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Dialogue Secrets (Screenwriting Blue Books Book 10) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Length: 160 pages
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Product Details

  • File Size: 275 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: First Strike Productions (October 28, 2011)
  • Publication Date: October 28, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0060SHUIQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,173 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

"William C. Martell is the Robert Towne of made for cable movies," (Washington Post reviewer) David Nuttycombe.

How many writers of screenwriting books make their living actually writing and selling screenplays?

William C. Martell has written nineteen produced films, including three HBO World Premieres, two Showtime Originals, two MOWs for USA Network, and a whole bunch of CineMax Originals (which is what happens when an HBO movie goes really, really wrong). In 2009 he wrote the big budget studio remake of a low budget 1980s theatrical horror movie - which is still inching toward production, and in his 20 year career as a professional screenwriter has done everything from adapting a New York Times Bestseller to turning down the job adapting ANGELS & DEMONS.

When he's not writing screenplays, he spends his time on film festival juries, including Raindance in London (twice - once with Mike Figgis and Saffron Burrows, once with Lennie James and Edgar Wright - and went back to "jury duty" in October of 2009). Roger Ebert discussed him with Gene Siskel on his 1997 "If We Picked The Winners" Oscar show. and he's quoted a few times in Bordwell's great book "The Way Hollywood tells It". His USA Net flick HARD EVIDENCE was released on video the same day as the Julia Roberts' film Something To Talk About and out-rented it in the USA... resulting in many meetings at Warner Bros (who released both films) where various executives asked him "Why?". In 2007 he had two films released on DVD on the same day - one from Sony Pictures, one from LionsGate - and both made the top 10 rentals. He is currently working on several projects for studios... plus a bunch of spec scripts.

Mr. Martell has been interviewed in Variety (February 24, 1997), featured in The Hollywood Reporter's first Writers Special Issue (February 1994), was the cover interview in The Hollywood Scriptwriter (October 1996), and was interviewed in the first issue of ScreenTalk Magazine (Denmark). Entertainment Today (March 23, 2001) named his website ScriptSecrets.Net the Best On The Web for screenwriters... and his blog was selected as one of the best by Bachelor's Degree Org.

Mr. Martell's book, THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING (First Strike Press) has been called "The best book on the practical nuts-and-bolts mechanics of writing a screenplay I've ever read." - Ted Elliott, co-writer "The Mask Of Zorro", "Shrek", "Pirates Of The Caribbean" movies.

"William C. Martell knows the action genre inside out. Learn from an expert!" - Mark Verheiden, screenwriter, "Time Cop", "The Mask" and TV's "Smallville".

"This book is dangerous. I feel threatened by it." - Roger Avary, Oscar winning screenwriter, "Pulp Fiction".

"My only complaint with SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING is that it wasn't around when I was starting out. The damned thing would have saved me years of trial and error!" - Ken Wheat, screenwriter, "Pitch Black" and "The Fly 2".

"Finally a screenwriting book written by a working professional screenwriter. Bill Martell really knows his stuff, showing you how to write a tight, fast screenplay." - John Hill, screenwriter, "Quigley Down Under".

Mr. Martell was born in the same hospital, in the same month, as Tom Hanks. Many believe they were switched at birth, and Bill should be the movie star. He lives in Studio City, California, and can be found most afternoons at some coffee house writing some darned new script on his laptop.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is another can't miss ebook from professional Hollywood screenplay writer Bill Martell. Ask your favorite "writing coach" how many screenplays he or she has actually sold and had them produced. The answer may disappoint you. Bill, on the other hand, already has 19 of them sold and produced and I'm sure he's working on another couple as we speak. So he must be doing something right, correct?

In this ebook Bill explains how to avoid on-the-nose dialogue like "How are you?", "Fine. How about you?" etc. That kind of obvious exchanges will kill a screenplay no matter what. In Hollywood parlance that's also known as "laying the pipe." It's the kind of expository speech that you should steer away at all costs.

I suspect some people are born with a golden ear. Whatever they write, sounds right and natural. But rest of us must study and learn to write dialogue that flows like honey yet buzzes like a bee. That's where Bill comes in.

Martell explains many ways in which you can make your characters speak in a convincing yet intriguing and engaging fashion. Some of the sections included address interesting dialogue-writing issues like jargon and slang, "lame confessions", "bumper sticker dialogue", voice overs, how to write text with sub-text, how to create suspense, the issue of foreign tongues, how to dance around the subject, and many many more. Most of the sections are accompanied with examples and writing exercises as well.

To lift your dialogue writing skills to a whole'nuther orbit, use this book as your booster rocket. When you finish it, you'll wonder why you haven't read it earlier.

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By Stan Berg on November 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read many if not most of the books about screenwriting out there. 99% of them are A) written by non-writers and B) follow some sort to RULE system that they call paradigm, system, beat sheet whatever. Martell on the other hand is a working writer with a bunch of produced scripts who shares what works in the real world. His book on dialog, just as character and action screenwriting are solid advice. Some common sense, most real solid nuggets of info that he collected over the years writing AND selling screenplays. No fluff here.
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First, let me say I've read a lot of books on dialogue, and almost all of them suck. Not just bad, but horrible. I've only found one other besides this that I liked, and that was Writing Dialogue for Scripts by Rib Davis. I point this out so you don't think I'm a shill for this author. That said, this book actually explains what makes dialogue work, and the various types that exist. This is the first book I've found that actually answered many of the questions I have about the mechanics of how a conversation or an argument tic. Now I have an actual understanding of the technique of getting two people together and creating an interesting exchange between them. I just saw The Iceman yesterday, and I was able to see the devices deployed, and could understand for the first time the techniques that make words work.
I have two more dialogue books in my queue, but I can tell you that none of the other books I've read so far ever came close to explaining the technical side of dialogue. They have always left me feeling vexed and frustrated (see some of my other reviews, like Stein on Writing). But not so with this book. Reading it was satisfying. I've gained some real insight into the process, insight I looked for in many of the famous story seminars that float around Hollywood like fecal matter in a cesspool, where none of them had a clue how to make conversations work. This is the real deal, and will get you where you're going.
While I know you may be skeptical to buy a book from someone who didn't write ET or The Godfather, don't let that get in your way, Bill has a gift of understanding how film elements function, and conveying that insight through his books. I'm now reading The Secrets of Action Screenwriting, and it's also informative way beyond the conventional books and seminars.
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This book is a gold mine. It offers incisive secret after incisive secret to creating stellar dialogue—in either a screenplay or a novel. It does suffer from some shoddy editing (typos and outright repetition), but these are small flaws to deal with in the face of the overwhelming amount of great information crammed into this volume.
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Although I own many reference books, I rarely read through them from cover to cover. However, I did read this book in its entirety. I'll begin with the pros - it is quite informative. Many of the reference ebooks I have purchased have been nothing more than fluff and I'm left with the impression that the author did little to no research before slapping a $2.99 tag on their ebook and sending it off to Amazon. This book was not like that. I have been writing professionally for some time and there were things in this book that were spelled out in more detail than I would have been able to give. The only flaw I found with the book is that even though it was published twice, once in 2002 and once in 2011, there are far too many grammatical mistakes for the book to come off as polished. It certainly doesn't change the content, but it does leave me with the feeling that the author could have put in the extra effort to have a polished work to offer. I suppose not everyone notices that type of thing, but those types of unnecessary mistakes jump out at me. That aside, definitely worth the money!
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