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Old 01-23-2020, 01:28 PM   #1
ComicBent's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 4,214
Default Bob Saenz's new book

I just finished reading That's Not the Way It Works, in which Bob Saenz recounts a lot of things that he has learned and experienced in the screenwriting business. Bob is a member of Done Deal Pro and, through the years, he has posted a great number of helpful insights and thoughts about what he has seen in his career as a screenwriter.

That's Not the Way provides a good and thorough overview of the movie business from the standpoint of the writer. Bob covers the subject in detail. He goes through screenplay format in a simple manner, without getting down into the weeds in regard to all those special situations that people have been asking about on this board for twenty years (e.g., how to handle a scene in which a possessed dummy relives a flashback from the life of a now dead ventriloquist, whose ghost is watching the flashback and commenting on it; okay, I made that one up, but I have seen some truly wild questions here in twenty years, and have tried to answer them as a nonprofessional by applying logical screenplay formatting principles).

Bob presents a wealth of information about the business side of things. The number of screenplays submitted each year. The enormous backlog of screenplays. The struggle to begin to build a reputation as a screenwriter. The nature of meetings with producers and creative execs. Things that one should know, like how to answer when a producer asks about budget (low, midrange, high; and what these mean in dollar amounts).

In general, I was familiar with the things that he talked about. But I learned a lot of specifics that he presented, because I am not someone who works in the film business.

I am not young, and I am not someone trying to break into writing screenplays as a career. But if I were a young person considering a career as a screenwriter, my reaction after reading this book would probably be:

No way!

Yet Bob stresses that you can make a go of it if you have determination, you can tell a good story, and you have a good attitude about the criticism that you have to be able to take in order to stay the course.

For me the most enjoyable portions of the book were those in which Bob tells about the extreme measures that people take to try to get a script read (e.g., sliding a copy into a bathroom stall when an exec is taking a crap), and the ridiculous things that writers do in scripts.

Bob's pet peeve is the "Real Time" violation, in which the writer on one page or so has the characters doing things that would take a huge amount of time to accomplish.

My own pet peeve relating to time is that sometimes a writer will send one character out of the scene to fetch something that it might take him ten minutes to fetch or to find (if at all), but he reappears with the object about ten seconds later.

If you want to read some interesting, helpful, and often funny observations on the screenwriting business, take a look at Bob Saenz's That's Not the Way It Works, available from Amazon.

"The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." ComicBent.

Last edited by ComicBent : 01-23-2020 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 01-23-2020, 04:09 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: California
Posts: 750
Default Re: Bob Saenz's new book

I can't thank you enough. The book was a labor of love. I really had a good time writing it and I'm happy you got so much out of it.
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Old 01-24-2020, 10:22 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,506
Default Re: Bob Saenz's new book

Congratulations, Bob. So happy for you and your success with your first book.
my opinions are just that-- my opinions.
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