The Screenwriter's Survival Guide: Or, Guerrilla Meeting Tactics and Other Acts of War

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9780446676229: The Screenwriter's Survival Guide: Or, Guerrilla Meeting Tactics and Other Acts of War
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Veteran screenwriter Max Adams takes readers through the steps to selling a screenplay in Hollywood and getting a movie produced. Filled with practical advice, sample letters, forms, contracts and format pages, this book covers topics essential to a screenwriter's life.

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Review:

Are you looking for one of the secret decoder rings owned by all successful screenwriters? Or at least a map with a spot marked X? Sit down with Max Adams. She'll tell you all about the writer's place in Hollywood.

Adams courteously assumes that you can already write or that you can at least get your hands on one of the zillions of books about writing techniques. She concentrates on what you really want to know. For example:

The screenwriter's uniform is (and this is unisex): jeans, high top sneakers, a plain T-shirt, and a loose casual jacket.... And the sneakers are always frighteningly clean, as in "they may be sneakers, but by gum, they glow like they just came out of the box." Guys? No ties. No suits. I'm not kidding. If you wear a suit and tie to a meeting, people will mock you. Girls? No dresses. Actresses wear dresses. Screenwriters wear sneakers and jeans.

Her authority is unmistakable. After scooping up the prizes at a number of prestigious screenwriting contests, like the Nicholl Fellowship and the Austin Heart of Film Festival, Adams launched her Hollywood career with a big spec script sale (Excess Baggage).

The Screenwriter's Survival Guide delivers 64 pithy chapters, such as "Don't Write Batman" and "What You Really Get Paid." Other topics include pitching, the etiquette of "getting read," and the care and feeding of agents. Adams also provides lists of screenwriters' directories and organizations, a generic release form, format examples for cover pages and query letters, and other useful resources.

The book shines with Adams's streetwise attitude. She shares her worst Hollywood memories--the cold calls to producers, the credit arbitrations, and the meetings, meetings, meetings--as well as her victories. Do successful screenwriters ever stop feeling insecure? Check with Adams: "Every time I turn something in, I have this feeling of doom, like, Well, that's it, my career's over now." Max Adams has the inside story and she tells all. --Blaise Selby

From the Author:

This book is advice I have given that other people thought was important enough to save. It's feature advice. That only makes sense. I write features. TV people will have to wait till Jeff Lowell writes a book. (Jeff, get cracking.) But for better or worse, here it is. Advice from the front. I hope it helps.

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