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1. Playwriting: A Practical Guide
2. Writing Great Screenplays AFI
3. The Savvy Screenwriter : How To
4. The Complete Book of Scriptwriting
5. Screen & Stage Marketing Secrets
6. Screenwriting 101: How to Get

1. Playwriting: A Practical Guide
by Noël Greig
Paperback: 224 Pages (2005-01-11)
list price: US$31.95 -- used & new: US$23.58
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 041531044X
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Playwriting offers a practical guide to the creation of text for live performance. It contains a wealth of exercises for amateur and professional playwrights.

Usable in a range of contexts, the book works as:

* a step-by-step guide to the creation of an individual play
* a handy resource for a teacher or workshop leader
* a stimulus for the group-devised play.

The result of Noël Greig's thirty years' experience as a playwright, actor, director and teacher, Playwriting is the ideal handbook for anyone who engages with playwriting and is ultimately concerned with creating a story and bringing it to life on the stage.

... Read more

2. Writing Great Screenplays AFI (Writing Great Screenplays for Film and TV)
by Arco
Paperback: 208 Pages (1997-08-22)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0028615557
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The American Film Institutes bestselling sreenwriting guide is now updated!Only the American Film Institute -- the countrys most prestigious film organization -- could offer this level of screenwriting expertise! Specially created by a top television programming executive and former instructor at the AFI film school, this bestselling screenwriting guide is now revised and updated to cover the latest techniques for crafting first-rate screenplays for film and TV. Professional, practical and totally authoritative, this outstanding reference is a favorite of aspiring screenwriters and their teachers. Contents include:- Innovative ideas for structuring the plot, developing characters, and building momentum- Professional guidance on marketing a screenplay- Concise encyclopedia of screenwriting techniquesDona Cooper, a senior television programming executive, has taught screenwriting at the AFI Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies in Los Angeles. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

1-0 out of 5 stars Save your money for something with substance
I only gave this book one star because zero stars is not an option.Save your money.Forget this book, and go for something with substance.This book is horrible.It is drivel.The author speaks in vague generalities.And the book is basically one topic, stated in a singular analogy:"The story that drives your script is like an emotional roller coaster to the audience."And the entire 200-page book is about that.

I suggest reading "Writing Screenplays That Sell" by Michael Hauge.He mentions the roller coaster theory on one page of his book, which is about all you need.The fact that Ms. Cooper gave 200 pages to this roller coaster theory means her book is filled with fluff.In Hauge's book, you will learn how to apply principles of writing, tell your story, and format your script in some detail.He also briefly provides tips on the topic of actually marketing and, ultimately, selling your screenplay.After reading Ms. Cooper's book, I sent it to the recyclers, whereas Hauge's book is in my reference library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very underrated! Must read...
I agree with pretty much everything already written by others. This is a great book - not really a how-to by any means, but certainly a must-read. IMHO this is one of those underrated finds that you can comes across now & again... only to then wonder what would have happened if you'd stumbled across it years ago. :)

Excellent insight and a no-nonsense approach to plot & characters - but more than that though, he elaborates on the unique types of protags and antags and gives examples of movies in which the various combinations appear. Cooper goes into the emotional needs of the reader (of your SP) and what you (the writer) need to do to satisfy those needs. Later there is a breakdown of the seven approaches to building tension.

5-0 out of 5 stars Actually the best book I've ever read, no kidding
I have about 20 books in my room and this one is one of them and it's seriously the best I've ever read, regardless of genre.
I don't even write much screenplays these days but sometimes I still re-read some chapters and sitting there nodding "yup, that's so true".

The examples are so good, I thought that probebly a book like this would just make examples from boring drama movies and discard action as garbage, but the examples vary from Robocop to Beverly hills cop.

My favrouite chapter is about the Hero, finally I can explain for real why I don't like Harry Potter, becouse for me he is not a hero, and this chapter analyses what a hero is so I can make sure that in my screenplays ppl will actually hope that the hero will sucseed unlike in movies like Harry Potter where I'm hoping the evil wizard will kill his ass.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREATNESS
This book is amazing... I have Dona Cooper for class at the North Carolina School of the Arts and she is amazing.What a wealth of knowledge she has to share, and has shared in this text.A+++ Read!!!!A Must-Have for any screenwriter...

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
When writing for television and film some people may think that all you have to do is come up with an idea and write the screenplay.The reality is that there is a lot more to it according to Dona Cooper, the author of the best-selling book, Writing Screenplays for Television and Film. The major theme that she continuously uses throughout the book is the two-dimensional roller coaster theme.The roller coaster analogy is to help "capture the sense of thrust, power, build, and intensity that a good story experience must have." This book targets readers who are more advanced and are ready to market their screenplays as soon as everything is together versus a beginning writer who wants to learn the basic steps of writing a screenplay. The majority of this book is written with strong structure. She develops key concepts and backs the structure of the different types of roller coasters that can be incorporated in many story elements.She writes with the idea of not telling the reader first you need to do this step, instead she lets the reader explore the different possible directions they can take. Her advice allows the reader to develop their own way of writing and their own sequence of writing.Beginning writers may want to gear away from this book.For the more advanced writers this would be a great book to purchase. ... Read more

3. The Savvy Screenwriter : How To Sell Your Screenplay (And Yourself) Without Selling Out!
by Susan Kouguell
Mass Market Paperback: 190 Pages (2000-09-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0967994802
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This real-life guide to surviving in the film industry offers advice from an industry player on being a financially and artistically successful screenwriter. From writing the first word to watching the credits roll, every step of writing for the big screen is explained by a writer who has been there. This handbook reveals what studios are looking for, lists the dos and don'ts of pitching a script, and explains how scripts are rated. In addition to the instructions on writing a successful query and synopsis, invaluable tips on contract negotiations, development deals, and working with agents and entertainment attorneys are also offered. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Suspect Publicity
Wonder why all reviews are done within a week of each other Oct-November 2000?

5-0 out of 5 stars The Savvy Screenwriter is more than just "SAVVY...!"
How about everything you ever wanted to know about selling your screenplay in one fantastic book. Sound too good to be true? It IS too good to be true and it exists! THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER is clear, concise, helpful, engaging, and *humourous. Throughout, Kouguell recounts her own adventures during her novice days in the business. Biblical in its wisdom, reading the THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER is akin to having someone in the biz reaching out, taking your hand, and leading you through what can seem like (and IS) a daunting process. Daunting no more, enigmatic no more, Susan Kouguell demystifies the scary endeavor of breaking into the business by providing the tools, savvy, and "know how" necessary to succeed. Thank God for this resource. I can't recommend it enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Teaches difficult lessons in a gentle way
Susan Kouguell's book is a superb resource!In rich detail, she leads the reader through the process of marketing one's work, mapping out the tasks and the people involved.Her book is wonderfully balanced with empathy for the writer's vulnerabilities and clarity about the industry's expectations.Ms. Kouguell teaches difficult lessons in a gentle way, leaving the reader to feel hopeful and informed.I unequivocally recommend this book to any writer who is taking that brave step of putting his or her work out into the world.

Thomas Moore Winner, Edward Albee Foundation, Blue Mountain Foundation

5-0 out of 5 stars Got a screenplay? Buy this book now!
This is a how-to book that is as informative as it is entertaining.There are bookshelves full of screenwriting how-to books, but this rare volume tells you how to market and sell yours.It's an insider guide to Hollywood and off-Hollywood that will save you the pain of years of trial and error.Kouguell, an experienced screenwriter and script doctor, has drawn on her own experience, as well as the expertise of players from Miramax to Paramount, to show you how to polish your submission, write a killer query letter, hone your synopsis and pitch, pitch, pitch.Screenwriters: Read this book before you write another word!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Savvy Screenwriter: A Student's Review
I was fortunate enough to take one of Susan's screenwriting classes. Although I would've liked to handcuff her to my computer so as to solve all my screenwriting problems, I couldn't. Enter the SAVVY SCREENWRITER. Now Susan is constantly with me, to answer questions on everything to do with the screenwriting business. Some books focus on the screenplay alone, others on getting into the business. However, very few combine both in an efficient way, and share personal anecdotes. These are especially important if you are an industry virgin, and haven't a clue about what's going on. This book warns you about the perils of the business, and also tells you how to navigate its seas. The SAVVY SCREENWRITER is also an enjoyable read. It is witty, humorous and never sleep-inducing. I would recommend it highly for all screenwriters, whether amateurs or veterans. It is a versatile book that will appeal to both, and both will learn much from it. ... Read more

4. The Complete Book of Scriptwriting
by J. Michael Straczynski
Paperback: 432 Pages (1997-09-26)
list price: US$35.10
Isbn: 1852868821
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The creator of the television science-fiction series "Babylon 5" presents a guide to writing and selling screenplays, television plays, theatrical plays, radio scripts and animation scripts. He explains how to structure and lay out the scripts, provides a guide to terminology used by the industry, and offers advice on getting work seen by the right people. The book also includes the complete script of a "Babylon 5" episode, "The Coming of Shadows", for which Straczynski won the Hugo Award.Amazon.com Review
Working writer/producer Straczynski has revised his 1981 text-- a standard in many institutions -- and brought it into the '90s,with updates on fluctuating markets, speculation about opportunitiesin CD-ROMs and anecdotage about Writers' Guild strikes that haveoccurred in the interval.A handy tome for the novice, sinceStraczynski covers much basic ground in key areas of writing for film,television, radio, animation and stage.Strongest in the movie/TVareas and also valuable for animation scribes, playwrights might notethat their chapter is the thinnest; perhaps it was all apportionedaccording to what the various disciplines pay? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of the business!
The Complete Book of Scriptwriting is an excellent book to begin with in terms of scriptwriting. It gives you a good idea on one of the most important aspects of scriptwriting, selling. It serves as a good learning tool and gives you a few points on how to go after deals. It's also a good book if you are just interested in Hollywood and would like to know more about the business side. If you are interested in the business behind closed doors in Hollywood or if you are just interested in one day writing a script and finding a way of selling it, look no further - this book is for you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent...with a huge caveat
This book is easy to read, informative, and very helpful.Rather than teaching you how to write a great screenplay, it tells you how to market it.Having worked as a script evaluator, I can tell you that the format of a script is as important as the dialog within it: if your submission doesn't look professional, everyone will assume it ISN'T professional, and won't bother to read it.There are always 10 times more scripts out there than anyone has time to read, so evaluators cut corners.It may not be nice, or fair, but it is reality.Following this book's advice can keep your masterpiece out of the circular file.

EXCEPT!This book's description of the format for theatrical plays is simply dead wrong.To find the proper format, you should consult Dramatists Sourcebook 25th Edition (or whatever is the current version).While working for a theater company evaluating plays, I can assure you I would have never read a script that was formatted the way that is described in the book.(For those of you who want the basics: scripts should have the character name centered or greatly indented, and stage direction should be indented about 1" on either side and kept to a minimum.People often format their plays according to what they see in published scripts; this is a re-formatting that is done to save space.Get the Sourcebook for more detail).

Straczynski's information on screenplays is beyond reproach (I can't speak about radio dramas, but my guess is there aren't too many of you clamoring to write one, anyway).

This is an excellent book in every way except for the one huge caveat I mentioned above.

5-0 out of 5 stars OK, I'm a FAN
Hard to not love a writer who answers email from hundreds of fans a year, including me.That said, if you watch or read him, you know that his insights into the human condition frequently give pause, smiles and tears; and that's totally outside of the action.This book is a must read for anyone developing skills as a screenwriter.You'll get an idea you can use on just about every page.

4-0 out of 5 stars My First Book, Pretty Good
This was the first book I ever got on screenwriting, and found it useful, but long. Try The Bare Bones Book of Screenwriting for a simple beginner's guide to format, story and business.

5-0 out of 5 stars Solid information and a entertaining read.
I have the hardcover of this book from when it came out. I read this book cover to cover before I even considered what it meant to be a writer. I've produced a few scripts and read dozens more now and can promise that the information inside is both interesting and reasonably accurate.
For someone who isn't a published author, this book is filled with sound reasonable advice. If you need someone to teach the basics of grammer, how many lines on a page, how wide the margins should be and other such minutia; then this is not the book to help you.I'd suggest going back to your english teacher for that or perhaps just reading a script.
Scriptwriting is a art that like most art, needs someone to appreciate it.If you can't sell your script; then you aren't getting the point of writing.If you have a bookshelf that's full of writing books, then pick out your second favorite one and replace it with this.It'll be worth the read. ... Read more

5. Screen & Stage Marketing Secrets
by James Russell
Kindle Edition: Pages (2000-01-01)
list price: US$34.95
Asin: B003A4I9VK
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The ultimate marketing manual for screenwriters and playwrights who need to sell their scripts. Break down the firewalls to get your script read by those who have the power to buy. Learn the inside secrets to insure your script obtains recognition from the crowd, receive good coverage and move on up the development ladder leading to a sale. No other screenplay book describes exactly how to perform professional submissions to agents, producers and production companies.Here you will learn how to clean up your script to eliminate those dangerous elements Story Analyst see and toss the script aside with a rejection slip.Learn the inside secrets of breaking down the protective firewalls to get your scripts read by those who have the power to buy.You will learn how to obtain an agent and how to submit your scripts to production companies without an agent and be taken seriously.Don't let the firewalls stop you from selling your script.Order this book, fix the errors in your scripts and you will be breaking in!Book is acclaimed as an award by many screenplay contests.This book can get your script sold! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

1-0 out of 5 stars Warning! Horrified to find Utterly Wrong Info!
I have no need for such a book by such an amateur, and didn't have to buy it to find errors while doing an internetsearch of my own firm. I was horrified to find my company (established 1997)listed in this sloppy self-published stack of errors (without permission) my (wrong) firm name and my (wrong) address and my (wrong) phone number -- and worst of all -- the utter lie that I charge a reading fee of 15%!I don't charge ANY percentage for anything, Richwood Script + Media is a confidential hourly consultancy, period.He may not understand the difference.Be warned.

If this Russell character can get so much wrong in one sentence, how could you trust the rest of his pages? Ugh.You get what you pay for.If you need marketing help, find a pro.We're out there (but not as listed in this sorry pile of paper.)Good luck...

2-0 out of 5 stars Poorly Presented
I've been selling playscripts for forty years, and taught scriptwriting for thirty.My first successful play (and later, film) submissions happened when I used The Writer's Digest rules.Everything a playwright or screenwriter needs to know is in that book.(And please, always buy the current year!)

Assuming everyone knows about The Writer's Digest and its excellent reputation, here are a few words about "Screen & Stage Marketing Secrets."Those words are:Disorganized, poorly laid-out, drifting, unnecessary, confusing, and overpriced.

If you feel the need the spend money on what I would have titled "Some Adequate Ideas About Screenplay Submission and Christian Trap Shooting," also consider another scriptwriter's book.It will absolutely improve your scriptwriting skills.It's entitled "A (Screen Or Stage) Play In A Day," and is available here at Amazon.You can also download it right now at lulu dot com.

But please . . . consider sticking with the tried and true formatting and submission information laid out by The Writer's Digest.This book just isn't necessary for anyone with common sense and basic English skills.

5-0 out of 5 stars All the basics of selling and marketing a script
Learn all the basics of selling and marketing a script through the practical marketing guide Screen & Stage Marketing Secrets: Everything You Need To Know To Market Your Screenplay, TV Or Stage Play Script. This goes beyond advice on how to produce a script to focus on the nuts and bolts of how to market and protect one, from contacting production companies and increasing the possibility of a response to accessing the TV market. You don't have to have an agent to do it right - but you do have to have industry savvy, which Screen & Stage Marketing Secrets will provide.

2-0 out of 5 stars Quirky book
Some excerpts from the book:

- A selection of remarks about God and quotes from the Bible in the front matter. Not a bad thing, just a bit unexpected in a book about marketing for the screen and stage.

- Half of the next page is about where to buy this book. If you're holding the book, the odds are good you don't need that information by then.

- Under 'Author Biography' on the first page: "No recognition is desired by the author. Displaying credentials serves no purpose." Well, yes it does. It tells you what experience the author has, his level of 'authority' on the subject matter, what point of view he's writing from - a studio exec will have a different point of view than a script reader.

- "No Chapter 13" (yet there's a page number for it)

- "Chapter 14 - Introduction to Trap Shooting" and "Trap Shooting Writing Opportunities." No, I am not kidding. The author is sure that you'll meet people here. You just might, but how many of them are Hollywood types who can or will actually do anything for you is questionable. It doesn't matter because this section isn't about shmoozing; it instead extolls the virtues of trap shooting as an obsession.

The author also names 5 "must-see" movies - which are actually six. Three are classics: "The Terminator" (which he calls "Terminator 1") and "Terminator 2" (which is actually titled "Terminator 2: Judgment Day"), and "It's a Wonderful Life." No, I'm not being picky. If you're going to write about screenwriting, it's lazy not to bother to get the titles right.

He includes "The Cormorant," and "England Made Me," which he "believe[s] were filmed by British prodcos." Shouldn't an author have done his research for a book on this topic? (The sixth one is "The Last Shout," a TV-movie made from a British comedy series. Draw your own conclusions on that one.)

- "The 7-Day Plan To Be A Better Christian!" (Not a chapter, just a page, but not relevant to the subject either.)

I'm not faulting the author for his obsessions, but the book needs better focus on the topic at hand. One doesn't pay [$$$] for a hodge-podge of script marketing, Christian prosletyzing, and how to get into trap shooting.

It's also surprisingly amateurishly formatted for the price. The entire thing is in Courier font with an extra space between chapters. The book has few charts or lists (learn to use bullets!), and no index. It needs better formatting, an index, and someone besides the author to edit it.

The quality of the book overall (poor formatting, mediocre editing, fuzzy focus, lack of credentials, sloppy research, lazy writing, and lack of accuracy in something as ordinary as a film title) make me question the value and credibility of the overall content.

5-0 out of 5 stars Novel Advice Book Review
BOOK REVIEW BY NOVEL ADVICE SCREEN & STAGE MARKETING SECRETS by James RussellWhat this book is not . . . it is not a how-to-write book and it is not limited just to those who write screen and/or stage plays. Inside the glossy cover lies a treasure trove of information-information about creating a professional manuscript and presentation.On page one the journey begins . . .FADE INAll too often professionalism is missing from many writer's works. And, the absence of that essential facet dooms a writer to the dismay of continued rejection and frustration for those who are looking for well-written, polished works. What follows, then, is a well-written instructional manual meant to give you the tools necessary to polish and present your work.There are rules in the world of writing, rules that need to be kept in order to market and sell any type of writing. James Russell did not make those rules, but in this book he brings them to our attention. He tells us that "these rules are called 'firewalls' designed to keep unprofessional writers out of the money." While he is writing to screen and stage play writers, those words ring true for all writers.Some of the highlights of SCREEN & STAGE MARKETING SECRETS are: * *Developing creativity & 5 basic story tips universal to all fiction writing*Tools for streamlining your writing*Advice from the experts-agents, producers, publishers, and readers*Registering your Copyrights*Rules for mailing scripts/what to do/what not to do*Making multiple submissions*Marketing your product*Agent & Management firm listingsOne of the most enlightening and important chapters in this book is "Writer Survival Tips." Here you will find the kind of no nonsense things that mark a true professional, things that often spell the difference between acceptance and rejection.This book is so packed with information that I found it difficult to decide just which to write about. Until now I'd never entertained the idea of writing screen or stage plays. However, after reviewing SCREEN & STAGE MARKETING SECRETS, the idea intrigues me. No matter what type of writing I embark on, this book has much information to share with me.The price of this book is not small. But it is a worthwhile investment for those committed to not only writing screen and script plays, but in writing them with excellence.FADE OUT - Lin Mouat e-mail:linmouat@home.com ... Read more

6. Screenwriting 101: How to Get Your Movie Idea Onto the Silver Screen
by Robert Ebert
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-08-07)
list price: US$9.97
Asin: B003YRIKMG
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Do you love movies…the action... the drama... and amazing stories told on the silver screen?

Do you have a movie (or TV) idea... but don't know what to do with it? If so, then you've found the right book!

There are so many people out there that have amazing movie ideas. Ordinary people just like you and me. Where do you think the great movies we love came from?

Not from Hollywood superwriters.

Well, some of them did, but not all.

Many of the great movie ideas you see on the silver screen originated in John Smith's mind or Jessica Normal's diary. It’s because people are creative; they can't help but create.

The world is full of artists that don't even realize it. The only difference between them and you is that they knew what to do with their ideas while many people do not.

Many of us have great movie ideas, but don't do anything with them because we don't know how to make a movie... But you don't have to know how to make a movie; you just have to know about screenwriting.

Screenwriting is the process of taking your movie (or TV) idea and turning it into something tangible.It’s the process of putting your idea down on paper.

All movies start as a screenplay.Writing a screenplay allows a director to look at your movie idea and picture it. It allows them to see what you've already seen in your imagination.

Many people do screenwriting, but fail to get the attention of the most important people. And many people with good ideas never even write a screenplay. Only a select few of screenplays ever get rolling into a real movie.

Think about it, there are so many movies out there that have never been made because people didn't know how to write a screenplay.

If you don't know anything about screenwriting, you could be depriving the world of your genius idea. If you never take the chance, your idea will only stay in your head... But many people want to see their ideas come to life; they just don't know where to start.

It's not hard to write a good screenplay and catch the right eye; you just have to know what you're doing.

This is a complete guide to screenwriting. Everything you need to know about screenwriting is in this simple, easy to understand guide so that you can learn all there is to know about screenwriting. Things like:

- Introduction to Screenwriting: Start formulating your script today
- What Is A Script? You might be surprised to find out about some of these elements that are often over looked
- The Good from The Bad: Pointers that help take your movie idea from good to great
- Script Styles: Effectively communicate your idea through the right kind of script
- Script Layout: Follow these pointers to make sure your script makes it past the first screening
- Action and Scene Headings: A lot of novices miss these simple but important element, don't be one of them!
- Introducing Your Characters: Tricks and tips to pull this off like the pros
- Page Formatting: It is very important to properly format the first and last pages, learn how here.
- An Array of Shots: Capture your seen with the best shot possible
- A Series of Shots: Keys to working shots together in the most powerful and professional ways
- Titles and Opening Credits: Don't miss these important elements to any screenplay that a lot of people overlook
- Production Drafts: Take your screenplay to the next level with a production draft
- Page Locking: Keep track of changes and keep your movie organized for production with these keys
- Screenwriting Software: Valuable tips on what to avoid and what will help you
- Do's and Don'ts: Tips on how to avoid the most obvious mistakes and keep your script looking great
- Plus much, MUCH MORE!

This just scratches the surface of what’s in this book. If you've ever been interested in screenwriting, but didn't know where to start, then this book will help you get started on the right foot. It contains everything you need to know to help you write an amazing screenplay today!
... Read more

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