Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Want to Write a Screenplay?

It's Book it Wednesday! A reading suggestion for you today. Each Wednesday I suggest a book or blog that has made a real difference in my personal life and/or business life.  I do have a long, long list. I love books and I read a lot. 

If you want to experience the true joy of filmmaking without all of the headaches, the transportation of equipment, the hiring of crews, location scouting, make-up, lights, cameras, C-Stands, etc. well you could always just write screenplays for a living. That would do it. That is if you are creative and have a story to tell and... 
...if you know how to write screenplays! 

Seems like everyone I have met for the past thirty years or so is or was writing a screenplay or they had a great idea for a movie or screenplay. Most people who boast of writing a movie never, ever take the time to write an actual screenplay. I was no different in this respect. I had tons of ideas for movies (still do) and I did want to turn them into screenplays (and then movies). But then I took action. It was my passion that drove me. 

I started writing early in my life and when I found an interest in making movies, then and only then did I start reading and researching on how to actually write a screenplay.  I have tons of books on the subject. Here's my favorite. 

Today’s selection is Screenplay - The Foundations of Screenwriting – A Step-by-Step Guide form Concept to Finished Script by Syd Field (or I should say the late Syd Field as he passed a few years ago).  

This was the first book I ever purchased on screenwriting. I remember being so excited to just buy it! II felt important! I read it on the plane out to L.A. in 1980. I finished the last few pages just as we were landing (timing is everything). Two action steps met that year: first screenplay book and first trip to Hollywood. By the way. I bought this same book for my son who just graduated from Full Sail University with a degree in Filmmaking. Aaron, I hope you read it!

Here is a short description from (available for $12.95).

A generation of screenwriters has used Syd Field’s bestselling books to ignite successful careers in film. Now the celebrated producer, lecturer, teacher, and bestselling author has updated his classic guide for a new generation of filmmakers, offering a fresh insider’s perspective on the film industry today. From concept to character, from opening scene to finished script, here are easily understood guidelines to help aspiring screenwriters—from novices to practiced writers—hone their craft. Filled with updated material—including all-new personal anecdotes and insights, guidelines on marketing and collaboration, plus analyses of recent films, from American Beauty to Lord of the RingsScreenplay presents a step-by-step, comprehensive technique for writing the screenplay that will succeed in Hollywood. Discover:

•Why the first ten pages of your script are crucially important
•How to visually “grab” the reader from page one, word one
•Why structure and character are the essential foundation of your screenplay
•How to adapt a novel, a play, or an article into a screenplay
•Tips on protecting your work—three legal ways to claim ownership of your screenplay
•The essentials of writing great dialogue, creating character, building a story line, overcoming writer’s block, getting an agent, and much more.

With this newly updated edition of his bestselling classic, Syd Field proves yet again why he is revered as the master of the screenplay—and why his celebrated guide has become the industry’s gold standard for successful screenwriting.
I suggest this book for several reasons. For one thing it's a good read. For another thing if you want to be in this business you should know something about story structure. When proposing a video project to a client you want to be able to paint a vivid picture for your potential client. Well this book will help you learn how to paint that picture. 

Screenplay clearly defines a great process and the essential ingredient of every story: a beginning, middle and end. Even if you are not going to write a screenplay this book will give you a better understanding of story structure and of how to create and edit an effective video. 

Oh... and I did write a screenplay! Just one time...  for my feature Good Cop Bad Cop but once was enough. I'm a Screenwriter! Yay for me!

I'll see you next Wednesday with another selection. 

May the Force be with You!

Robert Hanley
CEO Home Video Studio

Copyright © 2017

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