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TV Writer's Workbook, the Paperback – 25 May 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc (25 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385340508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385340502
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.6 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 535,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kiff on 4 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Loads of really specific advise. Went to a seminar Ellen gave and her words and ideas were excellent. This book continues in the same clear, precise vein. Recommend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 48 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Superb! 14 Feb. 2008
By Justine E. Schroeder - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've been using Ellen Sandler's book as a guide for the last few weeks, and I feel I've done much better work in that short time than I did all last year. The book is mainly geared towards sitcom writers, and for those interested in writing a comedy spec, this book is the one to get!
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Not Impressed 2 Sept. 2012
By Reviewer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fantastic book if you're a complete novice and want to write half hour sitcoms. Utterly useless if you already know what a synopsis is and want to write anything else.
This book includes no information at all about writing an original pilot (the author actually says to just go buy a different book if you want to do that), no information on the 4 act structure of 1 hour shows and barely mentions the structure of half hour shows. The entire advice on formatting consists of 'Buy Final Draft'. Sorry I bought it.
Crafty TV Writing by Alex Epstein is a much better book. It's clearer, easier to read and goes into much more depth on a range of useful topics.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Great Book 12 July 2007
By LA Mommy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is by far the BEST TV writing book I've ever read and I have nearly all of them. Sandler doesn't just tell you the steps necessary to write a fantastic spec script, like all these kinds of books do, she guides you through the creative process of mining story material for it. And she tells you how to fashion subject matter that has the most emotional meaning for you, the author--which is the benchmark of great writing. It was a concept that until now, that no matter how many books I read, or how many harsh notes from execs I received on all my previous specs (or so I thought, now I FULLY understand their notes!) that I didn't grasp until now. TV Writer's Workbook, has provided the creative lightbulb I needed to get me out of my sucky spec script darkness. Highly recommended!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Simple, Concise, and Filled with an Abundance of Info for Writers/Producers 7 Nov. 2009
By Infinite Mind - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are serious about writing/producing for TV then this book is a must. What better way to get information from someone who has actually worked in the business and taken the journey many of us are currently forging. I found Ellen Sandler writer/producer of Taxi, Coach, Everybody Loves Raymond, and more to be honest and sincere in her description and advice on what it takes to become success writer/producer in the business.

This book is a rich resource on how to write your first spec script and what qualities besides good writing one should possesses or develop to break through, what often times seems to be a brick wall of Hollywood studio, producers, agents, managers, ect. The content and tone is that of a workbook, however not in a traditional sense, but in a more subtle and simple way. Ellen gives a brief background about how she herself got into the business and then informs the writer of what they need to know about the spec script and how to read to write. She further goes into what you need to do to develop your story, how to make it come alive, and re-edit it until you cant anymore. In another part of the book she focuses on what you need to do when you have your spec script written and gives you sound advice with real world examples on how to break into the door. She offers up helpful tips on FAQ's such as should you move to LA?, the difference between producers and writers, pitching your ideas, dealing with agents/managers, potential salary figures, respecting the industry and business standards and more.

Besides loving the content on writing, I loved the wealth of information contained in the book on such helpful topics as where to get scripts, industry jargon/terminology, bookstores and publication sources for writers, as well as a host of contact information for other beneficial advisors.

Lastly, I love the humility with which this book concludes. Ellen acknowledges here successes and rightfully so, but advises the reader to keep searching and seeking out other advisors and not be afraid to listen to contradictory information, keeping in mind that in Hollywood there is not set path to success.

As a publicist switching careers and having previously written spec scripts I love this book and highly recommend.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I can't believe I am saying this, but there are no words for how amazing this is! 19 Jun. 2007
By T. Salisbury - Published on
Format: Paperback
But for the sake of those wondering if they should purchase this or not, I will try to find some. YES, YOU SHOULD BUY THIS! How is that? :) Putting aside the fact that Ellen has written for some of the best TV I've ever watched, I don't see how anyone couldn't benefit from the generous advice she offers in this guide and so inexpensively! Be warned though, this book is not one that you just read. I guess you could, but I would honestly recommend trying the things she suggests. I tried most of her exercises and the differences in my spec script definitely stood out. This book is priceless, in my opinion.
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