Complete Idiots Guide to Screenwriting

Front Cover
Penguin, 2004 - Performing Arts - 390 pages
8 Reviews
Updated for today's screenwriting market.

This popular guide includes even more insider advice on the craft and business of screenwriting. From picking a winning idea to packaging a new script for sale, this updated edition offers tips and tricks for every stage of the process, as well as new information on digital video, writing video games, new resources for staged readings, tips on collaboration, and a primer for pitching a project. Also included is a chapter on writing for television.
  

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Review: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Screenwriting (The Complete Idiot's Guides)

User Review  - Ralph Halse - Goodreads

While slightly outdated, this book provides an excellent insight into an approach to Screenwriting. It should serve as reminder to look back on when milestones are met and checks and balances are required to view the way forward. Read full review

Review: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Screenwriting (The Complete Idiot's Guides)

User Review  - ShermanWritingServices - Goodreads

Good insight into Hollywood process. Not the best "how-to" book but you learn alot about what comes after the script is written. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

The Evolution of Storytelling
1
History Lessons Make Better Writers
3
The Greeks Got It Started in the West
5
Aristotle and the ThreeAct Structure
6
Classic Stories Are Immortal
7
Story and the Mind
8
Hegel Freud Sex and Stanislavsky
9
Carl Jung and the Symbolic World
11
Writing the Feature Film
183
Making the Beginning Middle and End Work
184
First Acts Dont Last Forever but a Shaping Force Endures
187
The Second Act Is the Movie
191
Usually the Second Act Most Needs Fixing
192
The Midpoint and the Heros Orientation
193
The Short but Crucial Third Act
194
Tag Youre a Denouement with a Coda
195

Joseph Campbells Powerful Myths
13
Flowing Onward
14
That Fellow Shakespeare
17
Shakespeare in Love
18
Shakespeares Secret
19
Pages from History
20
Dialogue May or May Not Be the Thing
21
Shakespeares Continuing Influence
22
Birth of the Movies
27
The Worldwide Storytelling Tradition
28
Influences of the Great Playwrights
29
The Great Storytellers
31
The Brothers Lumiere and Other Lights
35
Thomas Edison and the Monopoly That Didnt Work
36
How Tinseltown Was Born
37
From Scenario to Screenplay
39
How Screenwritinq Began
40
Frances Marion and the Scenario Queens
41
What the Transition to Sound Did
43
Hollywood the World and Migrating Writers
45
Whats a Screwball Comedy Anyway?
47
The Impact of I939 Possibly Hollywoods Greatest Year
48
From the Big Screen to the Computer Screen
51
Movies After World War II the Whole World Changed
52
How Television Transformed Hollywood
54
The Power Shifter
55
The Birth of the Antihero and the Death of Feel Good
56
Hollywood Genres Dont Change but the Outlet Does
58
A Hollywood World in the Digital Age
60
What to Write
63
Sources for Movie Ideas That Will Sell
65
Reading the Newspaper Like a Screenwriter
66
Recycling Old Movies
67
How to Secure the Rights and Where to Sell Them
68
How to Know If Your Original Idea is Truly Original
70
Comics to Movies to TV to Video Games
72
Anything Males Eighteen to ThirtyFour Like
73
The Real Hollywood Boom Is in Video Games
74
Movies Are Not Books or Plays
77
Why You Dont Write a Screenplay Like a Stage Play
78
What a Book Can Do That a Movie Cannot
83
The Differences in Television and Movie Scripts
85
Elements to Remember When Writing a Script
87
What Your Audience Really Wants to See
89
What That Really Means
90
Helping Your Viewer Escape from Reality
92
Pick a Genre and Pick Success
94
Writing for the Worldwide Audience
98
Write with Children in Mind and Win
99
Defining Your Movie
105
First a Premise
106
If You Want to Send a Message Use EMail
109
Outlines Synopses and Treatments
110
High Concepts and Mixed Ideas
112
The AllImportant TwentyFive Words or Less
113
Honing Your Idea into an Exciting Storyline
114
Whats Hot Whats Not and Whats in Your Heart
117
Tastes Change with Generations
118
What Goes Around Comes Back Around
120
What They Like Around the World
121
Predicting the Future by Demographics
122
Write What You Want to See on the Screen
127
Your Screenwriting Schedule and Why It Is Essential
129
Getting It Done by Scenes
130
Setting Up a Schedule That Works
133
Taking Your Schedule Seriously
135
The Day You Become a Screenwriter
138
How to Write Your Screenplay
141
Preparing Your Outline and Reordering Scenes
143
Sorting Out Your Premise
144
Comparing Your Log Line to Other Movies
145
The Mastermind Method
146
The Beauty of the 3x5 Card
148
Outlining by ThreeMinute Scenes
149
OneSheets Synopses and Treatments
150
Building the Perfect Blueprint
152
The AllImportant First Ten Pages
155
Back Story Is for the Writer Not the Viewer
156
The Life of a Script Reader and What It Means to You
158
Opening Scenes We Dont Forget
160
How the Digital Age Affects Screenplay Openings
164
An Opening Page for You
166
The Least You Need to Know
167
The Structure of Hollywood Movies
169
Syd Fields Paradigm
174
New Approaches and Other Ideas
176
The Screenplay StepbyStep
197
The AllImportant Initial Concept
198
Giving Yourself the Proper Treatment
199
Drafting Beats Dreaming
200
Winning the Daily Battle with the Hemingway Trick
210
Navigating the Rewrite
211
Why First Drafts Are Drafty
212
Scene Length and Readability
215
Collaborators and Craft
216
Who Should Read Your Script and Why
218
The Difference Between a Rewrite and a Polish
219
Resources for Better Rewriting
221
Polish Makes Perfect
225
What It Takes to Get a Script Onscreen
226
Learning the Ropes from the Writers Guild of America
228
Dialogue Subtext and Other Tools
230
How You Know When Its Ready
234
The Least You Need to Know
236
PostScript Possibilities
237
What a Reading Can Show You
239
The Theatrical Tradition in Hollywood
240
How to Find Actors for a Reading
241
Organizing a Reading That Works
244
Writers Conferences and Other Irregularities
248
Why the Screenplay Is Merely a Blueprint
251
What You Should Know About Movie Budgets
252
How Your Cowboy Villain Became an English Terrorist
255
Star Power Changes Screenplays
256
How a Purchased Script Gets Read
259
Script Resources That You Should Explore
261
The Real Role of the Screenwriter
263
Writing for the Cineplex Patron
264
Are Auteurs Dying in a Screenwriter Uprising?
266
What Happens After a Script Is Bought
267
How Hollywood Is Changing and What You Can Do to Help
271
Writing for Television
275
The TV Movie and the SevenAct Structure
276
The TV Queue That Supposedly Doesnt Exist
281
Plotting by Network
283
A Long Form Is Not What You Fill Out to Sell a Miniseries
284
The Reality of Reality Shows
285
If the Ideas That Good Write a Book
286
Filmmaking Your Way to Hollywood Success
289
How Short Films Affect Screenwritinq
290
Downloads Debuts and Short Films
291
Short Animated Films
292
Filming Your Own Feature Script
294
Its All in the Details
297
Sweating the Small Stuff
299
Two Brads Not Three
300
Simple Is Elegant
303
The Funky Fonts Dont Fly
305
Shane Black and Other Quirky Perqers
306
Hollywood and Ageism
307
Persistence Makes Perfect
309
Fixing Amateur Technical Mistakes
311
Flashbacks and Foolish Foibles
312
Dont You Just Love Watching People Talk on the Phone While Theyre Eating?
314
Voiceovers as Sleep Aids
317
Cute Is for Babies
318
Who Needs Actors and Directors Anyway?
320
The Mentor Merry GoRount
323
The Galloping Gurus
324
Book Writers and RealLife Experience
326
Sherwood Oaks Experimental College and Other Legitimate Resources
327
Words into Pictures and the Writers Guild
329
Online Oracles and Internet Interpreters
331
Schools and Other Institutions
332
The Truth About Selling Scripts
335
How to Keep Your Query Letter Out of the Round File and Your Project on Their Mind
336
The Telephone as Weapon of Choice
340
EMails and Other Specious Species
342
The Usual Channels Are There for a Reason
343
How the Internet Changed the Access Codes
345
FleshandBlood Contacts Are Still the Most Sexy
346
Plotting Your Screenwriting Career
349
When to Start Your Next Script
350
Do You Need to Live in LA?
351
The Big Picture Is Not Just a Movie
352
The W6A Agent List and Agent Myths
354
Somebody Who Knows SomebodyHow It Usually Works
356
Writers Guide to Hollywood and Other Effective PostScreenplay Resources
358
Script Formats
361
Web Resources
369
Index
371
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Skip Press is a veteran author, screenwriter, online writing instructor, and former editor of Entertainment Monthly. He has written and sold television scripts, feature films, plays, and a variety of books, including the acclaimed Writer's Guide to Hollywood Producers, Directors, and Screenwriting Agents and How to Write What You Want & Sell What You Write, now in its second edition.

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