Buy Lucky You DVD

When you are on the other side of the wall it seems like the guys inside got in there by luck. They lucked out and sold something or maybe were born with luck: their father was a producer. Or maybe they got lucky by bumping into someone in the biz? The press love stories of luck, because it means that ANYONE can win the Lotto. They downplay the hard work part of any success story. It easy to get the idea that all of those guys inside had it easy, then the rules changed when you tried to get in.

Not the case.

Sure - some people do get lucky. Some people do win the Lotto.

But most people have to work their butts off to get anywhere.

The guys inside the wall went through everything that you are going through. They struggled, fought, found a way in.

The press made a big thing about SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION being Darabont's first directing gig - see, a first timer can make an amazing film! But Darabont was a screenwriter with a long resume before SHAWSHANK and had, um, directed TV movies and a short film based on a Stephen King story. Oh, and he had worked as a prop guy on film crews for years while he was trying to break in. Behind every overnight success is about 15 years of hard work that the press likes to erase so that everything is that Cinderella story... everything is that dream of luck.

Recently someone on a message board brought up John Logan who wrote SKYFALLL and GLADIATOR and LAST SAMURAI... who also wrote the low budget film BATS! (Which should be upside down like it is on the cheesy poster) and TORNADO!. I don't think anyone mentions those movies when they talk about his blasting on the screenwriting scene with ANY GIVEN SUNDAY.

Just like your characters, every successful screenwriter has a backstory where they struggled... and then they just got lucky.


Buy Gilda DVD

In the classic Noir film GILDA, Johnny (Glenn Ford) is an American who is down and out in Argentina during World War 2. He's wearing a dirty suit, probably living in some hotel that's more like a rooming house. The film opens with him throwing dice in some street craps game with a bunch of day laborers and sailors. He's lucky, and wins the game - scoops up the money and gets the hell out of there before those burley guys decide they can't afford to lose their paychecks.

In a alley, he counts his winnings - a fat roll but all singles. That's when the mugger attacks him.

He refuses to hand over his money, and it looks bleak... then a man who has been observing from the edge of the alley steps forward and chases off the mugger. This is Ballin (George Macready) - the wealthy owner of an illegal gambling club. He had been watching Johnny throwing dice earlier and followed him down the alley... which is how he just happened to be there to chase off the mugger. When Johnny sees how well dressed Ballin is he calls him a lucky man. Ballin says, "I make my own luck" then suggests that Johnny come to his gambling club and try his luck there... but they won't let him play with his own loaded dice. "I didn't know it showed." "A man who makes his own luck, as I do, recognizes another."

Our job is to make our own luck. Not with loaded dice, but with creativity and hard work and some sort of *plan*.

I think that finding the way in is part of the screenwriter's job test. There ARE ways in - all of those "lucky" guys got in. Each one found a different way in... and your mission should you decide to accept it is to find YOUR way in. If you pass the test, you're inside. If you fail, you're still outside. You don't have to wait 6 months before you can take the test again, and you can takes as many tests at once as you can handle. So you ALWAYS have a new Lotto ticket! You ALWAYS have a chance to win!

Try everything. Use your creativity.

I have a notepad titled CHANCES TO WIN. I list all of the e-quieries I send, all of the scripts I send, anyone I talked to about screenwriting. It's a record of my Lotto numbers. I always try to have LOTS of chances to win. If two companies reject scripts, I work until I had two more companies reading scripts. Last thing I want was NO chances to win (that's depressing). By putting my "chances to win" on paper I have a list of things I was actually doing to get scripts sold. Not what I'm thinking of doing or dreaming of doing on planning on doing - what I *am* doing. If there's nothing on that list - I'm not doing a damned thing and not making my own luck. I'm just hoping to buy one lottery ticket and win those Mega Millions. Not likely, is it?

If you keep hammering away at that wall, you will eventually break in.

And if you get your stuff out there enough and get read enough and your scripts are good enough (the most important part) eventually something happens. People read them and like them and then somewhere down the road you may get a call from those people about some project they think you'd be perfect for. Or they read that script that is exactly what they are looking for. That may seem like luck, but if you shovel enough scripts through the doors the odds say you eventually will get the peg that fits the hole... or the winning lottery numbers... or whatever analogy you like. If you don't try, you can't succeed. The secret behind all of those lucky guys who broke in is that they kept trying... and kept trying to find some interesting way in.


Buy The Lady from shanghai DVD

There's a two part Script Tip in the garage waiting to be worked on that lists over a dozen ways over the wall you may never have thought of. When I get that Tip rewritten it may never run - I might just use it as a chapter in the Selling Blue Book expansion. But just writing screenplays and e-mailing queries is a basic... what *else* are you doing to get over that wall? How else are you making your own luck?

In GILDA Johnny not only has loaded dice, when he goes to Ballin's casino he knows how to count cards and manipulate the deck when he cuts the cards. Though some of what he does is cheating, he's also a skilled player who doesn't just sit there and play - he is doing everything he can to win. He is looking for an angle. He is trying to improve the odds... making his own luck.

We don't have to cheat to get in, but some writers (me included) often classify an interesting way in as "cheating" when it's really just being creative. We get jealous of other people's "luck"... when it was really hard work. I know a writer who pretty much stalked a handful of his favorite directors, going to every event where they spoke or were on a panel and eventually this "payed off" when he got a job working as one of the directors' assistants... picking up his laundry and walking his dogs and buying gifts for his girlfriends. Awesome job! How lucky! Well, that "luck" paid off, because he ended up making a bunch of connections and got scripts to places that would be closed to the rest of us. Cheating? Or working his butt off finding the other way in?

I know another writer who's friend sold a script and looked like he was going places - so he offered to be his friend's assistant. Again, I think dog walking was involved... but also lots of retyping and proof reading scripts and trips to the post office (this was a while ago when everything was hard copy) and trips to the copy place. He drove his friend to meetings and when his friend's career moved up... he ended up getting paid to do these things. Yeah, before that he was doing it for free. At one point, the friend overbooked himself with assignments and the writer ended up writing the first draft of a big studio film that his friend did a quick rewrite on to give it that Barton Fink Feeling. That film was a big hit... and the writer decided to use the connections he had made working for his friend to his own advantage. Heck, he was the one who called all of the studio producers to confirm meetings and he was the one delivering drafts. Everybody knew him at this point. There were even some rumors floating around that he did some writing on that hit screenplay with his friend's name on it. So, was using all of the contacts he made cheating? Or working his butt off to find a way in?

Not everyone who is lucky was a dog walking assistant. I know another writer who is a reader, and one who is an on set production assistant, and one who is an extra, and one who is a studio security guard (hey, that's how Antwone Fisher broke in), and one who works for a state film commission, and a couple who are film editors, and a whole bunch who make web films and ultra low budget features, and...

I'm not suggesting you walk dogs, but that you use that creativity you usually use for writing screenplays when you are trying to get people to read and buy your screenplays (or hire you to write one). Look for the alternative ways over that wall. The interesting way in. From the outside it may seem like "cheating", but it's just working hard to scale the wall when nobody opens the door after you knock. Yeah, you should keep on knocking at the front door, but if the producer is out by the pool sipping martinis and can't hear you, maybe finding another way to get their attention is the best plan?

So, what are your plans to get over that wall? What are you *actually doing* to break in? Make your own Chances To Win list and keep adding to it. Keep querying and sending scripts out and making phone calls and all of the other "expected" ways to break in. Every week - do something. Don't just think about it, *do it*. Pick a day every week to e-query and do any follow ups. Yes, this may cut into your writing time a little, but what's the use of writing if nobody reads what you are writing? You need to get your work out there. Yes, most of the time no one will even respond - but that's just like buying a lotto ticket every week (except your script idea is like having the ability to know *some* of the winning numbers).

Querying and sending scripts is the A Plan, but what's the B Plan? What's the Make Your Own Luck plan? You're doing what is expected of a writer, but what are you doing in addition to that? No one gets promoted for doing the job as expected, they get promoted for doing what is expected *plus*. What's your plus? Do you go to film festivals and make contacts? Are you making films for YouTube? Are learning film editing or some other set jobs that gets you close to a director or producer or star... What are you doing to make your own luck?

There are a million ways to get in - sure, 999,999 of them won't work for you - but that ONE way WILL. If you're lucky, the one way will come early. Like Johnny and Ballin in GILDA, you have to make your own luck.

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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.






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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My New Script Secrets Newsletter!




*** 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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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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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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You MUST Have This Book!



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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Blue Book

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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!

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These Blue Books are $3.99 each - but get them all and save!

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



*** 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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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 FROM 1920?



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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*** 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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*** 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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*** 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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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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*** 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!

$3.99 - and no postage!



*** 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!

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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

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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.

Visual Class

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

Producing my own scripts, investment possibilities, pipe dreams.


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!


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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!


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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