David Howard, Edward Mabley: The Tools of Screenwriting

In The Tools of Screenwriting, David Howard and Edward Mabley illuminate the essential elements of cinematic storytelling, and reveal the central principles that all good screenplays share. The authors address questions of dramatic structure, plot, dialogue, character development, setting, imagery, and other crucial topics as they apply to the special art of filmmaking.

Howard and Mabley also demonstrate how, on a practical level, the tools of screenwriting work in sixteen notable films, including Citizen Cane, E.T., One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Rashomon, The Godfather, North by Northwest, Chinatown, and sex, lies, and videotape.


“David Howard calls this book ‘a writer’s guide.’ I think it’s a wonderful and indispensable producer’s guide to story, storytelling, and screenwriting.”—Lawrence Turman, producer of The Graduate, Running Scared, The Flim-Flam Man, and other films

“What David Howard has done with The Tools of Screenwriting is to reveal for me and for all readers just how stories work; he shows that there are no absolute rules, but there are principles that can help a beginning writer gain understanding of all the elements that go into the creation of a ‘good story well told.’”—Diane Keaton

The Tools of Screenwriting is the best primer on the craft, far better than the usual paint-by-the-numbers sort of books that abound.”—Frank Pierson, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Cool Hand Luke, Dog Day Afternoon, Presumed Innocent, and A Star is Born

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

Writing for the screen is quirky business. A writer must labor meticulously over his or her prose, yet very little of that prose is ever heard by filmgoers. The few words that do reach the audience, in the form of the characters’ dialogue, are, according to Robert McKee, best left to last in the writing process. (“As Alfred Hitchcock once remarked, ‘When the screenplay has been written and the dialogue has been added, we’re ready to shoot.’ “)

In Story, McKee puts into book form what he has been teaching screenwriters for years in his seminar on story structure, which is considered by many to be a prerequisite to the film biz. (The long list of film and television projects that McKee’s students have written, directed, or produced includes Air Force One, The Deer Hunter, E.R., A Fish Called Wanda, Forrest Gump, NYPD Blue, and Sleepless in Seattle.)

Legions of writers flock to Hollywood in search of easy money, calculating the best way to get rich quick. This book is not for them. McKee is passionate about the art of screenwriting. “No one needs yet another recipe book on how to reheat Hollywood leftovers,” he writes. “We need a rediscovery of the underlying tenets of our art, the guiding principles that liberate talent.” Story is a true path to just such a rediscovery. In it, McKee offers so much sound advice, drawing from sources as wide ranging as Aristotle and Casablanca, Stanislavski and Chinatown, that it is impossible not to come away feeling immeasurably better equipped to write a screenplay and infinitely more inspired to write a brilliant one.–Jane Steinberg

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Jennifer Van Sijll: Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know

There are countless books on how to write a screenplay for the silver screen; probably as many as there are aspiring screenwriters out there.

However, most of them work the creative angle: how to set up a scene, how to create compelling characters, etc. How many of them look at filmmaking technique as a way of translating the words onto the page to the screen? Given that modern filmmakers have a host of techniques in order to tell a story (without people on the screen babbling at one another), why not introduce the novice screenwriter to some of them?

That’s the question that Jennifer Van Sijll, a screenwriting teacher from San Francisco State University, addresses in her new book, Cinematic Storytelling. Much like Michael Wiese’s previous book, Animation Unleashed, Cinematic Storytelling is an easy-to-read, well illustrated look at how a screenwriter can tell – or reinforce – a story without infodumps and unnecessary dialogue.

Using examples from classic movies like Natural Born Killers, The Piano, Fatal Attraction, Raging Bull, Psycho, Citizen Kane, or Touch of Evil (she certainly likes her Orson Welles, and with very good reason), Van Sijll demonstrates the various techniques available to the director or editor, and how a writer can use those elements to make a good story even better. Pokračování

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

With the average payment for a screenplay over $100,000, every writer knows that screenwriting is where the money is. In this guide, successful screenwriter and teacher Cynthia Whitcomb shares her extensive knowledge on writing for the screen. This book will teach you her proven techniques, including how to:

• test an idea for its commercial potential
• plan a compelling script
• write great openings and endings
• create characters that grow and evolve
• revise and hone your script to attract Hollywood agents and producers

Includes lists of the best movies to study—and why!

Cynthia Whitcomb has sold more than 70 feature-length screenplays, 25 of which have been filmed. She has made millions of dollars for her work, and her scripts have won and been nominated for many awards, including the Emmy Award, Cable Ace Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award, Humanitas Award, and Writers Guild of America Awards. Her students have also gone on to write successful box-office hits. She has taught screenwriting for many years, including seven at the acclaimed UCLA Film School.

Whitcomb’s commercial success and teaching experience make this an essential resource for anyone who wants to write winning scripts for Hollywood.

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Linda Hutcheons: A Theory of Adaptation

A Theory of Adaptation presents a comprehensive and general theory of adaptations. Adaptations are widespread and universal. They seem common and nautral, but pose curious problems in content, structure, and intertextual politics. The work here looks to develop a theory of adaptations in general, not just with novels to film. Hutcheon wishes to consider adaptations as lateral, not vertical. One does not experience adaptations successively starting from the original work, rather the works are a large collection to be navigated. One might see an adaptation before the original. Hutcheon also wishes to view adaptations as adaptations, not as independent works. What makes them work and desirable as adaptations? There are three ways of story engagement: telling, showing, and interactivity.

One dimension that is missing from this, I think, is a critical aesthetics of adaptations. Given a set of adaptations, how can or should one judge them with respect to each other and the adapted work? In my study of games, I think that aesthetics can come from thinking about the mechanics and models of the narrative worlds, but this is, of course, just one perspective. Hutcheon avoids judgments specifically for the purpose of opening up literary acceptance to legitimize adaptations in the first place.

This perspective comes particularly from translation studies, which generally places the original work and language on a pedestal, asserting its supremacy to any translation or adaptation that may be made of it. Only recently has the perspective changed to view translations as weaving the original text into the culture of the target language (Bassnett), or seeing translation as breathing life into a text (Toury). Pokračování

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Barry Turner: The Screenwriter’s Handbook

From the writers, editors and compilers of the highly successful The Writer’s Handbook comes the first edition of The Screenwriter’s Handbook, an indispensible companion for everyone who commissions screenwriters, works with them or writes (or wants their chance to write) for the screen.

Containing thousands of entries covering every aspect of scriptwriting, with provocative articles and useful advice from leading representatives of the trade, this practical, straightforward guide, with indexes to aid quick searches, provides full details on the core markets and the way the television and film industries are going. In addition to the key areas of UK and US film and TV agents and production companies, writers’ courses and circles, festivals, grants and prizes, the guide also offers invaluable expert advice on contracts, copyright, and taxation.

‘At last, all the essential information in one place – a boon for all screenwriters.’ -Jake Eberts, Executive Producer of Dances with Wolves, Chicken Run and A River Runs Through It

‘Screenwriters are the backbone to our industry, and The Screenwriter’s Handbook is set to become an essential tool for their craft’ – Amanda Nevill, Director, British Film Institute

‘You’ve written a screenplay. It could be the next Thelma & Louise, Good Will Hunting or Tstosi. Great – but how do you sell it? This book is your bible to breaking into the world of movies and television. The Screenwriter’s Handbook is crammed with thousands of useful resources — from production companies to agents. It’s not a dry reference guide — it’s loaded with brilliant articles written by industry insiders to motivate, inspire and guide. It will help the aspirant screen scribe avoid the pitfalls of working with a partner, negotiating contracts, copyright and payment. Practical, easy to read, straightforward, this resource should take pride of place on your work desk, along with black coffee, Marlboro Lights and sharp pencils. Get it today. You could be rehearsing your acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay at next year’s Oscars.’ – Anthony Ehlers, The Write Co Website

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Michele Hilmes, Jason Loviglio: Radio Reader: Essays in the Cultural History of Radio

The contributors to this volume persuasively argue that the radio has been at the center of the American imaginative and political life in the twentieth century.an important and entertaining book by two leading scholars. — Lary May, author of The Big Tomorrow, Hollywood and the Politics of the American Way

From music to mysteries, call-ins to comedy, advertising to advocacy, and religion to racial uplift, it’s all here in Radio Reader. — George Lipsitz, author of Time Passages

Radio had been ubiquitous in American life since the late 1920s. With this seminal book, we may now begin to understand what this has meant to our civilization. Bravo! — J. Fred MacDonald, Professor Emeritus, Northeastern Illinois University

Long marginalized in American media historiography, radio finally receives fitting scholarly treatment. Radio Reader should be required reading for any serious student of media history. — Robert C. Allen, Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Radio Reader re-invents the radio as an object of study by letting us hear disembodied and contradictory voices from the past. An indispensable collection! — Janet Staiger, William P. Hobby Centennial Professor of Communication, University of Texas at Austin.

Radio Reader is a powerful report on the powerful history of a powerful medium. It weaves tales of everyday life with stories about the transformation radio has gone through. It is captivatingly told, and ;eaves the reader not only with a wistful longing for the early period of radio, but also a wish to do research on the subject oneself. That is how strong this book is. — Oystein Hide, University of Southampton,Techné

The Radio Reader offers a broad, interdisciplinary perspective on radio broadcasting in the 20th century. — Elizabeth Hayes, University of Iowa, Journal of Communication

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