Unique, groundbreaking, witty, and extremely educational, which is why I've adopted it for all my screenwriting classes. More than any other writing book I've required -- and trust me, I've tried a lot -- Crafting Short Screenplays inspires my students to dig deeper -- to create richer stories, more complex characters, more deeply felt films. That probably explains why it's the only screenwriting book on AFI's general recommended reading list. No slouches they.
After using the second edition for years, I was eager to read this revised version. I'm happy to report that the best keeps getting better! Dr. Johnson has expanded several sections and added a very helpful chapter about character. She's also included a new short script/film and a webisode script, which I was glad to see, since more and more of my students want to write for the internet.
The screenplays here range from thirty seconds to thirty minutes, but the book has great practical application for features as well -- and offers invaluable insights that will vastly improve, even revolutionize, the work of any newbie or established writer. Yep, it's that good.