How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make
by Denny Martin Flinn
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Lone Eagle
List Price: $16.95
Your Price: $12.40
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All good screenplays are unique, but all bad screenplays are the same. Flinn's book will teach the reader how to avoid the pitfalls of bad screenwriting and arrive at one's own destination intact.
How Not to Write a Screenplay is an invaluable addition to any aspiring screenwriter's shelf--and you'd best make the shelf within arm's reach of the computer. Author Dean Martin Flinn, an experienced script reader, details the common rookie mistakes that drive script readers crazy. Flinn makes no pretense of being able to teach anyone how to write the next Great American Film--or for that matter the next Stupid Summer Blockbuster. Instead he offers information that will help keep the novice screenwriter's opus from being immediately tossed on the trash pile (arguably a more valuable service). As Flinn says in his introduction, if you follow the advice in this book, "you may not write a particularly good screenplay, but you won't write a bad one." Flinn offers practical advice on formatting, such as the proper form for a slugline and where to set your margins, and more general rules of thumb on giving the actors room to interpret their roles and avoiding dictating camera angles to the director (who will ignore them anyway). The second half of the book deals with content, also in a remarkably pragmatic way--structure, pacing, plot resolution, and dialogue that really stink are all handily dealt with. Flinn illustrates almost all his points with excerpts from screenplays both good and bad (names have been changed to protect the guilty), giving the reader concrete examples of the difference between poorly and well-structured scenes. Not sucking is an unusual goal for a screenwriting manual, but any script reader will agree it is a noble one. --Ali Davis
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