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Fade in: The Screenwriting Process [Paperback]

Robert A. Berman
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Nov 1997
Fade In is a concise, step-by-step method for developing a 'story concept' into a finished screenplay.

This book provides aspiring screenwriters with an insight into the writing form and writing process. While it is intended as a solid foundation, it is to be used only as a guideline: a writer's main goal is to tell a story that will engage the reader.

The first edition has been used by professionals and universities around the world. The second edition covers:

* the basics of dramatic writing
* creating three-dimensional characters
* screenplay structure, form techniques and terminology
* the creative process
* adaptations
* collaboration

Also included is the author's original screenplay, Dead Man's Dance, with agent's critique.


Product details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions; 2nd Revised edition edition (30 Nov 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941188582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941188586
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 589,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Author

Update on the benefits of Fade In.
In 1998, Michael Wiese Productions published the second edition of Fade In. The book is used by several top film schools and has educated many aspiring writers. For most, success as a screenwriter does not come easily. It is not uncommon to take ten and more years just to break in. Over and above talent and perseverence, is having a good sense of humor to deflect harsh criticism which is often irrelevant and even malicious at times. Even the top screenwriters who earn millions every year suffer indignities. Do your best to ignore destructive criticism and focus all your energy on writing. That's what it's all about. In the end, you may have the satisfaction of providing millions of people with a memorable movie experience.

About the Author

By Robert Berman

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The blind leading the blind (to the movies!) 13 Aug 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I purchased this book on the strength of a quick flip-through. It promised a strong mix of resources for the tyro screenwriter: technical tips, industry advice, a variety of resource listings, and a complete 100-page formatted script bound into the back of the volume.
I was not prepared, therefore, to discover that the author (and, implicitly, scripting expert) is a former "sales manager" who, at the age of 42, decided to quit his job and re-invent himself as a Hollywood screenwriter.
This in itself is not a bad thing. There are plenty of wonderful poets, novelists, playrights, and screenwriters who tumbled to their particular gift or passion late in life.
Mr. Berman seems to have neither. Nor has he had any success in his chosen field. In the ten years since he switched careers he has not sold a single script. This fact is reflected in the writing: it appears that, for Mr. Berman at least, the Holy Grail of screenwriting is simply getting someone to read your script.
A possible reason for this lack of success may be that Mr. Berman has never been, by his own repeated admission, "a big reader." This is made embarrassingly clear in an anecdote about an attempted interview with William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Marathon Man; All the President's Men). Goldman asks Berman to name a few of his favorite authors. He can't. Not a single one.
Caveat lector on this alleged book. If there is ever a move toward consumer protection in non-fiction publishing, I will send a copy to every member of Congress. If there's any justice, there will be plenty of remaindered copies to pick over in the near future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I wholeheartedly second the prior reviewer's thoughts. I, too, bought this book at a bookstore on the strength of its packaging, premise, etc., etc. It wasn't until I began reading it that I learned that the author wrote the first edition of this book after only about a year or two of trying to write and sell screenplays. That was my first indication of a problem. The second came when I learned that since then, and as of the 2nd edition, ten years have passed and the author has still not had a script seriously reviewed, much less optioned or produced, by Hollywood agents and producers. And this man is trying to tell us that he can reveal the secrets of writing well and selling your work? Buyer Beware!!!
Now, I have no problem with the "those who can't do, teach," philosophy. Many of my best instructors were people who were able to successfully convey information and develop talent, but were unable to do the same for themselves. However, this book breaks down into three main messages, each taking fully one-third of the book, and the first two worthy of a good, private journal, not a textbook:
Message One: The Story of My Life. Talk about vanity projects. The author gives us his life history, tells us about how good he is, how much confidence he has in his own ability, yada, yada, yada. Enough already. Save it for the psychiatrist's couch or group therapy. A book purporting to teach screenwriting and screen-selling is not the place for self-affirmations. Believe me, sales to suckers like me do not constitute success. (In fact, this is the first, and only time, I've publicly admitted to purchasing this book. P.T. Barnum, I love you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 1.9 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fade In: a.k.a. Why Won't Hollywood Listen To Me? 3 Sep 1998
By DAMwriter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I wholeheartedly second the prior reviewer's thoughts. I, too, bought this book at a bookstore on the strength of its packaging, premise, etc., etc. It wasn't until I began reading it that I learned that the author wrote the first edition of this book after only about a year or two of trying to write and sell screenplays. That was my first indication of a problem. The second came when I learned that since then, and as of the 2nd edition, ten years have passed and the author has still not had a script seriously reviewed, much less optioned or produced, by Hollywood agents and producers. And this man is trying to tell us that he can reveal the secrets of writing well and selling your work? Buyer Beware!!!
Now, I have no problem with the "those who can't do, teach," philosophy. Many of my best instructors were people who were able to successfully convey information and develop talent, but were unable to do the same for themselves. However, this book breaks down into three main messages, each taking fully one-third of the book, and the first two worthy of a good, private journal, not a textbook:
Message One: The Story of My Life. Talk about vanity projects. The author gives us his life history, tells us about how good he is, how much confidence he has in his own ability, yada, yada, yada. Enough already. Save it for the psychiatrist's couch or group therapy. A book purporting to teach screenwriting and screen-selling is not the place for self-affirmations. Believe me, sales to suckers like me do not constitute success. (In fact, this is the first, and only time, I've publicly admitted to purchasing this book. P.T. Barnum, I love you.)
Real World Lesson #1: No one cares if you host jazz improvs in your house if you can't even write a screenplay that would make a dog howl.
Part Two: Nobody Understands Me. Under the guise of telling us the "truth" about the Evil Hollywood Conglomerate, we are treated to page after page of diatribe. Mr. Berman is right, everyone else is wrong, and if only he could find that one person who believes in him as much as he believes in himself, we'd all realize how mistreated he was and come crying to his door, begging to be allowed a second chance to produce his work. He acknowledges, but doesn't seem to understand, that Hollywood is a business. Until you have any sort of power, artistic or financial, in that world, don't expect to be able to make a change in how it operates or to get your work read - especially if it isn't very good.
Real World Lesson #2: If you're going to tilt at windmills, make sure you have a good product behind you. Mr. Berman's self-included full-length screenplay is an embarassingly poor knockoff of a noir thriller. I can't believe he had the huevos to include it in his book as a sample of anything other than what to avoid. I guess I'll grant him guts, in addition to a certain lack of sense.
Part Three: Nuts and Bolts. Believe it or not, there are a few gems in this book, but mostly resource lists and information about screenplay formatting, all of which can be obtained elsewhere (books, software, etc.) that also provide solid information on technicque.
Real World Lesson #3: Look further than the first and last few pages of a book before buying it.
My sympathies to the author's wife. He consistently refers to her patience in the face of his apparent lack of monetary or artistic success over the last ten years. I hope she can hold out. I hope Mr. Berman can start listening, and stop talking, long enough to improve his work. I don't wish him ill, I just want to let other potential readers know that there are hundreds of other resources that will provide much better, more solid information without having to wade through all the self-indulgent whining.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The blind leading the blind (to the movies!) 13 Aug 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I purchased this book on the strength of a quick flip-through. It promised a strong mix of resources for the tyro screenwriter: technical tips, industry advice, a variety of resource listings, and a complete 100-page formatted script bound into the back of the volume.
I was not prepared, therefore, to discover that the author (and, implicitly, scripting expert) is a former "sales manager" who, at the age of 42, decided to quit his job and re-invent himself as a Hollywood screenwriter.
This in itself is not a bad thing. There are plenty of wonderful poets, novelists, playrights, and screenwriters who tumbled to their particular gift or passion late in life.
Mr. Berman seems to have neither. Nor has he had any success in his chosen field. In the ten years since he switched careers he has not sold a single script. This fact is reflected in the writing: it appears that, for Mr. Berman at least, the Holy Grail of screenwriting is simply getting someone to read your script.
A possible reason for this lack of success may be that Mr. Berman has never been, by his own repeated admission, "a big reader." This is made embarrassingly clear in an anecdote about an attempted interview with William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Marathon Man; All the President's Men). Goldman asks Berman to name a few of his favorite authors. He can't. Not a single one.
Caveat lector on this alleged book. If there is ever a move toward consumer protection in non-fiction publishing, I will send a copy to every member of Congress. If there's any justice, there will be plenty of remaindered copies to pick over in the near future.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars There are better books! 4 Sep 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a true stinker. The text is riddled with self-justification and the third draft of the included screen play is just a true prize. Buy Ken Dancyger's book "alternative screenwriting" instead, 'cause that's brilliant.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The guy can't write. 25 Jan 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is probably one of the worst written books I've ever read. The guy can't write. His sentences look like they've been created by a child. He lacks good judgment (if he has any at all), not to mention good taste. There are parts in this book that gave me the impression he is not very bright either.
Apart from the fact that he never sold a screenplay (there are good screenwriting instructors who never even wrote one), the worse thing is that Mr. Berman is a terrible teacher. The only idea he successfully communicates is that he is the last person on planet Earth from who anyone should get advice on writing screenplays.
For the sake of mercy and charity and other good qualities I like to use sometimes, I will refrain myself from commenting the included screenplay (and also the decision to publish it in there).
Anyone trying to write or sell a screenplay should very actively avoid this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars There are better books 21 Feb 2002
By "skgargoyle" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
No, I have never sold a screenplay. No, I have never written a book. I am an armchair critic; and a eager reader. There are better books out there that not only touch upon the same topics, but actually are enjoyable to read. Read anything by William Goldman; and with such frank and honest writing, it will point a path in a clearer direction than this book. Luckily you may read these reviews and move on to an author who will actually give you a good script to read.
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