goals and end points

May 23, 2013


white_chain_cb_250I was telling —

A student today, the goal isn’t to figure out how the writer wants a story to end and build a story towards that —

The goal is to figure out how the character wants the story to end and then throw the biggest obstacles in the way of that you can.

It’s up to the character to make the story end right.

It’s up to the writer to make it harder than hell for the character to pull that off.



May 17, 2013




I think sometimes I know too many secrets. That they will overrun me one day and crowd out everything else until there is nothing left but the echoing light and thunder of all these secrets leaving me paralyzed with no words —



With secrets, words are forbidden.



I think this is how writers are made. People who are bound by secrets so long one day in place of silence something new is born, something made up, something fiction, anything, everything, just to fill that void of non-sound.



Writers tell the truth through lies.

How messed up is that?



where the art work comes from:
:::the society of historical curiosities:::




The New Screenwriter's Survival Guide by Max Adams

go julie go!

February 28, 2013



Julie is one of my students. I would love to take credit for everything she has accomplished, but I can’t. I am her teacher, I guide. I’m a good teacher and a good guide. Hell, I’m a good writer, if it comes down to that. But. A guide can only guide someone willing to be guided who has drive to push through. I could be walking someone up Kilimanjaro, but it would not do any good if that person said, Oh I’m tired now, I think I’ll turn back. And it wouldn’t do any good if I said, Hey, try to avoid that edge. And the person being guided didn’t listen to me and walked over the edge. So there is this fine line of taking credit for the student’s accomplishments. Because, if the student isn’t special, well all the guiding in the world won’t stop that student from quitting or walking over that edge.

That said? I’m mad cap proud of Julie Howe. Here is her recent post on the Austin Film Festival blog:


I know what you’re thinking. “She must be directionally confused, poor thing.” But hear me out because I actually do own a compass and know the difference between north and south.

When Matt Dy first rang me back in 2010 to say Joyce San Pedro, a producer based at Sony and an AFF judge and panelist, wanted to meet with me about my script, I was thinking he must have meant to call someone else — some OTHER writer who may have had the same last name as me — and he hit my number by mistake. Happens, right? Thankfully, it wasn’t a butt dial.

I’m one of those lucky writers who caught a break thanks to Austin Film Festival; as well as to an army of fellow writers who were generous and kind, brutal and honest, and most of all just plain supportive. As a result, my 2010 AFF comedy script is in development with Joyce San Pedro and Alex Siskin. It’s not a studio deal; it’s a handmade independent production deal. And I didn’t leave the baby on the doorstep and walk away. Instead, I made an arrangement with the producers that included involvement from start to finish. I wanted to learn, I wanted to know what it was really like to make a movie, to be part of a team. I didn’t know if I would be chewed up and spit out like a stale Chiclet or be able to hold my own. Not to mention being able to hold my tongue when necessary while still holding true to my vision.

As luck would have it, I was taken under the wings of the good guys and I’m thanking the gods of screenwriting I didn’t end up stuck to the bottom of somebody’s Nike. Those who championed the script from the beginning, Joyce San Pedro. Michael-Ryan Fletchall and Alex Siskin, opened the door for me and I ran through it like my hair was on fire. Let’s face it, I’m not a kid. I’m staring down the point-blank barrel of middle age. I want my shot before Medicare kicks in or I start thinking my purse belongs in the refrigerator.

I owe my tenacious attitude not only to the opportunity afforded me by Austin Film Festival but also to an amazing writer’s group called 5150 whose founder Max Adams, won the screenplay award when AFF was a pup. From the beginning of my tenure in the group, Austin Film Festival was touted as THE festival. Everyone in the group aspired to place well in the screenplay competition. Needless to say, winning was unbelievable and surreal. Like I had brought home 5150’s version of the Stanley Cup (yeah, I’m from a hockey state!). I would not be where I am without the help and guidance of these wickedly smart, talented peeps.

Although this all sounds like rah-rah cheerleader fluff…


:::continue reading:::



christmas_presentWriting is —

One of the few professions linked directly to screaming ads at Christmas time. Or at least that is a definite impression I get. “What to get the writer on your Christmas list!” You don’t see that with a lot of other professions. “Say, got a coal miner on your list? How about this nifty new pick axe?” “Got a pilot on your list? How about an altimeter?” “Here is the perfect gift for that nurse on your list, support hose!” I do not see those ads. And this may be the result of me just hanging out more places “writer” than places “coal miner/pilot/nurse.” But I suspect not.

I am not sure what this says. But I have suspicions. See, the other area that has big screaming advertisements directed specifically at an activity is –


“What to get the rock climber on your list!” “What to get the knitter on your list!” “What go get the cyclist on your list!” You see lots of ads directed at buying people specific gifts for their hobbies. And I find this a little concerning. The implication being, perhaps, that writing is still being considered a hobby and not an actual profession?

I’m not sure I like that.


*By the way if anyone is wondering what to get this writer for Christmas, she could really go for a case of Stag’s Leap merlot. I know! Not even writing related! Crazy, right?

*If you simply must get a writer something writing related? A MacBook Air is always a nice choice or, barring anything quite so nifty? Give a gift certificate. Writing IS a profession and a writer can write off purchases made on a gift certificate.


we have book

December 1, 2012


Trav_PBOOK006And the book is —

Shipping. Yay! The eBook for iPad and Nook shipped out today for all pre-orders. It will be a few days before it shows up on the Barnes & Noble and iBook sites — they are loading but there is an approval and waiting process so —

If you want the book right now, no waiting, go to the book’s website and order the book direct. And it will magically appear in your inbox before anyone else out there even has a clue. (You are so smart.)

The Kindle version of the book for Amazon is still in production, I am saying that will be coming out on or before December 15th, just to be safe. But if everything goes the way it is supposed to, that is actually shipping Tuesday. Again, it takes a few days for the book, once loaded on Amazon, to show up for sale on Amazon, but you can jump that fence by (tell me if you have heard this before) going to the book’s website and ordering the book direct. In which case, it will come to you in your email inbox. Yay!

There is no hard copy book. That is a 2013 project.

In the meantime, go get the book. Yay!




We have a delivery date of November 21st for the eBook after which, barring major catastrophe and/or Apple complications the eBook will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

But wait, you do not have to wait in line and jostle elbows and servers with the unwashed masses for the eBook. You can pre-order the eBook right now. How is this wizardry possible, you ask? Hit the :::book order page::: and as soon as the book becomes available it will be delivered straight to your in box.

Magic! Yay!


:::order book:::



Self Portrait

October 28, 2012





ebook frenzy

September 12, 2012


So, starting a dialogue —

With eBook conversion peeps to put the new edition of The Screenwriter’s Survival Guide out electronically.

Here’s a question. See I’m thinking go electronic first, wait on hard copy. But how many people are going to be annoyed they cannot get the book hard copy? People have told me they are saving space on a shelf for the new edition. What if there is no hard copy, what if it is electronic or bust?

Let’s test the waters here. When the new edition of The Screenwriter’s Survival Guide comes out, if you are planning on getting it, how were you planning on getting it? Kindle? iBook? Paperback? Hard cover? Which is your preference?



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