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Screenwriting For Dummies
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a fairly comprehensive guide to writing screenplays. You'll find tips on how to structure your screenplay, advice on how to craft compelling plots and deeper characters, instructions for formatting your script to industry standards, and finally a guide to marketing your script to Hollywood agents and producers. I was going to give this book 4 stars, but ultimately decided on 3 stars due to the author's unfortunate habit of using music metaphors to explain film industry techniques. There are two problems with this... 1) For a reader who has no experience as a composer or a performing orchestral musician, the author's use of one artform (music) to explain another (filmmaking) is completely useless as the analogy will not make any sense and only serve to further confuse the reader 2) In addition to being confusing for non-musicians, these analogies are infuriating to those of us who actually do understand music, because of the author's ignorance of the subject matter. This is most evident in one example (there are many others that I won't take the time to detail) where the author claims that a pause in dialogue is analogous to a grace note in music. She obviously has confused grace notes for rests. A grace note is a short note that precedes a written note, typically used to create an accent. A rest indicates one or more beats of silence. She is way off the mark here, and it makes her look more than a little foolish to those in the know. In summary, I would recommend this book as a starter for beginners, with a warning to ignore her attempts at analogy and focus in on those parts of the book where she explains things in a straight-forward and less colorful manner.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book should be retitled "Writing a book for dummies". It concentrates WAY too much on creating a story and writer's block. If you already know how to write a decent story you're not going to like this book. It doesn't get in2 screenwriting until Chapter 15, and there are only TWO pages of screenwriting format. I was expecting at least a chapter of format, considering the title. False advertising. I'd look into other books.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Excellent well written and informative book. Don't let the "Dummies" title fool you. This book is full of good information that would would helpful to any beginning screenwriter, or veteran writer who just needs a little reaffirmation about the changes and rewards of the screenwriting process. I would recommend it to anyone in the writing field, whether they're doing a screenplay, novel, short story, etc.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
Screenwriting for dummies is a good resource that provides a lot of good, helpful information. I particularly enjoy the use of lists and clearly defined titles in each section because they make it easier to find what I'm looking for, something that's harder to do with books that are more on the anecdotal side.

Having said that, I don't like the way the book is organized. Someone who is completely inexperienced in scriptwriting might get confused trying to navigate through it. I was also quite shocked that even though there's a section about adapting other works of literature to script format, there was no mention of the legal complexities something like that might entitle.

But, all in all, Screenwriting for dummies is a good resource, but definitely not the only one that an inexperienced, aspiring screenwriting needs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This does the trick for the most part but if you know anything at all about decent writing, too basic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I haven't had a chance to delve into this full force yet but I like her style! Plus John Logan's statements inspire me!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book tells you exactly how to go about it. She teaches at Northwestern. Save a little money. Buy the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2013
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Great tips for writing and a must have for anyone would wants to write their own movie or whatever your writing.
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on April 16, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
It basically says the same thing that any other screenwriting book will tell you but because its a "for dummies" book, it lays it out in a more friendly and predictable manner. While understanding the mechanics of screenwriting might help you, personally I think you limit yourself if you focus too much on their 3 act formula and what has to happen when. Then again, maybe by following the formula what you lack in originality you'll make up for in success. After all, Hollywood isn't exactly the land of originality anyway, it scares the heck out of studios.
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on September 6, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I've had an idea for a screenplay in my head for awhile. I was somewhat confident I could get the ideas down on paper, but had questions about how it should look, what to avoid and, most importantly, what to do with it once you're finished. Thanks to Professor Schellhardt, now I know. Thanks!
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