Four AFW Online Master Screenwriting Classes Coming in January

webinar frenzy!

December 3, 2015

 

CrashCourse_1Shot

My Next Level Webinar with Stage 32 “Crash Course: High Concept Writing” went well yesterday.

Thanks to everyone who came out for that. Yay! Or maybe I should say stayed in for that? Thanks for coming.

If you could not catch that live [crazy person!] you can still catch the clip :::HERE:::

 

 

max news

November 28, 2015

Max Adams

Max Adams, Evil Script Sprite Incorporated

 

So, things happening now and on the near horizon —

Right now — as in right right now and on through Monday — – I’m doing a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal on script analysis.

On Wednesday, December 2nd, I’m doing a Stage 32 Next Level Webinar: Crash Course: High Concept Writing.

I’m on the narrative jury panel for the Digi60 Ottawa Digital Filmmakers’ Festival.

In January, I have a fun prose story [yes, prose, sometimes I do prose] coming out in an anthology — but I don’t have a heads up it’s okay to say more about that yet so you will just have to stay tuned for more news about that. Oops.

Also in January I’m launching a new AFW class, The First 30 Pages. There are 8 seats left in the new class so if you are interested in the class, reserve your seat now before seats are all full.

That’s the news.

Smooches,

Your Maybe My Slate is a Little Full Adams Girl

 

 

I am so tired of stories about serial killers. And about murders. And about murderers. And about cops hunting serial killers and murderers. And about lawyers trying murderers and proving murderers murdered people. And about terrorists. And about kidnappers. And about death and people hunting other people and people who kill other people and just — I am wrung out by and exhausted by murder as entertainment.

So I’ve been watching other things.

News Radio. Black Books. Beginners. Chalet Girl. About A Boy.

A lot of the time when I am working I have something playing background while I work so it does not matter that I have seen it before. It is keeping me company. And I cannot fall asleep alone in total silence. The shows keep me company then too.

Tonight I thought, Wow, I really need a list of shows and movies that are not about people killing people.

So that’s the start of my list. News Radio. Black Books. Beginners. About A Boy. Also The Station Agent and Wristcutters, A Love Story. Though people could argue there is death in there some places, it isn’t murder.

Feel free to add to my list in comments.

 

a few bad apples

January 8, 2015

 

poison_apple

 

In 1988, the Ayatollah Khomeini put a price on author Salmon Rushdie’s head. Rushdie wasn’t wanted “dead or alive.” Khomeini wanted Rushdie dead. I don’t know what the original price tag was for one dead author, but as of 2013, the price on Rushdie’s head was over 3 million pounds.

The Ayatollah is gone. The prices on artists’ heads are not.

 


 

In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was shot dead on a busy Amsterdam street. The first bullet took Theo off his bicycle. He tried to make it across the street. Theo’s murderer followed him on foot and shot him again. Then Theo’s murderer slashed Theo’s throat and stuck a letter to his chest with a knife. Theo was 47 years old. His crime was a short fiction film aired on Dutch public television depicting a Muslim woman’s difficulties in an arranged marriage.  

In 2005, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s drawing of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban put him on Islam’s hit list. There have been multiple attempts to murder Kurt. He lives in a home rivaling a Brinks security office and under police protection to this day.  

Also in 2005, Danish publication Jyllands-Posten’s former editors Carsten Juste and Flemming Rose made the hit list – for publishing Westergaard’s drawing.  

In 2006, Swedish artist Lars Vilks made Islam’s hit list. He, like Rushdie and Wetergaard, is still alive. He sleeps with an axe by his bed.  

In 2010, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker received death threats for their depiction of Muhammad in a bear suit in their animated cartoon. They were assured they too were on the road to Theo van Gogh’s fate. A photo of Theo with his throat slit and a knife in his chest was attached just to make things festive. The South Park guys are still breathing. Probably because stations caved and censored a lot of the episode.  

In 2010, in response to the South Park threats, Seattle artist Molly Norris, who worked for a Seattle paper, publicly suggested an “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.” Molly received so may death threats she quit her job, fled Seattle, and changed her name. As far as I know, she’s still in FBI protective custody.  

In 2011, the Paris offices of satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo were firebombed, forcing the publication to move after its offices were destroyed. Editor Stephane Charbonnier, you guessed it, was on Islam’s hit list. Had been for a while, fending off litigation and death threats. Charlie Hebdo’s crime? A few satirical and not particularly tasteful cartoons featuring Muhammad.  

Apparently Muhammad seriously does not have a sense of humor because In 2015, armed men stormed Charlie Hebdo’s new Paris offices with automatic weapons and shot Stephane Charbonnier and 11 other people dead.

 


 

There is now an Al Queada Most Wanted poster being passed around the internet showing Charbonnier’s face struck out in red.

 


Think about that. These murderers, these serial murderers, don’t just keep little photos of their victims to themselves they can cross your face off of. They put your photo on the fucking internet. With a big red X through it.

THAT is fucking blaspheme.

 


 

The above is the short list. There are more.

And that’s a long time span.

17 years. For 17 years, artists, filmmakers, satirists, journalists, comics, authors, editors, gallery owners have been threatened, attacked, murdered in the name of defending the honor of a man who heard voices in a cave and has been dead for 1500 years. In Switzerland. Sweden. The US. France. Denmark. All over the fucking globe, artists are targeted, intimidated, threatened, and murdered.

 


 

A few bad apples, I am told. Most of Islam is not like that, I am told. Most Muslims are just nice people trying to go about their daily lives, I am told.

 


 

You know what a few bad apples are? The Unibomber. He was a bad apple, with a couple buddy bad apples.

This is a fucking orchard.

 


 

It’s time to burn that orchard down.

 


The Silencing of Theo van Gogh
FBI Warns Seattle Cartoonist About Threats
Salman Rushdie bounty increased amid anti-Islam film controversy
Al-Qaida’s ‘dead artist club’
Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier crossed off chilling al-Qaeda hitlist
Swedish Police Hide Threatened Cartoonist
Seattle Cartoonist in Hiding After Death Threats
The Danish Cartoonist Who Survived An Axe Attack
Jihad Against Danish Newspaper
South Park censored after threat of fatwa over Muhammad episode
France manhunt: Police raid homes, arrest several suspects after Charlie Hebdo massacre
Paris Killers Got Wrong Door Before ‘Decapitating’ Magazine
Satirical Magazine Is Firebombed in Paris

 

 

wtf_red_question_markMax’s Dictionary of Screenwriting Hmm Moments:  “Hmmm” = A moment reading a script when a reader stops on a dime and says, WTF?

A Few of Those Moments —

1.  The pilot of a passenger jet liner rolls down the cockpit window.  [For double credit, while flying.  For triple?  It’s not a passenger jet. It’s a submarine.]

2.  Someone whips out a cell phone.  In WWII Germany.

3.  Someone’s picking strawberries.  From a tree.  In a pine forest.

4.  INT.  DESK — DAY  [For double credit, recreate at random using INT.  TABLE — DAY || INT. WOOD BLOCK — DAY.  And your protagonists are not termites.]

5.  Someone’s doing a Google search.  In 1950.  On an iPhone.

6.  Doctors in an emergency room whip out defibrillator paddles.  To treat a concussion.  [For double credit, it’s a broken leg.  For triple?  She’s having a baby!]

7.  Intravenously shooting up marijuana leaves….

8.  Human beings without helmets or suits jump about.  In an outer space vacuum.

9.  People struggle with the safety.  On a Glock.

10.  People collect chicken eggs.  On a farm.  In a stable.

 


[I guarantee you the big fight here will be on chickens laying eggs in stables.  Shhh.  I will tell you why later.]

 

 

i’ll be dusting

March 10, 2014

 

cinderella_feet_broom_smI’m dusting —

Classrooms for the March classes. Will be a bit busy for the next six weeks so expect a dry spell but I will try to stop in every now and again.

 


*There are a couple open seats left you have till midnight if you want to hit a March class.

 

 

marilyn_head_shotThis really darling piece —

Showed up on Jezebel the other day, all about women needing stronger [or at least with better dialogue] roles in Hollywood. [I’ll give you the link later, hang in there.] It features a youtube clip of actress and producer Olivia Wilde.

[From House, you punks, start reading the fucking credits.]

It’s titled “Olivia Wilde Crushes It When She Talks About Women in Hollywood.”

Olivia Wilde totally does crush it too. [I’ll give you that link too if you stick around.]

[Stop scrolling, you attention deficit bastards, there is method to my madness.]

The problem is the Jezebel writer, Hillary Crosley, doesn’t “crush it.”

[Sorry, Hillary, I’m sure you’re a lovely person.]

 



 

Here is how Hillary’s “go girls” article ends:

“First you get the producers, then you get the power, then you get the women.”

Cute. But. No. Though it is a darling twist on the protest quote “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

That is Gandhi right?

 



 

Hollywood is not Occupy Wall Street. Hollywood is a corporate living breathing high school metaphor — that is supposed to make a profit, not topple banking corruption or withstand pepper spray in New York parks. And the emphasis there though it should maybe be on “high school” is on “make a profit.” As in “huge fucking profit.” And if you don’t get that? You don’t get Hollywood.

Oops.

 



 

In Hollywood, producers don’t bring in the money – or the power.

Producers in Hollywood are matchmakers. They match talent [actors, actresses, directors, writers] with projects [books, adaptations, concepts, specs] and studios [studios are the purse that is highly corporate and also linked into more corporate deals like “distribution” which is often with other studios and often highly problematic and is also another subject entirely that would take a whole other post so moving on].

Or, using another metaphor, let’s pretend we’re planning a home coming dance.

Yay! Back to high school!

 



 

Producers are the party planners. Producers bring everyone together, but producers in Hollywood aren’t paying for the dance or directing the dance. They are just matching all the right players up so it sounds like a really fun party and everyone goes, “Hey, great party, fuck, everyone will come, let’s do it!” Then the studios supply the cash and you know, if you’re bankrolling the party, that gives you some say. But if you throw [bankroll] a party and no one comes to the party [no cover charges, no drink sales, ahhh!]? Like, the homecoming queen and king say, Fuck you, dead party, we’re going to the country club instead?

Dead in the water.

So that’s why the [prom queen] talent can have more clout than the studio [bank roll]. The talent [prom queen] is the core of the equation. Because if the prom queen boycotts your party?

No fucking party.

Did the metaphor work?

 



 

So the power, making Hollywood films? Resides with studios [the money], and with talent [the people the studios will throw money into a project with because if those people boycott future parties?, no more parties].

So how does this all boil down in terms of hot female lead and hot dialogue for female characters projects in Hollywood?

You don’t go to the producer. You go to the toughest female Hollywood talent on the block, with or without tats, they have served their time and fought their way up through the hierarchy and have the clout.

 



 

This does not mean producers are not important. Producers are crazy important. Mostly the party would not even happen without producers. But do you know who Gale Anne Hurd is? [God I hope so but doubt it. Go IMDB you fools. Ahhh!] How about Robert Evans? [No? Ahhh!]

 



 

In other words, Miss Crosley? You got it wrong.

You want to make hot female driven projects? You do not start with “the producers.” You start with the toughest women in Hollywood.

And when I say “tough,” I don’t mean prison tats. I mean, they are the prom queens of Hollywood. They have such powerful track records with the studios, have starred in so many films that made the studios so much money, if they say, I want to make this or star in this or produce this or direct this? The studio suits will say, “I can’t risk you not showing up at my next party, I will write this check.”

But —

There is a caveat.

[There always fucking is a caveat. This is Hollywood. Bummer.]

“If this party fails, you go to Tough Hollywood Babe With Clout Jail” and stop making me fund parties no one shows up to.”

That means the tough girls in Hollywood have something to lose every single time they back something. See, if the suits get really pissed? They could screw up that other thing we don’t have time to talk about — distribution. And something we haven’t even mentioned here — promotion. And to cannon ball past all that? That’s a lot of effort. And why would they do that for another woman instead of for themselves making profit off a film that is important to them, stars them, and will keep them and their film career alive another decade or more?

And that’s another subject that would make this post too long. So. Let’s go back to the original point.

 



 

You want more women dominated films in Hollywood? You want better roles for women in film? You want better dialogue for women in films? You don’t talk to the party planner [producers]. You talk to the prom queens [tough ass kicker women actors and directors and writers in Hollywood — and the big prom queens are the actresses, you can’t fire them halfway through principal photography without dropping millions, everyone else is fungible].

 



Wait, I promised you the Olivia Wilde clip too. Here you go yay!:

 

 

Also, I should link you to the Jezebel piece. Sigh:

:::jezebel piece:::

 



 

PS: Dear Jezebel Peeps: If you need someone who actually understands Hollywood on the payroll? Hit my link. If I’m too busy or expensive? I’ll refer you.

You’re welcome.

 

 

This is fun. It is from The Single Screenwriter:

 

Screenwriters, This One’s For You! from TrailerWorks on Vimeo.

 


:::check out the article:::

 

 

max_bio A friend

 

Was just asking about screenwriting, which she’s interested in, and getting up and running learning the basics. I threw some advice at her and here it is again for anyone out there looking to start and not knowing where to start, screenwriting:

 

I sometimes teach beginning classes through Gotham Writers, but I don’t have any on the schedule right now and they aren’t cheap. The bulk of my classes are through The Academy of Film Writing [AFW] and are master classes, you have to have the basics to get into those.

Screenwriting U advertises free classes from time to time which might be a good place to start. They have a Facebook page. I don’t know how good they are, but free is free.

A book I highly recommend is David Trottier’s The Screenwriter’s Bible, which is a good place to start. That’s on Amazon.

Also, hit Terry Rossio’s Wordplay and read everything in the archives, all of Terry’s articles on writing are really educational, I make a lot of my students read those.

Seger has a couple good books, one is How To Make a Good Script Great, and the other is Creating Unforgettable Characters. Those are both on Amazon too.

Read scripts. Scripts, scripts, and more scripts.

This is a good source site for screenplays online: MovieScriptSource.com

Not all of these titles will be on there but some really great scripts in no particular order are When Harry Met Sally, Moonstruck, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Romancing the Stone, The Terminator, Fabulous Baker Boys, Blade Runner, Accidental Tourist, Last Boy Scout, Jaws, Shawshank Redemption, John Carpenter’s The Thing, American Beauty, and The Fugitive.

Don’t get thrown by format. Format has five parts: scene headers, scene description, dialogue cues, parentheticals, and dialogue. That’s it. Five parts.  People get all whacked out by format like it’s this big complex math equation but it isn’t, script format has five very simple parts, the end, and some people don’t even use the parentheticals.

Pay attention to verbs in scene description, reading scripts, that’s where motion comes from. And to the details given in character descriptions when they are introduced, that’s character work and the first impression a reader gets of a character. Character intro’s are especially strong in Shawshank Redemption and in The Fugitive.

 


There you have it. Max’s down and dirty screenwriting primer for beginners.

 

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