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So, why am I offering you this valuable information completely free?

Not many people know the secrets of a winning screenplay, but you do now. So, why on Earth would I give this information away to you, some stranger on the internet, for free? Why would I give my competition a leg-up?

OK, here’s my story…

My parents were heavy alcoholics and I was an only-child. I was born in Canada, but before I was even a toddler, we moved to Hong Kong. A couple years later, we moved back to Canada - and, a year or two after that, we moved again.

In the new city, my parents enrolled me in French Immersion for Kindergarten. This is where the teachers teach in French. And don’t allow English to even be spoken. Complete immersion.

On my first day of school, I asked to go to the bathroom - and the teacher refused until I asked in French. Only, I’d never been taught a word of French. Everyone else spoke it at home.

ME: Can I please go to the bathroom?

TEACHER: En Francais!

ME: But, I don’t speak French.

TEACHER: En Francais!

ME: But, I don’t know French. I’ve never spoken a word of it in my life.

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TEACHER: En Francais! [And something which presumably meant ‘if you want to go to the bathroom, you’re going to have to ask in French!’]

ME: You aren’t listening to me, I do not speak French - at all - I just have to go to the bathroom.

TEACHER: En Francais!!!

ME: But, I don’t know the word for bathroom. I don’t know the word for please. I don’t know the word for ‘may I.’ You can ask me to speak French all day if you want, but I’m not going to be able to speak a word of it because I DON’T SPEAK FRENCH!!! I just need to pee.

‘EN FRANCAIS!!!’

Then, half-way through Kindergarten, we moved again.

So, for the formative years of my life, I could never speak the language at school - and my parents were mean-drunks at home. And, to add insult to injury, being the new-kid everywhere meant I was always the one getting picked on or left-out.

Luckily, the place we moved to had a den off of my bedroom! Everything else was on the main-floor, but my bedroom and den were on the second. I could keep some separation from myself and my mean, drunken parents for once!

So, I basically hid up there watching movies for my entire childhood. A babysitter had shown me A Clockwork Orange when I was six, and I was hooked on movies ever since. So, that’s what I did, I watched movies. Religiously. All day, every day.

My friends were literally playing with dolls and watching cartoons - and I was searching out the best r-rated indie films and classics!

The VCR was new when I was a small kid, and our family was wealthy enough that we could afford multiple. So, I ended up having three VCR’s in my room - and split the cable-line to each of them so that I could record 3 different movies or tv-shows at the same time, while watching a fourth! I literally never saw a commercial through the 1980’s and 90’s (unlike everyone else).

Video-rental-stores were a new thing too, and I used to have memberships at literally dozens of different stores (so I could get all the rare indies and foreign films). It wasn’t unusual for me to have 30 different movies rented from half a dozen different stores - in the same week!

It wasn’t until high-school that my life got better. For once, I wasn’t the new kid. I wasn’t getting picked on for no reason. But, my love of movies (and dramatic television) never waned.

When I was 13, I purchased Roger Ebert’s encyclopedia of reviews - and, over the next 15 years, I watched (almost) every 3 and 4-star movie! That was the best film-school in the world! Just watching all the best movies. Seeing what they did.

There are very few people on Earth who have seen a good majority of the best films. To really have an understanding of film, you need to watch about 10 hours of films a day for maybe 20 or 30 years. Without a break. You need to see everything. Yet, almost no one can. Except the professional reviewers who do it for a job - and, even then, it still takes them decades. That’s why Roger Ebert is so good - and all the other reviewers are so bad: Ebert’s the only real movie-buff in the group! He’s the only one that’s seen literally tens of thousands of films. Everyone else has only seen thousands. Young people only hundreds.

So yeah, that’s how I got to know film like the back of my hand. Years and years of watching an absolutely insane amount of films (by having my VCR’s back in the day through DVR’s today, I estimate that I’ve skipped well over 10,000 hours of commercials in my life). And, that’s what you need to do too, if you want to become a professional screenwriter. You need to love films.

A guy I went to film-school with wanted to produce indie-films - yet he would staunchly refuse to see anything that wasn’t a big-budget Hollywood film. I used to ask him: ‘If even you won’t go see an indie film, just who do you think is going to go see your indie film?’

Anyway... My high-school was great and had career-preparation courses in television-production and photography. So, in my Grade 10 year, one of my eight classes was TV. In Grade 11 and 12, it was one-quarter of my classes.

I knew I wanted to make movies ever since I was a little kid. But, I wanted to go to college first, before I went  to film-school. I figured that film-producers needed to know accounting and finance, so I did that. Actually, I studied everything in college that might come in handy (psychology, creative writing, history, law, mathematics, international business finance, economics, accounting, etc...).

Once I graduated from college (on the Dean’s List), I went to film-school.

When I graduated from film-school, I still didn’t start making movies. I wanted to be the best film-maker ever, so I wanted to earn my way up. I wanted to start at the bottom and learn every job on set. So, that’s what I did. I started as a P.A. (Production Assistant) and a Location P.A. Grip. Camera-assistant. A.D. (Assistant Director).

Then, I did craft-services. Which led to catering. Which led to production-managing. Which led to producing. Which led to directing. Which led to writing and executive-producing.

The film-industry runs on networking. It’s all about who you know. When a line-producer is crewing up a shoot - he calls all his friends. The ones he worked with on his last show. That’s why the film-industry expects you to volunteer and work your way up so much. It’s all about making the right contacts - which eventually lead to consistent work.

So, I had been studying movies religiously since I was 6.

I took all the relevant courses (from high school, to college, to film-school, to trade-school, to other stuff like traffic-control, man-lift, electrical, gripping and first-aid courses).

And, once I was finished with that, I still wanted to make sure that I knew everyone’s job on-set before I tried making movies. I’d seen enough directors make everyone’s day miserable because he didn’t know what anyone’s job entailed. So, I worked my way up from the very bottom - to the very top… I did every job on set.

I wanted to make sure that I made movies the right way. I spent 20+ years of hard work, all-day, every day, just to gain all the knowledge I knew I’d need to make movies that were better than everyone else. I spent 20 years prepping.

The first short-film I wrote - ended up being one of the very first viral-videos on the internet. It was once one of the most downloaded videos in internet history… Back in the late 90’s, I was paying more for the bandwidth from one single 5mb file than my rent was costing! Over 100,000,000 views (which was SOMETHING back then) from a $100 video.

My first music-video hit the top-3 and stayed on the charts for almost half a year.

Everything was going great. I was about ready to make the best movies the world has ever seen.

And then a family medical emergency happened.

I don’t want to go into too much detail. I’m not writing a biography about my life here (outside of movies), and I would never speak publicly about someone else’s medical condition, so… I can’t really tell you what happened, I can only give you an idea of what happened.

Now, just to be clear, this is not what happened. The following is completely fictional. It’s just similar to what happened to me. To give you a vague idea of what the truth is.

Imagine you had a cousin, and he and his wife died, leaving behind a child. There are no other relatives who can take the child right now, so it’s either you or Child Services. But, you spoke with your cousin on his death-bed - and he asked you to take care of the baby for him. Of course, you happily promised to do that. The baby’s mother’s parents are in a dangerous foreign country and can’t take the baby right now, but they will be able to take him in a few months, when they return. It’s not a big deal, the baby’s your flesh-and-blood, taking care of him for a couple months is the least you can do. So what if it prevents you from making movies? You still have decades afterwards to make all the movies you want.

Oh yeah, and I should probably mention that the baby is retarded - or has severe autism - something like that. It’s a baby that requires constant care from a family-member.

Then, the grand-parents die, leaving you the last surviving kin.

So, yeah, that’s my story (well, not the real story, of course, but somewhat similar). That’s basically what happened to me: I spent 20 years studying film and working my way to the top of the film-industry so I could make the best movies ever - and, right before I even got the change to show Hollywood what I could do, before I ever got the chance to make a movie, life managed to get in the way! Big time.

What was supposed to only be a few months of a career-hiatus - ended up turning into years and years of being unable to achieve my dreams.

That was almost 27 years ago now.

With no end in sight.

All I’ve ever wanted to do was make movies - and I just can’t do it. I can’t work 16 hours a day for a year. I can’t do it for a week. I have other responsibilities. Responsibilities that can’t be delegated to anyone else. Never-ending responsibilities. So, I’m starting to realize that my dream is now pretty much over. I’ll never get the chance to make my own movies. It just wasn’t meant to be. It didn’t matter that I worked so long. It didn’t matter that I did it the right way. Life had other ideas. The closest I ever got was short-films and music-videos. The closest I’ll ever get.

I literally had studio-heads clamouring to see my next script - and I just never wrote it. That was more than a decade ago now. There was just no point. I’ve let other directors shoot scripts I’ve written - and I’m not doing that again! I’d rather have shavings dropped in my eyes. Not an experience I plan on re-living. I write for myself only. And, I can’t direct anything myself… So, there’s no point in writing.

It seemed like such a shame to let all this great information go to waste - so, my bad-luck is your gain! If I can’t make movies, maybe you can! Of course, making great movies is a lot more complicated than I could ever get across on a small web-site like this! But, hopefully I can manage to condense the information into layman’s terms, and in such a way that you get as much out of it as possible. And, enough to allow you to vastly improve your screenwriting.

When you make it to the top of Hollywood - if you want to pay me back - throw me an associate-producer credit or hire me as a script-consultant! For the time being, I’ll have to live vicariously through you! So, you’d better write a good screenplay - I’m literally counting on it! It’s the only way I’ll ever get to make a movie! Make me proud. Write well.