MONDAY'S SCRIPT TIP:

DON'T LEAVE THE STORY ON THE PAGE


Last year Christian Bale was nominated for Best Actor in VICE, but a few years ago he was battling dragons. REIGN OF FIRE opens with a boy witnessing his mother's death when their subway excavation team unearths a fire-breathing dragon. That boy grows up to be Christian Bale - hunky leader of the survivors of world-destruction-by-dragon. They live in a fortress and pray the dragons don't attack them. When gung-ho military dude turned dragon killer Matthew McConaughey drops by looking for help with his plan to track the only male dragon (living in London) and kill it, Christian is reluctant to leave his people behind. But after a series of massive dragon attacks he decides to team with McConaughey and sexy Izabella Scorupco and use their steely knives to kill the beast. Once they get to London - bam, bam, bam - they kill the dragon, roll credits.

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Wait a minute! This was the big end? After all of these massive helicopter vs. dragon scenes, huge battles with multiple dragons, the film seems to end with a wimper rather than a bang. Why? I suspect on the page the end scene was very exciting - and very personal. This was the very same dragon that killed Christian's mother! All of that emotion - facing off against the creature that killed your mother, that made you the shadow of a man you are today - that's powerful stuff... on the page. On screen, it's just another dragon fight. IN THE SCRIPT it was a higher stakes, more emotional action scene than any of the previous dragon fights, ON THE SCREEN it wasn't as cool as the helicopter scene of the tomato field scene. What was probably the most exciting scene in the entire script wasn't all that exciting on screen. The writer left the scene on the page!

How do you SHOW that this is the dragon that killed his mother?

How you you make this dragon fight scene the most exciting and personal scene in the film?

A different kind of dragon movie, the Jet Li flick KISS OF THE DRAGON, opens with the star flying into Paris, being evasive with the customs officer, taking a taxi to Chinatown where he says a code phrase to Chinese restaurant owner Burt Kwouk who gives him a room to sleep in. Li opens a secret compartment on his luggage and pulls out a gun. Armed, Li enters a luxury hotel - what is he up to? He meets with Tcheky Kayro - who has a team of muscle guys that look like he recruited them from the circus. Kayro has surveillance set up on a Chinese businessman. Are they going to rob him? We don't know, because we have absolutely no idea who Li or Kayro are at this point in time. Unfortunately, there's a plot twist or two coming up that requires us to know that Jet Li is a Chinese Drug Enforcement Officer and that Kayro is the head of the French version of the DEA and all of those circus escapees are his undercover cops and the Chinese Businessman is really a big Heroin importer. Because we don't know any of these things, we are completely confused by the opening. From the information we've been given, we think Li may be as assassin - he sneaks into the country, he has a secret place to stay, he has concealed his weapon. We think Kayro is a thief because he and his scruffy team are spying on this prosperous and somewhat conservative Chinese businessman. We think the Chinese businessman is probably a "good guy" because he dresses well and is staying in a luxury suite at the hotel. All of our information is wrong, and that creates a great deal of confusion which isn't cleared up until several scenes later when a contingent of Chinese government officials meets with Kayro at police headquarters where they swap information. Hey, if we had known that Kayro was a policeman in that earlier scene it would have been one hell of a twist when he shot the Chinese businessman! If we had known that Li was a Chinese cop, it would have been a great twist when Kayro frames him for the Chinese businessman's murder - at the time, we still thought he was an assassin whose target was the Chinese businessman. How can you be framed for a murder you were going to commit anyway?

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I suspect none of this confusion was on the page. My guess is that Li's character was introduced as a Chinese police officer, and Kayro's character was introduced as the head of the French version of the DEA, and the Chinese businessman was introduced as a Chinese drug kingpin. We usually identify characters by their jobs or purpose within the script. The problem in KISS OF THE DRAGON was that this information was probably given in description, but never illustrated on the screen. In fact, the information we were given visually and verbally lead us to jump to incorrect conclusions about all of these characters.

If you have a character named Steve Boone, and throughout the script everyone calls him Boone, if you have a character say "We need Steve to solve this problem" the audience will have no idea who you are talking about. They know the character as "Boone" even though on the page you may have introduced him as "Steve Boone". The audience can't read the script, so they only know him by the name other characters call him.

If Tcheky Kayro is supposed to be head of the French version of the DEA, we need to either SEE that information or HEAR that information. If Jet Li is supposed to be a Chinese police officer, we either need to SEE that information or HEAR that information. In the opening scene of DIE HARD Bruce Willis' jacket pops open on an airplane exposing his gun, he says "It's okay, I'm a cop". We now know that Willis is a cop and that he's armed. Why didn't Jet Li in KISS OF THE DRAGON show his ID to the customs official at the airport? In order to have the "framed for murder" plot work we need to know that Li's character is someone who has a reputation to protect. We didn't get that information until well after the big action scene where he's framed and must escape. The READER probably got the information when Li's character was introduced. ON THE PAGE the scene was probably exciting and involving. But the audience doesn't get a copy of the script... they only have the dialogue and the actions to tell the story. I've read scripts that READ brilliantly, yet don't communicate the information on the screen. Some of these scripts have even been bought and made, because the studio development people never stopped to ask themselves if this brilliant writing translated into a visual story.

There's a reason why people complain about "unfilmables" in a screenplay... sometimes critical information is left on the page. In the DESCRIPTION Blue Book there's an expanded version of this tip with script excerpts, and also the story of a film rescue I was hired to do, where the full lenghth script ended up less than 60 minutes long when they cut it together because none of the "unfilmables" made it to the screen. The film also didn't make any sense!

Any important information about characters must be communicated to the audience either verbally or through actions. Write a scene that SHOWS us the information or write dialogue that TELLS us the information. You can't leave important information on the page. You don't want the audience wondering "Who the heck is Steve?" or "Why should we care about this dragon fight?"

If you don't find a way to show it, the audience won't know it!


NEW!

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THE MISSION IMPOSSIBLE MOVIES

All Six Movies analyzed! All of the mission tapes, all of the “that’s impossible!” set pieces and stunts, the cons and capers - and how these scenes work, the twists and double crosses, the tension and suspense (and how to generate it), the concept of each film as a stand alone with a different director calling the shots (broken in the sixth film), the gadgets, the masks, the stories, the co-stars and team members (one team member has been in every film), the stunts Tom Cruise actually did (and the ones he didn’t), and so much more! Over 120,000 words of fun info!

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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.

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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?

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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!

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BRAND NEW!

*** THE BOURNE MOVIES

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The new CDs are available now!

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THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL!

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

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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!

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


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*** 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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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!

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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!

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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!

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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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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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 2019 by William C. Martell


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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.
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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.
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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


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