Oh what a fool I am!

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  • Guest's Avatar
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    I bought one screenwriting book. It was helpful. All the others say the same thing...
    Egri's doesn't.

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    I found Lew Hunter 'Screenwriting 101' to be the most useful of the one book I read.
    Boy did you choose the wrong author to read...

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    And then there's the big best-seller among producers and development execs: Pissing on the Submitted Spec Script for Dummies.

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    I wouldn't be surprised if one day we saw Pissing in the Toilet for Dummies.
    It would be a bestseller in the Downtown L.A. parking lot I just passed by. For sure.

    To piggyback on APW, I don't think it's mentioned enough that we need to read more scripts. Read the hell out them backward and forward.

    And yet, I too, am a how to write a screenplay book junkie. Only now I'm also a how to sell a screenplay book junkie.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I bought one screenwriting book. It was helpful. All the others say the same thing, so why be redundant?

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    How-to books are a huge business these days. Just look all those yellow-covered "For Dummies" books. I wouldn't be surprised if one day we saw Pissing in the Toilet for Dummies.

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  • Guest's Avatar
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    Why wait to sell a script? You don't need credentials to write a screenwriting book. Just come up with a snappy title that promises a shortcut to spec script riches.

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    Suddenly, it dawns on me. The only people making money off of screenwriting are the authors (i.e. dream weavers) who write books and sell them to putz's like me.
    You just figure that out?

    In any "gold rush" you want to be the guy selling picks, shovels, jeans, supplies, etc., rather than the sucker out there panning for gold.

    Here's my personal philosophy: buy a few books, but then do not spend a cent more. Not a cent! Spend your time writing not paying for Syd's next ivory back-scratcher.

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    I made that vow a few years ago when I noticed how many screenwriting books I'd bought, started, and never finished because there was nothing in them I didn't already know from instinct or from reading screenplays and watching movies.

    I think the only things I've really learned from screenwriting books came from Cole & Haag's Standard Script Formats and Breimer's Clause by Clause (about legal and business matters).

    I did like McKee's Story a good bit, but that was mainly because he managed to say things I already knew in ways that made me think about them again (and I read it while rewriting a script, and it helped me think of ways to set up the ending and communicate the theme better).

    But Making a Good Script Great, The Screenwriter's Problem Solver, How to Sell Your Screenplay, Screenwriting Tricks of the Trade, The Screenwriter's Bible, Syd Field's books...never finished any of them and never felt the need to.

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  • Guest's Avatar
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    (Self-medication is also recommended. )

    I second that bit of advice.

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  • Guest's Avatar
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    You're not a fool. You are an artist struggling to be recognized.

    I buy a book because I want to learn something new not because I think it's going to guarantee my success.

    You may have the talent to write but is the inspiration really there to write with passion and truth?

    The world does not need another how to book instead be an example of how it should be done.

    Then when you're famous, run seminars like Mckee.

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    I found Lew Hunter 'Screenwriting 101' to be the most useful of the one book I read.

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    I don't know if this is applicable (as screenwriting really is full of rules, especially when it comes to length and format), but when I started off as a novelist, one didn't go to college to learn how to be "creative". Being an English major was great preparation, in that one read the absolute best from the full range of literature in English and in translation. If you were lucky enough, as I was, to have a published novelist as a teacher, then you also got a writer's point of view of the material.

    But in my many years of writing I've never once bought a how-to book on writing novels (though I plead guilty to buying ones on screenwriting), and have managed, like most novelists, to teach myself how to do it. And I keep reading and rereading.

    When I moved to London and, in preparation, wrote a 50-minute TV play (for a market that was wide-open to writers), I'd seen lots of these one-off TV plays and researched the format. And that first play got me an agent. Again, I didn't depend on manuals, because, frankly, I never remembered seeing a single one in all my years in England.

    So that's two cheers for self-education. (Self-medication is also recommended. )

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  • Guest's Avatar
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    Carpal -

    I'd be with you, but I know myself too well. I'm a screenwriting book junkie. (I actually enjoy reading them, even if I don't find any of their insights useful, or they're repeating stuff I already do and have been doing for years. Yes, I'm a sick man.)

    Good luck, though. I think there comes a time when you HAVE to throw out all the books, take all the posts on this and other message boards with a grain of salt, and just write.

    Just write.


    Forget the "how."


    Just write.

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  • Guest's Avatar
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    Or......you could look on it as a journey. The books are signposts that helped you on your way and without them maybe you'd be a lot further from you destination.


    English Dave's book 'I think I'm a writer but how do I know' $4.95 at an outlet near you.

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