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Your Idea Machine (Screenwriting Blue Books Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Length: 174 pages
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Product Details

  • File Size: 307 KB
  • Print Length: 174 pages
  • Publisher: First Strike Productions; Revised Edition edition (July 24, 2011)
  • Publication Date: July 24, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005EE649S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,211 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
There are lots of books on writing structure out there, but very few (that I have found) on creativity. Although this book is aimed at screenwriters, this fact does not at all prevent novelists from absorbing Martell's excellent advice on generating great ideas. Strong left-brainers like me will probably find the entire book's pinpoint focus on idea creation refreshing and invaluable.

One specific concept in the book was particularly helpful to me in squashing a lot of self-doubt. As I brainstorm ideas that excite me, I often notice--right then or later--that my "fresh" idea has actually already been done before, and then I get discouraged that my idea is not original enough for a novel. Martell goes into this at length near the end of the book: he explains not only the value but the near inevitability of recycling old ideas. The trick is to make them unique, universal, and personal (read the book to get more on this).

I'm going to rate it 5 because it helped me so much, but if I could rate it 4 1/2 I would, and for one reason only: an abundance of typos and formatting issues in the Kindle version. There are scores of omitted and misspelled words, and one large section in the middle of the book is actually duplicated. The proofreading, editing, and formatting was obviously rushed through.

Other than that, this book is GREAT read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who feels that their creativity is mechanical and stiff. I believe it will give you a whole new perspective as well as the tools necessary to create quality ideas that will get your novel or manuscript SOLD. After all, isn't that the ultimate goal?
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Martell knows more about successful screenwriting than any 10 other *gurus.* But MOST IMPORTANTLY, he can communicate what he knows to you. And that's what counts. He must have digested every movie made in the last 80 years, and can teach you to differentiate between what works and what doesn't. Since you've only got 24 hours in a day, spend as much of it as you can with someone who can help you. Suggestion: consume everything this guy produces. Looking forward to more Blue Books on Kindle.
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It's amazing how much great advice and humor William Martell puts out daily on a non-paid basis. Don't have $3 for a book? Visit his website. Want to chat with him? He's on facebook and twitter. He couldn't be friendlier or more accessible and he earns a living writing screenplays. He's not a "those who can't do, teach" seminar perennial, he lives it and gives back to other writers. And he not only tells you what to do to write great scripts, he gives examples - LOTS of examples. Even a fool like me gets it. Can't wait to download more of the series as they come out. Thanks, Bill!
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You might not guess it from the covers or the (lack of) proofreading, but Martell’s books are absolute gems. Although aimed at screenwriters, the vast majority of what he suggests is just as pertinent to novelists as well. Here, he offers wonderful tips on not just optimizing the ability to come up with ideas, but also on figuring out what a good idea is and how to hammer it into a unique and viable story premise.
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By RP on January 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What I respect most about Bill Martell is that he's not some never-was trying to convince aspiring screenwriters that if they just follow some formula, they'll write a script that sells. Martell is not about formulas. Instead of trying to come up with some paint-by-numbers crap, he analyzes the things that make up actual produced scripts (both his own and others most of us are familiar with), including the ideas behind them, and explains the difference between an idea for a movie and an idea for a movie that actually has a chance of becoming a movie. He also gives the readers several exercises to help then generate their own ideas, all the while noting how important it is to have several great ideas at any given moment.

Even those who have written a few screenplays can benefit from this book. We all need more ideas, after all, and training ourselves to think in terms of turning our good ideas into better (or even great) ones is really what this book is all about.
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I love this book. In fact I'm getting ready to read it a second time because it's THAT important. As a screenwriter with eight completed scripts I've come to the realization that most of my scripts are not high concept (that's why they haven't sold). This book helps you come up with high concept ideas. I really don't want to waste my time anymore writing scripts that don't have a chance of selling. (Yes, I'm passionate about writing and do it for the love of writing but I can easily be passionate about a high concept script that has a higher chance of selling!). This book has me seeing ideas everywhere. It also helped me to see that many of my previous scripts didn't have enough conflict. This book has really solidified, for me, the importance of starting with high concept ideas that have conflict to carry the story. I can't wait to get my next idea and start writing my next script!
I'd highly recommend this book.
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I always read most, if not all, of a book's reviews. True to previous reviewers, Bill Martell's books have loads of excellent advice and information. This should be a 5-star review and would have been if not for the fact that I believe the author submitted his writings without proofreading first. I found the constant encounter with context or spelling errors an unfortunate distraction. Sometimes the errors made it difficult to understand his point. I can understand if this book came from someone who is NOT a professional writer, but obviously this is simply a case of not rereading the material prior to submitting it. It also made me think that no one else read his book(s) prior to publication, which is surprising.

Having said all this, the information contained is really good and delivers on what was promised. Hopefully he checks the reviews periodically and will consider fixing the errors on existing publications as well as on future books. For you readers looking to purchase this book, please don't let my review be a hindrance. If you want great info presented in a no nonsense format, his books shouldn't be missed!
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