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Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434: The Industry's Premier Teacher Reveals the Secrets of the Successful Screenplay Paperback – May 4, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Trade; Revised edition (May 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399529861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399529863
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I wish this book had been around when I was a student. I heartily recommended it. For beginners and pros alike." —Steven Bocho writer/producer NYPD Blue

About the Author

Lew Hunter has worked for Columbia, Lorimar, Paramount, Disney, NBC, ABC, and CBS as a writer, producer, and executive. Currently he is Chair Emeritus of the screenwriting department at UCLA, and recently established the Lew Hunter Superior Screenwriting colony in the town of Superior, Nebraska. He lectures regularly throughout the country and internationally.

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Customer Reviews

Inspiring and grounded in Lew's own experience as an award winning screenwriter.
Katharyn E. Grant
Looking back, I have to say that I'm very glad I started the process of learning how to write a screenplay by reading "Screenplay 434."
Marty Nemko
I learned everything I needed to know about screenwriting from Lew Hunter's informative book.
Suzanne Rock-Stierle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Robert Kall VINE VOICE on June 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've read a REAL lot of screenwriting books-- loved McKee's Story, Syd Field's books, Linda Seger's, but I was reading them more to learn about the structure of STORY, rather than screenwriting. I read Lew Hunter's book on screenwriting and found myself thinking up all kinds of great new ideas for my novel, and then, as I went through the book further, actually started taking the first steps to writing a screenplay.
This is a basic book. I'm not enough of an expert on scripts to judge the script that Hunter wrote which is included in the book. But I found the advice helpful and, perhaps more important, inspiring. I've taken McKee's workshop. He's brilliant, and he disagrees with Hunter on issues of story structure, and things like page count for when different aspects of story occur. There is plenty of lively debate in the field of screenwriting on how stories are put together. And sometimes name-calling to go along with it. Lew Hunter takes a more conservative approach, toeing the Aristotelian three act play line, and he explains why he feels that the first act should end around page 17 of a 100-110 page script. You better believe this will garner disagreement, especially in light of groundbreaking films like Memento, or Pulp Fiction. But he does give his rationale for his approach, and this helps the reader to make up his own mind. My own screenplay, will definitely not be a straight linear story, but it just may end up that the 2nd act does spiral somewhere near page 17.
But the bottom line for me was that this book moved me. As far as being a writer is concerned, I've done reasonably well, with published non-fiction articles in OMNI, SUCCESS, FAMILY HEALTH, and even a cover article in WRITER's DIGEST.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By D. F. Curran on February 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a writing teacher I had access to as many free books on screenplays and writing in general as I'd ever want. I went over the samples carefully,because I'd be married to the book(s) I'd selected for courses for a long time. Screenwriting 434 rose above them all. I taught with it course after course. Why? Lew's book is an inspiration to writers. It includes everything you need to know, along with a sample screenplay that makes many students believe you they can do better. If you've ever read ON BECOMING A NOVELIST you know what it's like to read a writing book that makes you feel you'd never be able to please the author. Lew just makes you want to get out there and do it, and he takes you by the hand and shows what needs to be done. There is no other book like it. I've noticed many negative reviews on this book by "a reader". Lew is a teacher and I suspect from the simliar sound of the negative reviews that he may have annoyed some "one." Don't let that stop you from at least looking at this wonderful guide. An argument that someone does not like a sample "story" has nothing at all to do with a writing book's teaching ability. And picking on a screenplay that actually got made is stupidity! Everyone can learn from a screenplay that sold and that students can actually watch. My students used this book for both fiction writing and screenplays, and they've had success in both areas.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Marty Nemko on June 17, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've now written three screenplays my most recent work appears to be approaching professional caliber. Looking back, I have to say that I'm very glad I started the process of learning how to write a screenplay by reading "Screenplay 434."

I found a certain magic in the book. It provides just enough information to keep you learning yet not overwhelmed. And the author is encouraging and positive, which I believe is important. Of course, the reality is that only one of thousands of people who read their first screenplay book will ever earn back even the cost of the book from their screenplay writing. So it is critical that the PROCESS be as pleasurable as possible. I believe that "Screenwriting 434" is an excellent way to ensure that your process is pleasurable, while ensuring that you do begin your growth as a screenwriter.

Of course, Screenwriting 434 is only a primer. From there, you might go to Alex Epstein's Crafty Screenwriting.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ben Kizer on January 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
In the process of getting my MFA in Creative Writing, I picked up many books to learn more about becoming a professional writer. Lew Hunter's Screenwritiing 434 was one of most interest, due to my evergrowing desire to break into the screenwriting business once I finish my degree. I finished it immediately and wasn't able to put it down.

Many might sratch their head and think, "what does a small-town Nebraskan know about screenwriting?" The answer is, "A HECK of a lot." Hunter has been a screenwriting professor at UCLA since 1979 and before that worked as a writer for television shows such as "Batman" and "Bewitched." He knows the business and has been a creative consultant for many writers working in the business today. Many of his alumni are prominent screenwriters today, such as David Koepp, Joel Schmacher and Alexander Payne. Steven Spielberg has claimed that Hunter is the best screenwriting teacher going. Pretty good evidence of his skill and knowledge, don't you think?

Hunter writes in a way that encourages, but at the same time is realistic. He wants people reading the book to open their mind and follow what they want. He also wants to make sure they know the do's and don'ts of the business. He gives excellent examples and explanations of what to do. Basically, he tells people that besides following a few certain groundrules, there is no one right or wrong way to write. A little bit of creativity, imagination and dedication will get the writer further than they ever thought possible.

I also went to one of Lew Hunters screenwriting colonies in Superior, Nebraska and must say that I have never had as great of an experience as that. So comfortable, peaceful, helpful, essential and enjoyable. Kind of like this book. Pick it up today.
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