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The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script 5 Exp Upd Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1935247029
ISBN-10: 1935247026
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Silman-James Press; 5 Exp Upd edition (August 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935247026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935247029
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dave Trottier has sold, optioned, or developed numerous screenplays and stories for The Walt Disney Company, Jim Henson Pictures, York Entertainment, On the Bus Productions, Hill Fields (for ABC television) and New Century Pictures.

As a teacher and writing coach, he has helped hundreds of writers sell their work, break into the biz, and win contests (including two Nicholl Fellowship winners and a National Play Award winner). Recently, Dave rated in the top 6% of the "Cream of the Crop" category of Creative Screenwriting's report "The Best Movie and TV Script Analysts and Consultants as Rated by Screenwriters."

He has taught at the major screenwriting expos and conferences, has lectured or led writing and screenwriting seminars at dozens of American universities, and teaches occasional writing classes at the University of Phoenix where he was honored with a Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005. He also conducts his own online courses, workshops, and retreats, including his popular Sundance Retreat. He hosts the popular web site keepwriting.com.

His major work, "The Screenwriter's Bible," is now in its fifth edition. He has also published several other books, including "The Freelance Writer's Bible," based on his popular national seminar 17 Ways to Make a Living as a Writer. He has written a column for Script magazine since 1989, and has published hundreds of articles and stories in national publications.

With his B.A. in business administration (from Cal-State, Fullerton), Dave has a strong business and marketing background. He served for five years as the marketing manager and then executive vice president for a distributor of memorabilia and precious metals (about 100 employees). Prior to that, he was in middle management for a large corporation. As a marketing consultant and business writer, his past clients include The Walt Disney Company, Honda Acura, American Premiere, Lucasfilm, Nutrex, Mitsubishi Materials, Ivy Communications, and Citizen America. He edited the quarterly newsletter "Precious Metals Today" for four years.

Dave has an M.A. from Goddard College and is a graduate of both the Hollywood Scriptwriting Institute and the Hollywood Film Institute. He served on the board of the Arts & Humanities Department of Cal-State, Long Beach, before moving to his present home near Sundance, Utah, where he married Virginia artist and educator Marsha Sawyer. They have two children, which is why he currently spends less time on the road.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I've wasted $$$ on other books like Save the Cat, and Syd Fields, etc... This is the only one you need - he tells you what you need to do w/o limiting your imagination.... other books tell you that the catalyst has to be on pg. 12 and only pg. 12 and then you have to say this, and follow this hero arc, blah, blah, blah....

But that's why people write - to tell their own stories and find their own way... This book stresses structure and the 3 act format, which is important, but it also stresses right brain imagination exercises and formatting and selling, and all the other stuff that goes along with writing.

In retrospect, I wish I would have read this ONE book 10 times, then read the other 10 books on screenwriting that I have read. David Trottier covers it all in this one book, trust me. Or don't, and drop another $200 on screenwriting books that you end up trashing or giving to the goodwill.
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Bible is an apt term as it covers all areas related to writing a screenplay. It touts itself as six books in one and it is that. It covers 1) a primer on how to write a screenplay, 2) a workbook with seven steps to writing the screenplay, 3) proper formatting a screenplay, 4) writing and revising the screenplay from a consultant's angle 5)a marketing plan on how to sell the script, and 6) resources and an index.

Further, the book is updated frequently to stay current. And, certainly fits as a main book for referencing later on after you're well into your screenwriting efforts. A terrific book!
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This is definitely one of the best screenwriting books I've ever read AND USED. The no-nonsense approach used by David Trottier is refreshing and useful. Follow the steps and start writing your next blockbuster! His tips and tricks are all very helpful and will guide you past those first readers. I wish I would've gotten this one first, instead of buying a myriad of others that really only scratch the surface.
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Like i said up top: just buy it already. This book helped me find a way to format a scene that allowed it to flow effortlessly.
I cannot recommend this enough. Pick it up and turn to any page and learn something fun, creative and also about "The Biz" you want to get into.
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Back in the late 1990s, with zero experience, I got involved with Mary Tyler Moore (MTM) Productions because I had a million ideas for story lines about a TV show, "The Cape", they were making at the time in my area of Florida. They wouldn't talk to me without an agent. I made a thousand phone calls, talked with several agents and finally found one but he wanted to see how and what I can write before he signed me. Before he signed me, HE recommended, as well as several other agents I talked to, as well as several people directly involved with the production of the television show... they all recommended that if I was going to get involved in the business, there were about a half dozen or so books I HAD TO HAVE on my shelf. THIS book was the first one they all recommended. The Bible. Recently, I bought the newest copy off Dave's website and he autographed my copy and even e-mailed me several times. What a great guy! Remember, "a writer writes". And the other one which Dave put in my copy of the book, "Keep writing". Keep up the good work Dave!
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Save yourself tons of wasted time and effort. This book (actually 5 books in one) clearly explains how and why to write screenplays that will get read by Hollywood, as well as how to market your work. The author also includes a website offering a free blog to ask him questions the book doesn't address.
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This book is fairly thorough and complex, packed with information. Writing a screenplay is difficult, but worth the challenge to write a GOOD one. One can get from the text, reading between the lines, that it takes the tenacity of a pit bull and stamina of a marathon runner. Do not pay the retail price for this book; at the price that amazon dot com sells it, it is worth reading each chapter and studying them on the second reading. For the amazon price, it is a worthy investment and has more good points and guidance than flaws, which can be overlooked. Do not waste time reinventing the wheel since this book eliminates all the wasted effort one can spend in trying to write a good screenplay. I am using it a lot as I thoroughly write my screenplay. One very good point the author makes in the beginning - if you have a protaqonist who has a goal and deep burning desire to achieve this with all kinds of obstacles, your screenplay is already ahead of 90 percent of those being written and read now. He gives examples of what NOT to do and how to make clear the foundation of your writing and characters in the screenplay.
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Okay, this book isn't really bossy, like a few others I've read. It does give some sound advise on how to market and format a screenplay. I picked this up because I was having trouble finding a book on play writing (for class), and I thought it would be similar enough to draw parallels. I was wrong. Apparently, there's also a big difference between live action screenplays and animated screenplays (the latter I don't recall in the book, but I picked up on it from media arts majors).

Some of the activities listed in the book at least get my thoughts going so I can start on a project. He also does give some mention of the differences between movies and TV shows, which is nice. Unfortunately, it's not enough to completely save the book for me.

Most of it is unorganized, and the author has a bad habit of jumping around on topics. It gets frustrating after awhile. There's a lot of filler and references to popular movies of the time. It might help some people to draw connections, but I kind of spaced out at those points. He also uses his work as examples, which is unfortunate, since his work comes off as a touch amateurish and uninspiring.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not some holier than thou type. I'm just a student, and I just don't feel like this book would be that helpful in the long run. Some of the advice and observations are common sense or carried over from middle school English class (or could even be found on free resources). The parts that are really useful seem to be about selling the script.

Just use your best judgment when considering this book.
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