January 30, 2016
The January Stage 32 webinar went well. If you could not catch it live, never fear, you can still watch it online on Stage 32: :::CRASH COURSE: WRITING DYNAMIC SCENES:::
Also, if you missed the December Stage 32 webinar, that is still available to watch too: :::CRASH COURSE: HIGH CONCEPT WRITING:::
There is an open seat in the online screenwriting workshop 5150. For more info, hit :::5150 THE WORKSHOP:::
Also, The Screenwriter’s Survival Guide has some fun new reviews over on Amazon. :::CHECK OUT THE NEW AMAZON REVIEWS:::
I am working too hard this month and am sorry I am neglecting you. But —
February is Max Mas yay!
I will for sure be back and posting then.
January 8, 2015
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
April 19, 2014
We did the BOOK MEME. That was awesome.
We did GOING BANKSY. That was awesome.
We did TNSSG T-SHIRT PHOTOS. That was awesome.
We need to do something new and fun for the book.
One of the coolest things people used to do when the first book was out was send in photos of themselves with the book.
Here is David’s Baby Luke with the original book. Yay!
Here is Ben with the original book. Yay!
LET’S DO THAT!
Sure sure sure, “Why Facebook” you ask. Isn’t Facebook a device of the devil?
Yes, yes it is, but less a device of the devil than me trying to single handedly play catcher in the photos in email game.
Post it to the TNSSG Facebook Page. It will be great.
The Rules: We are not big on rules around here, but let’s go with no blatant nudity.
The Prizes: There will totally be prizes for cool photos but we haven’t decided what they are, you already have the book, but we have other swag and prizes so photo up, sports fans, and let’s find out what you win yay!
The Photos: Your photo does not have to be with the paperback, take a photo with you and the book on the Kindle or iPad and that flies with us.
February 1, 2014
January 7, 2014
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.
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.
December 24, 2013
At the risk of being grossly commercial here [hey it is Christmas, never say I do not understand the Christmas spirit o’ commerce] if you are still running about and have not found that perfect gift for the screenwriter on your list [well diamonds would work too but let’s say you are thrifty and want to keep it under thirty bucks] The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide is available at these retail stores:
That only works if you are in Austin, Hollywood, Seattle, or Boston, but hey, we are doing our best here and you ARE the one who waited until Christmas Eve to shop, jeez.
*The book is also available on :::AMAZON.COM:::. In case you get any pesky gift certificates and do not know what to do with them.
December 17, 2013
Boosting posts is when you give Facebook money to send posts out to way more people than would usually see the posts. It is supposed to be savvy marketing. I have mostly given that a pass. But then came the Christmas book special. [That’s over now, it ran through December 15. did you see it on Facebook? No? Bummer for you. Next time hit the book site.] So I thought, What the hell, Facebook, show us what you got — and dropped a C note on Facebook for science.
What happened was one book sale coming out of a Facebook boosted post.
[Yeah there were more sales, but only one from that Facebook boosted post — Facebook you are not the only king of the mountain tracking where this stuff comes in from.]
After you figure time put in writing, publishing, editing, doing layout work, paying for design work, picking up little things like ISBNs, website and marketing support [not including a Facebook “boosted” post], and what not, what’s left over from one book sale is not a lot of cash and is for sure not going to justify dropping a hundred bucks on Facebook to boost that post.
Or to boost any post.
I’m okay with that. It was for science.
Here’s what is unsettling.
Ever since I boosted one post on Facebook? All other posts on the AFW and TNSSG Facebook pages suddenly aren’t getting “seen” much according to Facebook numbers.
Used to be, a solid post on one of the pages got “seen” a couple hundred times — and in really stand out moments, pages got “seen” up to 500 or 800 times.
Post the “boosted” Facebook page event, any and all posts on the AFW and TNSSG Facebook pages are lucky if they make 20 “seens.” And some are way lower than that, like around 5 or 7 “seens.” And the top top post right now? 185. Not so hot, in comparison to what the top top posts were pre-Facebook “boost” post. And definitely more uninspiring still, when you look at the current average [unbefore known to man or beast] “seen” count post “the boost”:
Maybe I’m just misguided and underestimating how many people are off the computer during the holiday season. But it sure feels on this end like all posts on the AFW and TNSSG Facebook pages are being squelched or misreported on the Facebook end post the “boosted” post – more than posts normally are squelched or unreported because of weird Facebook viewer algorithms.
The only reason I can think of for squelching “seen” numbers post a “boosted” post would be to convince someone their viewing numbers are so low without boosting a post, they’d better boost another post or they are going to be invisible from here on out.
That seems like a whole lot of stick and very little carrot to throw at someone who just for the first time handed some cash over to Facebook.
[Jeez did no one there ever take a dog training lesson?]
Also that would require, to be convincing, someone with a really short memory on the other end of those new reported “seen” numbers who hadn’t seen and remembered over a year’s worth of Facebook “seen” stats prior to the “boosted” post. And didn’t think that was pirate action, stomping someone after they gave you some cash, to try to make them give you more.
Or it could just be me —
November 27, 2013
In the interests of getting the book name and link out there as much as possible, the plan here is to give away free books over the holidays.
HOW: ::Contact::: me and submit your proposal for a group or site giveaway, let me know how many people are in the group and what sort of deadline or date scenario you have in mind. If it alls sounds good, I’ll supply the book.
WHERE: Groups with an online presence of some sort that can spread the word and link back to the book site are best. But in person groups and meets are also a possibility if they are influential and get the title circulating among members.
WHEN: Any time between now and the first of the year.
WHY: To get the book title out there and circulating and gaining some recognition factor outside my immediate realm of influence. Anyone on my sites or connected directly to me already knows the book’s title and/or probably already has the book. The idea here is to have giveaways in venues not directly linked to me to get the title circulating in new places.
WHO SHOULD DO THIS: Anyone with a significant writers membership and/or online presence.
WHO PICKS THE WINNERS: It’s up to the organizer to pick winners. I’ll supply the book. I’d also like to know, if and when this flies, how many people entered or were present for the book drawing.
PS: Max will be a #Scriptchat guest December 29th, 8 PM EST, discussing “Do’s and don’ts to get your screenplay read, sold, and produced.” A lucky #scriptchat attendee will receive a free copy of The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide.