TUESDAY'S BIZ TIP:

WRITERS BLOCK


Okay, you're tooling along on your script and hit a brick wall. No matter what you do, you can't seem to get around it. You're blocked. What should you do? Shelve the script and start on something else? Wait for inspiration?

Inspiration? That's for non-pros! Pros don't need inspiration - we have deadlines! But what if you don't have a producer off camera waiting impatiently for you to finish your script? Or what if you don't have a deadline... and you're still blocked?

* * *

When I'm stuck I look at the scene I'm working on and ask myself:
1) What is the purpose of the scene?
2) What are the pieces of information this scene must communicate to the audience?
3) What does the protagonist (or antagonist) want in this scene?
4) What stops them from getting what they want? What is the struggle?

* * *

Answer those questions, come up with other questions and answer them, then put all of those answers where the scene is supposed to be. Maybe even write a slap-dash crappy version of the scene based on those answers. It's just a place-holder, not the real scene. Then skip to the next scene and give that a shot. Maybe the next scene will be easier.

The reason for answering all of those questions and getting them on the page? You have a really rough idea of what the scene needs to be - it gives you something to play with later. Who knows, maybe the answers will kick-start your brain? Don't worry if it doesn't, though, just move on to the next scene.

You might also try writing a nonsense scene - whatever the scene you're stuck on is, now it has to be about a stampede of donkeys. Write the scene silly. Sometimes this takes off the pressure and gets he brain working again.

PERSONAL & MECHANICAL

But the problem may be that you've got the mechanics of screenwriting under control but have lost the personal in the process. Writing a script is like juggling chainsaws - sometimes you get two chainsaws in the rotation and have trouble getting that third one in there (or think that juggling two chainsaws is probably good enough to get you on JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE, since they get the third tier guests anyway). But you need to become confident with the two saws and then add a third.

A major reason why people burn out on scripts is that they have no driving force, no emotional connection to the story. It's mechanically perfect - the outline is structurally sound - but it's mechanical. Once you get those mechanics under control, you need to search for the personal and emotional reasons why you are writing the script. How is this story about the survivor of an alien invasion searching for other survivors amidst the rubble of Nelsonville, Ohio YOUR PERSONAL story?

That means you have to get in contact with yourself (walking around pretending to be talking on a cell phone in public doesn't count). You need to dig into yourself and dig into your story and figure out what big emotional problem of yours this story set in the rubble of Nelsonville, Ohio this story is REALLY exploring. That way, you are connected to your story and can't quit - it's a part of you. Abandoning the script would be like abandoning your left arm (which may tie in to the chainsaw juggling analogy). If you are emotionally attached to a script, not only will the script be a better story, it's almost impossible to shelve it (though it may become so emotionally painful that you may want to).

All of this may sound wacky - but that's how good screenplays get written - the writer finds the interface between an extremely personal story and the mechanics of writing a screenplay and the requirements of popular entertainment.

If I'm writing about a human survivor searching for others - I'm writing about being lonely. If my script has aliens still hanging around Nelsonville looking for humans, I'm lonely and feeling alienated by society (them aliens are symbolic). If I come across a group of humans who decide I'm so tall, I'm a liability (the aliens will find us) (I'm 6'4") and the group rejects me... you can add betrayal to that mix. This dopey story may be all about whatever emotional situation I'm going through right now! And that's what will keep me writing the script right up to the end - it's cheap therapy. I'm working out my personal problems as I write the script. It's a safe environment to work out those problems because no one will ever suspect that the Alien Leader is my ex-girlfriend.

All of my scripts are about ME, and they have all of the mechanical stuff, and they are often about the quest for sunken ships or Navy SEAL Teams captured behind enemy lines or vampire hunters who can no longer trust or crime victims who are reincarnated and looking for revenge (you get a new chance at life and screw it up by carrying all of the hatred from your past).

Maybe you need to find YOURSELF in your scripts. The first script was personal, then they became mechanical, now you have to add the personal back into the mix.

TOO PERSONAL

Sometimes the reason why you have writer's block is because the script is TOO personal. It may be dealing with an issue or event that you aren't comfortable dealing with, yet. Maybe your protagonist has to deal with the end of a relationship in the story - and you're still having problems due to the end of a relationship. The story is too close for comfort - and you avoid writing because you are avoiding that personal pain. This is one reason why I always suggest writing about alien invasions in Nelsonville, Ohio instead of writing about some guy in Nelsonville who just broke up with his girlfriend. By setting your story in a fantasy world you can be more emotionally honest - you won't need to protect yourself because the story is about aliens.

But sometimes we experience writer's block because of things happening in our personal life that have nothing to do with our scripts. Often writer's block is a symptom of depression or anxiety in our every day life. As writers we use OURSELVES as our tools, so when things go wrong in real life it may screw up the writing, too. This is the hardest stuff to deal with, because even after you realize "Hey! The reason why I have writer's block is because I caught my wife in bed with my best friend!" that doesn't solve the problem. If you are fighting serious personal problems it will be difficult to find the energy to write. Financial problems, relationship problems, health problems, family problems - stuff like that takes time to get over. But sometimes you can find a scene that matches your mood and write that - use whatever your personal problems are to fuel your writing.

You can also use writing as an escape from your personal problems. Here's where you're going to go on a fantasy vacation, far away from all of the problems that you may be battling in real life, and enter a world of adventure and romance. I think this is how most of us got started writing when we were kids - we needed an escape from the pressures of life and made up stories. Though it's more difficult to fool ourselves with fantasy as adults, that's still a great tool to escape writer's block caused by real life personal problems. If you're a super hero on the page, you don't have to deal with the issues that haunt you in real life... or maybe you can even vanquish them in print.

No matter what - always finish your scripts, even if you think they suck. You can rewrite a script that sucks, but you're still stuck forever in writing on a script that's not finished.

Some day you'll be deep sea diving or about to win a NASCAR race or in bed with a famous underwear model and *wham* the solution to that script problem will pop into your head. You'll know what's wrong with the script and how to make it unsuck. But if it's not a finished script, it'll either be too much trouble or you won't be thinking about it in the first place.

Whatever you do, don't wait for inspiration. You'll lose momentum. Find the way to slog through the rough parts and keep going until you finish. Nobody said screenwriting was going to be easy!



Back To School Deal! CLASSIC CLASSES @ HALF PRICE as MP3s!
Full Set Of Six: $25.


COMING SOON!

OUTLINES & THE THEMATIC!

bluebook

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.


BRAND NEW!

DESCRIPTION & VOICE Blue Book!

bluebook

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?

Only $4.99


Tip FAQ

My New Script Secrets Newsletter!


BRAND NEW!


bluebook

GET IT NOW!

*** 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!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!



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!

Only $5.99


NO KINDLE REQUIRED! Get the *free* app (any device, except your Mr. Coffee) on the order page on Amazon!


bourne

BRAND 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.

Only $3.99 - and no postage!

bluebook

You MUST Have This Book!

*** 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.)

Only $9.99 - and no postage!





Blue Book

SWEET SEVENTEEN! Get them all at one low price!
The SWEET SEVENTEEN Blue Book Deal includes the Secrets of: Ideas, Outlines, Structure, Story, First Ten Pages, Protagonists, Visual Storytelling, Dialogue, Descriptions, Scenes, Supporting Characters, Act Two, Blockbusters, Great Endings, Rewrites, Treatments & Loglines, and Selling Your Script! Almost everything you need to know! Each Blue Book is 48 pages of paper (NOT the expanded ebook versions) * packed with information!

Oh... and the Pitching Blue Book is included in the set!

These Blue Books are $4.99 each - but get them all and save!

bluebook bluebook bluebook bluebook bluebook bluebook bluebook bluebook bluebook bluebook bluebook bluebook bluebook

For more information about BLUE BOOKS - SWEET 17 The deal is back!


MY BLOG!

SCRIPT SECRETS STORE - Do you have a monkey mug yet?


bluebook

START STRONG!

*** 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!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


NO KINDLE REQUIRED! Get the *free* app (any device, except your Mr. Coffee) on the order page on Amazon!


bluebook

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!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

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.

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

NEW FROM 1920?

*** 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.

Only $2.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

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 well over 200 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

I 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!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

BEST SELLER!

*** 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!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

STORY IS CHARACTER!

*** 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!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

SUBPLOTS!

*** 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!


bluebook

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!

$4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

TOP DIALOGUE TIPS!

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

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

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting protagonists! 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!



hcd

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 2017 by William C. Martell


eXTReMe Tracker
SCRIPT SECRETS STORE

Script Secret Store SCRIPT SECRETS STORE From Typing Monkey coffee cups to messenger bags to T shirts - everything a screenwriter needs to look sharp while working on that Oscar nomination! Get your Script Secrets Coffee Cup today!

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

ONLINE CLASSES
Visual Class
MY OTHER SITES

B MOVIE WORLD
Cult Films, Exploitation, Bikers & Women In Prison, Monster Movies.

FIRST STRIKE PRODUCTIONS
Producing my own scripts, investment possibilities, pipe dreams.

NAKED SCREENWRITING CDs

Naked Class NEW! 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 with PDFs.
The 2 Day Class on CD!

BOOKSTORE

Every screenwriting book in the world!
SCREENWRITER'S BOOKSTORE
In Association With Amazon.com
From the latest screenwriting book to guides for finding agents and producers... all with at the Amazon.com discount!

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 The Best Nuts & Bolts Screenwriting Book On The Market!

BILL'S CORNER

My nineteen produced films, interviews with me in magazines, several sample scripts, my available scripts list... And MORE!
...............................BILL'S CORNER


Available Scripts

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!
Take classes on CD!