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Showing 1-10 of 58 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 76 reviews
on August 12, 2010
Some teachers teach because they love school and never want to leave. Others teach because they get summers off. But the best teachers in the world do it because they have an insatiable desire to master a subject and share it with anyone who'll listen. If you're ever fortunate enough to find yourself in the same room (or book) as one of these types, it can be a life changing experience.

Professor Richard Walter, UCLA's Screenwriting Chairman, is one of these guys. He's been pondering the dynamics of story and structure every day for the past several decades and doesn't break a sweat referencing everything from Aristotle to Avatar in the same breath.

Essentials of Screenwriting covers all the big stuff in detail-- theme, conflict, character, dialogue, etc. But this book goes deeper, exploring the interplay of psychology, art and commerce before defining a 'foolproof, shockproof, waterproof, tamper resistant' method for reaching an agent.

Throughout these pages Richard also lays out a series of Screenwriting Principles. They are short and sweet, barbed and brilliant. These sixty odd philosophies (along with the story of the clueless Kindergarten teacher) are alone worth many times the cover price of this book.

Essentials cuts to the chase with more style, wisdom and funny than all of the other screenwriting books I've ever read... combined. It's a fun and informative read packed with practical knowledge about the biz along with profound insights on every conceivable subject, mistake, obstacle and/ or challenge a screenwriter is likely to face.

Professor Walter knows that movies are much more than just a way to kill a few hours on a Saturday night. Great movies express the love, pain, suffering, joy, triumph and tragedy of the human experience. That's why we love them.

This book will help you write them.
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on October 9, 2016
I've read many books and taken many college and university courses on screenwriting. I found this guide on the craft and business of screenwriting quite refreshing, demystifying and useful. Professor Walter is co-chair of the UCLA Film & Television Writing Program. He knows his s*** and his graduate program has probably turned out more working screenwriters than any other university in the US, if not the world. I took a class with him over the summer this year and I loved it. If you're serious about screenwriting, buy this book and Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434, who taught the same graduate screenwriting program for a few decades and try to get into one of Walter's classes, try a summer session, like I did. Hunter is retired, but Walter is still turning out professional writers every year.
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on October 15, 2015
Richard Walter, the brother of Jessica Walter of Arrested Development is a brilliant professor of the craft called screenwriting. He is funny, interesting and will give you very definite methods to get yourself started. He also has a 4 DVD workshop he sells at the Screenwriters Store, online. It is 60 dollars and worth every cent. I've also gotten a lot from his lectures and interviews given on Youtube. His books are all superior to most on screenwriting. He's been the head of the dept. in UCLA Screenwriting Program for decades. You can trust anything he says.
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on October 12, 2014
I enjoyed the read so much I bought a second copy for a friend. Mr. Walter also has some great youtube videos.
I find by watching the videos, and then reading the book you get a feel for the authors mannerisms it gave me a more personalized read, made me feel like the guy was talking to me directly. I got a few good laughs out of his delivery. Useful material I have read about a dozen books on screenwriting and attended a few classes on the subject. I am done reading now and am applying what I have read to my own screenplay on my Hawaiian Missionaries book, we will see if this effort helps me create an enjoyable adaptation, if nothing else I enjoyed the quest. Thanks for sharing.
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on January 30, 2015
Wonderful. I bought this for a niece of mine who loves writing, art, film, theater, etc. She thinks she wants to be an engineer but I am definitely trying to steer her in this direction.. that's what Uncles do right?!

I pre-read this in a few evenings. Very simple straight forward language. No highbrow intellectual theory.. JUST HOW TO turn an idea from thought or other fiction into a screenplay - what works and what doesn't and why.

After she read it after Christmas we took one of her older stories and turned it into a screenplay and started a short film.
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on April 13, 2015
I absolutely LOVE this book. I believed that I've saved so much time and money by reading this book and putting Professor Walter's suggestions into practice. Highly recommended.
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on April 19, 2016
That's exactly what the title says, the ESSENTIALS of screenwriting. There are many myths in what is important in screenwriting. Richard Walter destroys them and teaches you how to think in the write way if you want to realise what GOOD MOVIE is. Don't read any other book for screenwriting before you read Richard Walter - Essentials of Screenwriting and Aristotle - Poetics.
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on August 4, 2017
5 Stars for the information, 2 stars for the quality of print. It is small and only lightly dark.
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on December 8, 2016
The chapter breakdown of information made it easy to research and find just what I was looking for. Plus, I liked the fact I was able to gather information on both features and television pilot scripts. Very informative. Highly recommend.
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on September 6, 2011
Walter's book is extremely helpful to both amateur and professional screenwriters tasked with writing a script. His instructions and advice for formulating the most effective screenplay are clear and concise. However, unlike many textbooks that successfully accomplish that successfully supply the necessary information, Walter's book does it in a fun, interesting way as his text is riddled with anecdotes and bits of humor. Also, you know you are getting your moneys worth because as a student of Richard Walter I can say that you are getting the same information as he gives in his classes for a FRACTION of the price!
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