BIZ TIP TUESDAY:

PERMISSION TO FAIL


As we come to the middle of the year many of you may be wondering why you haven't reached the end of that script you've been working on. You made that New Year's Resolution to finish it, but it still sits there in your computer - half finished. If this is your first screenplay and you're having trouble finishing it the problem may not be with the story or the characters or finding the time or inspiration... the problem might be a lot more personal.

Movie Magic 6

You may be afraid to finish your script.

Once it's done, you're either a genius, or a talentless failure. Once you've finished the script, it's out of your control - everyone who reads it will have some sort of opinion about it. What if everyone hates it? What if you send it to a dozen agents and they all suggest you go to trade school? What if you send it to producers and they just plain hate it? What if your friends read it and have nothing good to say about it? What if your mom reads it and kicks you out of the house and cuts you out of the will?

What if you get notes back on the script that are, well, right about all of the weak points? What if you finish it and it sucks? Your fantasy of being a professional screenwriter, winning an Oscar and dating Jennifer Garner will go up in smoke!

While you're still working on it, you're in control - the script has a great idea, you've been writing great dialogue, your characters are fantastic... Of course, everything is better when it lives in your imagination, in the cold light of reality things are ugly and messy and have repercussions. You may have noticed that fairy tales end with the Prince and Cinderella living happily ever after - they let us imagine the happy ending rather than showing the marital spats. "Happily ever after" might look a lot like WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLFF if the fairy tale continued. The story in your mind will always look better than all of those clumsy words on the page.

Once it's on the page, you're either a genius, or a talentless failure.

Except that's not true. You have to learn how to walk before you can run. You aren't going to write something brilliant right out of the gate - CITIZEN KANE was Orson Welles' first film as a director, but he only co-wrote it and had thousands of hours of stage & radio direction with the Mercury Theater and lots of writing experience behind him. Every Cinderella story you've ever heard has a backstory - Frank Darabont was directing cable movies before SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and had written a bunch of horror films (THE BLOB remake, one of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET films, etc). Before that he worked in the prop department on movies - but if you believe the press, he came from nowhere to direct SHAWSHANK. Everybody comes from somewhere.

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I was talking to Jack Fisk a few years ago (he's Sissy Spacek's husband) about their early careers. Most people think Sissy started out in Stephen King's CARRIE - but she was the female lead in a 1972 movie called PRIME CUT. The couple met on BADLANDS, and both worked as production designers/set decorators on PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (1974). Set decoration was kind of her day job between starring roles in films. Part of the Cinderella story about actors is that they quit their day jobs after they get their big break, but Kevin Bacon went back to work as a waiter after starring in DINER and Kathleen Turner was waiting tables when BODY HEAT opened. Cinderella stories remove all of the struggling in favor of a fast dissolve from nobody to big name star. In the real world, things take time. When I was about 19 years old I snuck backstage to talk to Jack Nicholson after he spoke at the San Francisco Film Festival. His advice to me was just to stick with it - he told me it took him 15 years to become an overnight success. His big break was EASY RIDER in 1969, his first major film role was in CRY BABY KILLER in 1957 (he'd been acting for a few years before that). Want to guess who got his acting start in 1955's FRANCIS (the talking mule) IN THE NAVY? Clint Eastwood. How about 1952's FRANCIS (the talking mule) GOES TO WEST POINT? Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy was also in the cheesy serial ZOMBIES FROM THE STRATOSPHERE in 1952 - about 15 years before landing the role of Spock on STAR TREK. There are no overnight success stories.

The point is - you don't start out brilliant, you just start. But if you don't start, you can never become brilliant.

So don't worry about writing something good, just worry about the "writing something" part. Keep writing until you get that part under control, then tackle the hard stuff. Your first few scripts are going to be learning experiences not earning experiences.

If your first script doesn't turn out, you can just shelve it and write another one.

My first few scripts sucked. But I learned from each one of them, got better with practice, and eventually sold one. But even now I write scripts that don't quite come together. They can't all be winners, you know. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, to screw up. Who really cares if the script doesn't turn out? You'll learn, you'll develop your talent, you'll keep going until one DOES turn out really good.

Every home run king is a strike out king, too.




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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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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?

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BRAND NEW!

*** THE BOURNE MOVIES

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The new CDs are available now!

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"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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READY TO BREAK IN?

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NEW!

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Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 400 pages!

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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!

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*** 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!

ONLY $3.99 - 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 $3.99 - 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!

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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 2017 by William C. Martell


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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

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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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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!
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