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Tales from the Script

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"Relentlessly entertaining." -- New York Magazine

"Full of wry one-liners, well-spun anecdotes, and pithy observations on the movie-making industry." -- Village Voice

"Tales from the Script is actually the ideal summation on the art of screenwriting: rigorously structured, filled with great stories." -- NPR.org

Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), John Carpenter (Halloween), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver), and dozens of other Hollywood screenwriters share penetrating insights and hilarious anecdotes in Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman's TALES FROM THE SCRIPT, the most comprehensive documentary ever made about screenwriting. By analyzing their triumphs and recalling their failures, the participants explain how successful writers develop the skills necessary for toughing out careers in one of the world's most competitive industries. They also reveal the untold stories behind some of the greatest screenplays ever written, describing their adventures with luminaries including Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Stanley Kubrick, Joel Silver, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg.

Amazon.com

"Given the indignities to which they are subjected, screenwriters can be forgiven if they feel under-appreciated or consigned to the bottom of the Hollywood totem pole. Now, it's payback time. This entertaining companion to Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman's book of the same name gives writers the first and last word on their craft and making it (or not) in the business. "I think the public would be shocked to see how many movies that end up horrific started out as pretty good screenplays or at least screenplays you can see why the studio made this movie," says Mark D. Rosenthal, who wrote the unfortunate Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. The impressive roster of scribes includes Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), Larry Cohen (It's Alive), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), Naomi Foner (Running on Empty), William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), and Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver). The shared wisdom and Us vs. Them war stories ("them" being directors, development executives, studio heads, and actors) provide a revelatory look at the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (and misfortune) that even the most successful writers suffer. The stories range from the good (on September 3, 2006, Justin Zacham got married and the next morning flew to L.A. to go to Jack Nicholson's house to work on his script for The Bucket List with Jack, Morgan Freeman, and Rob Reiner), the bad (Michael January laments that the movies he writes go direct to video or cable), and the ugly (Genevieve Turner laughs that the notorious hack Uwe Boll's film of her script for Bloodrayne "blows"). Save for illustrative film clips from such movies as Get Shorty, The Last Tycoon, and Barton Fink that introduce each section of the documentary, Tales from the Script is all talking heads, but these heads make their living telling stories, so it seldom flags. A writer writes, so perhaps not even Stephen Susco's reality check--that of the 38 scripts he's written only three have been produced--is likely to deter anyone determined to enter the profession. As one writer states, "It's a hard way to make an easy living." --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

More Tales from the Script (47 min.): Fascinating unheard stories from top screenwriters.
The Gospel According to Bill (12 min.): The wit and wisdom of author/screenwriter William Goldman.
Advice for New Screenwriters (9 min.): Priceless tips and inspiration for beginners.

Product Details

  • Actors: Shane Black, John Carpenter, Frank Darabont, William Goldman
  • Directors: Peter Hanson
  • Writers: Paul Robert Herman
  • Producers: Paul Robert Herman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2010
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00329PYH0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,083 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tales from the Script" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Tales from the Script" provides an interesting inside-out view of the world of screenwriting. In this minimalist documentary, Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman have uncovered some amazing gems of wisdom from the best screenwriters in the industry. The movie version breathes additional life into the material that is covered by the book version. Many of the interviews that Hanson and Herman gathered are quite funny. It's fascinating to hear the writers describe the bizarre stories of how their work found its way to the big screen. There are a bunch of unbelievable true stories here that you won't find anywhere else.

"Tales from the Script" is a must-see for anyone that aspires to be a screenwriter!
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Format: DVD
This movie version of Tales from the Script by Peter Hanson and Paul Herman was very entertaining. I really liked the book, but I wasn't sure how a movie of interviews would be. I was pleasantly surprised! Thanks to the excellent job they did editing the interviews together, the movie flowed really well. I enjoyed seeing the screenwriters who have written some of my favorite movies. It was also really interesting to see the writers describe the process of making a movie. I recommend this movie to film geeks, writers, or anyone interested in film making.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Save Yourself Years of Tears

This film shows interviews from successful screenwriters on topics relating to the business of screenwriting. It can be useful for someone who hasn't written a script in terms of making that decision about whether to even go into this field.

Screenwriters often complain about the "notes" they get from the business people. Here, you see how the successful writers approach it. There is a reasonably mature attitude towards these notes, some understanding of how and why the business people might give you these types of notes, and also, how to approach the suggestions in order to get the most value from them.

There are serious challenges with making a film and you need to have the ability to deal with these struggles (or develop that ability) or just forget it. If you have stories you want to tell and don't want the struggles, write a novel and then try to get it optioned. At the end, at least you have a novel.

Many writers have up to 30 or more scripts written and they are lucky to have 2-3 produced. The bottom line is, if you want to be successful, you have to write and have to get completed scripts out there. It is also work to learn the craft and work to fix the problems in the script. Many of the best scripts had more than 40 drafts. Can you do that? Will you do it?

If you want advice on screenwriting, look elsewhere, but I found this film very useful.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you're someone who plans to write, or has written a screenplay, with the intention of selling it and then seeing it produced as a major motion picture, then this DVD is definitely for you. I've read dozens of books over the years on how to write a movie script, but this DVD, along with the book by William Goldman, Adventures In the Screen Trade, have been the best and most enjoyable experiences I've had in dealing with the movie business and how difficult it is for a newcomer to break in, or even for a seasoned pro to sell one of his screenplays.

The DVD of Tales From the Script (this is also available in Trade Paperback format with even more information in it) has interviews with many of the most well-known movie writers of the last fifty years who are still alive, as well as some who are not known outside of the business. The thing is all the interviews here offer you food for thought, and each screenwriter has something important to say about his or her career and making it in the entertainment industry.

First thing you need to understand is that this DVD doesn't teach you how to write a movie script. Everyone involved with this project already assumes you know how to do that, though some thoughts are expressed on structure and how everyone seems to think there's nothing to actually writing a screenplay. Just have Fade In at the beginning with some words and commas in the middle, and then Fade Out at the end. That's all it takes.

Wrong.

Writing a high-concept screenplay and selling it is as difficult as writing a bestselling novel and selling it to a publisher.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
I caught "Tales from the Script" in the theaters and I'm here to purchase it on DVD as a must have for my library. Whether you are an aspiring or working screenwriter, someone involved in any aspect of the filmmaking business or a film enthusiast who loves to pull the curtains aside and see the inner workings of the business, this DVD is highly recommended.

It seems a bit self-referential to say this documentary is sharply written but, when the subjects themselves are such talented writers who seem willing to tell their stories with honesty and panache, the results sparkle. I found this documentary to be both insightful and very entertaining.

I really enjoyed this film in the theaters and I can't wait for my copy to arrive on DVD so I can share a few viewings with friends.
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