Another excellent and readable book by Bill. Plenty of great tips, excellent references (Die Hard, Face/off etc) and humorous observations. A must read for any scriptwriter and a bargain on Kindle. This and Save the Cat have now become my script bibles... if only those great scripts just wrote themselves...!!
While general screenwriting books get you going and provide some important pointers they remain general. What Martell has done with Secrets of Action Screenwriting is looking into what makes action movies work. This is such a focussed piece of work you'll be reading action films with a whole new mindset and most likely applying it to your film ideas. Right from the start he nails the genre and for me personally the villains plan thoughts got me improving a script idea in seconds. Martell is an ideas man, film man and has a done a whole load of analysis so you can dip in before exploring action for yourself and through your own work. Melodrama writers need not apply. This is a book for solving evil plans of world domination, destroying the ray gun pointing at Wall St, £3bn robberies et al
Given that the the essence of all drama is conflict, it's inevitable that you will want the conflict in your screenplay to be the best it can be. What William C Martell has managed is to write a book that, while it's ostensibly about writing action for the screen, has wisdom and insight that will help you write better conflict - period. Every element he describes, the villian's plan, the reversal, the hamlet moment, personal injuries, sidekicks, secrets and lies and so on, works not just for 'action scenes', but can equally be applied to construction of dialogue or to ordinary action. Hang the expense, track down and buy this book now, it's worth every penny.
Now out of print but a must read for anyone contemplating writing a screenplay with any action elements. This is particularly strong on structuring a screenplay to create a 'bladder burster' and cleverly relates examples to successful films such as Die Hard
Essential reading for any burgeoning screenwriter. Bills script secrets are an absolute must. I would also recommend attending any of his Script Secrets seminars. His way of demystifying script theory/terminology makes it a fun read and not a chore. Plus Bill is a credited screenwriter which makes his writings more credible. Also check out his tips via twitter @wcmartell.