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Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters: Storytelling Secrets From the Greatest Mind in Western Civilization Paperback – August 21, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 159 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This earnest how-to puts a new spin on Aristotle as the master of philosophy, calling him not only the "greatest mind in western civilization," but also the "world's first movie story analyst." Asserting that Aristotle's Poetics has become a standard for constructing movies that reach audiences (and studio heads), Tierno, a director and Miramax story analyst, shows how to apply the basics of the great work to one's own screenplay. He introduces the "Action-Idea" as the way to understand the demands of the story, and debunks the belief that, in Poetics, Aristotle mandates a three-act structure. He also lays bare how people misread Aristotle's advice to employ the "imitation of a serious action." Tierno stresses the importance of ditching subplots for a story featuring "one complete action" and constantly supports his points with examples of successful films, such as Titanic and Rosemary's Baby. The frequent capsule plot summaries of favorites including The Godfather and Gladiator make Aristotle's instructions concrete, and Tierno helpfully breaks the movies down into plot essentials. Throughout, he is respectful but informal toward Aristotle. Tierno praises Aristotle for representing "beautiful truth," although the breeziness and the eager tone he takes may, at times, put off more serious readers. Still, screenwriters looking beyond the "three-act structure" mantra will find applicable strategies, and those who dismiss Aristotle as old hat will find their perceptions set straight with Tierno's modern movie examples.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"A clever approach to screenwriting." -- Library Journal

"Makes the precepts accessible with easy comparisons to contemporary hits." -- Variety.com

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Hyperion - Acquired Assets; 1st edition (August 21, 2002)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 191 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0786887400
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0786887408
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 13 years and up
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 8 and up
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 6.1 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.25 x 0.48 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 159 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
159 global ratings
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Top reviews from other countries

Heather Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A Screenwriting Essential
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 21, 2020
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for screenwriters
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 25, 2020
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Glen M
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 23, 2019
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2.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Licence.
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