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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2002
Paul Argentini's Elements of Style covers the bulk of the details required for those who want to make up a decent screenplay consistent with accepted formatting standards.. It also covers stage plays. The creation of a screenplay template for word processors is discussed, but few details are given on how to do this. But - to be fair - this is different from version and vendor, so it's a minor point. Creating macros in Word 95 and 2000, for example, is a different procedure for each one, the 20000 version being less than obvious.
For the more ambitious student, I would recommend getting the Cole and Haag book. It's more comprehensive, explains the general background to screenplays, and has many examples of real screenplays, with worked exercises.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2005
This book is basically an extensive glossary of screenwriting terms, and will help the beginning (and the experienced) screenwriter make sure that his or her screenplay is formatted correctly and that it uses the correct terms. The book is arranged alphabetically, so if you need to look up "Fade In" or "Margins," you can turn right to the correct pages.

The book lists a lot of terms, however, that you should never use in a spec script that you just want to show to producers and investors. Use this in conjuction with other screenwriting books to get a better idea of this.

The book is not always perfectly written either--and don't let its title fool you into thinking it has anything to do with Strunk and White--but it is helpful, and when I'm writing a screenplay, I use it often.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2000
this book has pretty much all the elements and their defenitions of screenwriting.it explains with clarity what the purpose of that term is on the screenplay.you should try "the screenwriters bible" by david trottier to get a full explanation of what it takes to write screenplays.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2005
If you're into writing screenplays, this is THE Essential Screenplay Writer's Guide. I used it to write a couple of screenplays for Triggerstreet.com. In all of the feedback I received, not one person knocked the style of my works.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2000
The book give an informative description of all of the screenwriter's neccecesities for writing a screenplay format wise, however it does not suggest that the book is made for production screenplay, not spec scripts. There is mention of spec scripts occasionaly, but this would confuse the beginning screenwriter who is trying to get his spcec script formatted properly. Overall, a good book though on formatting; to the point on all of definition and terms, with examples.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 1999
In a cover resembling the classic Stunk and White's Elements of Style, Paul's little gold book lives up to its predecessor. Packing its lean pages with up-to-date formatting information, it also adds tidbits like, how to submit a screenplay, bind a manuscript, or register your screenplay. You can read it cover to cover or thumb through its alphabetized pages for a quick fix to your problem. As the cover states it indeed is "The Essentail Manual for Writers of Screenplays." At a bargain price, it is worth keeping with your Strunk and White. It's the best I've read. Playwrites also take note. Elements of Style for Screenwriters includes a special section for play scribes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 1998
So easy to understand. Comprehensive and clear. Paul Argentini understands the world of screenwriting. Thank you for writing this much needed book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2012
If you already know the basics of formatting a screen play then this is a good book to have on hand. It is useful when you are dealing with some of the more advanced formatting conventions. For example do not capitalize the introduction of a non-speaking character. Its organized alphabetically by the element name and is a handy 8 1/2 x 5 1/4 size. This book has held up well over the years as it's advice was very modern. For instance it advises the writer "Technically, every scene should end with a 'CUT TO:' All transitions are assumed to be cuts, so the author does not have to indicate them in the script. Use sparingly and with discretion..." This is excellent advice for a spec script. It will read easier and looks more modern. The same goes for their advice on continuations. I can tell you from experience that occasionally this will get you in trouble. I got chewed out by one producer who was appalled that I didn't have (CONTINUED) and CONTINUED: at the end and beginning of each scene that split pages. I explained that most books suggest only using that when dialogue is split and was quickly dismissed as a neophyte. Thankfully most modern screenplay software makes it trivial to find and insert those elements. The thing I like about this book is, although it covers both production and spec script format, it leans heavily to the modern spec format. This easy reading style seems to be what most agents, managers & production companies want to see these days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 1998
Thank you thank you thank you !!! for Paul Argentini's Elements of Style! So comprehensive and so helpful. I'm a new screenwriter and that book is saving my life!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Yes, you'll use this book fewer times as you keep writing screenplays simply because you'll commit more of it to memory. Yes, you'll want one for your shelves, one for your briefcase, and one for your office. Yes, they'll all be well used. And yes, this will be as invaluable a tool to you as your best loved dictionary and thesaurus. I require it of all my screenwriting students who are discouraged from ever selling it back to the bookstore, especially if they plan to take an advanced class with me. I also recommend this to all my workshop participants.

Get this book, read it through cover to cover once, and then flip through the alphabetized screenwriting terms when you need to refresh yourself as you write your script. Good luck with your project!
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