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In BLACK PANTHER, his Prince T'Challa is battling his cousin Erik Killmonger for the throne of Wakanda and maybe even the fate of the world. What's most interesting about the villain Erik Killmonger is that he is basically *right*. Where T'Challa and his late father wanted to keep Wakanda's advanced technology secret from the rest of the world and believe in isloationism, Killmonger and his late father wanted to use Wakanda's advanced technology to help free all oppressed people in the world, This is a great ideological battle, because you can understand both sides. What makes Killmonger a great villain is that we can understand why he does the things he does. He's not evil, he's someone who sees a different perspective than the protagonist and believes that *his* beliefs are worth fighting for and worth dying for... and worth killing for.

Of course, Killmonger not only wants to free the oppressed people of the world, after they rise up - he wants them to take over and rule. There's some payback in there for centuries of oppression. Though the "payback" is wrong - it's eye for an eye - it's still understandable. Because the audience understands his motives, he seems like a real person, rather than a two dimensional character... and that reality makes him more frightening. What made this film interesting is that by the end of the story, it's T'Challa who comes to believe that Killmonger was right... Isolationism doesn't work... it was just Killmonger's methods and that payback thing that were wrong. One of the things that I talk about in the Protagonist Blue Book is that you need to know why your Antagonist was right... and why your protagonist was wrong. This film does a great job of doing that, because T'Challa comes to learn that not only did his father's policy of Isolationism contribute to the oppression of these people all over the world... one of the reasons why Killmonger is so keen on becoming king of Wakanda and fighting T'Challa to the death is that T'Challa's father *killed* to protect that policy Isolationism. His father was responsible for the murder of Killmonger's father. One brother ordered the killing of the other. Through the course of the story, T'Challa comes to realize that he is wrong. That protecting that Isolationism is wrong. That maybe there's a way to adapt Killmonger's goal of helping the oppressed people in a more positive way. The antagonist was right. That makes for a more complex story. A "realistic" story in a superhero movie.

Killmonger even gets the three dimensional treatment at the end, with a powerful and emotional death scene between the two cousins, Even though they were separated for their entire lives, they are family. They are the sons of brothers.


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In Brent Hanley's FRAILTY, Bill Paxton is a widower raising his two young sons in rural Texas. What separates Paxton from Fred MacMurray in MY THREE SONS is that he's also a serial killer who believes God has ordered him to use a pair of work gloves, a length of steel pipe, and a massive ax named Otis to kill people... who are really demons. His son Matt O'Leary thinks he's out of his mind, and tries to protect his little brother from the violence. But Paxton believes that the family that slays together stays together - and ax murdering strangers becomes a family activity. Burying the hacked up chunks of their bodies in the town's public rose garden is a typical family outing. FRAILTY is a very disturbing film because it juxtaposes traditional family values, religion, and serial killing. When your father believes that kidnaping and killing strangers is just part of every day life it adds to the normal father & son friction.

The villain is usually the most important character in the script, without them the hero would just be sitting around eating Cheetos. Without Paxton's mission to rid this world of demons who look just like normal people, O'Leary would just be a normal kid... and we wouldn't have a story.

The villain's plan is the fuel for the story, so it has to make sense. You can't run a script on bad fuel. The villain's plan isn't just because he's evil, it's because he has a goal, too. A goal he believes is worthy. His goal may even be noble... but his methods aren't. Paxton has a noble goal - to rid the world of demons. He's on a mission from God. From his point of view, he's saving the world... From O'Leary's point of view he's murdering innocent people.

If you are having trouble writing your villain, maybe there are three possibilities:

1) You can't imagine yourself as the villain. Part of our job is to get into the minds of all of our characters and see the world from their POV. If you're having trouble doing this, maybe it's because you don't know your villain well enough. You have a goal for him, but you don't understand why he has chosen that goal. Dig a little deeper into the character and figure out what made him who he is.


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There's a great Bogart film called BLACK LEGION about a KKK-like group. Bogart is a machinist with a family to support who has his job "stolen" out from under him by a minority employee who is willing to work for lower wages... so he joins a Klan-like group. The great thing about this film is that it takes you step-by-step on his journey from regular guy to member of a group of guys who wear sheets and lynch immigrants. At every step, you think to yourself: I might do the same thing. There is never some point where Bogart jumps from good to evil . Where we stop identifying. The film takes the journey from regular guy to villain in baby steps. Here's a guy who has a family and no income... all because they hired a minority guy. He's mad as hell, and what starts as some "innocent" name calling turns into rock throwing in minority neighborhoods turns into torching people's houses and hanging them when they refuse to quit their jobs and go back where they came from. These guys think it's a matter of survival. They will die of starvation if these minorities don't quit the jobs that they used to work at. Because we understand Bogart's character, every horrible thing that he does we see as a mistake - he is on the wrong path. The path of hatred. And that is the path of murder. We understand his motivations, but also know that what he is doing is wrong. Because Bogart is the lead, he sees the error of his ways and turns against the BLACK LEGION... but your villain may not. Your villain may take these understandable motivations and take them to the extremes.... and do terrible things.

Even villains have *reasons* behind what they do.

1) Look at what your villain does and dig into your own experiences to find something similar. Some reason why you broke a rule. Something that you believe in strongly - and flip it to the opposite of that. If you believe in Equal Opporunity, how can that be twisted into something that takes you down the wrong path? If you believe in obeying religious doctrine, how can that be twisted into something that takes you down the wrong path? If you believe in reversing centuries of oppression, how can that take you down the wrong path? Positive beliefs and negative beliefs are both beliefs - those emotional reactions are connected. Once you dig deep enough to find the motivations and emotions under the actions, you can find a way to see the world from your villain's POV. You may not *want* to do that, but that's the only way to write the villain as more than just some two dimensional evil dude. Neither Bogart in BLACK LEGION nor Killmonger in BLACK PATHER are two dimensional characters. They have understandable mottivatioins... and that makes what they do even more frightening. As Hitchcock said, the better the villain the better the movie. If the audience doesn't believe your villain, they won't believe your script.

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2) You have given the villain a goal that is just evil. Something that is IMPOSSIBLE to understand. Something that really can't be defended. Heroes and villains are connected - they are often two sides of the same coin. If your villain's plan is too mean for you to fathom ("I'm going to kill all of the babies in the city.") you aren't going to be able to get under their skin. So find a villain that you CAN understand. A villain that would be the hero of the film if it was told from his POV.

Again - it really comes down to the motivations of the villain. It's 1889 and you get a message from the future that a child born in a certain town in Austria will grown up to become a dictator who will exterminate 16 million people... So you kill every baby in Braunau, Austria in order to save 16 million Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and Gays. Can you understand that motivation? Could you see yourself killing a handful of babies so that 16 million people can live? It wouldn't be an easy thing to do... but could you imagine doing it?

Let's try that again - this time with a government leader who is trying to protect his country by killing the firstborn sons (Exodus xii). Our hero has now become a villain... but the motives are exactly the same.

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Okay, one more time - It's the Terminator coming back to 1984 to kill Sarah Conners before she gives birth to JC (John Conners) who will lead the rebellion against the machines years later. If you don't kill every woman in Los Angeles named Sarah Conners one will give birth to the man who will wipe out your entire race! From Michael Biehn's perspective John Conners might be the savior... from the Terminator's perspective he's not that much different than Hitler. John Conners is going to come to power and kill all of the machines... the Terminator's friends and family!


3) Your villain is *crazy* and you are not (well, you are writing screenplays... so maybe just not diagnosed yet). This is the one that often pops up in horror movies, whether the story deals with Masked Serial Killers With Machetes or Monsters From Outer Space. This type of villain *does* have motivations and a thought process, but it may be too weird or alien for you to understand... without some work. A serial killer or monster is just like any other villain - they need a motivated plan that makes some sort of sense... but the audience may not be aware of that plan until the very end of Act 2 (if at all). That doesn't mean *the writer* doesn't need to understand this type of villain. The character, even if it's a crazed killer or monster still has some sort of purpose or pattern. *We* need to know what that is in order to make them consistent and "realistic".

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If you've watched the TV show HANNIBAL or movies MANHUNTER or SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (or better yet, read the books by Thomas Harris) you know how the FBI uses psychological profiles to find the patterns (and motivations) of serial killers. The Crawford character in both of those movies is based on real life FBI serial killer profiler John Douglas, and his book "Mindhunter: Inside The FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit" (written with Mark Olshaker) which is a fascinating look at what motivates serial killers. There is always a pattern and always a motivation. In MANHUNTER (based on RED DRAGON) the "Tooth Fairy" kills families in order to stage a post death situation where that family is accepting and adoring him... and even though his backstory is never mentioned in the movie, you can guess what motivates him to do this. In SILENCE OF THE LAMBS "Buffalo Bill" is skinning women in order to make a woman suit because he'd prefer to live as a woman (um, kind of a sick way to accomplish this). In fact, that's usually the issue with serial killers: they have understandable motivations, but have found the most violent and weird means to that end. That's why we may have trouble understanding them at first: their actions are crazy. But our job, whether it shows up on screen or not, is to *know* why they do things so that we can make them believable and *consistent*.

Often with serial killers we *don't* want to give the audience too much information, because horror is *fear of the unknown* rather than the known. But that doesn't mean as writers that *we* don't have to know. If you look at slasher films like FRIDAY THE 13th, Jason has a backstory which explains why the heck he's killing those cute camp counselors. Freddy Kruger has a reason why he's killing those kids. And in the first HALLOWEEN movie Michael Myers has a *pattern* to the people he murders (which was tossed out for later entries in the series). Slashers tend to have a specific kind of target, and often this information helps the characters outsmart them in the end.

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Monsters are also motivated by something... and we need to know what that is. The audience may never know, it may never come up in the story... but if we don't know what the monster is after the story will not ring true. And monster movies also often reveal the motivations at the tail end of Act 2 as a way for our protagonist to defeat them. It's pretty easy to figure out what PREDATOR is up to as the story plays out, but what about John Carpenter's version of THE THING? That monster just keeps killing and assimilating its victims. Why the heck would anybody do that? Well, the tagline was "Man Is The Warmest Place To Hide", so we know this monster wants to mask its identity to survive... and Blair's little craft project shows the creature's long term motivation... like the same year's E.T. the monster just wants to go home. So that is its motivation: to survive until it can figure out how to get home. Hey, all of those humans and dogs are just collateral damage! Survival, Not Being Discovered, and Escape are The Thing's motivations, and if you look at the movie... everything it does is part of that. The writer (Bill Lancaster from a story by Campbell) had to understand the monster's motivations in order to make the story "realistic". The audience may not *consciously* know why this film makes sense and some other monster movie seems contrived, but subconsciously they may feel that a scene or action is wrong. So we as writers must even understand our monsters and things from another world.

Our villains and monsters are not just doing things because they are evil, they have some reason that makes perfect sense to them. *We* as writers must know what those reasons are in order to make those characters believable. We must be able to get inside the villain's head and see the story through their eyes... and see why they believe they are doing the right thing (even if it involves massive collateral damage or stabbing Kevin Bacon through the neck with an arrow). Hey, THE THING has the same motivation as E.T... and both wear disguises so they won't be discovered until they can find a ride off planet.


An important thing with any script in any genre is that the characters be well rounded. You should know why your protagonist is *wrong* and why your antagonist is *right*.

What makes FRAILTY frightening is that we understand Paxton - he's a good man trying to do the right thing. He believes the world has become over-run with demons, and that God has called upon him to destroy them. Everything he does makes perfect sense... if you see the world through his eyes. Of course, we see the world through his oldest son's eyes - so he seems crazy. Paxton thinks his mission is doing the right thing, but we can see that he's misguided. We are both frightened of him, and feel sorry for him - he's had this weird vision (probably from eating pizza before going to sleep) and now he's doing these really frightening things that can only end with him being killed or arrested. When your dad is acting crazy, what do you do? Obey him or defy him? Paxton may be a monster, but he also has a goal we understand - a goal that makes sense from his character's point of view.

Whether you are writing a story about Superheroes or Serial Killers or Social Issues or Crime Films, your antagonist, your villain, is the fuel for your story. You don't want to use bad fuel. What is your villain's motivation? What is your villain's goal? Do his actions make sense - are they the best way to achieve that goal? Motivation is the key to every character - even psycho serial killers who are murdering strangers because God told them to or villains in a superhero story who want to rule the world.


How Do I do That?



New to screenwriting? You probably have questions! How do I get an Agent? How do I write a phone conversation? Do I need a Mentor? What’s does VO and OC and OS mean? What is proper screenplay format? Should I use a pen name? Do I need to movie to Hollywood? What’s the difference between a Producer and a Production Manager, and which should I sell my script to? How do I write a Text Message? Should I Copyright or WGA register my script? Can I Direct or Star? How do I write an Improvised scene? Overcoming Writer’s Block? How do I write a Sex Scene? And many many more! This book has the answers to the 101 Most Asked Questions from new screenwriters! Plus a Glossary of terms so that you can sound like a pro! Everything you need to know to begin writing your screenplay!

All of the answers you need to know, from a working professional screenwriter with 20 produced films and a new movie made for a major streaming service in 2023! 

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How Do I do That?



New to screenwriting? You probably have questions! How do I get an Agent? How do I write a phone conversation? Do I need a Mentor? What’s does VO and OC and OS mean? What is proper screenplay format? Should I use a pen name? Do I need to movie to Hollywood? What’s the difference between a Producer and a Production Manager, and which should I sell my script to? How do I write a Text Message? Should I Copyright or WGA register my script? Can I Direct or Star? How do I write an Improvised scene? Overcoming Writer’s Block? How do I write a Sex Scene? And many many more! This book has the answers to the 101 Most Asked Questions from new screenwriters! Plus a Glossary of terms so that you can sound like a pro! Everything you need to know to begin writing your screenplay!

All of the answers you need to know, from a working professional screenwriter with 20 produced films and a new movie made for a major streaming service in 2023! 

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Want To Look Like An Expert?



Does this gun fire 6 shots or only 5? In all of the excitement of writing your action scene, you might not have done the research... and your hero could be out of ammo! Whether you are writing a novel or screenplay, you can save your hero, and your story, by doing a little research first! This book looks at Why you should research, Whether you should research First or Later, PLUS the importance of World Building in Science Fiction, Fantasy... and the worlds you explore in every other genre. Movies like JOHN WICK and THE GODFATHER take place in their own unique worlds... and writers must create them! YOU are the technical advisor on your Screenplay or Novel.

Using movie examples like TOP GUN, HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, BLUE CRUSH, ADVENTURE LAND, several of my produced films, JOHN WICK, the novels of Donald E. Westlake and Thomas B. Dewey, SPY KIDS, the LORD OF THE RINGS movies, SOYLENT GREEN (which takes place in the far off future of 2022), and many others we will look at researching stories and creating worlds. The 8 Types Of Research, the 10 Types Of Information To Look For, 12 Important Elements Of World Building. Plus chapters on How To Rob A Bank and Commit Murder And Get Away With It for those of you interested in crime fiction, and Researching The Future for those writing science fiction, and Levels Of Reality if you are writing about a version of the real world.

No matter what you are writing, this book will help you find the facts... or make them up in a convincing way!

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All About Rewrites!



Rewriting In Waves?

When You Finish Your Screenplay Or Novel...
The Rewrites Begin!

The end is just the beginning! You’ve finished your story, but now the rewriting begins! This 405 page book shows you how to rewrite your screenplay or novel to perfection. Everything from Character Consistency to Shoeboxing to How To Give And Receive Notes to 15 Solutions If Your Script’s Too Long! and 15 Solutions If Your Script’s Too Short! to Finding The Cause Of A Story Problem to Good Notes Vs. Bad Notes to Finding Beta Readers to Avoiding Predictability to Learning To Be Objective About Your Work to Script Killer Notes and Notes From Idiots to Production Rewrites and What The Page Colors Mean? and a Complete Rewrite Checklist! The complete book on Rewriting Your Story!

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All About Endings!



The Perfect Ending For Your Story!

The First Ten Pages Of Your Screenplay Are Critical,
But What About The Last 10 Pages?

Creating the perfect ending to your story! This 100,000 word book shows you how to end your story with a bang, rather than a whimper. Everything from Resolution Order to Act Three Tools to Happy or Sad Endings? to How The Beginning Of Your Story Has Clues To The Ending (in case you were having trouble figuring out how the story should end) to Falling Action to How To Avoid Bad Endings to Writing The Perfect Twist Ending to Setting Up Sequels & Series to Emotional Resolutions to How To Write Post Credit Sequences to Avoiding Deus Ex Machinas, to 20 Different Types Of Ends (and how to write them) and much more! Everything about endings for your screenplay or novel!

Only: $4.99

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Distilling Your Screenplay!

Loglines, Treatments, Pitching, Look Books, Pitch Decks, One Pagers, Rip-O-Matics?

You have written a brilliant 110 page screenplay, but how do you get anyone to read it? You need to distill it down into some form of verbal moonshine or story rocket fuel that will ignite that bored development executive or manager or agent and get them to request your screenplay. But how do you shrink those 110 pages into a 25 word logline or a 2 minute elevator pitch or a one page synopsis or a short paragraph? This 100,000 word book shows you how! Everything you need to know! From common logline mistakes (and how to solve them) to how your pitch can reveal story problems to the 4 types of pitches!

272 Pages - ONLY $4.99!

NEW in 2020!

Making Your Own Movie?


Making Your Own Movie?
Writing An Indie Film?
Writing A Low Budget Genre Script To Sell?
Writing A Made For TV Holiday Movie?

You will be writing for BUDGET. On a standard spec screenplay, you don’t have to think about budget, but these types of screenplays writing with budget in mind is critical!

If you are making your own movie, budget, is even more important - and you need to think about budget *before* you write your screenplay... or you will end up with a script that you can’t afford to make (or is a struggle to make). Everyone is making their own films these days, and even if you have done it before there are lots of great techniques in this book to get more money on screen - for less money! You can make a film that looks like it cost millions for pocket change.

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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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"The Presidential Suite of the Hollywood Hoover Hotel looked like a bloody battlefield: bodies everywhere, furniture broken, red liquid dripping from the walls, dead soldiers littering the elegant Berber rug as clouds of smoke overhead bounced between two air conditioning vents.

Mitch Robertson stepped over the body of an ex-child star turned sex tape star turned pop star and entered the room, spotted a gun on the floor and picked it up... careful not to spill his coffee with three pumps of mocha syrup from Penny’s Coffee Shop. That coffee was gold, the only thing keeping him going in this dazed state of wakefulness. The gun felt light. Holding it, he saw the silhouette of an 80s action star sitting sideways on a tipped over chair. Motionless. Was he dead? Mitch was still hung over from the Awards Party the night before, and wondered whether this was all some sort of crazy nightmare that he would wake up from... but when he tripped over the brown legs of a bottomless Superhero, flaccid junk encased in a condom but still wearing his mask, and hit the edge of the sofa, gun skittering and coffee spilling, he realized that it was all very real. What the hell had happened here?"

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*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Kindle!


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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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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*** 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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*** 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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*** 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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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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*** 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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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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*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Kindle!


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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*** SCENE SECRETS *** - For Kindle!


What is a scene and how many you will need? The difference between scenes and sluglines. Put your scenes on trial for their lives! Using "Jaws" we'll look at beats within a scene. Scene DNA. Creating set pieces and high concept scenes. A famous director talks about creating memorable scenes. 12 ways to create new scenes. Creating unexpected scenes. Use dramatic tension to supercharge your scenes. Plants and payoffs in scenes. Plus transitions and buttons and the all important "flow"... and more! Over 65,000 words! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 210 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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*** 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!



*** 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!




NEW: Updates On Films 7 & 8 Casting!

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

THE MISSION IMPOSSIBLE MOVIES - 347 Pages - Only $3.99 !




NEW: Updates on TREADSTONE TV show!

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!


Over 240 pages!

*** THE TERMINATOR MOVIES *** - For Kindle!

He's back! The release of "Terminator: Dark Fate" is set to begin a new trilogy in the Terminator story... 35 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!



Strange Structures!



Contained Thrillers like "Buried"? Serial Protagonists like "Place Beyond The Pines"? Multiple Connecting Stories like "Pulp Fiction"? Same Story Multiple Times like "Run, Lola, Run"?

This book focuses on 18 of Hitchcock's 52 films with wild cinema and story experiments which paved the way for modern films. Almost one hundred different experiments that you may think are recent cinema or story inventions... but some date back to Hitchcock's *silent* films! We'll examine these experiments and how they work. Great for film makers, screenwriters, film fans, producers and directors.

Only $5.99 - and no postage!



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

The new  MP3s are available now!


NOIR & MYSTERY80 minute MP3 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!


IDEAS AND CREATIVITY - 80 minute MP3 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 MP3 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 MP3s!



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 2024 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.

Furious Action Class

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

Producing my own scripts, investment possibilities, pipe dreams.


Naked Class The NAKED SCREENWRITING CLASS ON MP3! The 2001 London Class on 8 MP3s! Recorded *live* the morning after the Raindance Film Festival wrapped. The two day class on 8 MP3s, plus a workbook, plus a bonus MP3 with PDFs.
The 2 Day Class on MP3!


A Whole Week Of Programming!
(no actual sex is involved)
From Trailer Tuesday to Film Courage Plus to THRILLER Thursday to Fridays With Hitchcock and more! My blog has all kinds of great stuff! Check it out! Lots of cool stuff every day!


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

Available Scripts


Take classes on MP3!