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The Secrets of Action Screenwriting: From "Popeye Points" to "Rug Pulls"

4.51  ·  Rating Details ·  70 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
240 pages packed with techniques and tips for screenwriters, focusing on the action, thriller and suspense genres. No theories! Only actual techniques! The ultimate HOW TO screenwriting book! Creating the ultimate villain, harvesting the audience's secrets desires or hidden fears to create a hit film, how to write a plot twist, the four kinds of suspense, using reversals ...more
Paperback, Revised edition, 240 pages
Published June 25th 2000 by First Strike Productions
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Shawn Scarber
Jan 12, 2012 Shawn Scarber rated it it was amazing
This is The Book on action screenwriting. I might even say, it's the book on screenwriting. Mr. Martell has probably written one of the most exhaustive works on action screenwriting, but don't worry, it's not filled with a bunch of useless theory or wonky ideas about what makes stories work. Martell uses examples for the top grossing action movies and a few of his own. That's right, Martell isn't just a screenwriting guru, but has actually written screenplays. Those screenplays went on to be ...more
May 01, 2014 Scott rated it really liked it
I've now read a half-dozen screenwriting books, and enjoyed this one more than most. Of course, the focus on "action" movies makes it more fun than a generic how-to. It's a practical book, for someone who really wants to write better screenplays, but it's also immensely entertaining.

I'd also suggest that you don't have to want to write "action" movies to gain from Martell's understanding of structure, theme, conflict, drama, comedy and more. Whatever you're writing, or wish to write, will benef
Glenn Mitchell
Apr 06, 2015 Glenn Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: screenwriting
Lots of Useful Info, But Repetitious

I have all of Martell's screenwriting blue books for the Kindle. I've been making my way through them, post reviews as I complete them.

There's a lot of useful information for novice and intermediate screenwriters. On balance, the amount and quality of the information offsets the defects.

What are the weaknesses? The are three that stand out for me: typos, ,self-promotion, and repetitions.

The books are self-published. There are more than a few typos. Enough, the
Jan 22, 2009 Sparky rated it it was amazing
The information in this book should be part of a constant mental checklist clicking off where required in every line, scene, act and spine of every script. I am not talking about some kind of "by-the-numbers" formula or rigid structural guideline. I am talking about character and story coming together in scripts that move. As Bill puts it,and I should hope to know, Emotion Pictures. The genre doesn't matter, keep it moving and keep it surprising and you will entertain.
Apr 30, 2013 Allen rated it really liked it
Shelves: theatre-film
Great insights, reminders and clues to help screenwriters get the most from their action scripts or action related scenes. It's a pity this book isn't more widely available. My only criticism is that I thought the information could have been organized a bit better within the book. Great source though.
Jeffrey Olsen
Jul 19, 2013 Jeffrey Olsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A little redundant in parts, but overall the excellent content makes up for the mistakes and makes this book well worth the investment. Plenty of wonderful examples and ideas to fuel your imagination.
Mary Ann
One of the best books on screenwriting, around. Thanks to Ebay, I now have the original as well as the revised e-book.
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William C. Martell has written nineteen produced films, including three HBO World Premiere movies: the Tom Clancy style techno-thriller STEEL SHARKS (filmed with full U.S. Navy cooperation) with Gary Busey, Billy Dee Williams, and Billy Warlock, the submarine thriller CRASH DIVE! starring Frederic Forrest, Catherine Bell, Chris Titus, and Michael Dudikoff (also with Navy cooperation), and the ...more
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