WEDNESDAY'S SCRIPT TIP:

POINTS OF IDENTIFICATION


Buy Apocalypto DVDs

Okay, let's say you have this great idea for a movie about... Mayans. Oh, and you want to do the entire thing in the Mayan language - so nobody will be able to understand what the characters are saying, because it's a dead language. But you'll subtitle it. Oh, and you are going to cast complete unknowns - no familiar faces, no one like Tom Hanks (that the audience loves) playing one of these Mayans. Oh, and these unknown actors are going to be wearing face jewelry, more face jewelry than any dozen people hanging around outside of a Los Angeles tattoo and piercing shop. Plus they're going to have tribal markings and stuff. And, of course, they'll be wearing loin cloths... and hunting... and doing everything else that Mayan villagers did. So, how are we going to make sure that our modern audience (who sees this film at a massive multi-plex somewhere while talking on their cell phones and text messaging their friends and listening to their iPods) will identify with our characters? How can we assure that they will do that "skin jump" and imagine themselves living the character's life for 2 hours. How can we make sure that they identify enough with these Mayans to *care* about what happens to them?

We're going to have to find points of identification.

Despite Mel Gibson's often odd behavior, I think he's a genius at making films that really connect with the audience. I was not a fan of PASSION, but there were more than enough other fans to make up for it. He seems to love big historical epics with lots of action - in a time when mainstream Hollywood doesn't even make epics anymore. APOCALYPTO takes us into another world, an amazing world but completely different than our own, but populates that world with people just like you and me (except for the face jewelry and loincloths). I'm not really sure it's about the Mayans or the death of their civilization (they throw every theory you can think of at the wall) - it's more of an old fashioned action-adventure flick like THE NAKED PREY (1966)... in fact, almost exactly like NAKED PREY - that film is about a man being hunted through the jungle by the tribe's best warriors and hunters... just like APOCALYPTO. But that film took place in modern times, and the hunted (Cornell Wilde) was a regular guy on safari in Africa with his buddies. No face jewelry, no loincloth, and he didn't speak in subtitles.

So the challenge in APOCALYPTO was to make sure we identified with those dudes in loin clothes, so that their story became *our* story. The film opens with a hunting party in the jungle, and they use their wiles to trap and kill a giant tapur. So we start out thinking the hunting party is fairly clever...but they still have all of that face jewelry, and I don't know bout you, but we don't do much tapur hunting out here in California - kind of difficult to identify with that.

Buy Naked Prey DVDs

After the hunt, they are cleaning and cutting up the animal for transportation, and our protagonist, Jaguar Paw, is giving the organs (which contain powers) to those who need them most. He's kind of like the Wizard Of Oz, handing out hearts... and livers and kidneys and... Well, for Blunted, who has been married for years but still has not produced a child - the testicles. Blunted doesn't want them, but all of the other guys agree that the way to improve his chance of fathering a child is to eat testicles. All of the guys watch as he bites into the tapur testicles (yech!) and chews them enough to swallow them. Then the guys start laughing - it's all been a practical joke! Blunted spits out the remainder of the testicles (yech!) and everyone laughs again. Okay, practical jokes amongst guys is something I can identify with. And the camaraderie is something I can identify with. And it's obvious that everybody loves Blunted and is just having fun with him.

After the laughter, Blunted tells the Chief that, all joking aside, he needs to father a child... his mother-in-law is putting huge pressure on him for grandchildren. Okay, that's pretty easy to identify with! There are currently *two* TV commercials that have a mother in law asking when they are going have give her a grandchild. By creating a situation for the character that we can identify with and understand, we identify with the character. The Chief then asks if there is some problem with Blunted's equipment, and he says adamantly that the equipment is fine. So the Chief gives him a secret leaf to rub on his equipment before sex to help him father a child... this is a set up for another practical joke that happens later in the film.

Before we get to that joke, our protagonist Jaguar Paw hears something in the forest (the others do not - his hearing is better, an admirable trait). He gestures for the others to stay quiet and prepare for battle. Another tribe is in the forest - the frightened leader asks for permission to pass. He explains to Jaguar Paw that they need to find a new home, because their forest was *ravaged*. This frightens Jaguar Paw - how can a forest be ravaged? How is that even possible? He allows the tribe to pass through...

Buy Most DAngerous Game DVDs

But back at the village, the Chief (Jaguar Paw's father) pulls him aside and warns him that a Chief can not be afraid, that fear is a disease, and he must not spread it through the village. Jaguar Paw has disappointed his father... and that's a point of identification, too. All of us want to make our parents proud of us. All of us know what it feels like to fail... and we all know what it's like to live in the shadow of our parents. Even if you have never experienced that, you understand it - and that helps us understand the character. This also gives us the emotional journey that Jaguar Paw will go on in the story - his character arc. He is a man who might be crippled by fear, who must work past that and be brave... and not just a little bit brave, because this film will take him to the limits and even beyond.

In the village, Blunted gets castigated by his mother-in-law because he can't give her a grandchild - she says she'll have him replaced if he can't get her daughter pregnant. Embarrassingly, she insists that he go into the tent right this minute and make love to his wife. She'll be waiting outside, and listening to make sure they're really doing it. Blunted goes into the tent... and a few minutes later runs out naked trying to find something to stop his genitals from burning (not literally) - and ends up dunking himself in a trough of water. The leafs the Chief gave him were a chili-like *spice*. Everyone laughs... and then we get a punchline:

His wife bursts out of the tent, also burning (not literally) and washes her mouth out with water until the burning subsides. Hmmm, I wonder if they've been doing it wrong?

Everyone in the village laughs, including Jaguar Paw, his wife and their little boy Turtle Run. There's a great scene where Jaguar Paw scoops up his son and carries him back to their tent, playing with him. At the tent, he tells his wife that he's come back from the hunt with some tapur and a little boy - which should they have for dinner tonight? He hangs the kid upside down on the porch and jokes that the boy looks delicious. Playing around with your kid is another thing that we can easily identify with. Hey, this guy's just like me... except for the face jewelry and loincloth.

Okay, we've used humor to bring us into their world, and we've found some points of identification between the characters and the audience... but the big stuff is about to come.

GUILT ADDS IDENTIFICATION

Buy The Chase DVDs

A raiding party attacks the village one morning. Thanks to Jaguar Paw's great hearing, he's able to sneak his wife and son to safety at the bottom of a dry well. Then he is captured by the raiders, and must make sure they don't find his wife and son. He gets on the wrong side of one of the raiders, the ultra-evil Snake Ink, who wants to kill him, but the head of the raiding party Zero Wolf (who reminds me of Yul Brenner) forbids it. Jaguar Paw is put in shackles. His father has also been captured, and he apologizes to him... which is overheard by Snake Ink. Big mistake... and the script gives us enough time for the audience to register that. I've done a tip before about how guilt is great way to create character identification... and here's another example. Not only is Jaguar Paw responsible for the murder of his father, this makes him the Chief, and responsible for the safety of his tribe - who are either in shackles or being raped and beaten and killed. Oh, and the shackled prisoners are being taken back to the Mayan city to be sacrificed to the Gods.

That's act one - and the rest of the film is Jaguar Paw trying to save the survivors from his village... then being hunted through the jungle by the best hunters and warriors from the Mayan city and he tries to get back to his wife and son before a torrential rain turns that dry well into a drowning pool. And even though NAKED PREY was modern day and about a guy just like us who is hunted, it doesn't have that additional easy-to- identify-with goal of saving your family. I think it's interesting that this film and the worst-titled-movie-of-that-same-year BLOOD DIAMOND are about guys kidnapped from their tribes who now must escape and save their wives and children from government goon squads. Similar stories in two films with jungle settings.

Even if your characters have face jewelry and wear loin clothes to work, find points of identification between them and the audience so that they know exactly what being that character feels like. How are your characters like the people sitting in the cinema? What aspects of their lives do they have in common? What are those points of identification?


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 $4.99!


BRAND 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 $4.99


Tip FAQ

My New Script Secrets Newsletter!


BRAND NEW!

bluebook

NEW AND HOT!

*** STRUCTURING YOUR STORY *** - For Kindle!


William Goldman says the most important single element of any screenplay is structure. It’s the skeleton under the flesh and blood of your story. Without it, you have a spineless, formless, mess... a slug! How do you make sure your structure is strong enough to support your story? How do you prevent your story from becoming a slug? This Blue Book explores different types of popular structures from the basic three act structure to more obscure methods like leap-frogging. We also look at structure as a verb as well as a noun, and techniques for structuring your story for maximum emotional impact. Most of the other books just look at *structure* and ignore the art of *structuring* your story. Techniques to make your story a page turner... instead of a slug!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


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


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!



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




MY BLOG!

SCRIPT SECRETS STORE - Do you have a monkey mug yet?


bluebook

You MUST Have This Book!

*** 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!

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


bluebook

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!

$4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

START STRONG!

*** 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!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

HOW YOU TELL IT!

*** STORY: WELL TOLD *** - For Kindle!


This book takes you step-by-step through the construction of a story... and how to tell a story well, why Story always starts with character... but ISN'T character, Breaking Your Story, Irony, Planting Information, Evolving Story, Leaving No Dramatic Stone Unturned, The Three Greek Unities, The Importance Of Stakes, The Thematic Method, and how to create personal stories with blockbuster potential. Ready to tell a story? Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 85,000 words - 251 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

SUBPLOTS

*** SUPPORTING CHARACTER SECRETS *** - For Kindle! (Exclusive)


Expanded version with more techniques to flesh out your Supporting Characters and make them individuals. Using the hit movie BRIDESMAIDS as well as other comedies like THE HANGOVER and TED and HIGH FIDELITY and 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and many other examples we look at ways to make your Supporting Characters come alive on the page. Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 170 pages!

ONLY $4.99 - and no postage!


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

NEW 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

STUCK IN THE MIDDLE?

*** ACT TWO SECRETS *** - For Kindle!


Expanded version with more techniques to help you through the desert of Act Two! Subjects Include: What Is Act Two? Inside Moves, The 2 Ps: Purpose & Pacing, The 4Ds: Dilemma, Denial, Drama and Decision, Momentum, the Two Act Twos, Subplot Prisms, Deadlines, Drive, Levels Of Conflict, Escalation, When Act Two Begins and When Act Two Ends, Scene Order, Bite Sized Pieces, Common Act Two Issues, Plot Devices For Act Two, and dozens of others. Over 67,000 words (that’s well over 200 pages) of tools and techniques to get you through the desert of Act Two alive! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is well over 200 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

I WRITE PICTURES!

*** VISUAL STORYTELLING *** - For Kindle! (exclusive)


Show Don't Tell - but *how* do you do that? Here are techniques to tell stories visually! Using Oscar Winning Films and Oscar Nominated Films as our primary examples: from the first Best Picture Winner "Sunrise" (1927) to the Oscar Nominated "The Artist" (which takes place in 1927) with stops along the way Pixar's "Up" and Best Original Screenplay Winner "Breaking Away" (a small indie style drama - told visually) as well as "Witness" and other Oscar Winners as examples... plus RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 200 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


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 $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

STORY IS CHARACTER!

*** CREATING STRONG PROTAGONISTS *** - For Kindle!

*** CREATING STRONG PROTAGONISTS *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting protagonists! A step-by-step guide to creating "take charge" protagonists. Screenplays are about characters in conflict... characters in emotional turmoil... Strong three dimensional protagonists who can find solutions to their problems in 110 pages. But how do you create characters like this? How do you turn words into flesh and blood? Character issues, Knowing Who Is The Boss, Tapping into YOUR fears, The Naked Character, Pulp Friction, Man With A Plan, Character Arcs, Avoiding Cliche People, Deep Characterization, Problem Protagonists, 12 Ways To Create Likable Protagonists (even if they are criminals), Active vs. Reactive, The Third Dimension In Character, Relationships, Ensemble Scripts, and much, much more. Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is once again around 205 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

TOP DIALOGUE TIPS!

*** 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 160 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!



hcd

FINAL DRAFT SOFTWARE

Use your creative energy to focus on the content; let Final Draft take care of the style. Final Draft is the number-one selling application specifically designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics and stage plays. Its ease-of-use and time-saving features have attracted writers for almost two decades positioning Final Draft as the Professional Screenwriters Choice. Final Draft power users include Academy, Emmy and BAFTA award winning writers like Oliver Stone, Tom Hanks, Alan Ball, J.J. Abrams, James Cameron and more. * * * Buy It!

copyright 2018 by William C. Martell


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
Visual 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 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!

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!