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.


Two January classes, The Art of the Pitch and Visual Writing, start January 10th.

There are a couple seats left if you act fast:



Begins January 10, 2012

Visual Writing | Putting Vision Back Into Viewing | Online 6 Week Master Course | Start Date : 01.10.12 |

MAKE YOUR READERS “SEE” YOUR MOVIE: You will learn how to use the visual elements space, light, and texture to create locations and scenes readers can “see”; how to establish and utilize perspective in scenes and sequences to make a script visually dynamic; how to create and utilize perspective; techniques to make characters visually dynamic and “real” for readers; techniques to juxtapose exterior and interior visuals to create visually dynamic motion and space on the film screen; and more….

Instructor | Max Adams

Reading Material | supplied in class forum & library. Some outside material is linked to.

Viewing Materials | posted or available via Netflix, iTunes, YouTube or your friendly neighborhood video rental.

Weekly Chats | Thursday nights | 8 PM EST.

class seating limit : 12 | a writing sample may be requested prior to acceptance | a course deposit is required for this class
course fee : $375 |


more info : CLASSES



Begins January 10, 2012

The Art of the Pitch | Pitching Stripped of the Nonsense | Online 6 Week Master Course | Start Date: 01.10.12 |

GET READ AND SELL: You will learn the five essential elements your pitch must contain to sell to producers and studios; the two pitch models; action driven vs. character driven pitching; the six points an elevator pitch must contain to interest a potential buyer — and what an elevator pitch is; how to open; how to close; how to use your story’s turning points to make your story compelling; when film comparisons work — and when they don’t; how to address the specific concerns of different members of the entertainment industry; and how to condense and expand your pitch to take advantage of new pitching opportunities and mediums.

Instructor | Max Adams

Reading Material | supplied in class forum & library. Some outside material is linked to.

Viewing Materials | posted or available via Netflix, iTunes, YouTube or your friendly neighborhood video rental.

Weekly Chats | Thursday nights | 9 PM EST.

class seating limit : 12 | a writing sample may be requested prior to acceptance | a course deposit is required for this class
course fee : $375 |


more info : CLASSES



Two classes are coming in March 2012, High Concept Writing and Character Writing.

March classes begin March 13th.

•For more info on upcoming classes visit CLASSES.



the emergency pitch

December 21, 2011


It’s October, 2011. I’m in Austin attending the Austin Film Festival. There is a huge barbeque at this French Legionnaire place that I have not figured out yet, but it is in with the film crowd, I have been there before to see an outside open air screening. The Legionnaire yard is a big open space. The sun is high. The grass is green and prickly. There are white canvas tents parked over picnic type tables. The meal of the day is barbeque – allegedly authentic Texas barbeque. [I’m sure we are in Texas. I’m not so sure about the food.] I’d rather be admiring David Boreanaz from afar than eating questionable barbeque or talking shop but one of my workshoppers grabs me by the arm and says, There’s someone here who’d like Jane’s story. [Her name isn’t really Jane, but it works for this story.] Can she pitch?

“Jane” is another workshopper. She can write. We both know that. We’ve read her pages in workshop. I have no idea whether she can pitch though. I say, I don’t know, let’s find out. I turn to Jane. What’s your story about?

Jane can’t pitch. I’m getting a jumble of information none of which is telling me what the story is about. Uh oh.

What follows is fifteen minutes of intense “No, that’s not a pitch. Okay, not that, who’s doing this? Okay, what does he want? Okay, what must he do? No, not that, what must he do to not end up dead at the end of this story? Going back and forth with Jane, and then with my other workshopper — who seriously can pitch which is one reason she has the contact in the first place — till we have a simple one sentence description of the story that tells someone what the story is about. And then my other workshopper hauls Jane off to meet the important someone who would like Jane’s story and the important someone hears the short pitch and says, Send me the script.

Tragically, by the time this is all over, I am wrung out and David Boreanaz has moved on. [TRAGEDY!] But. My workshopper has a new contact and a submission and hasn’t embarrassed my other workshopper out of the business.

There are a few things you should be paying attention to there.

One, even though both of us knew Jane could write, my other workshopper was not going to introduce Jane to an important contact unless she knew Jane could pitch — because if Jane couldn’t pitch, that introduction would hurt my other workshopper. “Guilt by association.” That is not just for breakfast. You make a bad intro, your credibility just went down a notch too.

Two, my other workshopper came to me because she knew I would know or could find out real fast whether Jane could pitch. She didn’t go to Jane because she couldn’t trust Jane to know. Lots of writers don’t know they can’t pitch, they think they can pitch just fine – and can’t. So Jane would just say, Sure. But that might not be an accurate answer.

Three, if we hadn’t been able to slam a short pitch together in those fifteen minutes, Jane would never have met that contact or gotten that submission request. We could pull that off because there were two of us who seriously knew how to pitch right there hammering the right information out of Jane and stringing the pitch together for her. But. On her own? Never would have happened.

Think you can pitch?

Think or know?

In this business you have to know.


*The Art of the Pitch begins January 10th.


class updates

January 7, 2011


There is —

One unexpected seat opening in the pitch class. There are also a couple open seats left in the visual writing class. Both classes start Tuesday so if anyone is interested, drop me a line now: :::contact:::


Update: The pitch class is now full.


max at showbiz expo dec 4

December 1, 2010


I will be speaking at —

Showbiz Expo December 4.

Subject: The Art of the Pitch
Location: Los Angeles Convention Center – SOUTH HALL G
Time: 11:00AM Saturday, December 4th

For more info on upcoming appearances and classes
visit :::classes:::

Hope to see you there.


pictured above:
max adams at neon venus art theatre
“the art of the pitch”
:::photo by deborah chesher:::


open seats 11.08.10

November 8, 2010

Okay festivities are over. Drat. Back to business. I have two seats open in the 5150 workshop, the January pitch class is full, there are four seats open in the November visual writing class. Also, the March high concept writing class is now open for registration and I will be appearing at Showbiz Expo giving a short pitch seminar on December 4.

*high concept writing is very popular please register early to reserve a seat in that class

*visual writing begins nobember 16th please contact me now if you wish to register for this class

:::class info:::

open seats

October 11, 2010


I have one seat open in the 5150 workshop, three seats left in the January pitch class, and seven seats still open in the visual writing class.

*irony, everyone wants to know how to sell, no one is worried enough about how to write, hmm


:::class info:::



max adams at neon venus art theatre july 2010

max adams, photo by deborah chesher

I am filling seats in the next two ONLINE classes:

Visual Writing which is next up and begins 11.16.10
The Art of the Pitch which begins 01.11.11
_________________________________________________ _____
Visual writing is about setting scenes in ways that will make readers “see” a film or scene. This is especially important for film writers — without visual impact, scripts do not feel like “movies” to readers. Using light, space and texture as scene setting elements as well as making characters visually vivid to a reader and making action visual are a few of the elements covered in Visual Writing.

The Art of the Pitch is about pitching stories in ways that allow executives and producers to “get” and buy scripts and script concepts — and sell them to the studio head upstairs who cuts the checks. There are elements a pitch must contain to make it a viable project for a studio executive. And there are ways to create premise statements that make stories more appealing to people queried which is pretty important — if you don’t get read, you can’t get sold. These are some of the elements covered in The Art of the Pitch.

More info about upcoming classes: :::classes:::
To register for a class drop me a note via the contact form: :::register:::


_________________________________________________ _____
*note, the art of the pitch is new, very popular, and already more than half full,
visual writing is not far behind, please do register early if you wish to attend either class, seating is limited to 12 students per class and once rosters hit the limit, well that is it no class for you.


where the art work comes from :
that is a shot of max taken by
deborah chesher

%d bloggers like this: