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The Megahit Movies [Paperback]

Richard Michaels Stefanik


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Paperback, May 2001 --  

Book Description

May 2001
This book analyzes the Megahit Movies, those films which have generated more than $250 million in North American Box Office receipts. It presents principles of story construction that can be used to develop popular movies by providing an analysis of cinematic techniques. It also offers stimulating ideas that can be helpful in the creative process
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Empty 19 Mar 2003
By snowleopard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm stunned by all the people that recommend this book. Yes, it doesn't talk about formatting, or the three act structure, or snappy dialog. But it says almost nothing valuable about what it professes to educate on. It's a constant reminder, near dogmatic, of simple statements: "Your audience must like the protagonist." "You should have a payoff at the end of the script." Well, no kidding.

The other flaw of this book is how little it takes into account of why these megahit films TRULY succeeded. A huge rash of them were surrounded by enormous hype and marketing. Sometimes upwards of $100 million alone in advertising. Independence Day was sold on the concept of the trailer alone, and went into production before even one word was typed on a page. What are the chances that the rules that applied to those films, will apply to the spec script you are trying to break in with? Even if he did clearly explain those rules, which I felt he did not.

Skip this book. I won't recommend any other books, but I'll recommend something else. I'll recommend to you what Mike Rich did before he came out of nowhere to win the Nicholl Fellowships and sell his first script: Read actual scripts. Read spec scripts and early drafts if possible. And read the scripts that not only succeed, but succeeded not on raw financing power, but on merit.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS OUTSTANDING BOOK, THE FIRST REVIEW. 19 Jun 2001
By Mary Corbin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a treasure of information on Story Design and Screenwriting, which is easy to use and can help anyone who is interested in writing. Teachers, writers, directors, producers, and students will appreciate the easy to use, concise and clear information.
One of my favorite sections, of this book, is the presentation of the different Theories of Humor. Richard Michaels explains that anyone can learn the formula for being funny, and compares the relationship of math, humor and logic. If a logical sequence is presented in an out of order pattern, then the reader, or audience laughs. Anyone can learn these simple rules of humor, and improve their comic writing.
The Megahit Movies are analyzed, showing the Antagonist, Protagonist, and Love Interests, their obstacles, timelocks and crisis resolutions for each of the major conflicts in the stories. This is also a great gift for any writer, professional, or beginner who is striving to create popular movies or just improve their writing skills.
This book is a must have for any writer or library.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide for novice AND experienced screenwriters 13 Sep 2001
By Jennie Berkson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
_The Megahit Movies_ is very easy to understand, straightforward, full of really valuable details and examples. Many of the books about writing screenplays out there (and there are certainly many) may make a good point here or there, but I often find myself wondering, "Well, what does he really mean by that?" This book never has that problem. The author is so generous with examples that the connection between theory and practice is always clear.
This makes it so much easier for someone just learning the
craft, to really get a handle on what works and what doesn't.
The depth of the book is only enhanced by its simplicity of design and language. Again, many of the books I've read seem to want to rely on some razzle-dazzle new formula or philosophy which will then be the "guarantee of success" for the person who
follows the guru. Stefanik doesn't try to sell anything fancy and his approach has tremendous credibility as a result.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 26 April 2012
By gatomorongo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I taught a class on narrative structure for computer and special effect artists created from the
first edition and implemented by this later one. I'm very happy to see it still is in print!
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Book 22 May 2002
By Paul Jackson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The MEGAHIT MOVIES book is probably the most brilliant book ever written on Story Design, and will outlast the books written by Robert McKee, Syd Field and Linda Seger. Stefanik breaks new ground by focusing on the psychology of the audience and arguing for the position that movies are popular because they create an "emotionally satisfying experience" for the audience. But he gives so much more in this book: by applying the cognitive theory of emotions to popular movies, he gives the writer concrete techniques for placing characters into situations that will elicit specific emotions in the audience. This is something that McKee, Seger or Field never discuss.
Stefanik also introduces the importance of SUBGOALS in the creation of PLOT TWISTS as a tool for creating unpredictable stories, a topic not even discussed in any previous screenwriting text.
Then there is Stefanik's theory of humor in which he provides writers with specific instructions on how to create humorous dialogue, characters, and scenes, topics not included in the books by the above mentioned story gurus. It should also be mentioned that THE MEGAHIT MOVIES book is an expanded version of Stefanik's book, STRUCTURES OF FANTASY, in which he published all of these ideas in 1992, five years before Robert McKee published his book STORY, in 1997.
Stefanik's THE MEGAHIT MOVIES book is destined to become a classic text on the craft of story design, comparable in influence to Lajos Egri's THE ART OF DRAMATIC WRITING.
Buy the book. It is great!
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