Digital media professor releases scriptwriting book and recounts his faith journey

Educating others in the arts of scriptwriting and storytelling is how Carey Martin, a professor of digital media and journalism at Liberty University, has been helping students discover their passion for journalism since 2007. 

This year he released a new book called “Applied Screenwriting: How to Write True Scripts for Creative and Commercial Video.”

While Martin has written many articles and scripts, this is his first book. 

“The book came out of my experience teaching scriptwriting,” Martin said. “You’re going to make the best videos if you think about what the viewer is going to see and hear on the screen from the beginning.”  

Many scriptwriting books are intended for those writing feature films or series television; however, Martin noticed that many of his students were not looking to do that kind of work. 

“When my character is saying this, where do I want the camera to be? What am I seeing in my head as I am writing this script?” Martin said. 

Martin focused his book on teaching readers how to get what they see in their head onto a script that can be given to someone who can shoot, edit and return with a finished project that matches what the writer saw in their head. 

“That is why I call my book ‘Applied Screenwriting,’” Martin said. “You’re applying your skills to solve a specific issue.”

Martin plans to use the book as a textbook for his classes next year. His book can be purchased now on Amazon by simply searching Martin’s name. 

“I wanted to do a book that is a handbook,” Martin said. 

Martin would like to thank Katie Thomas, Rebecca Christian, Hunter Richards and Jonas Larson for their contributions to the photos in his book.

However, the creation of his book wouldn’t have been possible without a passion for media. Since playing Gen. George Washington in a Kindergarten production, Martin knew he wanted to pursue a career in media. He also appeared on a local kid’s TV show called “Happy Raine.” 

Martin attended Northwestern University for his bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film. 

“My college experience moved me specifically into the electronic media,” Martin said. “I was a DJ at our student radio station for all my college career.”

Martin loved his job and believed disc jockeying was what he was going to do for the rest of his life, but the Lord had other plans. 

“When I got out (of college), the Lord moved me into the video side of things,” Martin said. “I worked in local television; I worked in medical education video, and then the Lord opened doors to bring me into higher education — actually teaching my subject.” 

After working in his field for several years, Martin attended Florida State University for his Master of Fine Arts in motion picture and television and recording arts, as well as his doctorate in communication. 

Photo by Kelley Atkinson

Martin’s first job out of college was working as a DJ for a nonprofit Christian radio station. 

“(The) problem is it was nonprofit, which means it was also nonpaid,” Martin said. “Even then, radio was already moving in the direction of less emphasis on the individual DJ and more emphasis on focus groups, surveys and program list.”

As being a radio DJ phased out of Martin’s interest, he took his first paid part-time television station job at WCIV in Charleston, South Carolina. Not long after working at WCIV, Martin moved to WCBD in the same area to work full time. 

Over the course of a year at WCBD, Martin did everything behind the scenes until the Lord moved him to medical education videos — videos medical workers must watch in order to renew their licenses.

“Medical education had normal hours and it paid twice as much,” Martin said. “So, I made medical education videos for about four years; that’s how I got interested in education in general.” 

Martin found Liberty through connection with an old friend named Granville Graham, who had been Dr. Jerry Falwell’s private pilot for 25 years. They ran into each other when they decided to bring their children to the same park at the same time on the same day. 

“As we drove home, I told my wife, ‘If this is not a divine appointment, I don’t know what is,’” Martin said.

He found Liberty’s application, and it was basically a description of Martin’s career thus far.

Martin’s father was a pastor, so he came to know the Lord as a child. 

“Just as I grew in my intellectual understanding and my emotional understanding, so I grew in my faith,” Martin said. “I have known Jesus about as long as I have known anything.”

Martin credits his college experience for enhancing his faith. 

“It was my college experience that really sharpened my faith even though Northwestern is totally secular,” Martin said. “I was disillusioned by some of the experiences I had in the church and had seen my father have in the church, so I went to Northwestern, and everything that I learned led me back to Jesus. … No matter what’s wrong with the church, there’s nothing wrong with Jesus. Northwestern taught me to look at the evidence and trust my own experience; both of those led me to Jesus.”

Sowell is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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