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The Working Writer's Screenplay Paperback – May 22, 2013
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Jim Makichuk was born and raised in Canada and got his first job at a local TV station where he worked on a TV news crew in the Windsor/Detroit area. After attending a film course he moved to Vancouver and filmed and co-produced a short film directed by Phil Borsos. It won numerous international awards and was a finalist in the 1976 Academy Awards. In 1980 he wrote, produced and directed his first feature, Ghostkeeper which had it's 30th anniversary DVD in 2012. Jim moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and worked on 50 or more screenplays, of which 20 were produced as well as 30 hours of episodic. Currently he has a screenplay optioned by a Paris company to be made as a French movie and is hoping to direct his book Emperor of Mars which was published on Amazon in 2011. Jim's also written a screenplay in 2014 for a popular actor to be made in 2014 and is negotiating another screenplay of his.
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Top customer reviews
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Throughout the read, I felt I had the guidance of a mentor- a veteran generously sharing his personal experiences by providing useful examples. His writing style almost felt conversational- like a friend sitting across the table. He's genuine and doesn't hold back. His advice is encouraging, authentic, and super insightful. Everything you'd expect from a mentor.
In terms of the writing process, Jim critiques his own screenplay (one of the best teaching methodologies I find). With each Act, he details the evolution of story, character, subplots etc. His side notes are particularly helpful. Something I plan reference in the future.
Although I hadn't considered the TV market, the book opened my eyes to the potential of TV writing. --Super happy Jim has taken the time to write the book. Much appreciated.
"I didn't go into this by myself and without the encouragement and help of my friends I probably wouldn't have done it without their support and friendship."
I thought that might be an ironic joke of some sort, but it really sets the tone. He opens by describing a 7th-grade student rolling her eyes in response to his presentation about screenwriting. After just a few pages, I feel her pain.
As well as covering the basic creative mechanics of the craft, Makichuk also outlines what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur in the entertainment industry, eg. how to behave in creative meetings, how to perform in a manner which helps guarantee future work, how to cultivate producers and other key players as clients, and how to work and develop positive working relationships with the various buyers in the industry. Everything from the art, craft and business (including how to read contracts!) of screenwriting is covered, as well as references to other excellent resources, such as Attorney Brooke Wharton's The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to): Guide to the Legal and Business Practices of Writing for the Entertainment Industry.
If you want the most concise and thorough coverage of what it takes to be a professional, WORKING writer in the film industry, this is the book to start with as it will give you an excellent practical overview.
In having been a screenwriting instructor at SFSU for twenty years, I've read a lot of screenwriting books. While there are some excellent `how-tos' out there, very few recent entries have offered readers much new. What makes Jim Makichuk's book a `must read' is that it fills a huge gap. He offers a rare insight into the world of a journeymen screenwriter who has battled it out in the Hollywood trenches for thirty five years.
With 19 features, 30 hours of episodic TV and three director credits to his name, his book, "The Working Writer's Screenplay", delivers page after page of insights from storytelling principles to how to behave in a development meeting.
In Makichuk, readers will find a highly qualified mentor who writes with clarity and generosity. His book takes the place of a college screenwriting class. Makichuk, as a former UCLA screenwriting instructor, knows what the reader needs and when.
First he reviews the storytelling principles which he crystalizes for the reader. He talks knowledgeably about what has worked for him and why. What's nonsense and what's not. Then he uses one of his own scripts and analyses it. He takes us through, act by act. Finally, in the last sections, he addresses the important issue of selling of your script.
I read The Working Writer's Screenplay in one sitting. It holds the reader in the way only a talented writer who has mastered his craft can - with great content and intelligence.