Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
As a beginning screenwriter I know the competition is fierce especially for those like me without film school, living outside of Hollywood. That's why I bought Breakfast with Sharks. There isn't a screenwriting resource out there like it. Sure, I've bought a few screenwriting books but most of them say the same things, how to write a screenplay and a query letter. This book delves into the business of screenwriting, if you don't have a father in the business you will need to learn the business and Breakfast with Sharks is a way to do it. I found the book also enjoyable to read with personal stories of Hollywood misfortune and finally success. Breakfast with Sharks rises above the competition with a unique purpose and helps you to write above the competition with what many others forget to bring to Hollywood, a plan and a unique voice.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this book at the Screenwriters Expo 2007, but I didn't read it until this year. What's unfortunate is that I didn't read it when it first came out (2004), and, what's more unfortunate is that it wasn't available when I first got involved in scriptwriting in 1997.

"Breakfast with Sharks" is a very honest assessment of what it takes to sell a script in Hollywood. The author, although not associated with "big" movies" (in fact, his IMDB profile only lists one film, "Cashmere," as writer), nonetheless has obviously gone through the ringer and had the meetings, done the pitches and written the assignments -- and lived to tell about it in a clear (and occasionally hysterically funny) fashion. BWS is NOT about how to write a screenplay, so do not buy it for that purpose. But for what it offers, it is an excellent read.

What I liked most about BWS is that Lent suggests a five-year plan to "make it" in Hollywood. He realizes (and points out) how this type of "dream career" can wreak havoc with "real" life (relationships, marriages, family, "real" jobs) and takes on the role of a helpful older brother who points out what awaits us if we decide to wade into the undertow of Hollywood's enticing waves.

Lent also is one of the few writers who addresses the harsh realities of "older" writers who try to sell their scripts. He doesn't hold back on anything and tells it like it is. At least he respects older writers and I appreciate his concern and sympathy for them.

In addition, he obliterates all the fairy dust and sparkle by pointing out what the handful of working screenwriters earn (85k/yr), making it clear that the idea of writing a script and becoming an overnight millionaire probably only happens in the movies (there... an idea for your next script!).

He has occasionally scathing observations, and I did sense that he was somewhat jaded and bitter -- although I do not blame him, because Hollywood is the cruelest town on earth. He's had his ideas stolen from him, he's had major projects placed in his lap -- then had them canceled at the last second -- he's taken assignments so he could survive, and not because he necessarily wanted to -- and he's dealt with the egos, the fakes, the phoneys -- you name it, he's been there, except, it seems on a major motion picture; again, I do not hold that against him. One doesn't have to be associated with a major motion picture to understand what it takes to write and sell a screenplay, and he clearly does. And he makes an excellent effort to guide the clueless and the misinformed through the muck so that they can sell their screenplay (or at least understand why they may not sell it, no matter how good it is).

He encourages people to make several short films and to have several scripts before coming to Hollywood or before hitting the pavement, and I couldn't agree with this advice more. So many people have stars in their eyes that they think the brilliance of their "high-concepts" will have them in their penthouse above Sunset before the sun sets. Highly unlikely, and Lent makes that clear, too.

The only thing I would criticize is that he mentioned a friend of his who worked the midnight shift at a copy shop so that he could have his "days free" to take meetings and write, etc. He mentioned this about three times, I'm not sure why. If you are working 12am-8am, you are going to have to sleep and it is not healthy or productive to imagine that you can have your "days free" to pursue your dreams. The only thing that has worked for me, personally, is to stop working (except for once a week gigs) and dedicate huge chunks of time to finishing my script(s). Now I can say my script is almost done because I had the time to focus on it and hardly anything else. That is a luxury, I know, and Lent makes suggestions for jobs you can do while you're trying to reach your star. To that I would say: If you say you are a writer, that's what you are. If you say you are a "personal assistant," that's what you are -- you become who you say you are, and others view you that way. Just a tip to keep in mind that I have learned the hard way.

Overall, thumbs up on this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've been a fan of Michael Lent's column in CREATIVE SCREENWRITING magazine for years. Now he's distilled his experiences into a book like no other. Learn to write elsewhere -- learn to live and manage your screenwriting career right here.
What's the difference between an agent and a manager? How can you turn a spec script into a writing assignment? Why do 90 percent of all scripts fail to get a "Pass" grade from readers? What's the best LA map to have in your car? This book answers questions about being a screenwriter that other books don't even ask. Highly recommended. And I hope Three Rivers Press plans to publish updated editions.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
How many screenwriting books have a foreword by a studio chief like Mike Medavoy who has over 300 films and a bunch of Oscars under his belt? I don't know of any others. And I notice that veteran producer Linda Obst has this book listed on her website. Those are people from the other side of the Hollywood desk and that tells you a lot. The book is long on Here's How to Do It ... and short on pie-in-the-sky theory. If you're a writer starting to get your career going the book is kind of a well-organized reference source of strategies for many situations you're likely to encounter in Hollywood. Lent is a magazine columnist, too. His breezy, sometimes mischievous style comes through on the page. He's realistic about the difficulty of the movie business but still manages to give you hope. It's a good read that you can digest in a couple of nights but the substance sticks with you.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
Wow! Full of sound advice from experience. Michael Lent is clearly someone who pays attention to the whole process. The best part is he shares it with the rest of us! This book is fun to read from start to finish. Lent constantly encourages the reader (screenwriter) to adopt an attitude of, what I would call, "strategic humility" in their business dealings. How rare!!! This stuff helps in life too! I've never written a feature length screenplay, but I still found this book efficacious in learning the ins and outs of this goofy industry. And I know goofy - [...]
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is by far the best, most well-written and most practical book to be written, by a screenwriter, for screenwriters, on the business of being a screenwriter. Many screenwriters make the mistake of thinking that they can leave the 'dirty business' of dollars and cents, and wheeling dealing to their agent. Their job after all is just to write surely? But a writer who understands how the industry works and the business of entertainment functions, is better equipped to deal with its vagaries, and most importantly, be in control of their career. And this is a book that lets you do that.

I recommend this book however be bought only by writers who are ready to move in the direction of seeking representation with an agent/manager rather than someone who is at the beginning stages of screenwriting. This is the book to read, after you've read McKee's story and countless other 'how to' books. This is the book to read when you don't need to read more advice on how to write your screenplay, but you need advice on how to conduct yourself as a professional screenwriter/writer. This is the book to read when you're trying to figure out the difference between an agent and a manager, and how the cogs and wheels of Hollywood grind, as far as the writer is concerned. The book is well-structured, and contains a very important chapter on the integral subject matter of moving to Hollywood. There are a wealth of practical tips on a range of subjects, from screenwriting competitions to writing a query letter to conducting yourself in a meeting and how to handle your first meeting, treatment, pitch and assignment. You could trawl all the screenwriting forums out there, or you could read this book (and trawl the forums).
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm on my third reading of Michael Lent's "Breakfast with Sharks" (2-7-05), and I highly this book to any screenwriter making serious go of trying to sell his/her work.

Micheal Lent doesn't make things up. His book is filled with real life "lived" experiences.

This book is a godsend if you've a written a screenplay and have started your foray into the next scary step-selling!! "Breakfast with Sharks" will help you disciminate information and buzzwords used at screenwrinting seminars and help decode the Hollywood Creative Directory.

My favorite section in the entire book is "Studio Notes: What They Are and How to Handle Them".

Overall a great book, insprationaly it ranks right up there with Karl Iglesias' "The 101 Habits of Hightly Successful Screenwriters".

- Review given by Eric C.Henrikson Febuary 7, 2005
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
Finally, a book that complements the hundreds of screenwriting how-to-books with practical knowledge of the "biz" that film school professors don't have and professionals don't want to share.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read this book expecting to find a lot of Hollywood gossip. Instead, it was a down to earth 'how to' guide for becoming a star-screenwriter.

Some of the suggestions are very specific to the industry. For example, how to decide when to move to Hollywood or how to get across the San Fernando valley for an interview when you don't own a car. Most of the advice is fairly general, though. Ben Franklin would approve.

The text is fast paced and entertaining. It doesn't quite read like a novel, but you will start watching for the author's name to appear on your local cinema.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2005
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
As a writer on the edge - no, not that edge, but the edge of selling his first spec script I have to say this is far and away the BEST book on working Hollywood that I have ever read! It is excellent in its execution. Michael Lent covers issues that most authors at best touch on. He tells you the WHY of things. He covers issues such as agents and managers that aren't working for you - why it's likely happening and what you can do about it.

In my mind this is really the first and last book you'll need to read. Of course there will be other books and articles that can give you other tidbits of information but this is really a FOUNDATIONAL book. From Lent's book you can go forward with your career and not NEED to read anything further in the realm of HOW TO.

My hat is off to Lent and the great service he has done for all of us trying to storm the gates of Hollywood!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed

Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach
Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach by Paul Joseph Gulino (Paperback - April 27, 2004)
$23.35

Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field (Paperback - November 29, 2005)
$9.04
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.