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MUST-READ for would-be Hollywood Screenwriters
on July 1, 2011
This book is full of practical, professional advice on how to swim with the sharks in the very weird world of Hollywood screenwriting. In many ways it's more about the business of writing and selling movies, than it is about how to write. But I've got lots of books on writing; this is the first one that's quite like this.
Not surprisingly, since Lennon and Garant are comedy guys, it's a very funny book. It's easy to read, in a self-mocking conversational tone, and it seems like they're telling real, often embarrassing stories that actually happened to them. There are details that I've never seen in other screenwriting books, like how to tell if you've "made it," based on your studio parking spot; how to take notes from executives and movie stars; what script arbitration is, and how to win at it; and how to get fired with a gracious smile, and then get hired again.
They're also obsessed with In n Out Burger, and dedicate many pages to printing its secret menu and all the locations in Los Angeles. At first I didn't get what that had to do with movies. But whatever. It's part of their guide to living in Los Angeles, so I guess it makes sense?
"Writing Movies..." is unapologetically NOT about "art" or anything at all high-minded, so if that's what you're looking for, the writers are happy to send you elsewhere. I believe they suggest "gazing longingly out the window at the moor." They also say that if you follow their system, you'll soon think of "Oscar Season" as "Ski Season," because the kind of movies they're talking about will never win any Academy Awards anyway. Probably not a book for Documentarians, or Art House types. But if you like your popcorn movies, and if you're looking for tons of practical advice for going into the business of making them, it seems like a genuinely great book.
Also, I can't wait to try to sell some the "free movie ideas" in the back of the book. Somebody's got to do it...