BIZ TIP TUESDAY:

IT'S A BUSINESS!


Buy it!

Over the weekend BLACK PANTHER was the #1 movie in the *world* for a second weekend, making a total to date of $709 million in just ten days. Those people in France who you might think like artistic movies? They paid to see BLACK PANTHER. People in countries where they don't speak English and show movies projected onto the sides of buildings or onto sheets in town square? They paid to see BLACK PANTHER. Marvel continues it's success streak! Hey, everything may be going to hell in the world, but people love those superhero movies no matter where they live!

Well over a decade ago at one of the Scriptwriters Network's monthly meeting our guest speaker was a fellow named John Lee who owns a consulting firm for producers and studios. He's a business guy, and he talked for two hours on the economics of motion picture production... and how it effects us as screenwriters. Producers pay John's company $12,000 to analyze a screenplay's profits if it is turned into a movie. They look at the genre, they have a checklist of exploitable elements like sex, action, dramatic scenes, comedy scenes, they look at the age group the film will most appeal to (15-25 year olds are most desirable - they are regular movie goers), whether the story appeals to men or women or both... and all of this gets fed into a computer and what comes out is a fairly accurate projection of what kind of money a film based on this script will make. If the projected profits are over twice what the producer thinks the film will cost to make, they buy the script.

I was amazed that a handful of L.A. based screenwriters were SHOCKED (SHOCKED!) that business entered into the decision to buy a script - many thought that was strictly a creative decision - all about artistic merit. But MOST of the screenwriters in the room had no idea to what extent business is part of the decision to buy a script.

Friends, business is 100% of the reason to buy a screenplay. Even if the script appeals to a niche audience.

man who wasn't there - Buy it!

Movies are the most expensive form of entertainment. The average cost to distribute and advertize a movie is about $35.9 million. That doesn't include the cost of making the film (the budget), that's just getting the film in theaters and buying ads in newspapers, magazines and TV so that people know the film exists. The *average* studio film costs $107 million by the time it hits your local cinema screen., that's the *average* movie cost, not the cost of a Big Summer Blockbuster. Movie stars often get $20 million plus to be in a film, so a rom-com might cost $40 million just for the two leads! So buying your script is a $100 million plus decision.

Any time someone is going to spend over $100 million, they aren't thinking about winning Oscars or making a good movie or even telling a coherent story... They're thinking about making back their investment. So the main question ISN'T "is this script well written?" it's "will this script make us a ton of money?"

What's important to them: Will this movie make lots of money?
What's important to us: Is this a well written, emotionally involving script?

Guess what? Our scripts can be both.
In fact, our scripts HAVE TO BE BOTH.

Here's the comforting part of this - the reason why a movie makes a bunch of money is because people think it is a good movie. They like the film and tell their friends to see it, and word of mouth grows. No matter how much they advertized MONSTER TRUCKS or GEOSTORM or VALARIEN or XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE or MEET DAVE or SPEED RACER, the audience wasn't going to pay to see them. Their friends warned them, or they've seen the trailers and wondered if those were the best 3 minutes of the film, how dreadful must the rest be? Someone, I think the great Billy Wilder, once said that individually the audience are imbeciles, but collectively they are genius. They usually know a good movie when they see it... and a bad one. Obviously, they thought BLACK PANTHER was a good movie and texted their friends...

Buy it!

I think the sequel to a popular film has a built in first week audience - it cruises on the word of mouth from the original film. People thought the three CAPTAIN AMERICA movies were good, and were excited about seeing the Black Panther character from CIVIL WAR. Which is why the film was sold out in many cinemas before anyone had seen the film. But the film continued to attract an audience because it *is* a good movie. The concept of ideology pitting friend against friend and cousin against cousin is very timely - and spoke to what people all over the world were dealing with in their every day lives (just without spandex and capes). Hey, the film may have some fun James Bond-like action scenes, but it also makes you question yourself and society. It makes you think.

And BLACK PANTHER got great reviews from critics: Rotten Tomatoes had it at ***97%*** good reviews. You can make a *popular film*, a *money making film*, that is also a *good film*. BLACK PANTHER works as entertainment and art. That should be our goal when we write scripts - will the business people love this script... and will it be a good, satisfying movie that explores character and the human condition? We need to achieve both goals. The sad part for us is that the business guys have to think it will make lots of money or they won't make the movie in the first place.

man who wasn't there - Buy it!

Movies are mass entertainment. They have to appeal to millions and millions of people. According to John Lee, the average film is seen by 600 million people worldwide - and your script needs to be something that will appeal to all of those people. Not a story that only appeals to you, not a story that only appeals to your social or ethnic group, not a story that only appeals to Americans, not a story that appeals only to people who speak English. You script needs to appeal to 600 million people worldwide. Your story has to be so exciting, that 600 million people will pay money to see it. Mainstream American films, the kind of movies that are made inside the system, where they *buy* screenplays, are not designed for American audiences - they are designed for the whole world to see. The old Hollywood cliche was "Will it play in Peoria?" but now the question is: "Will it play in Phnom Penh? Will it play in Peru? Will it play in Portugal? Will it play in Paris?" A film needs to be popular *everywhere* - because (just like Coca-Cola and McDonalds) it is an international product!

Producers are businessmen. They don't buy scripts because they like them. They buy scripts because they think a movie made from them will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars... but it helps if they like them. The business part comes first, though. It has to when you're talking about spending over $100 million. And they have bean counters and algorithms and focus groups and will compare your screenplay to similar movies to see if it's a good business decision or not. This is a business decision and they will treat it like a business decision.

Even though we may not have that algorithm they're going to feed the script through, we do have the ability to compare our ideas and screenplays with what people have paid to see in the recent past. We can look at our ideas and screenplays they way they do - as if selling that sceenplay was a business (um, it is!).

Is your story so exciting that 600 million people will leave their homes and spend money just to see it? Is the IDEA behind your script exciting? If your story isn't exciting enough to attract a mass audience, it's probably not a movie story... maybe it's a book or a stage play story. Can you cut together a 30 second TV ad for your film that will make millions of people drop everything to stand in line and see it? Remember, this is a business - and our scripts are the blueprints for a building that's going to cost some producer over $100 million to build.

We want that blueprint to be something the business guys will love, something the audience will love, something the critics will love, and something that we will love to write.

Not one thing or the other - all of them!


BRAND NEW

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.

Only $3.99!


ALSO 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 $3.99!


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 $3.99 - 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!



bluebook

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!

$3.99 - 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 $3.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

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 $3.99 - 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 $3.99 - 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 $3.99 - 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

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!


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 $3.99 - 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 $3.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

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 $3.99 - 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
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!

hspace="10"