max news

November 28, 2015

Max Adams

Max Adams, Evil Script Sprite Incorporated

 

So, things happening now and on the near horizon —

Right now — as in right right now and on through Monday — – I’m doing a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal on script analysis.

On Wednesday, December 2nd, I’m doing a Stage 32 Next Level Webinar: Crash Course: High Concept Writing.

I’m on the narrative jury panel for the Digi60 Ottawa Digital Filmmakers’ Festival.

In January, I have a fun prose story [yes, prose, sometimes I do prose] coming out in an anthology — but I don’t have a heads up it’s okay to say more about that yet so you will just have to stay tuned for more news about that. Oops.

Also in January I’m launching a new AFW class, The First 30 Pages. There are 8 seats left in the new class so if you are interested in the class, reserve your seat now before seats are all full.

That’s the news.

Smooches,

Your Maybe My Slate is a Little Full Adams Girl

 

 

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.

 

meme winners yay!

December 5, 2012

 

nssg_dr_horrible

Oh yez, we have meme winners. Yay! Go see.

Also, as of now the book is up on Barnes & Noble and Kobo and going up next on Amazon [expect that by Thursday]. We will see how long iBooks takes, word on the street is iBooks is pretty slow. But —

If you do not want to wait on Amazon and iBooks loading, if you want the book now, you can order it direct and get it email today: :::buy_the_book:::

 


*Confused? Don’t know what book we are talking about? Freak! We are talking about The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide.

 

 

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:::.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

:::register:::

 

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.

 

 

Upcoming 2011 —

Online Master Classes in Screenwriting
Taught by yours truly Max Adams:

 

March:
Character Writing, 03.15.11
High Concept Writing, 03.15.11

May:
Non-Static Writing, 05.17.11
Structural Writing, 05.17.11

July:
Character Writing, 07.19.11
Visual Writing, 07.19.11

September:
High Concept Writing, 09.13.11
The Art of the Pitch, 09.13.11

November:
Structural Writing, 11.15.11
Non-Static Writing, 11.15.11

 

•For more info on upcoming classes, visit :::afw courses:::
•For registration info contact Max via :::afw contact:::

 


•As of January 2011 AFW online courses are accepted accredited University of Utah courses. For info on course credit, contact Paula Lee in the Film & Media Arts Department via paula.lee @ utah.edu

 

2011 class schedule

January 3, 2011

 

Upcoming 2011 —

Online Master Classes in Screenwriting
Taught by yours truly Max Adams:

 

January:
The Art of the Pitch, 01.11.11 [*full]
Visual Writing, 01.11.11

March:
Character Writing, 03.15.11
High Concept Writing, 03.15.11

May:
Non-Static Writing, 05.17.11
Structural Writing, 05.17.11

July:
Character Writing, 07.19.11
Visual Writing, 07.19.11

September:
High Concept Writing, 09.13.11
The Art of the Pitch, 09.13.11

November:
Structural Writing, 11.15.11
Non-Static Writing, 11.15.11

 

•For more info on upcoming classes, visit :::afw courses:::
•For registration info contact Max via :::afw contact:::

 


•As of January 2011 AFW online courses are accepted accredited University of Utah courses. For info on course credit, contact Paula Lee in the Film & Media Arts Department via paula.lee @ utah.edu

 

on visual writing

December 26, 2010

 

Readers are entirely dependent on you. There is no movie unless you put it on the page. So, you have, absolutely have, to give readers a visual.

This does not mean a map of the furniture layout in the protagonist’s room. This means an impression of the location.

Is the furniture out of Salvation Army or out of a French showroom? Does this location scream cash? Or last dime? What does the location tell you?

The three most important elements of location are, space, light, texture.

Consider these two examples:

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

The kitchen is ugly, small, cramped beyond thought, one small bare bulb overhead tries to illuminate the dirty linoleum floor and old Formica table without any help from windows.

 

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

The kitchen is huge, spacious, whoever lives here has more money than God. More than modern refrigerators with glass doors going on forever line the wall, frosty interiors illuminated by harsh artificial light….

 

Those are examples from yours truly just making up two very different kitchen locations on the fly. Notice how different the locations are using just three elements: Space. Light. Texture.

 


•Excerpted from the lecture series “On Visual Writing” by Max Adams
Academy of Film Writing | Visual Writing

 

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