Film, Screenplays and Musicals – Resources

500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader : Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend
by Jennifer Lerch

The first place most of the best scripts get cut and most difficult to get past is the desk of the Hollywood script reader. The way that most scripts get into the hands of a producer is via a freelancer, one of many that are employed to read and evaluate scripts and then pass on the interesting, really good or very marketable scripts to the directors,producers, studios and powers that be. This author writes from experience and is not guessing at the advice she is giving. She has seen these steps work for many screenwriters. After many years in development, she put together this simple, straightforward guide for anyone interested in screenwriting, becoming a script reader or working in production development. Some of the 500 offered steps, advice and tips are rather obvious, however, regardless of how obvious they may seem once we have read them, many script writers simply didn’t take into account the advice. Setting goals, writing dialogue, getting your foot in the door, making a name for yourself (even before you are published), memorable final scenes – it’s all covered in this extraordinary guide that gives the script writer their best chance at being noticed.

Art Of Dramatic Writing : Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives
by Lajos Egri

This immediate classic guide is a how-to for novices and already professional writers interested in playwriting. Over the years few attempts have been made to help writers interested in the genre of playwriting…but then why bother when such a perfect, complete guide like this one already exists. The techniques in this guide can be applied to other genres such as short story and novel writing or screenplays for TV or big screen. By examining plays from the inside out, he shows readers how to bring life into drama by using human behavior as a tool rather than a hindrance. The relationships between characters are examined in an effort to help the writer make a memorable, classic and marketable work of art.

How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make
by Denny Martin Flinn

Perhaps you know, without doubt that your destiny is to write a screenplay but how do you go about giving your idea form and shape? Then, how do you mold it into a marketable screenplay? The first most basic advice any professional will give you is to do your homework on the basics. Don’t assume that because you have a good idea that you know how to write a screenplay. Avoid the pitfalls of a bad screenplay, those screenplays that have one thing in common, they are put to the side before the first 10 pages are read. Some of the tips you will find invaluable, especially if you are new to the writing game, are listed in a “don’t do” format like:
– Don’t use “continued” at the end of a page
– Don’t list a cast of characters
– Don’t tell the actor what to do, like “punch here”
– Don’t interrupt the flow of a scene
These are pitfalls that novices often make and just label the screenplay as amateur. If you wish to start off as a professional, get this book.

Melody in Songwriting : Tools and Techniques for Writing Hit Songs (Berklee Guide)

Often musicians and songwriters will claim that melody is a skill that cannot be learned, one either has it, or not. This book on melody proves that theory wrong. This one of a kind guide gives the songwriter the advantage of learning a skill that isnít taught in many places. Often musicians are left up to their own devices when it comes to learning melody. In this book, you will learn what influences melody, how to make harmony and melody work together and how to write a really popular song. Hit songs and hit songwriters are examined as examples for the illustration of various techniques used in songwriting. Greats such as Lennon and McCartney are used as examples. While this book is used as a textbook at the Berklee College of Music, you will find the straightforward manner used by the author makes learning without the class perfectly possible. Regardless of the level you find yourself writing at, you will be able to pick up the techniques used in this book and use them for yourself.

Screenplay: Writing the Picture
by Robin U. Russin, William Missouri Downs

Research, plotting, character development, theme creation and development, even rewriting and editing are all covered in this comprehensive screenwriting course. Without having to spend the time sitting in a classroom, the authors of this guide have given the potential screenwriter a full course in screenwriting. This book was
designed in a manner so that it can be used by professors as a textbook for a screenwriting class or can be followed by an individual as a guidebook. Regardless of your interest and current status, professional or want-to-be screenwriter, you will find a treasure trove of usable, applicable information in this guide. Savvy and responsible, it gives writers direction and tried and true techniques to utilize in their development as screenwriters. Learn different approaches to characterization, theme development and dialogue, as well as the fundamentals of scriptwriting.

The Screenplay Workbook : The Writing Before the Writing
by Jeremy Robinson, Tom Mungovan

Perhaps your screenplay: you know, the one playing on the big screen in your dreams, hasn’t quite made it to paper. Maybe, no, probably the reason is because you have no idea where to start. You are in luck! Robinson and Mungovan have developed a workbook to get
you started. Every element of screenplay writing is covered in a concise, easy to follow and well organized manner for those of you who are new to the process or just a bit unorganized. The nerve racking pre-writing process is made much easier with great worksheets designed to help in the development of characters, plot and the general concept of the play. This workbook is exactly what you didn’t know you were looking for!

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting
by Robert McKee

Screenwriting is really a genre all to itself. It plays by different rules, has different parameters and follows different laws. To better understand screenwriting, a writer has to do a significant amount of research to create a really fantastic screenplay. Rather than chase many books, research many Internet sights, talk to many different editors, etc, pick up a copy of this book and find every thing you need to know all in one place. Famous internationally for his screenwriting workshops, this book acts as a stand-alone or an enhancement to his workshops. His workshop has been quoted as “magic” and “a mesmerizing, intense learning experience.” This book will allow you access to all the same magic and experience without traveling to New York for his famous workshop.

The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script
by David Trottier

Updated in September 2005 with more than 70 additional pages, this guide gives both the novice screenwriter and the experienced writer solid guidelines to write a script worthy of production. Of the many items covered in this book, the following are the most important: presentation of the basics and need to know for screenwriting, formatting for both TV and screenplays, spec guide with sample scenes for analysis, a sales and marketing guide, and resource guide with industry contacts. The most refreshing part of this book is that it does not squash the writer’s creativity but rather encourages the writerís uniqueness and individualness.

The Screenwriter Within : How to Turn the Movie in Your Head into a Salable Screenplay
by D.B. Gilles

If you have a screenplay floating around in your head, one much better than what you currently see on TV but donít know how to put that screenplay on paper, this is just the answer you need. Designed for the non professional screenplay writer, he gives the reader a solid base of information and then brings out the big guns with his unique ideas for locating the best stories and then getting them into a presentable format on paper. Approaching screenwriting in a way that makes it seem much less daunting, Gilles style of writing includes easy to integrate ideas, personal experiences and excellent back up exercises to reinforce what it is that he writes about. Get a head start on your competition and read The Screenwriter Within!

The Writer's Guide to Writing Your Screenplay: How to Write Great Screenplays for Movies and Television
by Cynthia Whitcomb

Writing a screenplay is no piece of cakeÖas one review puts it. While the author, Cynthia Whitcomb, doesn’t lull the reader into believing that writing a screenplay is going to be a knife cutting butter, she also gives the reader the encouragement needed to keep on with a good idea. The author herself has written over 75 screenplays with more than a third of them seeing the big screen so she writes from a place of experience. With a huge payment of over $100,000 per screenplay, finding the words to express a good idea is well worth the investment of time in learning how to create a screenplay. This guide will give you all of the information you need from idea to the actual contracting of your screenplay. Don’t miss out on her extensive knowledge in this business.

The Writer's Journey, Second Edition : Mythic Structure for Writers
by Christopher Vogler

The author demonstrates how even a no where story can be turned into a vivid journey capable of capturing even the pickiest reader. Teaching by example, Vogle uses Joseph Campbell’s work ‘Hero with a Thousand Faces’ to lay out a roadmap of approachable writing style. Mind you, this is not a how-to book that walks you, step by step through the process of screenplay writing. You will not learn how to set up a screenplay as if building a Lincoln Log house. You will, however, gain the ability to feel your way through a story, create believable, realistic characters and bring to life a story. This book gives you an approachable method to craft a screenplay. If writing is in your future, be sure to pick up this book.

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