Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made Paperback – October 8, 2002
|New from||Used from|
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“Alex Epstein brings a screenwriting pro's honesty, skill, and expertise to a field otherwise crowded with how-to-write quacks.” ―John Badham, director of Saturday Night Fever
About the Author
Alex Epstein has worked as a development executive, screenwriter, and television story editor for more than a decade. He has helped develop projects with directors such as Richard Attenborough and John Badham. A graduate of Yale University and the UCLA School of Film and Television, he is the creator of the popular website www.craftyscreenwriting.com.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
On top of that, if all screenplays would have multiple interested parties, all screenplays would sell for $5 million. This just isn't going to happen.
On top of that, he introduces stupid rules like for instance what names you should and shouldn't give to your characters, that some people seem to have broken in highly successful films already (No Country for Old Men, Coen Brothers), maybe even just to prove him wrong.
The only reason you want to buy this book, is because the chapter on how to write dialogue is relatively exceptional, relatively speaking to any other book I've read. Although other books (The Art of Dramatic Writing, Lajos Egri) contain the general rules and are spot on, this book explores the result of these rules in a bit more detail.
Buy it for the chapter on dialogue. Ignore the relatively condescending description of what success means.
And how to make the script an effective sales tool? First, says Epstein, it needs a great hook. A hook is the concept of the story in a nutshell that grabs attention and makes people want to know how it turns out. The marketing people come up with hooks called taglines to grab your attention when a movie is released. You need to come up with a hook to grab the attention of a Hollywood player to get the movie made.
Quite bluntly, Epstein says, "If your story does not have a hook, you are probably wasting your time writing the screenplay."
So, how to come up with a hook? Epstein offers some suggestions, but like everything else in the creative process, there is no sure-fire formula. After the hook he discusses the title - "Your title is the most important phrase in your entire script", the pitch, the query letter. At the end of the book is a chapter on getting an agent, getting copyright protetion for your work plus two appendices, one a sample option deal, the other a sample of screenplay pages properly formatted.
The bulk of the book is devoted to discussing the nuts and bolts of writing: plot, characters, action, dialogue, etc. Along the way he tilts at a few windmills: one section is titled "The Myth of the Three-Act Structure."
Does Epstein have any new gems of insight about them that haven't been revealed in a dozen other books? Not really, but if I had to recommend books on the particular topics of character, action and dialogue, this book would make my short list. Because he discusses the tried and true clearly and succintly with occasional twists of thought and turns of phrase that cast the tried and true in a new light in this reader's mind. And throughout his discussion, he never loses sight of the goal: punching up the script to make it a more marketable property. As the subtitle of the book says: "Writing Movies That Get Made" -- not just written.
If you're interested in writing scripts as vessels in which to pour your heart, your soul, your unappreciated genius, the ultimate truth of being that only you comprehend -- this book isn't for you. But if you subscribe to the notion that screenwriting is a business as well as a craft, then this is a book you will profit from.
Though, taking risks and playing with form is great in an indie production, at least being aware of the stuff that connects with audiences, and how, is a really good starting point...to either adhere to, or to ignore.
This book has a lot of the good points of structure and the psychology behind what makes a movie "work".
Is on the last pages: never write from hunger. Well said, and well taken.
Most recent customer reviews
What is each character risking in your story,
what...Freak Out! My Life with Frank ZappaRead more