the haps

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:::

stage32_dynamic

Also, if you missed the December Stage 32 webinar, that is still available to watch too: :::CRASH COURSE: HIGH CONCEPT WRITING:::

stage32_highconcept

There is an open seat in the online screenwriting workshop 5150. For more info, hit :::5150 THE WORKSHOP:::

There is also fun new January news over on the AFW site. If you have not been keeping up with the January movers & shakers, what’s wrong with you? :::GO SEE:::

Also, The Screenwriter’s Survival Guide has some fun new reviews over on Amazon. :::CHECK OUT THE NEW AMAZON REVIEWS:::

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I am working too hard this month and am sorry I am neglecting you. But —

Never fear.

February is Max Mas yay!

I will for sure be back and posting then.

 

red_balloons

5150 and AFW are nine years old.

Holy cats!

Happy Birthday, 5150 and AFW!

4 days left

March 7, 2015

Four days left to register for Character Writing & Dynamic Writing at The AFW.

 

Oh yez, hot September classes are right around the corner. You should all go sign up for them right now.

Academy of Film Writing September Classes 2014:  The Sex Scene

Academy of Film Writing September Classes 2014: High Concept Writing

Academy of Film Writing September Classes 2014: The Art of the Pitch

 

 

white_chairs

 

What do you see on the screen?

Nothing until you put it on the page. And then, for someone to see something while they read that page? The writing must be Visual with a capital V.

Visual Writing begins Tuesday.

There are open seats.

:::HIT THAT:::

 

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.

 

this cracks me up

February 25, 2014

 

kermit_writer_face

 

*For all my students who come out of :::classes:::
looking at old scripts with new eyes.

 

 

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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A friend told me she was talking to other people we know mutually, and one of them was confiding in her they just didn’t know how to get their writing to that next level. What should she do? And then another person we knew mutually chimed in, Yes, me too.

And my friend said, Well take Max’s classes.

And they both looked at her blankly and said, Really?

I think this comes down to the contempt of familiarity. We’re friends. We hang out. We have a good time. And I don’t stomp around saying, Hey look at me.

This tends on some level to make people think, because we’re on the same social tier being friends and all, that means we’re on the same professional tier.

Not to be a bitch, but that ain’t so.

Unless someone else has worked professionally for five motion picture studios, has five produced films they worked on under their belt and has consulted on two others, has mentored three Nicholl winners in workshops and classes, and has twenty plus working writers they have mentored on their slate of “people I worked with who made it” AND has a film degree and miscellaneous other writing credits and awards — we’re not on the same professional tier.

Doesn’t mean I don’t love you. But knock it off.

 


:::MAX CLASSES:::

 


 

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.

 

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