January Online Screenwriting Master Classes, The AFW, The Academy of Film Writing

January Classes Ahoy

January online screenwriting master classes The Art of the PitchDialogue Writing, and High Concept Writing are right around the corner.

January classes begin January 7, 2020.

Class seating is limited. A writing sample is required.

Register early to reserve your seat: :::REGISTER:::

The Full 2019 Course Roster is available :::HERE:::



The Art of the Pitch, AFW, The AFW, Online Master Screenwriting Classes, Max Adams, Back by Popular Demand

Back by Popular Demand: The Art of the Pitch

The Art of the Pitch has been off the books for a while. It is back by popular demand in January. There is a cap on the class, please register early if you want one of those seats.

:::HIT THAT:::

I hope to see you in January.



Talking Heads, Dialogue, Screenwriting

Talking Heads

Talking heads is a term that, as I was told in the film school trenches, relates back to the early days of television when news was delivered by a solitary news announcer sitting behind a desk reading news reports to the camera off a sheet of paper.

A solitary individual sitting unmoving on screen talking delivering facts is not very cinematic or visually exciting and if you turn on a news program today, you’ll see all sorts of clips to more exciting footage and visuals playing out to make the news show more entertaining and engaging for viewers. News shows fight for viewers just like every other form of programming out there.

Fast forward to today and “talking heads” in film scripts.

Lucky Number 13

Lucky Number 13


When a writer hires me to review material, it’s important to note, the writer is not paying for the read. I can read a script in an hour. Two hours if the script is too long.

(Too long means 150 pages. Um. Everybody hates you, 150 script pages people. Stop doing that.)

The point is, I’m not getting paid by the hour for the read. I’m getting paid for expertise responding to and analyzing the material. This is an important distinction.

If you just want to pay someone by the hour for the read, well, what’s minimum wage these days? About $12 per hour? Give the script to your mom and write her a check for $24. Done!

One Script B&W

One Script

At the AEB one year anniversary bash I was a guest speaker at (thank you for inviting me AEB I had a great time) there was a question and answer session after the talk and one question stands out to me.

A woman said she got advice to write a lot of scripts. To have a trunk of scripts. Like, three romantic comedies if she was interested in writing romantic comedies and three scripts for drama if she was interested in writing drama and three –

I’m pretty sure that was headed for three scripts in any genre she ever had an interest in writing at all and I stopped her and said —


You need ONE script.

Don't be an ass reviewing.

The Word “But” – AKA Don’t Be An Ass Reviewing

One of the most injurious words in reviews is “but.”

The characters are wonderful, but –

The story is gripping, but –

The visuals are cinematic, but – 

See, here is what the word “but” does in any sentence: It negates any positive statement coming before it. For example:

The Screenwriter's Uniform

Return of the Screenwriter’s Uniform

The original screenwriter’s uniform blog post appears to be lost in the interwebs somewhere (how does this happen?) but it keeps coming up in conversation. (Also, according to fashion experts, white sneakers are back! Whoah. Did not see that coming.)

The Blues Brothers know Goal vs. Task

Goal vs Task

One thing to keep mind plotting a story is that there is a difference between a primary story goal and tasks protagonists undertake to achieve the primary story goal. For example, looking at the film The Blues Brothers, (1980 starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis, directed by John Landis), the protagonist goal is to save the orphanage the two leads Jake and Elwood grew up in.

Primary Goal: Save the orphanage.
Major Dramatic Question: Can Jake and Elwood save the orphanage?

To save the orphanage —

Five Fixes

Five Instant Action Fixes

THE BAD NEWS:  If you’re making these 5 mistakes writing screenplays, you’re not ready for prime time.

THE GOOD NEWS:  Correcting these 5 mistakes will rocket your script quality up so fast NASA might ask to read your script.

What's in a character name?

A Rose By Any Other Name

One of my most consistent comments on scripts is, I have difficulty differentiating between characters because characters have similar names.

Listen. Character names have jobs.