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Writing Movies

The Practical Guide to Creating Stellar Screenplays

Gotham Writers Workshop

Bloomsbury USA

Writing Movies Download image

ISBN10: 159691145X
ISBN13: 9781596911451


400 Pages



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To break into the screenwriting game, you need a screenplay that is not just good, but great. Superlative. Stellar. Writing Movies provides everything you need to know to reach this level. And, like the very best teachers, Writing Movies is practical, accessible, and entertaining. Inside you'll find:

—Explanations of the fundamental elements of screenwriting craft (plot, character, scenes, etc.)

—Insight into such crucial (but seldom discussed) topics as description, voice, tone, and theme

—Analysis of five brilliant screenplays—Die Hard, Thelma & Louise, Tootsie, Sideways, and The Shawshank Redemption

—Strategies for breaking into the business; a guide to screenwriting format; assignments that strengthen your command of screenwriting craft; step-by-step tasks that take you from rough idea to polished script

—Tie-ins to supplementary material at the book's website

Written by Gotham Writers' Workshop expert instructors and edited by Dean of Faculty Alexander Steele, Writing Movies offers the same methods and exercises that have earned the school international acclaim.


Praise for Writing Movies

"I read most of the new screenwriting books for my job teaching screenwriting and film production courses at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Writing Movies is the best book on screenwriting I've read in years. I can tell a good book by the number of pages I dog-ear. There is a fold on nearly every page. Writing Movies is the most refreshing outlook on screenwriting since Syd Field."—Professor Terry Linehan, Film Studies Department, University of North Carolina Wilmington

"Writing Movies takes the novice and the professional through the screenwriting process with humor and intelligence."—Bill Neff, Professor, Montana State University, Media & Theatre Arts Department

"Every great film begins with a great screenplay, and Writing Movies is the ultimate resource. It's like having twenty of the best screenwriting books skillfully rolled into one. A must have for anyone truly interested in being a successful screenwriter. If you want to be a better writer and break into the business this book and Gotham Writers' Workshop should be the first places you start."—John Johnson, Executive Director of the American Screenwriters Association

"Thank you for creating this great textbook. You've liberated me from feeling that I had to write one myself! I [could] hardly wait to share Writing Movies with my students. 100% of the students were very positive about Writing Moviesa couple even said it was inspiring! "—Alexis Krasilovsky, Professor, Department of Cinema and Television Arts, California State University, Northridge

"Writing Movies effectively covers all of a screenplay's elements . . . If you have been struggling with your screenplays, get this book!"—Michael Maupin, Instructor, Elements of Screenwriting, Independent Film Matters Minnesota

"An informative guide to all aspects of screenwriting."—Lyn Elliot, Professor, Penn State University

"This is the kind of screenwriting book that I've always wanted to write. It answers all of the questions that I'm always asked and then some. The five movies this book focuses on are five of my favorites. I have each of these screenplays in my own personal library and study them constantly. They are great resources, and this book analyzes them brilliantly. And I've never come across a screenwriting book that examines the crucial details of how words flow on a page . . . until now. Writing Movies gets it all right. The people who put this book together clearly know their craft and practice it daily. I thoroughly recommend Writing Movies to all screenwriters. You must read this before you write your first or next screenplay."—Stuart Beattie, Screenwriter of Collateral and Pirates of the Caribbean

"Writing Movies gracefully walks a number of tricky tightropes. It's sophisticated enough for a somewhat experienced writer, but clear and open-hearted enough for a complete novice. It gives tons of practical information and advice, but never loses sight of the fact that writing screenplays—like any good writing—is ultimately an artistic endeavor of the heart, not just a paint-by-number exercise. It's easy and fun to read, but isn't afraid to pose challenging questions, to ask a writer to stretch beyond their immediate comfort zone. It manages somehow to be both practical and artistic. And that's a wonderful place for a screenwriter to start from."—Keith Gordon, Screenwriter/Director of A Midnight Clear and The Chocolate War

"A superb book! To be a successful screenwriter Good is not Good-Enough. The first-timer must be Great and this book, with a plethora of professional writing instructors takes you step-by-step through the process of conceptualizing a marketable idea into a direct-able script that can and will be bought and produced. Straight, to-the-point, void of theory and loaded with facts this book is A Must Read!"—Dov S-S Simens, Founder, Hollywood Film Institute and

"A fun, inspiring read from the faculty of the Gotham Writers' Workshop, Writing Movies features practical advice and insightful examples from movies as diverse as Die Hard and Sideways. Whether you're writing Hollywood blockbusters or character-driven indie fare, Writing Movies offers a refreshingly unpretentious guide through the process of writing and marketing screenplays."—Frederick Mensch, President and Founder, MovieBytes

"Clear advice delivered in a compelling manner. Everything you'd want from a book on screenwriting."—Marc Madnick, President and CEO, Final Draft, Inc.

"Straightforward and brimming with great examples from well known movies, Writing Movies is a wonderful resource of both creative and technical elements for budding and proficient screenwriters."—Jesse Douma, President, The Writers Store

"Screenwriting is a craft that you learn by doing. While Writing Movies offers great screenwriting instruction it also allows the beginning screenwriter to start putting idea to paper right away."—Joe Mefford, President,

"Have you ever seen a movie and thought, 'I can write a better script?' If so, this book will give you everything you need to complete a professional screenplay. Gotham Writers' Workshop faculty and editor Steele (dean of faculty) have fashioned a comprehensive course on screenwriting that is informative as well as entertaining. They lead you through the necessary steps in creating your screenplay, from writing compelling dialog to inventing unique characters. The text is a blend of examples, exercises, and ideas that will make a difficult undertaking seem possible. Five films are used as examples: Tootsie, Die Hard, Shawshank Redemption, Thelma & Louise, and Sideways. These films are analyzed and used to illustrate the components of a screenplay, plus the proper format for submitting the finished product. Other books on writing movies, such as Lisa Dethridge's Writing Your Screenplay, are wordy without offering the amount of information found in this guide. An excellent resource for anyone considering writing a screenplay; highly recommended."—Rosalind Dayen, Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Gotham Writers Workshop

Founded in 1993 by Jeff Grae and David Fligelman, Gotham Writers' Workshop is the leading writing school in New York and in the United States. Based in New York City, it reaches more writing students than any other school, offering more than 400 courses to 6,000 students each year. Its distinctive technique has won raves from alumni and from the media. Gotham has published two previous books with Bloomsbury, the very popular Guide to Writing Fiction and Fiction Gallery.