Author Topic: Good Books on Screenwriting?  (Read 3384 times)

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Ravi

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Good Books on Screenwriting?
« on: June 16, 2009, 03:31:33 PM »
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What are your recommendations on screenwriting books?

MacGuffin

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2009, 03:37:47 PM »
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This one wasn't so bad:





Though, the best learning tool is just reading other screenplays.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Stefen

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2009, 03:41:26 PM »
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Yeah, I don't think you can ever read anything that can help you write a good screenplay. Reading screenplays would probably be better than any book by some schmoe that's looking to make a buck.

It's like reading a book on how to draw. You either got it or you don't.
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Ravi

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2009, 05:55:05 PM »
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Yeah, I don't think you can ever read anything that can help you write a good screenplay. Reading screenplays would probably be better than any book by some schmoe that's looking to make a buck.

It's like reading a book on how to draw. You either got it or you don't.

I'm mostly looking for pointers about format and structure and whatnot.  Seeing some basic advice directly stated might help me.  I've written shorts, but never a feature.  I'm going to write a treatment and develop the story all the way through before writing out the screenplay.

RegularKarate

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2009, 11:49:48 AM »
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Screenwriter's bible is good for formatting.

Ghostboy

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2009, 12:08:19 PM »
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Screenwriting software automatically takes care of the formatting. The rest is just the writing. I think reading other scripts would ultimately be more helpful...

Kal

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2009, 12:36:05 PM »
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Yes, read tons of scripts from different type of writers and it will be very helpful. Final Draft does the formatting for you.

Still, if you want to read other books that I found useful...





Yes, laugh all you want but those things are pretty awesome.

Ravi

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2009, 02:40:58 PM »
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Thanks for the advice, guys, I will look for some scripts online.

MacGuffin

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2009, 02:46:27 PM »
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Thanks for the advice, guys, I will look for some scripts online.

http://www.simplyscripts.com/movie.html

On the left side, they are listed alphabetically.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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polkablues

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2009, 09:23:08 PM »
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McKee's "Story" is the greatest, as long as you don't take it too literally. You have to think of it like jazz; learn all the theory, internalize it, then forget it all and just write. And get screenwriting software. Final Draft is fine, I use one called Sophocles which is smaller and quicker and less MS Word-like. I highly recommend it.
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pete

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2009, 10:45:58 AM »
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I heard "three use of a knife" and "save the cat" are both pretty good.
I think ultimately just anything that gives you the confidence to keep on doing whatever you're doing is good.  If it's an instructional book, then so be it.  The best screenplays come from the intensity of the writer and sometimes it's hard to maintain it unless you have someone telling you that you're on the right track or wrong track or whatever.  Otherwise, most of these books are actually quite irrelevant and cannot be approached with anything that resembles reverence.  Just reference them when you feel stuck.  They cannot be taken seriously; they're like horoscopes that way.
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hedwig

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2009, 11:39:46 AM »
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agreed w/ pete

stay far far far away from syd field though. he was the first i ever read -- a laughable "foundation"

polkablues

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2009, 08:01:27 PM »
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stay far far far away from syd field though. he was the first i ever read -- a laughable "foundation"

I can't say enough bad things about Syd Field.  Syd Field is to terrible, formulaic screenwriters what Ayn Rand is to douchey libertarians.  Or what Vampire Weekend is to sweater-wearing hipsters.  I'm not a fan, in case that wasn't clear.
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Gamblour.

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2009, 12:49:11 PM »
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Syd Field backtracks films into formula, essentially, and asserts that by simply realizing this formula, you will write a good screenplay. It's like saying a pop song goes intro - verse - chorus - verse - chorus - bridge - chorus. Plenty of songs are written like that, but that doesn't make you able to write songs any better.

Plus, everything he's got to say is really just baby shit compared to Joseph Campbell and the Hero's Journey. Read that. I also recently bought "Your Screenplay Sucks" because it's really more of a checklist of things ranging from formatting to story to character to readability, the last of which is pretty interesting.

As far as screenplays go, there's a series called The Shooting Script (a misnomer since they really aren't shooting scripts half the time), and they have films like Juno, Eternal Sunshine, and Michael Clayton. Do yourself a favor and read the script for Michael Clayton, it's killer. Eternal Sunshine is surprisingly boring and wordy for a script, but it reads more like a book anyway.

That being said, just practicing writing is probably the best thing you could do.
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Neil

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Re: Good Books on Screenwriting?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2009, 02:33:55 PM »
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Second The Joseph Campbell. Do it.
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