Top critical review
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A Decent Place to Start for Beginners... Could Have Been Better, Though
on December 5, 2008
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.