workshopper makes good

June 5, 2013


Nancy has been making good for a while actually but this is cool I am posting it.



we have book

December 1, 2012


Trav_PBOOK006And the book is —

Shipping. Yay! The eBook for iPad and Nook shipped out today for all pre-orders. It will be a few days before it shows up on the Barnes & Noble and iBook sites — they are loading but there is an approval and waiting process so —

If you want the book right now, no waiting, go to the book’s website and order the book direct. And it will magically appear in your inbox before anyone else out there even has a clue. (You are so smart.)

The Kindle version of the book for Amazon is still in production, I am saying that will be coming out on or before December 15th, just to be safe. But if everything goes the way it is supposed to, that is actually shipping Tuesday. Again, it takes a few days for the book, once loaded on Amazon, to show up for sale on Amazon, but you can jump that fence by (tell me if you have heard this before) going to the book’s website and ordering the book direct. In which case, it will come to you in your email inbox. Yay!

There is no hard copy book. That is a 2013 project.

In the meantime, go get the book. Yay!





:::pre-order the book:::
:::see the book on facebook:::


that internet thing

September 29, 2012


The thing about the internet is —

No link is ever dead. Ever. Someone somewhere or some search engine somewhere still remembers an url, a page, or a link and will bring up a link to a source that ceased to exist a bazillion years ago – always. It is kind of like the speed of light and stars thing, you can be looking at this star up in the heavens and see a star – only that star ceased to exist a century ago – you can just still see it because the light is still in transit even if the star is gone.

In internet terms, the link is still showing up and visible in a search even if the page went toes up years or weeks ago.

This is why I just spent the last week of my life 24/7 placing redirects on pages in the Max web empire. Because you cannot kill urls or web pages ever. They always, always, have to have a string of links or redirects that go somewhere that exists on the web.

There is an easier way to do it. Just tell the whole site to redirect. I could do that too if I were not using two separate servers to host two separate parts of AFW to insure, if one crashes?, there is emergency back up on the other. It is kind of more important to have a back up plan than an easy out. Oh well.

Hey come see the new book page. It is nifty.



The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide web page is up. Ooh la la. Why, you ask, does the book have a page before it is in print? Planning, my ninjas, planning. The page needs to be around long enough to get picked up by search engines and propagate so when the eBooks come out in November it has presence on the web.

Hence all this frenzy to get the art work done and the page up even though I think eBook editing and release will still take another month and a half.

Go see the :::book’s new website:::.




So if you are wondering —

Why I have been neglecting you, it is because I have been working my ass off sprucing up the AFW site. Last year there was a catastrophe in the forum, right while I was on the road, and the whole forum blew up — with classes in session, and the workshop in full swing. It was totally catastrophic and I built a new forum from scratch for the workshop and classes in about 48 hours, which is scary as fuck when you are on a deadline like that and class has to be up and working in 48 hours no matter what.

And then the forum just kind of stayed that way for a while, just the classes and workshop, with nothing else going on really. And a pasted in theme. And, versions of the forum kept updating and yelling at me to update, but I was like a cat clinging to a piece of wood in a stream, I wasn’t going to update, I was going to cling to my little forum and keep it going with NO MORE BLOWN UP FORUMS THAT IS ALL!

Except you cannot do that forever on the web. Stuff keeps updating and sooner or later will just stop working in newer browsers and whatnot so, the forum is updated and has a new spiffy theme.

And, the blog is updated and has a new spiffy theme — so they sort of complement each other now.

The site has a new spiffy entrance page to go with that.

And new cards and stuff are ordered for AFW that list the new upcoming classes in 2013.

Oh and also I am finalizing the last draft of the updated Screenwriter’s Survival Guide. If all goes as planned that will be ready for purchase in November and for pre-sales in October. [Cross fingers, rarely do things go as planned.]

So. Sorry for the neglect. Go see the new :::blog::: and :::forum::: they are fun.

Your No Forums Blew Up Today Adams Girl


sick twisted bastards

September 11, 2012


I had this —

Sick twisted bastard of a yoga instructor tonight.  I swear this guy used to reign over the Fifth Circle of Hell but he was too rough on people so they cast him out and he ended up at my yoga studio.  He didn’t just make us do terrible hard things, he made jokes while he was doing it and laughed because he knew how hard the things he was making us do were.

After I limped home and was licking my wounds thinking how damn hard that session was, and thinking, Yeah, but you’ll go back to that guy’s class, damn him, because no matter how hard it was, it was good —

It occurred to me that is quite possibly how my students think about me.  I’m not easy.  My classes are hard.  Some of them extremely hard.  I know it.  And I make jokes.  They are not mean or derogatory jokes, they are basically saying, Yeah, I feel your pain, but you still have to get that knee over that left ear so let’s go.  But they are still jokes.

There is a shirt, “I Survived Max Adams’ Structural Writing.” That shirt totally started out as a joke.  Except —

People who finish Structural Writing buy that shirt.  It’s not a joke any more.  That shirt has turned into some sort of medal of honor.

My students come back.  But after tonight, I wonder if it is maybe for a different reason than I used to think.  Damn.  I’m the sick twisted bastard instructor.

How did THAT happen?

Excuse me now, I have to go soak in a tub of hot water.


*If you do not recognize the image above, it is from Legend, Tim Curry plays a great sick twisted bastard.

*Structural Writing is only open to people who have taken previous AFW classes so don’t get all het up and try to jump in there first — I won’t let you — go look at other classes.  Like High Concept Writing and The Art of the Pitch.  Those are both coming up in a week and are good precursors.


flipping cars

September 5, 2012



There is this great moment in The Last Boy Scout. This car’s trunk is wired up with explosives and these two guys have to leap over a freeway embankment to escape the exploding car. And they make it, whew!

Except —

The blowing up car is blown over the side of the freeway embankment and they have to run for their lives from the spiraling churning burning blown up car.

That’s taking something to the next level. Shane Black is a master of that. It’s not enough to just out jump the exploding car and collapse, all safe from the explosion. Then you have to outrun the blown up car’s flaming carcass when it chases you down the freeway embankment.

Concept is a lot like that. And not to get all metaphoric but I am in that sort of mood, it’s not enough to just have an explosive concept that is great. You want that concept to not just explode, but chase someone down that fucking freeway embankment.

Terry Rossio wrote a pretty hot Wordplay piece on concept, The Second Concept, and keeping it going to the next level. Take a look at it.

Then if you’re ready to get serious about concept, come sign up for High Concept Writing. We flip cars pretty hard in there.


High Concept Writing is a six week online master class in screenwriting taught by Max Adams. High Concept Writing begins September 18th.




pitch frenzy

September 5, 2012


So here —

Is how this is going to go down.

[It always goes down like this.]

I have these two classes opening September 18th.

One is The Art of the Pitch. That’s about learning how to pitch a story so you don’t soil yourself in front of a crowd of spectators.

The other is High Concept Writing. That’s how to work on a story concept so it isn’t the first thing that popped into your head that felt clever at 2 AM on a Friday night with a few beers in you — and you just never got around to maybe bringing it up a notch — before tossing months of your life into the sand pit with it.

Both those classes start September 18th and run through October. Right about the time people start showing up at the Austin Film Festival and pitching ideas in the big pitch rally at Austin Film Festival that sounds like a gauntlet to me but I have never watched it in person because it is just too painful to me to watch people crash and burn like that.

What will invariably happen is right about the time these classes are coming to an end, someone [or several someone’s] will email me in a panic, getting geared up for the pitch event at AFF, and want me to drop everything and leap to help [with no time to do it in] with a pitch –- most likely on a concept that wasn’t thought out all that well before starting the script in the first place.

And I’ll say, Look, I teach a class on this, Why didn’t you take the class? That would have given you five to six weeks to work on the pitch with me before this came up. Or better yet, to work on the story so you had a story worth pitching here? Now you’ve got three days, who do you think I am, Anne Sullivan?

[Even Anne Sullivan got more than three days.]

And they won’t have a good answer.

Don’t be one of those people. Go sign up for the pitch class.



3PAGES is a comedy scene
writing competition
for screenwriters.
Anyone may enter.

The prize is a $375 AFW class.


Interested? Read on —



WHAT TO ENTER: A one to three page scene or scene sequence. It must be comedy. It must be original. And it must be written by you. Content is up to you but the judges do not really go for slapstick and bathroom humor. We do not care about genre — if it is comedy you are in. Public figures are fair game if it is satirical — but we are sort of tired of Elvis jokes. Characters owned and copyrighted by other individuals [for example Bat Man] may only be used if the entry is satire.


WHAT IT COSTS TO ENTER: Three bucks. We thought about it a lot and it just seemed like you should be making some sort of commitment here so three bucks is it. We’re calling this a submission fee. It will offset the cost of tuition for the classes we are giving away.


WHAT YOU GET OUT OF THIS IF YOU WIN: You win a free AFW class. Yay! That is $375 right there. Also winning entries are published on the AFW site and we make a fuss over you. [Classes for winners are classes offered in July, September, and November, 2012. Your choice. All classes are online classes so, you know, if you are in Sweden? No biggy. You are still in.]


WHAT YOU GET OUT OF THIS IF YOU DO NOT WIN: Well you don’t get a thing if you do not win. Sorry about that.


WHAT WE GET OUT OF THIS: Well, we do not expect to get rich. Three bucks is just not going to sponsor a cruise. It will offset the cost of tuition for the classes we are giving away and some of the processing time and reading time and band width going up in flames here. But. We are in it for notoriety. People like competitions. People talk about competitions. It’s a win/win situation. Word of mouth for us — free classes for you. Yay!


HOW MANY WINNERS ARE THERE: There are up to three winners. [We're assuming at least three people will enter here but if not? You do the math.] Three pages, three bucks, three winners worked out for us. This is not a huge competition so we do not expect to be overwhelmed with entries. But it’s fun, it’s low rent, and you get a free class if you win. Excellent!


WHO ARE THE JUDGES: The judges are Max and/or writers selected by Max. Max is the final judge and her decisions are final.


WHAT DO THE JUDGES LOOK FOR: Good writing and funny scenes. Also we expect you to know what a screenplay looks like and format accordingly.


WHAT FEEDBACK CAN YOU EXPECT: Well, if you do not win, none. Sorry. If you do win, you will get plenty of feedback in class so do not sweat feedback, if you win there is plenty of feedback on your fast approaching horizon.


WHAT YOU AGREE TO BY ENTERING THREE PAGES: You agree that your submitted scene(s) may be published on the AFW website and/or its message board and sister websites [we have a scary website empire here, if you want more info, visit the forum and ask]. You agree that your name and scene(s) may be used by AFW for promotional and educational purposes. You promise that you understand submitted pages will not be returned to you and swear on a stack of bibles you kept a copy. You swear up and down you understand submission fees will not be returned even if you disqualify yourself and you will not whine about it. You understand contest judging is subjective and the judges’ decisions are final and if you win you win and if you lose you lose and that is the way it is. You guarantee the pages you are submitting are written by you and you only and your property and you did not swipe them off the internet or anywhere else.


THE RULES: You may enter more than once but each submission requires its own entry form and submission fee. We know you could cheat this but we are going on the honor system here. We have faith in you. You can only win once so if your submission comes in in the top three and you have submitted other page sets, other page sets submitted by you will be set aside so two other people get a chance too. Scenes must be submitted in screenplay format and that means twelve point Courier font with real screenplay margins. No writing partners. Sorry. There is no way to share a seat in the class. No posting entries on the message board. If you do that the administrators will evaporate your post in two seconds. Also, you must be over 18, or have the consent of a legal guardian to enter this competition — or be independent so, you know, no legal guardian is going to sue our asses over luring you to the Hollywood side.


HOW TO GET THROWN OUT OF THE COMPETITION RIGHT OFF: If your entry is over three pages, you are out of there. [Heads up UK, that means US pages, 8.5 x 11 inches, format accordingly.] If your scene is not in script format, you are out of there. If your scene is not funny, you are out of there. If your entry is not submitted as a PDF you are out of there. If your entry is submitted without an entry form and/or submission fee, you are out of there. If you swiped your entry from someone or somewhere else and we catch you doing it [and we will] you are out of there. If you submit a full length script we promise we can spot the difference between three pages and a full length script and you are out of there.


DATES & TIMELINES: Entries must be received by March 31, 2012. Winners will be announced on or around May 15, 2012.


NEWS & UPDATES: Updates and news about the competition will be posted on the AFW News Page. Winning and featured entries will be posted here on the blog. Questions and comments should be posted in the AFW forum.


HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR SCENE/SCENE SEQUENCE: Go to the bottom of this page where it says “Sounds good to me.”


•Click the link.
•Send in your three bucks. (this goes in via Paypal)
•You will be redirected to a page with the link to the entry form on it.
•Copy and paste the entry form into an email — and fill in the blanks.
•Place the page number and your email address in the upper right corner of each page in your submission just in case it gets separated from the submission email.
•Attach your entry as a PDF to your email and send it in to the email address provided on the entry form.


ARE SUBMISSIONS ANONYMOUS: No, sorry. We can’t pretend we don’t know who you are. We do know. We will not hold it against you.


HOW YOU KNOW YOUR SUBMISSION ARRIVED: We are doing a fancy auto responder at the 3Pages mail box so when your submission comes in, you will get a nice note telling you so.


Because we said so. Really, that’s all you get. We’re taking it on faith you paid for that submission form. You’re taking it on faith we read the material. [Hint: We do. We're actually looking for talented people here. We like talented people. They are the most fun in class.]


GENERAL CAVEATS AND FINE PRINT: We reserve the right to extend deadlines and/or announcement dates. Class dates do at times shift for unforeseen reasons. [Blame the whacky film industry.] If this happens, we’ll make arrangements with you to place you in another class you want to take. In the event some egregious oversight on our part comes up in relation to these rules, regs, and general competition guidelines, we reserve the right to amend them — and worst case scenario, if you win and things are so out of whack no reasonable alternative we offer you works for you, hey, we’ll give you back your three bucks.




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