Robin U. Russin's and William Missouri Down's SCREENPLAY: WRITING THE PICTURE is the first "textbook" quality paperback I've seen in screenwriting literature. Chapter 2 (Format), together with Chapters 12 (Narrative), 13 (Dialogue), and 14 (Rewriting) provide a solid foundation in the mechanics of writing. If you augment these chapters with Trottier's chapter on format in THE SCREENWRITERS BIBLE, Flinn's format section in HOW NOT TO WRITE A SCREENPLAY, and Argentini's entire book, ELEMENTS OF STYLE FOR SCREENWRITERS, you pretty much cover the mechanics of writing a properly formatted script. Russin and Downs also present a solid overview of story building, which can be augmented by reading Jennifer Lerch's 500 WAYS TO BEAT THE HOLLYWOOD SCRIPT READER. Russin and Down's text doesn't favor any structural approach over another. One is given a thorough summary of various screenwriting structures which would take reading many screewriting volumes to distill: three-act, five act, seven act, mythic, and more contemporary structures. What I enjoyed most in SCREENWRITING: WRITING THE PICTURE were chapters 8 (Beat, Scenes, and Sequences - which identify building emotion, rhythmn, pacing, and coherence in one's script), 9 (Scene Cards -- which has the entire movie "SEA OF LOVE" on film cards to teach us how it's done!), 11 (The Structure of Genres - a wonderful overview of different expectations of readers and audiences when "reading" a particular kind of script or film), and the entire third part on writing (the chapters on Narrative, Dialogue, and Rewriting). No one screenwriting book has it all, but SCREENPLAY: WRITING THE PICTURE makes a wonderful effort to do so. The authors are humble, yet entertaining. They offer no shortcuts, make no claims to be better screenwriting authors than anyone else. In fact, Russin and Downs constantly recommend books by other authors to supplement their own well-written sections on a particular topic, when in fact they did such a knock-out job, little supplementary reading is needed. As a first dip into screenwriting literature, SCREENWRITING: WRITING THE PICTURE is a wonderful splash! And DO READ other wonderful books on screenwriting by: Jennifer Lerch, Denny Martin Flinn, Paul Argentini, David Trottier, Katherine Atwell Herbert, Michael Hauge, Robert McKee, Vicki King, Lew Hunter, Tom Lazarus, Linda Seger, D.B. Gilles, Linda Palmer, David Howard & Edward Mabley, Pamela Wallace, Andrew Horton, and all the other wonderful screenwriting authors, including the UCLA and USC gurus: Richard Walter, Lew Hunter, and Irwin R. Blacker. And don't forget the two "King Williams" of screenwriting pedagogy: William Goldman and William Froug! And the many wonderful interview books by: Jurgen Wolff & Kerry Cox, Joel Engel, William Froug (again), et. al. Read them all! But also read SCREENWRITING: WRITING THE PICTURE. It has one of the funniest jokes on screenwriting I've read: "A producer and a screenwriter are stuck in the desert...."