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Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories Paperback – January 26, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; 1 edition (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061855928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061855924
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Much like The Mailroom (2003), which looked at the wheeling and dealing in Hollywood from the perspectives of power players who came up through agency mailrooms, Tales from the Script offers a comprehensive look at the realities of working as a screenwriter from the perspective of those who have made careers out of writing for the big screen. Editors Hanson and Herman interviewed 50 writers for the book, including William Goldman, Antwone Fisher, and Nora Ephron. The writers offer candid thoughts and anecdotes about everything from breaking into the business to learning how to accept rejection, from finding a niche in the business to dealing with getting fired off a project. In between the writers’ commentary are sections that feature thoughts from others involved in the business, including a contest judge, a development executive, and a therapist. “There is a sense of being in the Old West here—it’s like panning for gold,” writer Steve Koren opines. In all, this overview captures the excitement, frustration, and reality of being a working screenwriter in an accessible and essential volume that aspiring screenwriters will devour. --Kristine Huntley

Review

“Captures the excitement, frustration, and reality of being a working screenwriter in an accessible and essential volume that aspiring screenwriters will devour.” (Booklist (starred review))

“Fascinating tales from the belly of the beast.” (Lawrence Kasdan, Oscar-nominated writer/director of The Big Chill, Wyatt Earp, and Body Heat)

“Tales From the Script gathers notable veterans of the screen wars who demonstrate the basic truth of our adventures in Movieland: Writing is the easy part.” (John Sayles, writer/director of Lone Star and Eight Men Out)

“A must-read for anyone who depends on the screenwriter’s craft. And that’s a lot of us.” (Edward R. Pressman, producer of Wall Street, American Psycho, and Reversal of Fortune)

More About the Author

Michigan native Peter Hanson studied film at New York University and journalism at the University at Albany, then spent ten years as a writer/editor for various publications before expanding into books and movie projects. He is the author of "Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories," "Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood Rebel" (a finalist for the Theatre Library Association Award) and "The Cinema of Generation X." In addition to directing the acclaimed feature-length documentary version of "Tales from the Script," he directed the feature-length documentary "Every Pixel Tells a Story" and the award-winning short "Stagehand," and he co-wrote the narrative feature "The Last Round." His horror screenplay "Savage" recently sold to production company Picture Road, and Hanson is preparing to direct the dramatic feature "The Eulogist," based on his own original script. Hanson writes the "Beyond the Page" column for "Script" magazine and the blog "Every '70s Movie." His website, which features extensive original content, is GrandRiverFilms.com. He lives in Beverly Hills, California.

Customer Reviews

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I'm looking forward to watching the documentary and he's looking forward to reading the book.
Jared Castle
They're a fun bunch of people, they've seen everything there is to see in Hollywood, and their stories are just as compelling as the movies they write!
Sharon Sydney
The interviews with the screenwriters and writer/directors is very insightful and eye opening about how things work in Hollywood.
JJohnNYC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Sydney on February 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I loved this book even though I'm not a screenwriter. I picked it up because I'm a movie buff who loves behind-the-scenes stories. I never knew how badly screenwriters are treated, and I never knew how important screenplays are. But after reading this incredibly entertaining book, I feel like I just got to know all of the writers included. They're a fun bunch of people, they've seen everything there is to see in Hollywood, and their stories are just as compelling as the movies they write!

The photos of the writers make it feel like they're sitting right in front of me, and the extra interviews at the end of every chapter are really cool -- it's great to get the viewpoints of a development executive, a movie director, a guy who runs a script contest, etc. Thanks to "Tales from the Script," I have a new appreciation for how hard it is to write a movie, and I loved hearing all the stories about the making of "Bull Durham," "Butch Cassidy," "X-Men," "War of the Worlds," "The Mist," and so many others.

I know friends who write scripts, and I'm going to recommend this book to all of them, but it's not just for screenwriters. If you love movies, you'll enjoy this book as much as I did! Oh, and I can't wait to see the "Tales from the Script" movie when it comes out on DVD!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By xxxxx on March 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was completely surprised by this book. I'm just an average movie-goer and I had never heard of most of the people that were interviewed. It's an unusual paradox. These are some of our society's favorite writers, yet almost nobody knows who they are.

"Tales from the Script" provides thoughtful interviews with an impressively broad group of writers that ranges across a huge number of films from "Alien" and "X-Men" to "Taxi Driver" and "The Shawshank Redemption". The truth behind the curtain is funny and insightful.

It's a shame that the actors and directors steal all of the limelight!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jared Castle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
A little bit of everything is in here - comedy, drama, horror, suspense - with secrets and details that will captivate movie buffs and forever alter the dreams of those who aspire to write the next great screenplay, receive a life-changing paycheck, or both.

Tales from the Script is broken down into eleven chapters that capture the highs and lows of the Hollywood screenwriter:

The Adventure Begins
Breaking In
The Marketplace of Ideas
The First Yes
What's Your is Thiers
Power Players
The Rules of the Game
Slings and Arrows
Taking Control
No is the Path to Yes
Going the Distance

There are more than 300 pages of stories, secrets and anecdotes, so choosing just one representative of the entire compendium is impossible. I flipped back through the book, looking for a quote that best captures what a screenwriter faces. The following quote from Andrew W. Marlowe summarizes the screenwriter's life:

"You never really succeed. You always fail at a higher level. As a screenwriter, the first level of failure is you can't finish your screenplay. I saw a lot of those people in film school. Then you finish the screenplay, and nobody wants to read it. Then you get somebody to read it, and they're not interested. You get them to read it and they're interested, but you can't sell it. Then you sell it, but it's not made into a movie. Or it's made into a terrible movie that you're embarrassed to be associated with. Or, you know, you hit the jackpot. You get the movie made, it's a critical success, it's a box office success -- and everybody turns to you and says, `Okay, you gotta do it again.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RR on July 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book by Peter Hanson and Paul Herman is an excellent read. Whether you are a film geek, a writer, or someone who likes to read interviews, you will find something to entertain you in this book. Learning about the journey scripts take from writer to film from the people who write them is fascinating. Paul Herman and Peter Hanson did an excellent job choosing a variety of screenwriters to interview, so many different genres of screen writers are represented. Additionally, reading this book is a great way to discover some new movies that you might not have seen before. I highly recommend this book. There is also a film version which is very well done - so check that out if you enjoy the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JJohnNYC on May 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The interviews with the screenwriters and writer/directors is very insightful and eye opening about how things work in Hollywood. If you know anything about how the writing process works in Hollywood and how writers are treated and looked at this book isn't going to be shocking or that eye opening but it's still informative and entertaining.
I've been out there working for producers and have seen the treatment of writers first hand so I very much related to everything said, described, and related upon.

If you want to be a screenwriter but don't know how Hollywood treats writers (screenwriters that is) and what they are thought of AND what the development process is and what it does to scripts, including how you or any writer may be rewritten by one, two, or twenty writers.

Very insightful, informative, and entertaining, this book is a a great read for any aspiring or working screenwriter whot wants to know what they don't regarding Hollywood's view of us writers. Even if you're working and produced you'll probably enjoy this, because you'll probably be able to relate.

A great variety of talented writers are interviewed and it's an easy, quick, concise, read.
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