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Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting Paperback – October 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Lone Eagle; 1st edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823069788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823069781
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,231,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kitchen's seminar is not just theory, it's nuts and bolts...providing you with a set of dramaturgical wrenches to dismantle, then reassemble your screenplay idea and verify its dramatic integrity."--Michael McDonnell, producer of The Usual Suspects"

About the Author

Jeff Kitchen worked as a dramaturge at New York’s Playwrights Preview Productions and the Negro Ensemble Company before starting to teach playwriting and screenwriting in 1991. He has worked with executives at Miramax, Sony Pictures, and Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group. He lives in Santa Monica, California.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 35 customer reviews
Jeff Kitchen's book is the one book that anyone who's serious about screenwritng must have.
Sergio Mims
Jeff Kitchen is not showing you how to write he is giving you advanced tools to structure your ideas into a great screenplay.
J. Crooks
The script I have now, is much better than the script I had before I opened Writing a Great Movie.
James Blackman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Barry Cutler on March 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
Look no further, Jeff Kitchen's book is the gold standard for building a a screenplay. I've read dozens of books on the craft, and this is the only one that leads you through the dirty work of building your story piece by piece.

Jeff's tools help you transform your tale into a compelling drama.

As a reader, you will feel like you're looking over Jeff's shoulder as he lays the bricks of a pyramid from the ground up.

I've been applying the tools to a script I previously completed. The DILEMMA tool really helped me get a handle on some weak spots regarding my main character. And the Sequence, Proposition, Plot tool blew me out of the water.

I also plan to use "Writing a Great Movie" to build other story ideas I've been working on. Jeff offers all the ingredients needed to cook up an original and memorable story.

But you still have to add the spices, brew the potion to just the right temperature and serve it to an audience hungry for a film that will "rock their world."

Jeff's book will help you do that. Too bad I could only give it five stars. It deserves at least ten.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on November 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
Unlike most screenwriting books, this one doesn't delve into formatting a script or selling a screenplay. Instead it gets deeply and thoroughly into the nuts and bolts of critical topics like storytelling, theme, and character development.

I particularly like his practical suggestions for using Polti's 36 dramatic situations and the enneagram as brainstorming tools. I've seen books on those things before but needed more information on the practical application of such tools, and this book is it. As one who writes short stories and novel-length fiction, this book has really helped me plow past some writer's block and take a hard look at my characters.

I can see using this book again and again, especially during National Novel Writing Month when I'm the most starved for a fresh idea.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Johnston on November 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
No one can teach you how to write. Jeff Kitchen can teach you how to make what you write better. This book offers a wide range of dramatic tools to develop a winning premise into a fully realized script and take an existing script to the next level. Most books on screenwriting suggest "this is where you should...". And indeed it should be there, but I want to know how to do it with with my story? Jeff not only shows you where to go, he gives you several ways to get there. His explanation of central dilemma is worth the meager $13.57 asking price. Do yourself a favor buy this book (I did and the response to my screenplay has gone from "good" to "I couldn't put it down").
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steffan Piper VINE VOICE on July 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
There is a multitude of books that have recently become standard over the last twenty to thirty years regarding the mastery of screenwriting. Viki King's book "How to write a Movie in 21 days" is probably one of the most well known, as is "Screenplay" by Syd Field.

I think the truth about a lot of these books is that most people are looking for small, concise manuals that are easy to read and easy to cull the real gems from. From the way I've seen a lot of people approach screenwriting, most of it is typically haphazard. The bulk of people read bits and pieces of books and rarely ever any one book from cover to cover. If you can imagine a person shaking a book above their head hoping for gold coins, diamonds, rubies and other riches to fall from the pages then you have the correct visual. It's a classic blunder, but one that more often than not is the result of too much television advertising and not taking one's dream serious enough.

Jeff Kitchen's "Writing a Great Movie", is a rare book that most people can, and should read from cover to cover at least once. If you read it twice, then you'll be ahead of the curve. It's most likely the best book on writing I've seen bar none, and not just on screenwriting either. Using a system of `comparison and contrast' with different films like Blade Runner, Training Day, Tootsie, Minority Report and The Godfather to illustrate the strengths, the thread and the blood of good writing. Kitchen shows you many, many times over how a good story builds up on itself and how to successfully break it down to properly understand it, and how to identify the most integral aspects of it and use them all as tools.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kate Wharton on November 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
When you consider the students packed into Jeff Kitchen's screenwriting seminars, frantically scribbling notes, and leaving after 59 minutes with their minds blown, you realize that this book is a bargain. Writing A Great Movie is the perfect synthesis between explosive creativity, character, plot, and structure. It is an entertaining and engaging read. The 36 Dramatic Situations, The Central Proposition, Sequence, Proposition and Plot, are all remarkably powerful and concise tools (think writing exercises). I got this book a month ago and have already read it three times. My script had gotten so much better using these tools. Jeff Kitchen, I am so happy you wrote this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Snipp on March 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this book after watching Kitchen's Sequence, Proposition, Plot on dvd.

This is one of the most useful screenwriting books I have read yet. I am the type of writer that likes to plan everything out before I start scripting, and that is the basic approach of this book.

However, even if you have already finished your script or like to begin by just diving into the writing this book is still extremely useful for later development and rewrites.

Kitchen's techniques of Dilema, Crisis, Decision & Action and Sequence, Propostion, Plot are designed to help you create a most dramatically tight and seamlessly plotted screenplay.

Kitchen's unique approach to the 36 Dramatic Situations is alone worth the price of the book.

Valuable tools for your writing toolbox!
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