BIZ TIP TUESDAY:

YOU NEED COOL STUFF


transformers 2 - Buy it!

I have yet to see the last TRANSFORMERS movie with Marky Mark, and may never see it... even though it was a huge hit and made a ton of money both in the USA and abroad... and there is a new TRANSFORMERS movie (also with Marky Mark) coming out later this year. I used to look at crappy films that made a lot of money and wonder if we were going to hell in a handcart. The story doesn't work, the dialogue sucks, but there are lines around the block. What's up with that? Does everyone in the world have bad taste?

I worked in a warehouse for a decade and I keep in contact with all the guys, so I started asking them why they liked these crappy movies. Guess what? They had reasons! There were actually GOOD things in these crappy films, and to most of the audience the good outweighed the bad. As a screenwriter, I was so aware of the *story flaws* that I couldn't see the "cool stuff". Then I realized that some of that "cool stuff" was missing from my scripts. I might have a coherent story and good writing and great characters... but I didn't have that part that made them line up around the block.

"Cool stuff" alone isn't good enough - you need good writing. But good writing also isn't good enough - you NEED "cool stuff" in your script or no one will want to see it in the first place, or they won't like it after they've seen in.

t4 - Buy it!

Though TERMINATOR: SALVATION had all kinds of problems, it was still a fun, stupid, somewhat enjoyable action packed summer sci-fi movie... but as a TERMINATOR movie? Crappy. If there had never been any Terminator movies, or if this had not been connected to the franchise - would have been dumb summer fun (though way too dark and not really much *fun* stuff). Problem is, the "baggage" of the past films means this has to be better than a dumb summer movie - and it was not. A severe shortage of "cool stuff" and way too serious.

Though I do not know the whole script backstory, from press stuff I know that John Conner was a minor character in the original script - which focused on the Marcus character. When they hired Bale and he became the *star*, he had the whole script rewritten and (by Bale's account) Bale told the writer what he wanted to do. I think this may be the case of an interesting script being turned to crap in rewrites. Remember - you can never judge a script by it's movie. Our job isn't to write the crappy movie we just paid $11.50 to see, it's to write that amazing script that the studio paid $250 million to make.

I think Marcus is the most interesting character - and all of the John Conner scenes undercut the Marcus story and undercut the film. Bale is also too danged serious an actor, and not very charismatic. Newcomer Sam Worthington, on the other hand, seems to have charisma to spare. Had this been all about Marcus, this guy who wakes up in the future after the world has gone to hell and tries to figure out what happened and figure out who he is now and what his place in this world is... that would have been involving and interesting. But when Marcus is often second banana to an emotionless dude who yells and makes speeches on the radio all the time - the film loses just about everything. For instance - the big reveal scene becomes about how Conner was betrayed by Marcus, instead of how Marcus was betrayed... which robs the film of a really cool reveal scene.

t1 - Buy it!

I liked the Road Warrior chase stuff - that was cool - and was shocked that the kid from ROAD WARRIOR had a sex change and was now a mute little girl. I thought the different terminators were *almost cool* - but there wasn't that one cool concept... like the liquid metal T-1000 (or the T-800 in the first film). These different terminators were okay but not mind-blowing cool. The grabber one I liked best - it made me jump a couple of times... but haven't I seen that in TREMORS? When you think about the first film - the concept of this completely unstopable killing machine from the future that can imitate the voices of your loved ones and repair it's skin and pass for human... that was all amazing stuff back then. And it's even amazing stuff now. When I rewatch that film, I realize how cool it is when the Terminator pretends to be Sarah's mother on the phone... and lures her into a trap. And the cool factor of repairing itself - the exposed machinery under the skin is right out of that Matheson short story. T2 has the amazing shape shifting T-1000 - kind of the voice imitation taken to the extreme. These things are leaps of imagination that are not present in T3 and T4 - and that is a major problem with T4 as a Terminator film. It's doesn't have anything so amazing that you wonder how someone even came up with that. Though the big *grabber* Terminators and their motorcycle attachments were cool - a great idea within the world of Terminators - there wasn't anything that was outside of what we expect... not a problem for a non-Terminator film, but the mid-blowing elements are what we *expect* in a Terminator film. We expect the cool stuff.

The other three Terminator movies are chase films - with a cool unstopabale killer robot of some sort after a human character. In T1 we have Ah-nuld chasing Sarah Conner. In T2 we have Robert Patrick chasing Sarah and teen John. In T3 we have Kristanna Loken chasing John Conner as a young man. In T4? No one is being chased! No one is being threatened! The biggest problem with this film is that both the antagonist and protagonist have non-existent or hollow goals. Late in the game someone notices that it might be a bad thing for Kyle Reese to be killed - but that isn't driving the story... nothing really is. And here's the problem with the Kyle Reese thing - Skynet has a billion chances to kill him and is so inept it doesn't act. What's up with that?

I suspect that if TERMINATOR: SALVATION had one mind-blowing cool terminator element that we had never seen before... and had never *imagined* before... it would have been a hit. But the film was killed by a lack of cool stuff.

t2 - Buy it!

You just have to look for the qualities that touch the audience, that *amaze* the audience. Those are the important qualities. If an audience feels NOTHING from a film, it doesn't matter how "good" it is. A film that doesn't connect with the audience and amaze the audience is defective. It's missing the most important element - involving the audience, creating an experience for the audience. Nothing else matters.

One of the first "movies" showed a man sneezing. And that was amazing to an audience at the turn of the century. But that was millions of movies ago, and sneezing isn't cool enough anymore. Our challenge is to use our imagination and creativity to come up with things the audience hasn't seen and does not expect to see, To expand the horizons of film, not just to work within them. And that's why some probably awful film like TRANSFORMERS 2 makes all of that money - it is making those leaps of imagination that amaze the audience.

My breakthrough was to stop looking for what was wrong with a movie that made $300 million (or more), and to start looking for what was RIGHT with the film. Now I look at what's GOOD about popular films that have major flaws. What are the elements that the audience likes so much that they will forgive everything else? How can I get similar elements into my (better written) scripts?

transformers - Buy it!

See - the parts that I thought were wrong about some movie like TRANSFORMERS are the things I already know how to do. I can write better dialogue than "I just had a full-bllown mental meltdown in the middle of my class!" - but I needed to learn how to do the things the film did RIGHT. If I can combine the things I already know how to do and the things $300 million movies know how to do, I can write a great film that attracts an audience. My script doesn't have to be *stupid* to attract a mass audience, it just needs to have to imagination and creativity and "cool stuff" that they like. Look at the new BATMAN movies - both have been intelligent, interesting, driven by character and contain a clear message about fear and the politics of fear. These are *great* movies... and also have enough cool stuff to become massive hit movies. THE DARK KNIGHT is the #3 movie of all time after TITANIC and AVATAR. Whatever you think of INCEPTION, it isn't a *stupid* movie (just a cold one) - and it's the hit of the summer, even though it seems to be too complicated for most people to understand. It's not about writing *down* to the audience at all, it's about including the exciting elements in our well written screenplays.

If a movie plays to an empty theater, NOBODY gets your message, NOBODY hears your story... and NOBODY cares.

The last TRANSFORMERS and all of those other films that audiences love are great movies... part of our job is to find the qualities that make them great and include those qualities in our own (better written) scripts. Your brilliant writing may not be as important these days as your brilliant imagination. The cool stuff is what sells the script (which is why this is a Tuesday Tip).

What was RIGHT with that movie?


BRAND NEW

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.

Only $4.99!


ALSO NEW!

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?

Only $4.99!


Tips FAQ

My New Script Secrets Newsletter!


NEW BOOKS!

bluebook

NEW AND HOT!

*** 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!


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


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


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!





The new CDs are available now!

AUDIO CLASS!

NOIR & MYSTERY80 minute CD packed with information on writing Film Noir and Mystery scripts. Using examples from CHINATOWN to OUT OF THE PAST to DOUBLE INDEMNITY you'll learn how to create stories in this dark, twisted genre. How to plant clues, red herrings, suspects, victims, spider women, fallen heroes, the funhouse mirror world of noir supporting characters... and the origins of Film Noir in literature Noir dialogue and how noir endings are different than any other genre. All of the critical elements necessary to write in this critically popular genre.
The Noir & Mystery Class is only $15 (plus $5 S&H). First 20 on Limited Black Disk!

RECESSION SALE! $5 OFF!

IDEAS AND CREATIVITY - 80 minute CD packed with information. Tools to find ideas that are both personal *and* commercial. Hollywood wants scripts with High Concept stories... but not stupid scripts. Developing *intelligent* high concept ideas. 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 $10.00 (plus $5 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 $10.00 (plus $5 S&H)

WRITING HORROR - The essentials of a horror screenplay - what do ROSEMARY'S BABY, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE EXORCIST, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE OTHERS and OPEN WATER have in common? This class will tell you! All of the critical elements necessary to write a script that scares the pants off the audience. Writing Horror is $10.00 (plus $5 S&H).

Click here for more information on CLASS CDs!



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THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL!

*** 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!


READY TO BREAK IN?

bluebook

NEW!

*** 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!

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


bluebook

STORY: WELL TOLD!

*** 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!


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MOVIES ARE CHARACTERS!

*** 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

ACT TWO SOLUTIONS!

*** 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

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!


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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.

ONLY $3.99 - and no postage!


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ADVICE 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!


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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!


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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!


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PRO DIALOGUE TECHNIQUES!

*** 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 175 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 2018 by William C. Martell


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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
Furious Action 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 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!