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Archive for the Category "Book Reviews"

Book Review: ‘Writing the TV Drama Series’ Feb 04

Writing For Television

Writing The TV Drama SeriesThey say film is a director’s medium, and television is a writer’s medium.

With quick turnaround times for episodes, high paying salaries, and creative control, I’d say that’s definitely true. And with more channels than ever thirsting for content of all types, there’s never been a better time to consider writing for T.V.

If you’re looking for a place to start, I’d like to recommend a great book:

Writing the TV Drama Series 3rd edition: How to Succeed as a Professional Writer in TV
by Pamela Douglas

The new third edition of her book, is a must-read for writers looking to break into (and excel at) television writing. It’s packed with incredibly valuable tips, tricks, insights and first-person accounts.

Not only does it explain fundamental concepts, like “How shows get on TV and the TV season,” it also goes in depth on such topics as:

  • How a classic script is crafted
  • Writing your own episode or pilot
  • Working on staff
  • How to break in
  • The future of TV

There’s even a section on Unscripted or Reality Television shows and the writing jobs available therein.

Each key section is anchored by first-person insights and lessons from industry veterans.

If you’re planning, or even thinking, of writing for television, this book is the place to start.

Guru Quote: Pilar Alessandra Sep 02

Pilar Alessandra“In Juno, the main character had a tendency to joke and elaborate in fairly graphic terms. Yet her boyfriend, Bleeker, was a one-sentence answerer. Vanessa, the woman she planned to give her baby to, was a bit of a teacher and explainer, while Vanessa’s husband, Mark, shared Juno’s language of music. Each of them had verbal rules for how they talked and what they referenced. Finding your characters’ own verbal rules will instantly help your script.”

Pilar Alessandra, The Coffee Break Screenwriter

Guru Quotes

I’ve decided to add a new weekly feature — Guru Quotes! I feel it’s due time we celebrate those mentors/consultants/teachers/lecturers/authors who provide us with such valuable insights into the art and science of screenwriting.

One such consultant is Pilar Alessandra (whose birthday happens to be  today — Happy Birthday Pilar!). I had the opportunity to read her wonderful new book, The Coffee Break Screenwriter, a few weeks ago and was blown away by the wealth of information it contained.

It’s all in there — from concept, to beats, to rewriting, to polishing your final draft — spread out in bite-sized chunks that allow you to work your way through your masterpiece 10 minutes at a time.

Whatever your level, you’re guaranteed to find some new tool to help you in your writing. This one’s absolutely going on my list of Essential Books.

Hot Tip

For a limited time, if you order the book from Pilar’s web site, you’ll receive “a copy signed by the author and an additional CD of the key templates and worksheets within the book (includes outlining, scene-writing and pitching).”

Michele Wallerstein Book Signing Aug 02

Mind Your BusinessMichele Wallerstein — former Hollywood agent, popular speaker/consultant, Scriptwrecked contributor and now author (!!!) — will be holding a book signing and Q & A this Saturday.

As you may recall, I reviewed her new book, Mind Your Business: A Hollywood Literary Agent’s Guide To Your Writing Career, a few weeks back.

If you’re in the L.A. area, have enjoyed her posts, and want to pick up a great book or ask her some questions, please stop by!

BOOK STAR, on Ventura Blvd., in Studio City
(one block west of Laurel Canyon — Michele’s name will be on the marquee!)

Saturday, August 7th, at 3:00 p.m.

Book Review: Mind Your Business Apr 02

The Questions

Congratulations. After years of writing, you’re finally at a place where you have several great scripts.

Now what?

Do you need an agent or should you look for a manager? A personal manager or a business manager? What about an entertainment lawyer? What’s the difference between them all? How do you even go about getting one?

Or maybe you’re already getting some traction in the industry. Things are starting to move quickly. Do you have the answers you need to navigate those dangerous waters, where one misstep can make or break your career?

The Answers

Fortunately the answers to these questions, and many more, are now in one book:

Mind Your Business by Michele Wallerstein (who is a regular contributor to Scriptwrecked)

I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance copy, and was elated to discover such valuable insights and practical advice. In addition to answering the questions already noted, the book covered important, timely topics, including:

  • The “business” aspect of “show business”
  • Writing for film vs. television
  • Key screenwriting tips for both mediums
  • Choosing what to write next
  • Clarifying the agent/screenwriter relationship and responsibilities
    (there’s a great chapter called: “What does an agent do all day?”)
  • Exercises to enhance your career and knowledge base
  • Conducting yourself in a meeting
  • Example contracts
  • Cautionary tales for screenwriters
  • Practical networking advice
  • When to change agencies
  • The truth behind those script sales figures
  • Why working for free is a bad idea
  • Hollywood lingo and resources for screenwriters

… All of that, and more, written in Michele’s trademark frank and witty style.

A Must Read

I highly recommend this book. Knowledge is power, and Mind Your Business makes you “strong like bull.”

The book can be pre-ordered through Amazon, for delivery July 1, 2010. It’s a handy reference, chock full of important, hard-to-come-by information.

Order your copy right now. You’ll be happy you did.

Michele Wallerstein, has over 25 of experience as a Hollywood literary agent. She has kindly offered to answer any questions you may have, so don’t miss this opportunity — send them in!

Category: Book Reviews  | 7 Comments
Essential Reading for Screenwriters Oct 26

Save The Cat, by Blake Snyder The scriptwrecked bookstore is now online!

I’ve created a special list of books that I believe every screenwriter should have in their collection. If you click on the link for each book, you’ll find reviews, descriptions and even a personal introduction by yours truly.

For those of you who are already familiar with the “Essential Books” (or are just more partial to things that spin) I’ve also set up a carousel of rotating reads at the top of the page. There you’ll find some other top rated screenwriting books that I’ve personally vetted and feel are worthy of your time.

Did I miss any of your favorites? Disagree with my picks? Let me know.

Category: Book Reviews  | 2 Comments