You want the truth? Can you handle the truth? Having a career in screenwriting all comes down to who you know. The business side of it is all about personal relationships - which means it's not that much different than any other business. When I graduated from high school and moved out of my parent's house, I got a job with Safeway grocery stores on the stocking crew. How did I get that job? I was working full time in a K-Mart that was the anchor store on one side of a shopping center - the Safeway was the anchor on the other side. The manager of the Safeway store ate in the same couple of restaurants in the shopping center that everyone else did. I knew him well enough to say hello. One day, I asked him how to get a (union) job at Safeway. He gave me the skinny and said I could use his name as a referral. I had to ask his last name... his name badge just said "Don". Screenwriting isn't that much different.

My first deal came from a local director who made exploitation films. We aren't talking Hollywood films, we're talking backyard films. He made these kung fu movies that played in drive ins starring no one you've ever heard of. I didn't meet this director at some lavish Hollywood party - we were hundreds of miles away from Hollywood. This director had gone to the same community college I went to (in my home town). I made little short films, he made little 35mm features. We would bump into each other at the bargain matinee. He saw one of my short films, liked it, ask me if I wanted to work on his next kung fu film. No pay. I worked on his next film, was easy to get along with (and I said funny things). This was miles away from Hollywood - this was not Spielberg, this was not a movie that was ever going to play indoors. It was a drive in exploitation movie called WEAPONS OF DEATH. Because I loved movies and was easy to get along with (and funny) when the director needed someone to do a page one rewrite on his next low budget kung fu movie, he called me. The script was called THE FALCON'S CLAW. I threw out everything (including the title) and started from scratch... that was my first paid job - NINJA BUSTERS. All of this was done in my home town - the movie was made there, too. All due to that big Hollywood connection... this guy who went to the same community college that I did.

He saw my short film, and I gave him a copy of one of my scripts.

My second sale was ten years later...


Drive ins died, and that local director was a director-for-hire on vanity direct to video movies. This wanna-be actor got together enough money from family & friends to make his own film, hired my director friend. I thought the female lead was cute, flirted with her, gave her a copy of one of my scripts and told her there was "a role in this script that's perfect for you". My plan had nothing to do with selling the script - I had the hots for the actress. Later she's in some really low budget horror film in LA where she takes off her top and gets killed by the monster (I don't think her character even had a name) and she gave my script to the line producer. Not the producer, mind you, but the guy who orders equipment and manages the set. He read it and really liked it - and passed it up to his best connection, who passed it to his best connection, and a couple of years later I get a call from a company on the Paramount lot wanting to buy my script. I have no idea how it got there. They flew me to LA, bought the script for about 2 years worth of warehouse wages, and never made the film.

So my big connection is this guy who made low budget kung fu films in my home town. I think anyone could get a connection like that.

In between sale #1 and sale #2, I optioned a script to some Germans - there was an ad in Variety looking for jungle adventure scripts, and I had one. No connections involved in that one - I just had a subscription to Variety.

I *wish* I had a cousin who could pass someone a script. That would save me a lot of hard work.

You have to make your own connections. Since moving to LA, everything I've sold has come from a query letter or a phone call or me figuring out how to track down some producer. You don't need to have relatives in the business, you don't even have to know anyone in the business... you just have to *get to know* someone in the business. And you don't have to know anyone important. I knew a no-name actress! In another tip I mentioned an office temp I pitched my script to, who is now a producer of films like SPARTAN with Val Kilmer. If you can become Steven Spielberg's best friend, that's great... but it's not required. Your best connections might be the people around you - people you already know! Do you know someone who wants to direct movies? That person may be the *next* Spielberg.

Movie Magic 6

An actor from my home town is now a minor star - he was at a party at my house once and I hardly talked to him. My mistake. At the premiere of one of my films I discovered that one of the stars not only came from my home town, she went to high school with my sister! I didn't know her back then - even though she was already acting. My ex went to a rival high school with a guy who is now a director. Another guy from a rival high school is now a producer on THE SIMPSONS... why didn't I hang out with these folks back home when all we had were dreams of Hollywood? Even though I made some connections back home, I could have made many, many more. You still can - find the people in your home town who are interested in making movies and hang out with them. You all share the same dreams, why not work together?

Hollywood connections aren't that much different. Send letters, make phone calls, go to film screenings, attend events, *meet people*, do whatever it takes to make some sort of connection. It doesn't have to be with the top guy at the company, it can be with an office temp! Anyone you meet or talk to is a connection... but you won't make that connection unless you go out there are meet people. Send letters. Send cards. Make phone calls.

Since moving to LA, I've had a bunch of studio meetings that came from someone being passed one of my scripts - so my scripts are making connections for me, too. The truth is - there are so many bad scripts in Hollywood, that if you have a good one people will pass it around. Your scripts are your most important way of making connections. If you have a great script, you don't need great connections... but you still need to get that script out of your house and into *somebody's* hands.

Who do you know now? What is your plan to get to know people? It's all about who you know - so go out there and meet people!

Your Screenplay Checklist:

1) Make a list of film related events within driving distance.
2) Make a list of people in the biz from your home town.
3) Is anyone in your town making movies?
4) Connections in your connections - who do you know who knows someone else?
5) What are you doing to *actively meet people* in the biz?

The BREAKING IN Blue Book is filled with ways to make conections both in your home town and in Hollywood. It's a monster - over 400 pages on how to get your scripts on screen.

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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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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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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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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!

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

*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting protagonists! How to remove bad dialogue (and what *is* bad dialogue), First Hand Dialogue, Awful Exposition, Realism, 50 Professional Dialogue Techniques you can use *today*, Subtext, Subtitles, Humor, Sizzling Banter, *Anti-Dialogue*, Speeches, and more. Tools you can use to make your dialogue sizzle! Special sections that use dialogue examples from movies as diverse as "Bringing Up Baby", "Psycho", "Double Indemnity", "Notorious", the Oscar nominated "You Can Count On Me", "His Girl Friday", and many more! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 160 pages!

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

copyright 2017 by William C. Martell

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bluebook E BOOKS: New Blue Books and Novelettes!
I am expanding all of the Blue Books from around 44 pages of text to around 200 pages! Some are over 250 pages! See what is availabale and what is coming soon!Also, I've been writing Novelletes and there will soon be novels.

Visual Class

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

Producing my own scripts, investment possibilities, pipe dreams.


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


Every screenwriting book in the world!
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Each Blue Book is 48 pages and focuses on a different aspect of screenwriting. Dialogue. Visual Storytelling. Your First Ten Pages. Act 2 Booster. Protagonists. Great Endings.
Seventeen Blue Books now available!

THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING The Best Nuts & Bolts Screenwriting Book On The Market!


My nineteen produced films, interviews with me in magazines, several sample scripts, my available scripts list... And MORE!
...............................BILL'S CORNER

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