Breakfast with Sharks



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  • Breakfast with Sharks

    Granted, I am biased because the author is a friend and a collaborator, but Michael Lent's book Breakfast with Sharks : A Screenwriter's Guide to Getting the Meeting, Nailing the Pitch, Signing theDeal, and Navigating the Murky Waters of Hollywood is fantastic.

    Unlike all of the how-to books on craft, this one assumes you have a great screenplay and then proceeds to give you detailed advice about how to get past all the threshold guardians like assistants and creative execs. And it also gives you practical advice on how to be prepared for delicate situations like pitch meetings, free rewrites and free options.

    Michael is a fellow columnist at Creative Screenwriting and his insight is invaluable. I make a living from focusing on the craft of screenwriting and I am happy that now I can gleefully sidestep every question about the business-side with a simple: "Buy Michael's Book."

    Jim Mercurio

  • #2
    Someone recently gave me the book, and
    I'd say it is an accurate account of who's
    who and what's what in the biz.

    A good book for someone who hasn't yet
    taken the swim.


    • #3
      Since the B&N and Amazon sites never tell the copyright date, is this something that was published this year?

      Do they carry it in bookstores? I've not seen it. I like browsing through screenwriting books before buying, especially since I have so many now - don't want just more of the same.



      • #4
        Lent spoke at the AWG meeting yesterday
        and I bought the book. Love the cover.


        • #5
          I bought this book from like two weeks ago, and then it arrived last week. I breezed through the book in about two and a half days of almost non stop reading (the articles were very informative for me). He doesn't really give any tips on how to write a script, but there's a ton of books out there for that stuff. What he talks about is "Okay, I got a cool script, now what do I do?"

          I really like his "this is how Hollywood works for screenwriters usually" approaches in the book. His chapters are also very easy to read. What I mean by that is that I've read some other writers' "horror/war stories in Hollywood", and some of the stuff they mention really depressed me and made me almost renounce wanting to write (yes, their "message of doom" was that strong for me, although it's also possible they did that so other writers could avoid repeating their mistakes, but it was harsh the way they put it. Then again, that could be a good thing, since apparently most screenwriters don't write good scripts either). When I read the book, although he does mention that rejection is always possible, he also gives you hope so that you're not just suddenly like "well, screw this" if you're truly passionate about this business (yeah, if I make it big in Hollywood later, I'll most likely be thanking this book hehe).

          This book also gives a quick overview of producers, directors, and actors, and how they fit into the role of making movies (just basic stuff, but if you're unfamiliar with this, it's a good first "Idiot's Guide" to learning it)

          Yeah, I know talent, hard work, and perserverance are some of the abilities you need to survive out here, but other than a good script, I had many other questioned unanswered, like "can I direct my screenplay if its that good?" and "how do I register my script?" and also "Should I move to LA or not?"
          I would highly recommend this book for anyone who's new to screenwriting and have questions they want answered about Hollywood.


          • #6
            Ivonia, I thought *this* book had a lot of the "doom" you speak of - more so than some other books. (Finally found it at a B&N bookstore!) I posted about it on another thread in "Business" section: Politics.

            The politics that he writes of made me feel very wary of believing anything a creative exec says! (No offense to CE here, whose opinion of the book is why I bought it.)

            I don't think all the author's "tips" - especially the five-year plan - are ideal, but the "insider" stories are enlightening.


            • #7
              The author of Breakfast with Sharks, Michael Lent, will be discussing ways that writers can create opportunities and grab the reins on their careers.

              Thursday, June 17 @ 7.30pm, Barnes & Noble, 3rd St. Promenade, 1201 3rd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401


              • #8
                Just finished reading this book, and I wasn't that impressed with it. It seemed to be pretty general info that you'll already know if you've read a few books about the business of Hollywood. He doesn't go into enough detail, and repeats himself several times. Most of it was just defining what things are (what a pitch meeting is) as opposed to insider info about it.

                The author mentions the done deal message boards at least five seperate times in the book - I've learned much more reading these boards than I did reading this book.

                The section on screenwriting contests doesn't provide links to their websites. Some of the info is already out of date, such as the stuff about Scenario magazine, which went out of business months ago.

                I'm not trying to knock it, it's not like it was terrible or anything, but it just wasn't that great.


                • #9
                  I'm halfway through the book now and find it really helpful. Since I'm considering moving to L.A. soon, I think the advice he offers about moving there is great.

                  Sure, there's a somewhat unhealthy amount of "doom" throughout the book, but any writer preparing to enter the shark tank should be aware of that.

                  Definitely recommend the book, esp. to those who don't know much how the biz works.


                  • #10
                    I read the book over the weekend and loved it.

                    It's like sitting down with your old screenwriter friend - who just turned 19 ;-) - telling you war stories from the Hollywood trenches. The story of the kebabbing episode was worth the price of the book alone, I read it out loud in the car and we were all laughing our a--ses off.


                    • #11
                      Bought it at Borders while up on vacation, great book, easy to read.


                      • #12
                        I'm reading this now, and I recommend it to anyone who wants a clear, consice overview of the business. It gives a very practical education in how the business of specs works, the development process and how a writer interacts with industry types. A lot of these things you don't find out until you're already there, so reading this book will really tell you what to expect.


                        • #13
                          I don't see why everyone seems to love this book. Granted, it adds some insight into certain situations that other books don't, but it doesn't spend much time on any one subject. If all you want out of this is a very basic understanding of these situations, then the book will work for you. Personally, I was hoping for a little more. Maybe the author just tries to do a little too much too soon. Also, as mentioned in a little blurb I saw in another entertainment magazine, the author doesn't even show up on, which means he hasn't received credit on anything that's been released. I like hearing what working writers have to say, but I like it even more when they've actually received a writing credit on something that we can all watch.


                          • #14
                            There is in fact a Michael Lent in Perhaps he was trying to piggyback on that and his real name is Boris Yalovah.

                            It's about branding.


                            • #15
                              You're right, there is a Michael Lent on IMDB after all. Only thing is most of his credits are for "Miscellaneous Crew." There isn't one credit for writing.