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Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script Ten Minutes at a Time [Kindle Edition]

Pilar Alessandra
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Print List Price: $24.95
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Book Description

A leading Hollywood screenwriting instructor shows anyone who's ever wanted to write a screenplay how to do it 10 minutes at a time.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2703 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions (April 6, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00564VY8C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,001 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You DO have time to write...! August 9, 2010
Let's face it - most of us who are toiling away at our laptops writing the next great screenplay aren't paid writers...yet. So writing is as much a matter of finding time around our day jobs, families and picking up the dry cleaning as it is about great ideas. Well, in this book, Pilar gives you both - how to work out your great ten-minute exercises. Most of us dream of having that 'whole day' to sit down and write, but admit it - it's not going to happen! But you do have ten minutes somewhere in your day, right? Pilar takes you from your initial premise, through expanding your idea, to structuring your story beats, to characters & dialogue and finally, writing the first draft. All in manageable bite-sized chunks. So get this book - and get to it!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For those who may have never heard of it, once upon a time (published in 1986), there was a bestselling book on writing titled Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg. Among the reasons many people who read the book loved it was because Goldberg's enthusiasm was infectious and her encouragement had oomph and felt real rather than contrived. And her tips for getting started writing, again and again, day after day, were practical. "The basic unit of writing practice," writes Goldberg, "is the timed exercise. You may time yourself for ten minutes, twenty minutes, or an hour. It's up to you."

The Coffee Break Screenwriter is Writing Down the Bones for screenwriters plus more, the more or meat on the bones being all of the practical information about the art and business of screenwriting that MS Alessandra includes in her book. Not sure if you should spring for The Coffee Break Screenwriter? Go to Alessandra's website called On the Page Script Consulting & Screenwriting Classes (you'll find a link to it fast by running a search on pilar Alessandra) and listen to one of the many free podcasts on offer. That should convince you.

I've read several books on screenwriting, by Syd Field, Robert McKee, Blake Snyder, David Trottier, and others, and none of them has sparked, inspired, and informed me as much as The Coffee Break Screenwriter (though I can't deny that reading them may have helped prepare me for it). As her podcasts illustrate, Alessandra is an insightful, knowledgeable, inspirational, encouraging, down-to-earth, and genuinely infectiously enthusiastic teacher, and all these qualities come across on every page of The Coffee Break Screenwriter.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it. August 9, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read Syd Field, Robert McKee, and Blake Snyder to learn theory. Read this book to learn how to write a screenplay.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is THE Workbook for Screenwriters October 25, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read all the other screenwriting books (Field, Haug, Vogler, Truby, McKee, etc.) - I will say this. All that other stuff is relevant and needs to percolate in your head, but Pilar's book is a real workbook.

Let's put it this way: when she says from concept to page, she's not kidding. You fill out these worksheets and you get to brainstorm, outline, beat out, and break down the story of your screenplay. And only then do you actually get to write the first draft. The fact that chapter 5 is titled "The First Draft" gives you an idea the amount of work you are putting in with chapters 1-4! Other reviews break down the chapter titles, so you know that you will get help in rewriting your first draft.

What a great book. You still have to sit there and figure stuff out, but, instead of just sitting around asking yourself "how do I get from point A to point B?", Pilar will help get you there by asking you the right questions.

Kind of like Socratic learning, right? You can't figure out the correct answer if you don't know the correct question. Pilar's book asks the correct questions. Now, get writing!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks Pilar! August 18, 2011
By Ty
I love this book and Pilar's work. If you buy the book from her website for $24.99 plus $4 shipping, you get the book signed by her and it comes with the cd that has the worksheet templates that are scattered throughout the book. If I would have discovered her before I would have just bought the book from her the first time, as it stands now, I own this book in physical form and also on my Kindle without the templates cd.

These templates are great tools for helping a screenwriter get through her method of working through the screenwriting process. Her tools make sense and are basic and really do help you step by step with getting to the end, one break at a time.

Pilar has contacted me and made arrangements for me to get the templates and has followed through with her word so that I didn't have to purchase a third copy.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book from a great teacher June 29, 2011
Pilar is known for her weekly and very entertaining screenwriting podcasts. They're always funny and helpful. Unfortunately I won't be able to meet Pilar in person at one of her classes, since I'm from Germany. [If you ever plan to teach a class in Germany, Pilar, or need help with one, let me know (one can reply to these reviews).]

About the book:

It's excellent, because it asks many, many questions. And questions are a very powerful tool. The greatest coaches keep asking good questions. Most sceenwriting books don't ask enough questions, though. Pilar's book does. Usually 3-5 for each writing session, conveniently paired with a one-page screenwriting lecture.

I started working with the book today. I wrote 5 pages with paper and (fountain) pen (Tarantino stile) at a coffee shop. This handwriting method - I get away from feeling like sitting in front of my notebook 24/7 - paired with Pilar's book finally helped me to get started on my screenplay. At least the first one or two drafts will be handwritten. Just the book, some paper and a pen (and of course the coffee). That's liberating!

I read many screenwriting books and I also took classes. This book is the best of its kind. While writing my screenplay I also learn a lot. The book is almost as good as an excellent class, "almost" just because a book can't give notes on my writing ;-) But I took care of that and just founded an online writing group.

The "let's get started idea" works for me. Most books fail at that. Since Pilar has a great personality, a couple of pages in the beginning, which address the reader in a personal and encouraging way would be the cherry on top.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great text to read and use for screenwriting
This is a great text to read and use for screenwriting. Easy to follow and plenty of ideas to help work on ideas and work through trouble areas in writing. A must buy! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rosemary Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Easy to read... I enjoyed it.
Published 4 months ago by Rebekah E. Spahn
5.0 out of 5 stars From Coffee Break to Produced
I have a lot of screenwriting books. There are different books for different needs. I decided I was going to use one book to write a TV pilot from the beginning to end, and this... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jamie Lee Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't put it down
This is the greatest screenwriting book I have ever read. There's a lot of good ones here on Amazon but this one is absolutely essential. Incredible.
Published 4 months ago by Sean T Tucker
4.0 out of 5 stars Pilar Alessandra offers some great and realistic advice to help you...
A must read if you're interested in learning how to write a screenplay. Pilar Alessandra offers some great and realistic advice to help you get your story written.
Published 4 months ago by mc2kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the BEST books on writing I've read
One of the BEST books on writing I've read. There's SO much information in here, if you're only going to buy a few books on writing then definitely make this one of them. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Eddie the Lizard
5.0 out of 5 stars Write a feature length movie in tiny chunks.
You've heard the expression “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. That is what I think of as I read Pilar Alessandra's book “The Coffee Break Screenwriter – Writing... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Forris B. Day
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful
This is a very helpful book. It helps me brainstorm my ideas and make sense of the story I want to write. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Elodie
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what the doctor ordered
The Amazon element of the review is that it came fast and it came in great shape.
The book is full of exercises and prompts that are very specific and have taken my ideas and... Read more
Published 13 months ago by wordman
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for writers looking to begin or who need a jumpstart
This is a book by one of the best screenplay consultants in the industry, the rare teacher who has both experience in the reader-studio system, and the patience and expertise to... Read more
Published 14 months ago by doinel
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More About the Author

PILAR ALESSANDRA is the director of the Los Angeles writing program "On the Page, Inc.®." She's worked as Senior Story Analyst for DreamWorks and Radar Pictures and covered additional projects at ImageMovers, Saturday Night Live Studios and The Robert Evans Company. She's trained writers at ABC/Disney, MTV/Nickelodeon, the National Screen Institute, the Los Angeles Film School, The UCLA Writers Program and at writing organizations around the country. Her book "The Coffee Break Screenwriter" was released in September and her On the Page Podcast was featured in MovieMaker Magazine's list of "Ten Podcasts Worth a Listen."

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