like “Strangers On A Train” and “The Birds” and “Vertigo” and “To Catch A Thief” to older films from the British period like “The 39 Steps” and “The Man Who Knew Too Much” to his hits from the silent era like “The Lodger” (about Jack The Ripper), we’ll look at all of the techniques to create suspense!

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KINDA NEW!

*** THE BOURNE MOVIES

All five "Bourne" movies (including "Legacy" and it's potential sequels) - what are the techniques used to keep the characters and scenes exciting and involving? Reinventing the thriller genre... or following the "formula"? Five films - each with an interesting experiment! A detailed analysis of each of the films, the way these thrillers work... as well as a complete list of box office and critical statistics for each film. This book is great for writers, directors, and just fans of the series.

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Strange Structures!

*** HITCHCOCK: EXPERIMENTS IN TERROR! *** - For Kindle!

***

Contained Thrillers like "Buried"? Serial Protagonists like "Place Beyond The Pines"? Multiple Connecting Stories like "Pulp Fiction"? Same Story Multiple Times like "Run, Lola, Run"?
HITCHCOCK DID IT FIRST!

This book focuses on 18 of Hitchcock's 52 films with wild cinema and story experiments which paved the way for modern films. Almost one hundred different experiments that you may think are recent cinema or story inventions... but some date back to Hitchcock's *silent* films! We'll examine these experiments and how they work. Great for film makers, screenwriters, film fans, producers and directors.

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GOT IDEAS?

*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Kindle!

*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to find great ideas! Your screenplay is going to begin with an idea. There are good ideas and bad ideas and commercial ideas and personal ideas. But where do you find ideas in the first place? This handbook explores different methods for finding or generating ideas, and combining those ideas into concepts that sell. The Idea Bank, Fifteen Places To Find Ideas, Good Ideas And Bad Ideas, Ideas From Locations And Elements, Keeping Track Of Your Ideas, Idea Theft - What Can You Do? Weird Ways To Connect Ideas, Combing Ideas To Create Concepts, High Concepts - What Are They? Creating The Killer Concept, Substitution - Lion Tamers & Hitmen, Creating Blockbuster Concepts, Magnification And The Matrix, Conflict Within Concept, Concepts With Visual Conflict, Avoiding Episodic Concepts, much more! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 175 pages!

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BRAND NEW!

*** HOOK 'EM IN TEN *** - For Kindle!


Your story doesn't get a second chance to make a great first impression, and this book shows you a bunch of techniques on how to do that. From the 12 Basic Ways To Begin Your Story, to the 3 Stars Of Your First Scene (at least one must be present) to World Building, Title Crawls, Backstory, Starting Late, Teasers and Pre Title Sequences, Establishing Theme & Motifs (using GODFATHER PART 2), Five Critical Elements, Setting Up The Rest Of The Story (with GODFATHER), and much more! With hundreds of examples ranging from Oscar winners to classic films like CASABLANCA to some of my produced films (because I know exactly why I wrote the scripts that way). Biggest Blue Book yet! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 100,000 words - 312 pages!

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WHAT IS A SCENE?

*** SCENE SECRETS *** - For Kindle!

***

What is a scene and how many you will need? The difference between scenes and sluglines. Put your scenes on trial for their lives! Using "Jaws" we'll look at beats within a scene. Scene DNA. Creating set pieces and high concept scenes. A famous director talks about creating memorable scenes. 12 ways to create new scenes. Creating unexpected scenes. Use dramatic tension to supercharge your scenes. Plants and payoffs in scenes. Plus transitions and buttons and the all important "flow"... and more! Over 65,000 words! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 210 pages!

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DO YOU WRITE PICTURES?

*** VISUAL STORYTELLING *** - For Kindle! (exclusive)


Show Don't Tell - but *how* do you do that? Here are techniques to tell stories visually! Using Oscar Winning Films and Oscar Nominated Films as our primary examples: from the first Best Picture Winner "Sunrise" (1927) to the Oscar Nominated "The Artist" (which takes place in 1927) with stops along the way Pixar's "Up" and Best Original Screenplay Winner "Breaking Away" (a small indie style drama - told visually) as well as "Witness" and other Oscar Winners as examples... plus RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 200 pages!

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GREAT SUPPORTING CHARACTERS!

*** SUPPORTING CHARACTER SECRETS *** - For Kindle! (Exclusive)


Expanded version with more techniques to flesh out your Supporting Characters and make them individuals. Using the hit movie BRIDESMAIDS as well as other comedies like THE HANGOVER and TED and HIGH FIDELITY and 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and many other examples we look at ways to make your Supporting Characters come alive on the page. Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 170 pages!

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Over 400 Pages!

*** BREAKING IN BLUE BOOK *** - For Kindle!


Should really be called the BUSINESS BLUE BOOK because it covers almost everything you will need to know for your screenwriting career: from thinking like a producer and learning to speak their language, to query letters and finding a manager or agent, to making connections (at home and in Hollywood) and networking, to the different kinds of meetings you are will have at Studios, to the difference between a producer and a studio, to landing an assignment at that meeting and what is required of you when you are working under contract, to contracts and options and lawyers and... when to run from a deal! Information you can use *now* to move your career forward! It's all here in the Biggest Blue Book yet!

Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 400 pages!

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Over 240 pages!

*** THE TERMINATOR MOVIES *** - For Kindle!


He's back! The release of "Terminator: Genisys" (now on BluRay) is set to begin a new trilogy in the Terminator story... 31 years after the first film was released. What draws us to these films about a cybernetic organism from the future sent back in time? Why is there a new proposed trilogy every few years? This book looks at all five Terminator movies from a story standpoint - what makes them work (or not)? What are the techniques used to keep the characters and scenes exciting and involving? How about those secret story details you may not have noticed? Containing a detailed analysis of each of the five films so far, this book delves into the way these stories work... as well as a complete list of box office and critical statistics for each film. This book is great for writers, directors, and just fans of the series.

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NEW BUT OLD!

*** VINTAGE #1: HOW TO WRITE PHOTOPLAYS *** - For Kindle!

***

Screenwriting books have been around as long as films have. This series reprints vintage screenwriting books with a new introduction and history, plus new articles which look at how these lessons from almost 100 years ago apply to today’s screenplays. Anita Loos book is filled with information which still applies. In addition to the full text of the original book, you get the full screenplay to Miss Loos' hit THE LOVE EXPERT, plus several new articles on the time period and women in Hollywood.

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MAKES A GREAT GIFT!

*** THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING *** - For Kindle!

*** THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING *** - For Nook!

Why pay $510 for a used version of the 240 page 2000 version that used to retail for $21.95? (check it out!) when you can get the NEW EXPANDED VERSION - over 500 pages - for just $9.99? New chapters, New examples, New techniques!

"SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING is the best book on the practical nuts-and-bolts mechanics of writing a screenplay I've ever read." - Ted Elliott, co-writer of MASK OF ZORRO, SHREK, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and the sequels (with Terry Rossio). (ie; 4 of the top 20 Box Office Hits Of ALL TIME.)

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HOW YOU TELL IT

*** STORY: WELL TOLD *** - For Kindle!


This book takes you step-by-step through the construction of a story... and how to tell a story well, why Story always starts with character... but ISN'T character, Breaking Your Story, Irony, Planting Information, Evolving Story, Leaving No Dramatic Stone Unturned, The Three Greek Unities, The Importance Of Stakes, The Thematic Method, and how to create personal stories with blockbuster potential. Ready to tell a story? Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 85,000 words - 251 pages!

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STUCK IN THE MIDDLE?

*** ACT TWO SECRETS *** - For Kindle!


Expanded version with more techniques to help you through the desert of Act Two! Subjects Include: What Is Act Two? Inside Moves, The 2 Ps: Purpose & Pacing, The 4Ds: Dilemma, Denial, Drama and Decision, Momentum, the Two Act Twos, Subplot Prisms, Deadlines, Drive, Levels Of Conflict, Escalation, When Act Two Begins and When Act Two Ends, Scene Order, Bite Sized Pieces, Common Act Two Issues, Plot Devices For Act Two, and dozens of others. Over 67,000 words (that's well over 200 pages) of tools and techniques to get you through the desert of Act Two alive! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 208 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


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GREAT SUPPORTING CHARACTERS!

*** SUPPORTING CHARACTER SECRETS *** - For Kindle! (Exclusive)


Expanded version with more techniques to flesh out your Supporting Characters and make them individuals. Using the hit movie BRIDESMAIDS as well as other comedies like THE HANGOVER and TED and HIGH FIDELITY and 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and many other examples we look at ways to make your Supporting Characters come alive on the page. Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 170 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


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THAT STAR PART!

*** CREATING STRONG PROTAGONISTS *** - For Kindle!

*** CREATING STRONG PROTAGONISTS *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting protagonists! A step-by-step guide to creating "take charge" protagonists. Screenplays are about characters in conflict... characters in emotional turmoil... Strong three dimensional protagonists who can find solutions to their problems in 110 pages. But how do you create characters like this? How do you turn words into flesh and blood? Character issues, Knowing Who Is The Boss, Tapping into YOUR fears, The Naked Character, Pulp Friction, Man With A Plan, Character Arcs, Avoiding Cliche People, Deep Characterization, Problem Protagonists, 12 Ways To Create Likable Protagonists (even if they are criminals), Active vs. Reactive, The Third Dimension In Character, Relationships, Ensemble Scripts, and much, much more. Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is once again around 205 pages!

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THEY SOUND DIFFERENT!

*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Kindle!

*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting dialogue! How to remove bad dialogue (and what *is* bad dialogue), First Hand Dialogue, Awful Exposition, Realism, 50 Professional Dialogue Techniques you can use *today*, Subtext, Subtitles, Humor, Sizzling Banter, *Anti-Dialogue*, Speeches, and more. Tools you can use to make your dialogue sizzle! Special sections that use dialogue examples from movies as diverse as "Bringing Up Baby", "Psycho", "Double Indemnity", "Notorious", the Oscar nominated "You Can Count On Me", "His Girl Friday", and many more! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 160 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!



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FINAL DRAFT SOFTWARE

Use your creative energy to focus on the content; let Final Draft take care of the style. Final Draft is the number-one selling application specifically designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics and stage plays. Its ease-of-use and time-saving features have attracted writers for almost two decades positioning Final Draft as the Professional Screenwriters Choice. Final Draft power users include Academy, Emmy and BAFTA award winning writers like Oliver Stone, Tom Hanks, Alan Ball, J.J. Abrams, James Cameron and more. * * * Buy It!

copyright 2018 by William C. Martell


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SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING

bluebook IT'S BACK! SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING
Over 460 pages packed with tips and techniques. How to write a plot twist, the four kinds of suspense (and how to create it), reversals, ten ways to invent new action scenes, secrets and lies, creating the ultimate villain, five kinds of love interests, MORE! CLICK HERE!

CLASSES ON CD

Class CDs CLASSES ON CD! Take a class on CD! GUERRILLA MARKETING - NO AGENT? NO PROBLEM! and WRITING THRILLERS (2 CDs). Full length classes on CD. Now Available: IDEAS & CREATIVITY, WRITING HORROR, WRITING INDIE FILMS, more!
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B MOVIE WORLD
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NAKED SCREENWRITING CDs

Naked Class The NAKED SCREENWRITING CLASS ON CD! The 2001 London Class on 8 CDs! Recorded *live* the morning after the Raindance Film Festival wrapped. The two day class on 8CDs, plus a workbook, plus a bonus CD.
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My nineteen produced films, interviews with me in magazines, several sample scripts, my available scripts list... And MORE!
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E BOOKS PAGE

bluebook E BOOKS: New Blue Books and Novelettes!
I am expanding all of the Blue Books from around 44 pages of text to around 200 pages! Some are over 250 pages! See what is availabale and what is coming soon!Also, I've been writing Novelletes and there will soon be novels.
E BOOKS: BLUE BOOKS & NOVELLETES

BOOKLETS & PRODUCTS

bluebook FIRST STRIKE BLUE BOOKS
Each Blue Book is 48 pages and focuses on a different aspect of screenwriting. Dialogue. Visual Storytelling. Your First Ten Pages. Act 2 Booster. Protagonists. Great Endings.
Seventeen Blue Books now available!

THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING OUT OF PRINT!