MONDAY'S SCRIPT TIP:

DRAMA IS OUR BUSINESS


Buy The DVD

Drama is the "default genre" for every screenplay. Action *plus* drama. Thriller *plus* drama. Romance *plus* drama. Sci-fi *plus* drama. Horror *plus* drama. Drama plus... well, I guess it's just drama (maybe that's why audiences don't flock to see dramas - there's no *plus*). Every story has a dramatic core. A silly comedy like KNOCKED UP may have all kinds of crass humor, but underneath it all we have a story about a slacker who must become responsible for his actions when he gets a one night stand pregnant... and on the other side of the story we have a responsible TV executive who slipped and slept with the slacker who must now deal with the consequences of her actions.. And several dramatic scenes that explore these characters and the drama at the heart of the story. Even comedy movies like SUPERBAD and AIRPLANE have drama lurking beneath their silly exteriors. Every script you write is a drama - so it had better be dramatic!

Drama is when conflict explodes to the surface through dialogue or actions. Because film is a visual medium, actions win out over dialogue every time because we can SEE them. By actions we don't mean car chases and shoot outs, we mean *characters doing things*. A wife might slap her husband, or throw a dish at him, or storm out of the room, or turn away from him., or... the possibilities are endless. Even if your conflict explodes into an argument (dialogue), it will usually be building toward a physical action that will spin us into the next scene. Drama is the way conflict can be seen by the audience. If a character is furious within but manages to control his emotions so that he appears calm, how can the audience know what he's feeling?

Remember that drama is between two people. That may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised at the number of scripts I read that forget that second person. One person standing around being dramatic is not only probably expositional, it almost can't help but be melodramatic. One guy has to do all of the dramatic work! In a novel a character can *think* drama, on screen we can't see that... so we need at least two characters for cinema drama.

Let's say you have a story about a stern, disciplinarian father and his irresponsible, good-for-nothing son. The son goes on an adventure and grows up... returning as a responsible adult who makes his father proud. They hug, the end. That story may have thrilling adventure but it lacks drama. Why? It completely ignores the conflict between father and son! To have drama you must have both characters involved in the conflict in scenes together. If the father spends all of Act Two off camera, you have not only removed the possibility of drama from your script, you are not actually resolving the conflict. It's a cheat. Instead of digging into character you are slapping on an external, contrived solution. If the conflict is between father and son, the adventure is a subplot... unless it contains scenes with the father and son.

TIME COMPRESSION & DRAMA

Buy The DVD

One way to create drama is through compressing time. The events of a lifetime may seem boring... unless you experience them all in a weekend. A great story comes from the single most important event in someone's life - and that event may take years in real time... but in reel time we have 2 hours to tell our story and need to compress time. A decade where true love crumbles may take place in a week in our screenplay that lasts 90 minutes on screen. The great side effect of compressing time in our story is that it solves all kinds of story telling issues: Five Years Later and finding actors who can age 30 years on screen. All of those story stumbling blocks are removed just by saying the story takes place in a week rather than a decade or two.

KNOCKED UP uses time compression to show the growth of a relationship between two unlikely people. Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) is the ultimate slacker, living in a pad-o-guys with a bunch of other slackers. His source of income - a settlement form an accident he was in *years* ago... that has just run out. Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) is an ultra-ambitious assistant on a TV show, hoping to become on-air talent *soon*. She is so busy working, she has no time for a relationship. The two meet in a night club, get drunk, have casual sex, then go their separate ways...

Every relationship has its ups and downs, its major crises, those great moments, break ups and reconciliations. Usually these events take place over a period of years, and the moments along the way may be building to the end - but they may not seem like anything at the time. We could have done a WHEN HARRY MET SALLY story about the couple in KNOCKED UP, showing how a chance meeting sparks a relationship that brings them together again and again over *years* until they realize that, even though they are opposites, they compliment each other and start a relationship. What KNOCKED UP does is take that decades-long story and compresses the time to nine months. The length of a pregnancy.

Alison is pregnant with Ben's kid - she's been working non-stop since that night so there's no chance that it could be anyone else. She decides to keep the kid, informs Ben, and now Ben has nine months - actually, probably seven months - to grow up. He must evolve from slacker to father on a deadline.

Imagine a line that represents a relationship with a mark at every point of conflict. Now compress that line - and the conflict points become closer together and bump into each other. Two incidents months apart now come right after each other and *build* the drama (instead of allowing time to dissipate the drama).

The incidents that seem like small bumps in the road over decades now become mountains that must be climbed - much more dramatic. And it's one danged thing after another!

ONE NIGHT ODYSSEY

Buy The DVD

Some of the same writers used the same method to create drama *and* comedy in their surprise summer hit SUPERBAD. The film follows a bumbling duo of losers Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) on the day of the big High School graduation party on their quest to get laid. "You know when you hear girls say 'Ah man, I was so shit-faced last night, I shouldn't have fucked that guy?' We could be that mistake!" Because they are not the kind of guys usually invited to cool kid's parties, their ticket in is booze. Their friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has what has to be the worst fake ID in High School history. Evan:"Stay calm, okay? Let's not lose our heads. It's... it's a fine ID; it'll... it's gonna work. It's passable, okay? This isn't terrible. I mean, it's up to you, Fogell. This guy is either gonna think 'Here's another kid with a fake ID' or 'Here's McLovin, a 25 year-old Hawaiian organ donor'. Okay? So what's it gonna be?" So begins their odyssey to buy booze and get to the party where beautiful girls await them - a crazy series of adventures over a single night.

This might have been a story that took place over their last year of high school - with the series of adventures spread out - but that wouldn't have been as funny, and wouldn't have mined the drama in this flimsy comedy premise. Even though this is a silly sex comedy, it has a dramatic core - what the two best friends have not discussed are their college plans. They have always planned on going to the same college and being best roommates - best friends forever. But Evan withholds the information that he is going to a different college than Seth. So this is not just their last chance to lose their virginity, it's one of their last nights together. This is going to be the big goodbye - and that's a dramatic situation.

Because the story plays over *one* night, all of the ups and downs of Seth and Evan's friendship, the admission that they are going to different colleges, the break up of the friendship, the realization that they are best friends (and love each other - but not in a gay way) and acknowledgment that this night and this party is going to be the most important in their lives, becomes more dramatic. The scene where they profess their love for each other is a big dramatic scene - one of the dramatic highpoints of the film along with the admission that they are going to different colleges. The time compression gives us the ups and downs of a friendship - all of the problems two people have as long time friends - in *one night*. The highs have to be higher and the lows have to be lower - because we are looking at the friendship under a microscope.

And not only is the drama increased, the comedy also increases - it becomes a madcap odyssey to buy then recover then steal the booze *before* the big party, pitting them against jealous ex-con boyfriends and crazy trigger happy cops and anything else that pops up over the handful of hours this story takes place during. The time compression turns simple situations into comedy *plus* drama. And it all has a happy ending.

Every script has drama at its core - and will have big dramatic scenes. A script without drama is dull and unemotional... and we are in the Emotion Picture business. We want our scripts to be emotional experiences for the audience, and that means they must be emotional experiences for our characters. Every script is *plus* drama.


NEW

DESCRIPTION & VOICE Blue Book!

bluebook

DESCRIPTION & VOICE Blue Book.

IS HALF OF YOUR STORY IN TROUBLE?

Most screenplays are about a 50/50 split between dialogue and description - which means your description is just as important as your dialogue. It just gets less press because the audience never sees it, the same reason why screenwriters get less press than movie stars. But your story will never get to the audience until readers and development executives read your script... so it is a very important factor. Until the movie is made the screenplay is the movie and must be just as exciting as the movie. So how do you make your screenplay exciting to read? Description is important in a novel as well, and the “audience” does read it... how do we write riveting description?

Only $4.99

Tips FAQ

My New Script Secrets Newsletter!


NEW BOOKS!

bluebook

NEW AND HOT!

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


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

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


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



LEARN SUSPENSE FROM THE MASTER!

*** HITCHCOCK: MASTERING SUSPENSE *** - For Kindle!

Alfred Hitchcock, who directed 52 movies, was known as the *Master Of Suspense*; but what exactly is suspense and how can *we* master it? How does suspense work? How can *we* create “Hitchcockian” suspense scenes in our screenplays, novels, stories and films?

This book uses seventeen of Hitchcock’s films to show the difference between suspense and surprise, how to use “focus objects” to create suspense, the 20 iconic suspense scenes and situations, how plot twists work, using secrets for suspense, how to use Dread (the cousin of suspense) in horror stories, and dozens of other amazing storytelling lessons. From classics like “Strangers On A Train” and “The Birds” and “Vertigo” and “To Catch A Thief” to older films from the British period like “The 39 Steps” and “The Man Who Knew Too Much” to his hits from the silent era like “The Lodger” (about Jack The Ripper), we’ll look at all of the techniques to create suspense!

Only $5.99


bourne

BRAND NEW!

*** THE BOURNE MOVIES

All five "Bourne" movies (including "Legacy" and it's potential sequels) - what are the techniques used to keep the characters and scenes exciting and involving? Reinventing the thriller genre... or following the "formula"? Five films - each with an interesting experiment! A detailed analysis of each of the films, the way these thrillers work... as well as a complete list of box office and critical statistics for each film. This book is great for writers, directors, and just fans of the series.

Only $3.99 - and no postage!





The new CDs are available now!

AUDIO CLASS!

NOIR & MYSTERY80 minute CD 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!

RECESSION SALE! $5 OFF!

IDEAS AND CREATIVITY - 80 minute CD 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 CD 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 CDs!



bluebook

THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL!

*** THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING *** - For Kindle!

*** THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING *** - For Nook!

Why pay $510 for a used version of the 240 page 2000 version that used to retail for $21.95? (check it out!) when you can get the NEW EXPANDED VERSION - over 500 pages - for just $9.99? New chapters, New examples, New techniques!

"SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING is the best book on the practical nuts-and-bolts mechanics of writing a screenplay I've ever read." - Ted Elliott, co-writer of MASK OF ZORRO, SHREK, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and the sequels (with Terry Rossio). (ie; 4 of the top 20 Box Office Hits Of ALL TIME.)

Only $9.99 - and no postage!


READY TO BREAK IN?

bluebook

NEW!

*** 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!

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


bluebook

STORY: WELL TOLD!

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


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

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

MOVIES ARE CHARACTERS!

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

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

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

ONLY $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

ACT TWO SOLUTIONS!

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


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

ONLY $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

SUBPLOTS?

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


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

ONLY $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

Over 240 pages!

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


He's back! The release of "Terminator: Genisys" (now on BluRay) is set to begin a new trilogy in the Terminator story... 31 years after the first film was released. What draws us to these films about a cybernetic organism from the future sent back in time? Why is there a new proposed trilogy every few years? This book looks at all five Terminator movies from a story standpoint - what makes them work (or not)? What are the techniques used to keep the characters and scenes exciting and involving? How about those secret story details you may not have noticed? Containing a detailed analysis of each of the five films so far, this book delves into the way these stories work... as well as a complete list of box office and critical statistics for each film. This book is great for writers, directors, and just fans of the series.

ONLY $3.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

ADVICE FROM 1920!

*** VINTAGE #1: HOW TO WRITE PHOTOPLAYS *** - For Kindle!

***

Screenwriting books have been around as long as films have. This series reprints vintage screenwriting books with a new introduction and history, plus new articles which look at how these lessons from almost 100 years ago apply to today’s screenplays. Anita Loos book is filled with information which still applies. In addition to the full text of the original book, you get the full screenplay to Miss Loos' hit THE LOVE EXPERT, plus several new articles on the time period and women in Hollywood.

ONLY $2.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

I WRITE PICTURES!

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


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

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

BEST SELLER!

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

*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to find great ideas! Your screenplay is going to begin with an idea. There are good ideas and bad ideas and commercial ideas and personal ideas. But where do you find ideas in the first place? This handbook explores different methods for finding or generating ideas, and combining those ideas into concepts that sell. The Idea Bank, Fifteen Places To Find Ideas, Good Ideas And Bad Ideas, Ideas From Locations And Elements, Keeping Track Of Your Ideas, Idea Theft - What Can You Do? Weird Ways To Connect Ideas, Combing Ideas To Create Concepts, High Concepts - What Are They? Creating The Killer Concept, Substitution - Lion Tamers & Hitmen, Creating Blockbuster Concepts, Magnification And The Matrix, Conflict Within Concept, Concepts With Visual Conflict, Avoiding Episodic Concepts, much more! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 175 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

PRO DIALOGUE TECHNIQUES!

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

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

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting dialogue! How to remove bad dialogue (and what *is* bad dialogue), First Hand Dialogue, Awful Exposition, Realism, 50 Professional Dialogue Techniques you can use *today*, Subtext, Subtitles, Humor, Sizzling Banter, *Anti-Dialogue*, Speeches, and more. Tools you can use to make your dialogue sizzle! Special sections that use dialogue examples from movies as diverse as "Bringing Up Baby", "Psycho", "Double Indemnity", "Notorious", the Oscar nominated "You Can Count On Me", "His Girl Friday", and many more! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 175 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!



hcd

FINAL DRAFT SOFTWARE

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

copyright 2017 by William C. Martell


eXTReMe Tracker
SCRIPT SECRETS STORE

Script Secret Store SCRIPT SECRETS STORE From Typing Monkey coffee cups to messenger bags to T shirts - everything a screenwriter needs to look sharp while working on that Oscar nomination! Get your Script Secrets Coffee Cup today!

E BOOKS PAGE

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

ONLINE CLASSES
Furious Action Class
MY OTHER SITES

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

FIRST STRIKE PRODUCTIONS
Producing my own scripts, investment possibilities, pipe dreams.

NAKED SCREENWRITING CDs

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

BOOKSTORE

Every screenwriting book in the world!
SCREENWRITER'S BOOKSTORE
In Association With Amazon.com
From the latest screenwriting book to guides for finding agents and producers... all with at the Amazon.com discount!

BOOKLETS & PRODUCTS

bluebook FIRST STRIKE BLUE BOOKS
Each Blue Book is 48 pages and focuses on a different aspect of screenwriting. Dialogue. Visual Storytelling. Your First Ten Pages. Act 2 Booster. Protagonists. Great Endings.
Seventeen Blue Books now available!

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

BILL'S CORNER

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


Available Scripts

CLASSES ON CD

Class CDs CLASSES ON CD! Take a class on CD! GUERRILLA MARKETING - NO AGENT? NO PROBLEM! and WRITING THRILLERS (2 CDs). Full length classes on CD. Now Available: IDEAS & CREATIVITY, WRITING HORROR, WRITING INDIE FILMS, more!
Take classes on CD!