Automatic Pilot 1st Edition
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About the Author
- Publisher : HekaRose Publishing Group; 1st edition (March 6, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 216 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0615979815
- ISBN-13 : 978-0615979816
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.49 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,422,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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“Well, stranger, what have you encountered? What does that even mean?”
Good question. I'm not an expert screenwriter, but I am an expert “screenwriter-resources” purveyor, if such a pitiful occupation exists. From college classes to online classes to online resources to books to at least three or four different “screenwriting resource companies”--eh, I've actually spent a few hundred bucks studying screenwriting. (Shivers in shame)
A number of those resources tend to repeat the same basics over again, so I really liked that while Automatic Pilot included the most important fundamentals of screenwriting for beginners, it also delved into TV-industry-niche specifics, a wide variety of structure techniques and suggestions, and Taub's own positive writing philosophy. The strong motivational tone of the book makes you feel like you've got people on your side—because when you're writing for yourself you've got you on your side, Taub might say—and as someone who used to write for a living I found that incredibly empowering. In med school you don't get a lot of time to read, so I bought the audiobook to play while I ate or whatever. Taub's encouragement was, for me, the writerly equivalent of blasting rap music on the highway, or rocking out when you're pumping iron: I got pumped up! There's something to be said for that.
For those of you who prefer more concrete definitions of value, we should probably talk about $$$. Automatic Pilot is actually a compilation of all the resources and reading material from a University class Taub taught/teaches on writing good pilot episodes for television. As you may know, it usually costs more than twenty bucks to access a University-level screenwriting class. Even cheap professional classes online bill as much as $90—I got a discount on a decent “Third Act” class for $45 once, but generally comparable screenwriting classes enter the ring weighing in nearer the hundreds mark.
To give you a more detailed cost-analysis, Hal Croasmun from ScreenwritingU charges $90 for a class that involves about thirty pages of reading material and no feedback from the professor. I'm not downing on Croasmun—apparently he's pumping out writers who make deals left and right—but pointing out, to you, that for $20 or less I can get nearly 200 pages from Taub, all new and unique information pertaining specifically to the TV industry. That's pretty good math.
Automatic Pilot is heavy with repetition, though. That's probably less of an issue in the hardcopy (which I also bought to keep as a skim-able resource), and for some folks repetition's essential to enhance learning, so it's not necessarily a drawback. I found it a bit much sometimes, but on the other hand a lot of the repetition was also a lot of the motivational cheerleading I enjoyed. If you're looking for new plotting tricks and tools to amp up your game; if you're unfamiliar with a lot of TV-writing terminology and structural customs; and if you'd like to tap the brains of multiple TV-writing experts before you start writing yourself into a crash-and-burn, a little repetition and two Red Robin meals is a fair price to pay.
I think, anyway.
I've known Bill for a long, long time, and I respect him as a writer and a human being. Spoiler alert: I’m also a writer and human being, so I’m speaking as an insider. Here’s the thing: For anything television-related, Bill Taub is an encyclopedia, a complete expert in the craft-and-trade of writing, story editing and producing for television. Additionally, because he also teaches TV for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is undeniably one of their best instructors, he has honed his ability to communicate those experiences into tips, suggestions, and insights that will benefit you the most. Just yesterday, Bill taught me how to take a photo with my smart phone. I instantly understood. He made it that simple for me.
When you purchase this book — and I did (so bonus points for me!) — you are also buying the benefit of Bill’s tremendous experience in the business. He was even a contestant on The Dating Game. And won! That alone makes me jealous of Bill more than I care to admit. I mean, he even understands the inside-outs of game shows! Check out Bill’s list of credits, many with classic shows, such as Dallas, Barney Miller, Kung Fu, Newhart, Magnum P.I., and Friday the 13th. Bill Taub even worked with Phyllis Diller once. I think he brought her a Coke or something.
Let me put it this way. There's only one thing Bill might not know about TV, and that’s how to fix my remote. Then again, he's so smart and enterprising, that he'd probably learn how just to prove me wrong.
Truth is, Bill has been successful, remains successful, and wants you to be successful, in this case, learning How to Write Television Pilots. And more.
What you get with this dynamite little book, aside from the picture of an airplane pilot on the cover that is totally misleading, even though it's a metaphor, which I get, but come on, seriously? A TV pilot does not fly airplanes, unless we’re talking about the pilot of a plane that’s part of a TV show, like the airplane where William Shatner looks out the window mid-flight and sees a goblin monster ripping off chunks of the wing and eating them, and he freaks out so badly, that the pilot has to come back restrain him, because nobody else sees what Shatner sees…. We’re not talking about that kind of pilot.
The TV pilot that the title of this book refers to is a trial or sample episode, written to entice the viewer (i.e. reader) by demonstrating what a typical episode (from the series that the writer is really trying to sell) will look like. Who reads a pilot script? Producers, networks, actors, agents -- anyone who might be interested in boarding this plane (i.e. TV show) before it “takes off.” The pilot script demonstrates that the writer knows what he or she is doing, knows characters, knows the "franchise" and "home" of these characters, knows story and how to tell story in proper script form and even can provide log lines for other likely scripts to be written once the television series is sold. In short, it’s a tremendous way to sell yourself as well as your skills.
Writing the pilot for a television series is great and lucrative way for anyone’s career to take off, because you're not just selling one wagon -- but the entire wagon train. The series creator, the person who writes that successful pilot script, will have his or her name attached to each and every episode that is written henceforth. It can even turn into a doorway to the World of Hyphenate, such as writer-producer or writer-producer-director.
If you want to dream, why not dream big? So why not get it from one of the best? Who better to teach you the ropes than someone who has been doing and teaching it for years?
I LOVE THIS BOOK!
And I fully intend to read it, as soon as possible.
Top reviews from other countries
Taub breaks free from the dry lecturing that bogs down many works of this ilk. Instead, the extended metaphor of writers being the pilots to their pilots makes this a fun as well as informative read. Nor does Taub dictate sets of rules to be adhered to. This is very much a guide to make the most of one’s creative juices, empowering the writer to “write what you want to see.”
The reader also feels the presence of a mentor whispering encouragement as he/she takes on the challenge of creating a TV world from scratch. This reader wanted to finish the book as soon as possible, so impatient was he to get to work on another story.
However, the purpose of the book is not to teach screenwriting theory. Therefore, this reader recommends the book to those who wish to put their already learned knowledge of screenwriting to the specific task of writing a TV pilot.
AUTOMATIC PILOT by Bill Taub is different.
The Pilot Check-List, I.O.U Test and more show the profound, immersed knowledge Mister Taub has.
A TRUE MENTOR.
His work and life experience; “Write what you want to see”, Rules, “There are no Rules”, have fun writing will be your BEST Guidance.
His book EXTREMELY SUPERIOR.