THE SCREENWRITER'S BIBLE, in one volume, comprises six substantial guidebooks:
Book I: How to Write a Screenplay--A Primer;
Book II: 7 Steps to a Stunning Script--A Workbook;
Book III: Proper Formatting Technique--A Style Guide;
Book IV: Writing & Revising Your Breakthrough--A Script Consultant's View;
Book V: How to Sell Your Script--A Marketing Plan;
Book VI: Resources and General Index.
The book's large format 386 pages, eleven by eight-and-a-half inches, would equal at least 600 pages in the more common format of nine-by-six inches.
Book I: How to Write a Screenplay. Aptly subtitled a primer, it presents a compact introduction to screenwriting. In particular, Trottier focuses on the three-act structure with six key turning or plot points: the catalyst; the big event; the pinch (or midpoint); the crisis (low point); the showdown; the realization. Throughout, the author includes examples from well-known films.
Book II: 7 Steps to a Stunning Script. This workbook includes 25 checkpoint lists and a character/action grid.
Book III: Proper Formatting Technique--A Style Guide. "The spec script is the selling script, sometimes called the writer's draft. You write it with the idea of selling it later or circulating it as a sample. Once it is sold and goes into pre-production, it will be transformed into a shooting script, also known as the production draft. The spec-script style avoids camera angles, editing directions, and technical intrusions" (page 114). To illustrate formatting a spec script, Trottier includes his humorous three-page script "The Perspicacious Professor." This book convinced me to use the author's software "Dr Format" instead of "Final Draft."
Book IV: Writing & Revising Your Breakthrough--A Script Consultant's View. Trottier provides tips on "how to direct the camera without using camera directions" and exercises, based on his clients' scripts, to guide reader in revising to current spec-writing style.
Book V: How to Sell Your Script--A Marketing Plan. In addition to numerous suggestions on marketing, Trottier cautions screenwriters to protect their works. "Registering one's copyright and displaying the copyright notice on the script's title page is no longer seen as something done by paranoid writers." Writers Guild of America will register one-page synopsis, longer treatments, as well as draft(s) of a screenplay.
Book VI: Resources and General Index. This book includes several lists containing "carefully selected entries." I promptly looked up the first entry: "Updates to The Screenwriter's Bible" on the author's website... and found a useful tip on formatting as well as revisions on one of the exercises in Book IV. Presumably these changes will be included in the next edition.
Five shining stars to this book.
-- C J Singh