The New Screenwriter's Survival Guide

The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide

The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide is 65 smart chapters covering everything from guerrilla meeting tactics to finding (or firing) your agent, from maintaining “voice” to pitching and getting paid, from how to feed your entertainment attorney to how to stay friends with your guild — and producer. And much much more.

The screenwriter crowned “Red Hot Adams” by Variety who has been there, done that, and lived to talk about it tells you how to get read, get sold, and get produced. And, more importantly, how to stay alive while you’re doing it.



“If you want to understand how Hollywood works, this is the book to read.”

~Greg Beal, Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

Pumpkin the Dog & Max Adams

The Author

MAX ADAMS is an author, sometimes actress and model, and award winning screenwriter. Which means she knows how she’s supposed to put her makeup on, she just usually doesn’t since most of her days are spent with bed hair in front of a hostile computer.

Five Stars, Amazon

Some of Our Favorite Reviews

As a professional writer and now talent manager, I can honestly say two things: 1) there are too many books on the subject of screenwriting and 2) this is the only book anyone should pick up. ~ Gremlin257

I’ve been working as a screenwriter in Hollywood since 1991, so presumably I should already know all of this stuff. And I do. Well, pretty much. But even so, I found it inspiring and remarkably helpful (not to mention interesting, witty and fun).
~ Thomas C. Smith


I fell in love with the first edition of this book and totally used it as my guide when I moved from New York to L.A. and from being a playwright to being a screenwriter a few years ago. I’ve since optioned three scripts. What’s more important is that Max filled me in on so many crucial if seemingly minute details (which nobody else will tell you) that to this day I remember. ~ Richard Willet


If you ask 100 screenwriters out here in Hollywood what are the top 10 books on screenwriting, 99 of them would have Max Adams “Screenwriter’s Survival Guide” on their list. ~ Daddy Shawn


If you could only keep one book about how to survive and flourish in the Screenwriting business, keep this one!  ~ Margaret Dane


Absolutely excellent book. When I walked into meetings in Hollywood, I knew what to do, what to expect, and how to handle it, thanks to the first edition of Max’s book. I would strongly recommend any screenwriter to grab this book and commit it to memory; Max knows what she’s talking about. ~ Toni McGee Causey


This is a must-have guide for any screenwriter who wants to run the Hollywood gauntlet to get their script sold. This book gives you the tools to help build a lasting writing career with indispensable insider information about Pitching, Meetings, Networking, Agents, Producers, Critique groups, Potential traps…you name it and it’s all in this book. Max Adams’ humor and wit are on every page with the attitude of a Hollywood veteran giving out priceless advice. ~ Maysenthe


This is the best friend in the business you always wished you had. ~ Mark Vincent Bedard


:::read all amazon reviews:::


Chapter 8, The New Screenwriter's Survival Guide

Sample Chapter

Chapter 8: Writer Speak vs. Mogul Speak
~ by Max Adams

Writers and “movie makers” speak different languages. If you don’t know this, it can get surreal holding a conversation with someone who is using writer terms, but is not a writer, because you are both using the same terms, you are simply using them to mean different things. I’ll give you an example:

When writers talk about tone — it is wistful, it is dark, it is suspenseful, it is eerie — writers tend to describe work in terms of an emotion evoked by the piece. They are telling you the flavor of the piece in their heads, in an emotional context.

When a movie maker asks you tone, like an executive or a producer, and this applies to agents too, they mean, “What movie that made a lot of money at the box office is this like?”

If you don’t know this — It is going to be hard to sell any pitches because a studio executive will ask you about tone and he will want to hear it is “Men In Black” in tone, while you will be saying, “It is suspenseful and fun.”

TNSSG Table of Contents, The New Screenwriter's Survival Guide

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Why I Wrote This
Chapter Two: Starting from Ground Zero
Chapter Three: Who Buys Scripts?
Chapter Four: Getting Read
Chapter Five: What a Pitch Is and Isn’t
Chapter Six: Pitching a Spec Script
Chapter Seven: Pitching a Concept You Want to Write
Chapter Eight: Writer Speak vs. Mogul Speak
Chapter Nine: The Pitch Letter
Chapter Ten: Cold Calling
Chapter Eleven: Social Media

Max Adams, Driskill Bar, photo by Chesher Cat

Press & Links

Here’s How Screenwriters Can Learn to Talk to Movie Moguls & Agents – Indiewire

The Art of the Pitch by Max Adams – Austin Film Festival

The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide – ScribblerWorks

AFW Founder Max Adams’ CrossRoads Interview – AFW

Guerrilla Tactics: Interview With Author & Screenwriter Max Adams – Nancy Bilyeau

We’re in Google Hell, get back to us after we shore these up. Or, better yet, if you have the links? For the love of God, send! Send! Send!

The New Screenwriter's Survival Guide, The Book Trailer

The Book Trailer

When The Single Screenwriter isn’t doing her own writing or hot blog posts, she does book trailers. Yeah, didn’t know that did you? Go see….


Purchase The New Screenwriter's Survival Guide


The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide is available online at AMAZON.COM

The book may also be purchased at these retail book stores:


For questions about discounts for groups & retailers, please email us at info @


TNSSG Going Banksy at Sundance Film Festival


These are resources in the book it is difficult to format in a book. Instant fix:

We’re loading them here on the website. Nifty, yes?



We also endorse and recommend these other books:

“This is an accessible, smart, funny, insightful book that I would and  will recommend to all scribes who come my way.”

~ Richard Walter, UCLA Screenwriting Chairman

“Before you even think of marketing your script, read this book and  change your screenwriting life.”

~ David Trottier, The Screenwriter’s Bible

“Every writer should have Max Adams’ advice in their arsenal.”

~ Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, Script Magazine