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Tales from the Script (2009)

Shane Black , John Carpenter , Peter Hanson  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Shane Black, John Carpenter, Frank Darabont, William Goldman
  • Directors: Peter Hanson
  • Writers: Paul Robert Herman
  • Producers: Paul Robert Herman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2010
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00329PYH0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,439 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tales from the Script" on IMDb

Special Features

More Tales from the Script (47 min.): Fascinating unheard stories from top screenwriters.
The Gospel According to Bill (12 min.): The wit and wisdom of author/screenwriter William Goldman.
Advice for New Screenwriters (9 min.): Priceless tips and inspiration for beginners.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"Relentlessly entertaining." -- New York Magazine

"Full of wry one-liners, well-spun anecdotes, and pithy observations on the movie-making industry." -- Village Voice

"Tales from the Script is actually the ideal summation on the art of screenwriting: rigorously structured, filled with great stories." --

Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), John Carpenter (Halloween), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver), and dozens of other Hollywood screenwriters share penetrating insights and hilarious anecdotes in Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman's TALES FROM THE SCRIPT, the most comprehensive documentary ever made about screenwriting. By analyzing their triumphs and recalling their failures, the participants explain how successful writers develop the skills necessary for toughing out careers in one of the world's most competitive industries. They also reveal the untold stories behind some of the greatest screenplays ever written, describing their adventures with luminaries including Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Stanley Kubrick, Joel Silver, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg.

"Given the indignities to which they are subjected, screenwriters can be forgiven if they feel under-appreciated or consigned to the bottom of the Hollywood totem pole. Now, it's payback time. This entertaining companion to Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman's book of the same name gives writers the first and last word on their craft and making it (or not) in the business. "I think the public would be shocked to see how many movies that end up horrific started out as pretty good screenplays or at least screenplays you can see why the studio made this movie," says Mark D. Rosenthal, who wrote the unfortunate Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. The impressive roster of scribes includes Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), Larry Cohen (It's Alive), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), Naomi Foner (Running on Empty), William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), and Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver). The shared wisdom and Us vs. Them war stories ("them" being directors, development executives, studio heads, and actors) provide a revelatory look at the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (and misfortune) that even the most successful writers suffer. The stories range from the good (on September 3, 2006, Justin Zacham got married and the next morning flew to L.A. to go to Jack Nicholson's house to work on his script for The Bucket List with Jack, Morgan Freeman, and Rob Reiner), the bad (Michael January laments that the movies he writes go direct to video or cable), and the ugly (Genevieve Turner laughs that the notorious hack Uwe Boll's film of her script for Bloodrayne "blows"). Save for illustrative film clips from such movies as Get Shorty, The Last Tycoon, and Barton Fink that introduce each section of the documentary, Tales from the Script is all talking heads, but these heads make their living telling stories, so it seldom flags. A writer writes, so perhaps not even Stephen Susco's reality check--that of the 38 scripts he's written only three have been produced--is likely to deter anyone determined to enter the profession. As one writer states, "It's a hard way to make an easy living." --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising Revelations About Screenwriting August 8, 2010
By xxxxx
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Tales from the Script" provides an interesting inside-out view of the world of screenwriting. In this minimalist documentary, Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman have uncovered some amazing gems of wisdom from the best screenwriters in the industry. The movie version breathes additional life into the material that is covered by the book version. Many of the interviews that Hanson and Herman gathered are quite funny. It's fascinating to hear the writers describe the bizarre stories of how their work found its way to the big screen. There are a bunch of unbelievable true stories here that you won't find anywhere else.

"Tales from the Script" is a must-see for anyone that aspires to be a screenwriter!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting movie of interviews with screenwriters July 25, 2010
This movie version of Tales from the Script by Peter Hanson and Paul Herman was very entertaining. I really liked the book, but I wasn't sure how a movie of interviews would be. I was pleasantly surprised! Thanks to the excellent job they did editing the interviews together, the movie flowed really well. I enjoyed seeing the screenwriters who have written some of my favorite movies. It was also really interesting to see the writers describe the process of making a movie. I recommend this movie to film geeks, writers, or anyone interested in film making.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do pay attention to that person behind the curtains! April 24, 2010
I caught "Tales from the Script" in the theaters and I'm here to purchase it on DVD as a must have for my library. Whether you are an aspiring or working screenwriter, someone involved in any aspect of the filmmaking business or a film enthusiast who loves to pull the curtains aside and see the inner workings of the business, this DVD is highly recommended.

It seems a bit self-referential to say this documentary is sharply written but, when the subjects themselves are such talented writers who seem willing to tell their stories with honesty and panache, the results sparkle. I found this documentary to be both insightful and very entertaining.

I really enjoyed this film in the theaters and I can't wait for my copy to arrive on DVD so I can share a few viewings with friends.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some useful interviews, lots of talking heads November 29, 2012
This documentary contains talking-head style interviews with a lot of screenwriters (such as Frank Darabont, Shane Black, John Carpenter, as well as several others). Some of them are well-known, some are not so well-known, and part of the point of the film is that while writers are essential to the film business, they don't usually get much credit so they aren't usually known, and they don't have a lot of influence as soon as they've turned in their final draft. Their job is to create story and structure, which provides a blueprint which may be adapted and revised significantly during the production process. There's a lot of useful insights here, and I think that some of the most useful bits for prospective writers was the advice for dealing with and understanding the kind of feedback they would get from producers and executives. Sometimes, for example, the feedback in a pitch meeting can have very little to do with the script itself and everything to do with the dynamics of the other people in the room, who are trying to prove things to each other. Sometimes the feedback is wrongheaded and ridiculous but the writer needs to take it and maybe see that there are other ways to address the concerns than by making the proposed revisions -- if an intimate scene bores a reader, for example, and they suggest more action to spice it up, maybe the real answer is to figure out how to get readers to care enough about the characters before that point so that they will want that intimate scene. The overall message seems to be that there are no guarantees and that most aspiring Hollywood writers will fail and that all of them will write a lot of things that get ignored or otherwise unproduced. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A candid, forthright, no-nonsense collection May 12, 2010
Tales from the Script is an extraordinary documentary about the art, craft, and business of screenwriting, particularly for Hollywood movies. Consisting of the firsthand testimonies from a wealth of minds behind big-budget screenplays - some beloved classics, some icons of pop culture, and some horrendous bombs or flops (the author of the "Bloodrayne" screenplay would like it noted that roughly 20% of her original work survived what Uwe Boll did to it). These men and women recall what it was like trying to break into the business, trying to make enough money to survive while writing professionally, working with directors and actors, honing one's craft, and more. The special features include a twelve-minute segment featuring the wisdom of author/screenwriter William Goldman, and a nine-minute section expressly consisting of advice for novice screenwriters. A candid, forthright, no-nonsense collection, Tales from the Script is an absolute "must-see" for anyone interested in breaking into (or trying to advance their position within) the screenplay business. 105 minutes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If you're someone who plans to write, or has written a screenplay, with the intention of selling it and then seeing it produced as a major motion picture, then this DVD is definitely for you. I've read dozens of books over the years on how to write a movie script, but this DVD, along with the book by William Goldman, Adventures In the Screen Trade, have been the best and most enjoyable experiences I've had in dealing with the movie business and how difficult it is for a newcomer to break in, or even for a seasoned pro to sell one of his screenplays.

The DVD of Tales From the Script (this is also available in Trade Paperback format with even more information in it) has interviews with many of the most well-known movie writers of the last fifty years who are still alive, as well as some who are not known outside of the business. The thing is all the interviews here offer you food for thought, and each screenwriter has something important to say about his or her career and making it in the entertainment industry.

First thing you need to understand is that this DVD doesn't teach you how to write a movie script. Everyone involved with this project already assumes you know how to do that, though some thoughts are expressed on structure and how everyone seems to think there's nothing to actually writing a screenplay. Just have Fade In at the beginning with some words and commas in the middle, and then Fade Out at the end. That's all it takes.


Writing a high-concept screenplay and selling it is as difficult as writing a bestselling novel and selling it to a publisher.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT - Even for non-screenwriters
For both writers and non-writers alike, this is must see. For the former, there's tons of great stories and advice to help guide you through the treacherous waters of the biz and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by CyberZeus
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great DVD!
It was great to hear the writers talk about their writing experiences. . . The extra bonus features on the DVD were a nice bonus.
Published 14 months ago by R. Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story about how Hollywood works told by screenwriters
After watching you will understand why most of the movies nowadays is a jumbled, incoherent mess.

Memorable quote: "Nobody know what they are doing. Read more
Published 14 months ago by JohnDoe155
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good behind the scenes access
a pretty good sampling of screenwriters from a diverse mix of movies. i was a bit surprised about how i knew nothing about most of the writers behind some of hollywoods hugest... Read more
Published 15 months ago by EugeSchu
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining!
If you're someone who works in the film industry, or simply likes movies, this is an entertaining documentary about the nuances of how a screenplay gets made, and how, sometimes,... Read more
Published 16 months ago by C. Conradt
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful.
It covered every aspect of the journey of a screen writer. I will definitely be recommending it. The experienced screen writers gave a good insight into how to avoid the pitfalls... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Simon Templer
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Bag
Some of the successful writers in this DVD got an early break.
Other writers wrote for years before being recognized. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Erin Bernardi
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Insight into the World of the Screenwriter
In the movie-making process, the scriptwriter is often treated very harshly. Their work is hacked about by other creative artists, and frequently they have no power of redress. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Dr. Laurence Raw
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wildly Entertaining And Amusing Ride Through The Hollywood Machine
One thing is certain, screenwriters like to tell stories. That is quite evident in the immensely appealing documentary "Tales From The Script. Read more
Published on October 21, 2011 by K. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST HAVE - NOT ONLY FOR WRITERS
If you are the regular movie buff or just a person who wants to sit down and see a movie, get this dvd. You'll be ... well, shocked. Read more
Published on January 25, 2011 by Amazon Customer
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