Over at Script Magazine I wrote an article about BARBARIAN and one of the new trends that popped up at the end of 2022, the “Change Up” (my made up term), a big plot twist that only changes everything and keeps the story from being predictable. Three of the “break out” films from 2022 & 2023 all had this technique in common: BARBARIAN, MISSING (2022), and PLANE. I think these huge plot twists might be the reason for their success.

Buy The dvd

In PLANE we think that the story is going to take place on the plane - a typical disaster movie story like SULLY or one of those old AIRPORT movies from the 1970s. But then the plane lands on an island... and the story is now about the island... and then we find out who or what else is living on the island... and the story is about that... and then... Each of these changes is still the story of the Airline Pilot and his crew having to protect the passengers from a series of escalating conflicts, which are all connected. We just don’t see the connections at first because we believe it’s going to be a typical disaster movie. The story *unfolds* and seems to change and evolve... because the audience *assumes* that a film titled PLANE where the plane has to fly through a terrible storm is going to a disaster flick... but Change Up! The film seems to keep changing *genres*!

These changes also create a new type of conflict that each of the characters must learn to deal with. One of the strengths of this film are the characters, from our four main characters to each of the passenger characters. The changes in conflict throughout the story force each to evolve and grow and test themselves in different ways. Plus there’s a “Mystery Character” whose character seems to change with every change in the genre and story. So think of Change Ups as a way to show different aspects of the characters in your story. Hey, let’s take a look at how this Change Up technique works in an action flick...

PLANE (2023)
Written by Charles Cumming and J.P. Davis.
Budget: $25 million.
Worldwide Theatrical Gross: $75 million

SINGAPORE AIRPORT: Captain Brody (Gerard Butler) is running a little late and talking to his daughter (Haleigh Hekking) on the phone - promising to get to Hawaii in time to celebrate New Years Eve with her. When he gets to the plane, his (inexperienced) co-pilot Sam (Yoson An) informs him that there’s a dangerous storm they will need to *fly through* because the company wants them to land on time. Brody would rather fly *around* the storm, but the company guy shoots that down. Brody informs the Head Flight Attendant Isabella (Michelle Lee) to be prepared - they have flown together many times and have a relationship. The plane’s Purser Bonnie (Daniella Pineda) says this isn’t going to be a crowded flight, and then we get our first twist...

A COP (Otis Winston) informs Brody that the plane will be transporting a captured fugitive, Louis Gasparre (Mike Colter - Marvel’s Luke Cage) who is accused of murder and was a soldier in the French Foreign Legion... so very dangerous. But, he’s in handcuffs and the Cop is armed and they will sit in the very back of the plane, away from the rest of the passengers.

Brody is also worried that the storm might cause flight delays that will interfere with his plans to celebrate with his daughter. But once they get into the storm? It’s maximum turbulence and Brody hits his head - hard. Passengers are scared. This isn’t just a little shaking, this is like a massive earthquake on an airplane. The Cop who is guarding our prisoner Louis? His seatbelt wasn’t fastened and he bounces off the ceiling and splats on the floor. The Cop has the handcuff key and a gun... and Louis might be able to get his hands on both! Our Head Flight Attendant Isabella unbuckles her seat belt to help the Cop... and is thrown against the roof and dies. Wait... she was the love interest! You can't kill the love interest! Things from the overhead bins are projectiles! Our small group of passengers fear for their lives.

Then, the plane is struck by lightning... and it completely short circuits the avionics and all of the controls - they are flying blind! The radio is dead. The engines are dead. The plane is *dark*. They are going to crash! Brody and Sam try everything to restart the engines and monitors... but can’t. No engines. No lights. They are dead in the air...

Now we get a great “ticking clock” element - Brody and Sam have ten minutes to find a place to land the plane... and they are over the *ocean*. They have no instruments. They have to look out the plane’s windows for an island. If they can’t find a place to land? In this storm the plane will sink and the life rafts aren’t going to last more than a few minutes in the raging ocean. Nine minutes to find someplace to land. Eight minutes. Seven minutes. Six minutes. Five minutes. The good news is that the plane comes out of the storm, the bad news is... Four minutes. Three minutes. “Prepare to ditch!” It’s going to be a water landing. Two minutes. They get down to 90 seconds to find a place to land or they will be stuck in the middle of the ocean with no way to communicate with the outside world. No phone signal. Radios are dead. There’s a beacon on the plane... but by the time a rescue crew gets here they will probably be dead. One minute...

And they spot an island with a dirt road.

They ditch half of their fuel - but the other half is unresponsive. Brody worries that the remaining fuel might cause an explosion and fire and kill everyone if he can’t land safely on that dirt road through a tropical forest. “We’re a stick of dynamite!”

And the landing gear? Nothing electric is working on the plane, so it has to be lowered manually. And that isn’t easy because it was never designed to be lowered manually.

But Brody manages to put the plane down on the tropical island’s dirt road... and everyone is safe... except for the dead Cop and dead Flight Attendant Isabella. There’s an emotional moment for Isabella. The plane’s Purser Bonnie, sees Louis eying the gun and the handcuff key on the dead cop... and grabs both. But that ex-military guy wanted for murder and these frightened passengers? A serious problem waiting to happen...

That entire airplane disaster part seems like a whole movie, doesn’t it? There’s enough conflict and suspense and people that we like and care about who get killed to fill a film. I think that ten minute countdown scene is “real time” - it takes ten minutes to watch it. But the plane has landed safely on a dirt road on a tropical island, and the movie is over, right?


Buy The dvd

The tagline for this movie is “The plane crash was just the beginning” - and the part of story wasn’t even a half an hour of the movie!

Because the plane is still a stick of dynamite and could explode if something sparks, Brody orders all of the passengers off the plane. One of the passengers is a rich ahole, Sinclair (Joey Slotnik!) who argues about everything - the plane is cooler than sitting on the side of this road in the blazing sun. They have limited supplies - sodas and snacks for the flight. No meals. The flight wasn’t long enough for meal service. The passengers are a typical mix of disaster movie characters with all of their own problems, which are exacerbated by having to sit outside in the heat with rationed liquids and snacks. Some have snacks in their carry on luggage that they hide from the others. People are fighting over food and water! It’s Lord Of The Flies... with a murderer in handcuffs. The problem is - it might takes days for the airline to find their beacon and send a rescue. They don’t have enough food and water to survive that long. And that murderer, Louis, wants someone to take off his handcuffs.

We have gone from airplane disaster movie to “shipwrecked” survival movie. It seems like a completely different movie in some ways, it’s not the killer storm that’s the force of antagonism, it’s being stranded on this island with limited supplies and poisonous snakes and each of them fighting against each other to survive... and Captain Brody and the plane's purser Bonnie trying to maintain order and come up with a plan for survival. And that murder Louis wants to be free... but Brody has the Cop’s gun... and Sinclair is the wild card. The rich ahole keeps wanting to stay in the plane... and horde all of the food and water.. and...

Then Sam tells Brody this is Jolo Island, part of the Philippines that has been taken over by violent heavily armed Terrorists.


Buy The dvd

Meanwhile, in a cushy corporate board room, the Airline has lost the plane in the storm and is doing damage control. The head of the airline, Hampton (Paul Ben-Victor) wants to know what fool sent them directly into the storm? And that underling is dealt with. Also in the boardroom is the Damage Control Expert Scarsdale (Tony Goldwyn) who must find a nice way to say that the plane is missing over the ocean and everyone is probably dead.

No one is going to come and rescue them!

Brody’s daughter watches Breaking News about the plane lost at sea and the possibility that her father and all of the other passengers are dead. The film does a great job of keeping the emotional connections between characters as part of the story, through each major change in the story. Looking at the emotional side and the character side of each big change. Movies are about *people* and if we don’t care about those people we won’t care about the movie.

When they were landing on the dirt road, Brody saw a building down the road. The building might have people who can help them and a telephone so that they can call for rescue. Brody is going to leave Sam and Bonnie behind to try and maintain control over the passengers/survivors... but he would like one of the passengers to go with him. The volunteer? Louis, the murderer. He’s ex-military and can take care of himself in case they run into trouble. So now our story is about this pilot and a murderer cutting through a jungle filled with all kinds of dangerous terrain to get to that building that might have a phone... or might have those violent rebels.

Can pilot Brody trust murderer Louis? Will Louis try to kill Brody and escape?

Brody and Louis are in a jungle adventure movie, with treacherous terrain and wild animals and spiders and snakes... and Jeeps full of armed terrorists to get past to make it to the building... and Louis might escape and maybe join the terrorists.

They get to the building, and Louis guards the front while Brody goes upstairs to look for a phone or radio. The building is in ruins - unused for a long time. Brody finds an office with phones - but none work. He manages to “hot wire” one of the phones, calls the Airline... where they have had a million crank calls all day, and the operator keeps hanging up on him. Finally he calls his daughter, and gives her the information about their location in the hope that she can get through...

And then a huge terrorist attacks Brody! We get a big fight scene, and Louis fights the other members of the terrorist’s squad... ending with Brody and Louis surviving. But as they leave the building to get into the Jeep the terrorist were in, they spot a firing squad wall and a video camera with tape of captured tourists begging their relatives or the authorities to pay their ransom or they will be killed... and Brody realizes his passengers and Sam and Bonnie were left behind without weapons!


Buy The dvd

When Brody and Louis get back to the plane, they watch as a small army of terrorists round up the passengers - murdering a couple to show that they mean business - and herd them into transport vehicles to take them back to the terrorist’s stronghold: A town that the terrorists control. Brody wants to do something, but they are seriously outgunned. No way they would survive. They need to come up with a rescue plan...

And now this is a hostage rescue movie. The genre changes again!

Brody and Louis capture a terrorist left behind who tells them that the hostages are being taken into the town where they will be videotaped and then ransomed... and then killed. Now Brody and Louis must infiltrate the town filled with terrorists, find the hostages, rescue them and escape... without the terrorists discovering them. Two men against an army!

And the head of the terrorists, the charismatic Junmar (Evan Dane Taylor), knows that the Pilot and one of the passengers is out there somewhere and might come to rescue the passengers. He’s not stupid. The passengers and Sam and Bonnie are put in a big cell - the terrorists frequently grab tourists from the mainland and bring them back here - and soon they will be taken by bus to be videotaped and then killed. No need for a live hostage once you get the money. Sam and Bonnie and the passengers try to figure out a way to escape....

While Brody and Louis try to figure out a way to rescue them...

While Scarsdale at the Airline gets a team of Mercenaries to fly to the island and rescue any survivors. But they probably won’t arrive in time, so it’s up to Brody and Louis.

There are whole movies about hostage rescues, but this is only one of the many parts of “Plane” - it’s like a “variety pack” of action movies. Every time it changes into a different subgenre of action movie, it’s still about Brody and his crew (Sam and Bonnie, and now Louis) protecting the passengers from whatever the new threat is in this section of the story. The deadly storm and turbulence. The Island and Murderer in handcuffs. The Terrorists. Being held hostage in this prison cell. And later the escape from the island in the damaged plane that might make it to safety... or might crash in the ocean - our final Change Up! These are not random things someone shouted out in a story meeting, these are all logical parts of the larger story about Captain Brody protecting his passengers. Though these Change Ups are less jarring than the ones in BARBARIAN, each could be its own movie (and has been an entire movie before). Each is a different type of conflict and a different type of story, a different subgenre of Action, but they are all connected and add up to the larger story.

One of the things that holds the pieces together in PLANE are each character’s journey through each different section of the story. If you just watch Louis he changes from threat to “I’ll help you if you help me” to actual hero to fugitive. Every character from Bonnie to Sam to each of the passengers have a journey in this story. Each section of the story challenges them in a different way. Think about how the Change Up technique might not only keep your story changing and evolving and interesting, but is a way to explore your characters with every change in subgenre.

Your Story Checklist:
1) Does your story have enough major twists to keep it interesting?
2) Have you explored how each twist challenges the characters in new ways?
3) In BARBARIAN the "Change Ups" are different parts of the story given focus in different "chapters" of the film.
4) Are each of your "Change Ups" logical - the story unfolding?
5) Do we see different aspects of the characters? Get new information about them with each change in subgenre?

This “Change Up!” technique can be used to give us a completely different side of the story as in BARBARIAN or to change subgenres to keep your story unpredictable (and your keep your characters evolving) as in PLANE! Think about those big twists in your story - do you have enough of them? Is your story *unpredictable*?


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! 

Only $4.99


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!

Only $4.99

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


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!

Only $4.99


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

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





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.

344 Pages - ONLY: $7.99!





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!




"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?"

Short Novel. Only 99 cents! - and no postage!

Tips FAQ

My New Script Secrets Newsletter!




*** 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!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!





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 - and no postage!



*** 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!



*** 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!



*** 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!

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





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!



*** 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!





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 and no postage!



*** 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!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!



*** 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!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!



*** 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!



*** 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

eXTReMe Tracker

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!