How To Write High Structure, High Concept Movies Paperback – August 28, 2000
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About the Author
Born in Northern Canada in a gold mining town that boasts "8 months of the year snow flies, 4 months of the year blackflies," Rob fully appreciates his Malibu, California life, shared with wife Leslie Coogan (child star Jackie Coogan's daughter).
Rob's war cry is: "No more lousy movies! The price of tickets go up, the quality of movies goes down. We must teach a new generation of writers to create powerful, moving stories with solid structure and exciting concepts."
Rob is available for writing seminars, one-on-one coaching, script doctoring and book editing. He can be e-mailed at: email@example.com.
- Publisher : Xlibris, Corp.; 1st edition (August 28, 2000)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 184 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0738827932
- ISBN-13 : 978-0738827933
- Item Weight : 5.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.42 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,077,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I mean, home many screenplays did Syd Field, Robert McKee, Michael Hauge, Vicki King and all the other 'guru' out there ever sell? They must be too busy counting money from their seminars to write screenplays. Well, that and coming up with artsy-fartsy theories that make your eyes gloss over 5 minutes into the lecture.
I want my knowledge, fast and efficient, and that's where Rob Tobin's "How To Write High Structure, High Concept Movies" comes in. It's a lean 182 page paperback filled with great stuff. Loglines, structure, high concept, characters, conflict, every step in the process, every step in your story is explained here in great detail.
So needless to say, the other screenwriting books, except for Trottier's "The Screenwriter's Bible", Bill Martell's "The Secrets of Action Screenwriting" and Rob's book were donated to the public library.
- William Mize, Shamus Award nominee, creator of the Denton Ward and Monty Crocetti mystery series.
I read Tobin's book on a whim, after finishing Robert McKee's ubiquitous "Story" tome a second time and, ironically, feeling even more confused and hindered in my writing. I needed to see how the craft of screenwriting could be approached from a different angle--preferably one with more recent, prescient examples. Tobin's guide did the trick. Don't get me wrong; I found plenty of helpful insight within McKee's holy book. But compared to the dense, erudite, often stifling pages of "Story," Tobin's streamlined, simplified "How To" was refreshing and encouraging.
One aspect that I found particularly enlightening: In the later chapters, Tobin uses his preferred method (admittedly adapted from several better-known methods developed by the likes of John Truby, et al) to spontaneously create several "structurally sound" log lines and even the rough outline of an original screenplay, from scratch. Whereas other screenwriting self-help books strain to arbitrarily wrap their particular formulas around a few classic films (usually the well-tread "Casablanca," which does not escape this book unmentioned), Tobin has the good sense to actually demonstrate his writing method, so that readers can learn by example, not just by analysis and "reverse engineering." It also instills confidence in the reader to know that Tobin is a working writer and script doctor, not just a theorist like most of the big-name screenwriting gurus.
My one gripe with this book is its lackluster publishing. Full of typos, spelling and grammar errors, inconsistent use of pronouns, incorrect movie titles, actors' names used interchangeably with characters' names and so on, one would assume that this book was sent to press unproofed, unedited, and carelessly self-published. The blame lies with the publisher, Xlibris Corporation, I suppose. The most annoying of these oversights is the author's maddeningly inconsistent and blushingly oversensitive use of the feminine pronouns "she" and "her" in place of the traditional yet patriarchal "he" and "him" in reference to the "hero." I have no problem with Tobin's choice, in principle, but the author slings these pronouns around so carelessly that he ends up using them interchangeably, at one point even referring to Sylvester Stallone's famous character Rocky as "she." By the end of the book, the author has abandoned this circa-1990s "politically correct" feminization of pronouns altogether. Other readers may be able to easily overlook the poor editing, but I found these quirks and errors to be quite distracting, and can only hope that the 2007 reissue of Tobin's book (under the title " The Screenwriting Formula: Why It Works and How To Use It " from Writer's Digest Books) has been thoroughly revised and corrected.
Complaints aside, I would recommend this book to the fledgling screenwriter still working to master traditional story structure. This guide largely strips away the mystery and weight of the story creation process.