Understanding Screenwriting: Learning from Good, Not-Quite-So-Good, and Bad Screenplays

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9780826429391: Understanding Screenwriting: Learning from Good, Not-Quite-So-Good, and Bad Screenplays
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From the author's introdution:

This book isn't about me, it's about you. I am a teacher, not a guru. As a wise teacher once said, "With a guru it is all about the guru―his vision and the students' loyalty to him. Whereas with a teacher, it is all about the students learning." You should be reading this book because you, as screenwriters, directors, producers, development executives, critics, historians, students in thosedisciplines, and just plain movie fans want to learn about screenplays.

Feisty, clever, entertaining, and at times incredibly arch and cutting, Tom Stempel's Understanding Screenwriting delivers a practical how-to (or how-NOT-to) guide to writing a screenplay. Why study a bad screenplay? For the simple fact that it will train you to look for problems in your own work and avoid them in the future.

· Why does Rear Window's success owe more to John Michael Hayes's screenplay than Alfred Hitchcock's directing?

· Why is Bull Durham's "I believe in the church of baseball" one of the great opening lines in the history of movies?

· Why is James Cameron's first draft screenplay for Titanic better than the film?

· What can we learn from Kinsey about writing about sex for American audiences?

· Why is Lawrence of Arabia one of the best examples of "writing for performance" in films, not only the performances of the actors, but also of the director, cinematographer, and composer?

Stempel guides the reader through a cross section of cinema: historical epic, adventure,science fiction, teen comedy, drama, romantic comedy, suspense―films with budgets large and small. selective in its discussions and (sometimes withering) analyses, Stempel dissects the blockbusters and the bombs, discusses why certain aspects of a screenplay work and others do not, explains the difference between the film we watch and what was, the screenplay, and lays out some of screenwriting's hard and fast taboos, only to give examples of screenplays that break them, with successful results. Full of insight for novice and expert screenwriters alike, Understanding Screenwriting is the perfect book for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of how screenplays work.

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About the Author:

Tom Stempel is the author of five books, two of which were published by Continuum—FrameWork: A History of Screenwriting in American Film and Storytellers to the Nation: A History of American Television Writing—the others being Screenwriter: The Life of Nunnally Johnson; Screenwriting; and American Audiences on Movies and Moviegoing. He is Professor of Cinema, Cinema-Television Department, Los Angeles City College. He has taught on these subjects for more than thirty years.

Review:

"Stempel takes some of his best lessons from some of theworst screenplays to teach the reader that you can learn as much from mistakesas masterpieces. The author also addresses the multiple levels of screenwriting—fromcrafting a performance to writing for special effects." —Script Magazine
"...the book will have an audience among prospective screenwriters, but it also merits the attention of others involved in the medium...Summing Up: Recommended. All film collections, all levels." - S. B. DeMasi, CHOICE, September 2008 (S. B. DeMasi CHOICE)

"Understanding Screenwriting: Learning from Good, Not-Quite-So-Good, and Bad Screenplays is more than just another 'how to write' guide for aspiring film writers: it uses actual productions to analyze what makes a screenplay successful — or not. Stories highlight writers' works and juxtapose short takes with longer analysis of key works in the industry, making it the perfect guide for any library strong in screenwriting and drama." —Midwest Book Review, December 2008

“Stempel takes some of his best lessons from some of theworst screenplays to teach the reader that you can learn as much from mistakesas masterpieces. The author also addresses the multiple levels of screenwriting—fromcrafting a performance to writing for special effects.” –Script Magazine
“...the book will have an audience among prospective screenwriters, but it also merits the attention of others involved in the medium...Summing Up: Recommended. All film collections, all levels.” - S. B. DeMasi, CHOICE, September 2008 (Sanford Lakoff CHOICE)

Understanding Screenwriting: Learning from Good, Not-Quite-So-Good, and Bad Screenplays is more than just another 'how to write’ guide for aspiring film writers: it uses actual productions to analyze what makes a screenplay successful – or not. Stories highlight writers’ works and juxtapose short takes with longer analysis of key works in the industry, making it the perfect guide for any library strong in screenwriting and drama.” –Midwest Book Review, December 2008

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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