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Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 594 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reissue edition (March 10, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446391174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446391177
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[This] is that big, sad, funny, incisive, revelatory, gossipy, perception-forming book about Hollywood that publishers have been promoting for years -- and now the real thing is finally here."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"A deliciously honest book...Goldman deserves a special Read of the Year award."—The Plain Dealer (Cleavland)

About the Author

William Goldman was a screenwriter on such films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men. He lives in New York City. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

William Goldman has been writing books and movies for more than forty years. He has won two Academy Awards (for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men), and three Lifetime Achievement Awards in screenwriting.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 55 customer reviews
I just couldn't put the thing down, and I find that phrase to be a cliche of the most odious order.
Craig Clarke
Reading this book makes you feel the writer is talking to you personally - it is written in a conversational style .
A C SHIELDS
Don't even think of writing a screenplay until you read William Goldman's, Adventures in the Screen Trade.
John Shea-web-site...jackshea.net

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Craig Clarke VINE VOICE on March 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Goldman (whose credits include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, Misery, and the Princess Bride, and who is also a terrific novelist) was the first screenwriter whose name I recognized as having appeared on the credits of several films. He has since become my favorite, so when I found that he had written a book on the workings of the screenwriter in Hollywood--a town for which I have always had great fascination--I knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, it was years before I finally got around to it.
To give you an idea how good I think this book is, I had read Stephen King's Needful Things (app. 800 pages) in five days and that was at that point my quickest pace. Well, I read Adventures in the Screen Trade (including the full script of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid--a terrific read in itself, and alone worth the price of the book--a total of 600 pages) in two days. I just couldn't put the thing down, and I find that phrase to be a cliche of the most odious order. I was reading it at breakfast, on my commute in, at lunch, the commute out, all evening, and before bed. Goldman writes such a gripping story of his experiences in Tinseltown, that I was drawn in, always wondering what was going to happen next.
Only once did my interest flag, and that was halfway through a screen adaptation of a story presented in the book just beforehand. The story was ten pages, the adaptation forty, so I simply felt at that point that I was reading the story over, it was just longer. However, once I got over that and realized that the point of the exercise was to illustrate the differences in form, I read again with relish.
Goldman writes with a nicely conversational style--but not overtly so--that draws you in to his world.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
The allusion to the "skin trade" in the title isintentional of course. Goldman is playing the old saw about thescreenwriter as very well-paid whore. Be that as it may, this is an excellent book. If you're even thinking of becoming a screenwriter you ought to read it. You may change your mind, and then again you may not. You'll learn some screenwriting tricks and get a vivid glimpse inside the industry, circa 1982.
Goldman has a style that is as earnest as all heck, emphatic, breezy, engaging, flippant, a little high schoolish-but that plays. He thinks very highly of himself, but he is also a modest man. (Reasonable combination.) He trashes some people here, lionizes some others, but bottom line, he's not afraid to reveal himself, foibles and all. His two main rules of Hollywood are: NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING and SCREENPLAYS ARE STRUCTURE (his caps). He means that nobody knows ahead of time what is going to be a successful movie, and it's a mistake to think that screenplays are mainly dialogue (I used to think that) because what really counts is the structure.
Part One is about "Hollywood Realities" and it's the best part of the book: who controls whom and what, the pecking order, etc. Part Two he calls "Adventures" and it's about what it was like making some of the movies he was involved in; and remember Goldman wrote some top drawer films: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), All the President's Men (1976), to name a couple. This part is also very good. Part Three he calls "Da Vinci" from the title of a short story he wrote as a young man that he turns into a screen play for the edification of his readers. The story is a dog and the screenplay not very readable, but it's good textbook stuff. A highlight is George Roy Hill's acidic comments on the script.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Just Bill on July 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Like screenwriter William Goldman, I love movies. I love everything about them -- from their scores (especially those by John Williams or James Horner) to the actors (particularly Sean Connery, Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey and Cary Grant) to the directors (Shyamalan, Cameron, Welles and Reiner) to the screenwriters (Mamet, Shyamalan and, of course, William Goldman).
Goldman's book "Adventures in the Screen Trade" is one of the best books I've read in years. It is chock-full of fascinating anecdotes...crisp, witty, honest writing...and enough "dirt" on Hollywood to keep a half dozen gossip columnists busy at their keyboards for days.
So well-written and fun is Goldman's book that I think even if I wasn't a budding screenwriter and avid movie-goer, I still would have found his peek behind the scenes in Hollywood to be an engrossing read.
But for me, a true film nut, this book is indispensable. It contains plenty of tips on how to write screenplays, sure, but the most important lesson I learned from Goldman's book is that Hollywood is a brutal, fickle and cutthroat place to do business and that I'd best develop a thick skin if I'm going to send my screenplays there.
Since reading Goldman's book, I noticed many of the movies I've enjoyed over the years have been written by him -- including Princess Bride (one of my all-time favorites), Magic, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Misery and even the just-released Jurassic Park 3!
"Adventures in the Screen Trade" is a superb book. I highly recommend it.
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