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:










4 days left

March 7, 2015

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

workshop seat

February 28, 2015


There is a March seat open in the AFW online screenwriting workshop: AFW: 5150: An Online International Screenwriting Workshop



one week left

January 6, 2015

One week left to register for —

AFW January classes. If you want one of these seats, hit us at and reserve your seat now.


Screen shot 2014-12-28 at 11.51.52 AM Screen shot 2014-12-28 at 11.54.10 AM Screen shot 2014-12-28 at 11.56.12 AM

last classes of the year

November 3, 2014


Ohyez, there are November classes. Structural Writing and Dynamic Writing are the last two online master classes in screenwriting of the year. Grab your seat now or you will be out in the cold till 2015.

Dynamic Writing 11.11.14

Structural Writing 11.11.14

november max classes

September 28, 2014

Max AFW Classes November 2014

Yes is it that time again when I announce stuff like November classes around the corner. Structural Writing and Dynamic Writing are on the horizon. I only teach Structural Writing once a year so if you want to hit that puppy before the year 2015, now is the time to sign up. See you there.



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


now playing on wordplay

July 23, 2013


I am a guest on Wordplay stop by and hit the Scripts forum to chat about the biz end of film writing.

Wordplay Screen shot  PM


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.


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.


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