my poor neglected forum

January 6, 2016


The AFW Online Writers' Forum


The forum is not, technically, all that neglected. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes in private workshop and classroom forums. But the public forum is terribly neglected.

I blame this on the great forum explosion of 2010. There was so much mad scrambling to do damage control and retrieval for the workshop and classes during that melt down, the public forum just got completely left in the scrambled tatters and never picked up again.

But there is a public forum.

It is a bit tragic is is so under utilized.

It exists pretty much entirely in one forum:

You can check out some of the topics if you’re inclined:










scuba certified!

January 6, 2016

I cannot believe I could not find this Person of Interest clip on Youtube without foreign subtitles. What is wrong with Americans? This is the BEST DOG SCENE EVER!




Four AFW Online Master Screenwriting Classes Coming in January


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.



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.




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.


hot sexy short hair

February 2, 2014


So this discussion is heating up over on FB about the Rapunzel hair and female law enforcement characters on TV thing and some people are saying, Oh well long hair is more attractive to men and whatnot.

I don’t think that is  true but I could be deranged.

[It has been suggested from time to time I am deranged.  Shut up.]

I think most men don’t care half as much about women’s hair as women care about women’s hair though.

I also think plenty of women are hot and sexy with short hair  — and that’s not even taking into account you can go into combat WITH LONG HAIR, if, you know, you just do something to stash it out of the way so it’s not a combat hazard to you and others when you pull a gun out.

Let’s take a look at hot women with short hair just to be sure:






I’m female and don’t even do girls and I know they are totally hot you fools.

Maybe the whole Rapunzel cop chicks thing is Charlie’s Angel Syndrome.



the_closer castle saving_grace rizzoli_isles  in_plain_sight






Okay nothing is wrong with this picture if this is a casting call for a L’Oreal commercial.

There is something wrong if all of these are female law enforcement characters on TV and every single one of them has long, flowing unbound hair —

While. Chasing. Bad. Guys.


That hair is a handle for any bad guy to grab and use to bounce your head off the nearest hard surface.

Also how are you going to fire a gun at a moving target if you are trying to shove Rapunzel locks out of your eyes just to see the target?

What is it with female cop characters on TV and long flowing unbound hair?

Also do not get me started on female coroner characters.  You want your hair falling into, um, corpse goo?  Seriously?  Ahhh!


[PS: I have to give Sleepy Hollow’s Abbie Mills — played by Nicole Beharie — some points, once in a while she binds some hair back from her face.]


[PPS: :::Hot Sexy Short Hair:::]




[I laughed so hard at this I probably have brain damage.]


january classes

December 7, 2011



Two January classes The Art of the Pitch and Visual Writing start January 10th. There is a preview of things to come in Art of the Pitch on the Austin Film Festival blog.


Begins January 10, 2012

MAKE YOUR READERS “SEE” YOUR MOVIE: You will learn how to use the visual elements space, light, and texture to create locations and scenes readers can “see”; how to establish and utilize perspective in scenes and sequences to make a script visually dynamic; how to create and utilize perspective; techniques to make characters visually dynamic and “real” for readers; techniques to juxtapose exterior and interior visuals to create visually dynamic motion and space on the film screen; and more….

Instructor | Max Adams

Reading Material | supplied in class forum & library | some outside material is linked to

Viewing Materials | posted or available via Netflix, iTunes, YouTube or your friendly neighborhood video rental

Weekly Chats | Thursday nights | 8 PM EST

Class Seating Limit : 12 |

Course Fee : $375 |


:::more info:::


Begins January 10, 2012

GET READ AND SELL: You will learn the five essential elements your pitch must contain to sell to producers and studios; the two pitch models; action driven vs. character driven pitching; the six points an elevator pitch must contain to interest a potential buyer — and what an elevator pitch is; how to open; how to close; how to use your story’s turning points to make your story compelling; when film comparisons work — and when they don’t; how to address the specific concerns of different members of the entertainment industry; and how to condense and expand your pitch to take advantage of new pitching opportunities and mediums.

Instructor | Max Adams

Reading Material | supplied in class forum & library. Some outside material is linked to.

Viewing Materials | posted or available via Netflix, iTunes, YouTube or your friendly neighborhood video rental.

Weekly Chats | Thursday nights | 9 PM EST.

Class Seating Limit : 12 |

Course Fee : $375 |


:::more info:::



Two March classes High Concept Writing and Character Writing start March 13th, 2012. For a full list of upcoming classes visit :::classes:::


:::more info:::





*None of this has changed under Obama. Under Obama, The Patriot Act has been extended and expanded — twice.

*That is James Spader in Boston Legal playing Alan Shore — Crazily, Boston Legal’s creator David E. Kelly got to say more about the political situation in the US on Boston Legal than any other show since All In The Family. I chalk this up to masking political statements with a whole lot of sex. [Good job, Kelly!]

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