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Complete Book of Scriptwriting Paperback – 1 Jul 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Writers Digest Books; Revised edition (July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582971587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582971582
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.4 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,729,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Author

A brief word from the author....
In 1981, I wrote and published, via WD Books, the kind of book that I wished someone had written when I was trying to break into writing for the media (television, film, radio and other venues). My hope was that the book would give others that leg-up in a terribly difficult field. The original edition of the book sold almost 40,000 copies and became one of WD Books' all time best sellers...and a standard text at a number of colleges and universities. Subsequent to its publication, I heard from many writers who managed to break into the business using the book, which made all the effort worthwhile. But the business changes...and after about 5 years, I let the book go out of print until I could afford the time to revise it, make it more current, more useful (what's the point otherwise?). The "revised" edition became the "rewritten" edition. Over the course of the last 4 years, I've revised the book stem to stern, totally rewriting nearly every chapter, and adding about 100,000 words to the book, with updated information and chapters on agents, animation, and other new areas. The book also contains the Hugo-Award winning script for the BABYLON 5 episode, "The Coming of Shadows." It is my hope that you will enjoy the book. I intended for it to be useful, and to be an enjoyable read. Good luck with your own writing. I hope THE COMPLETE BOOK OF SCRIPTWRITING will light your path just a little on that voyage. J. Michael Straczynski Author, THE COMPLETE BOOK OF SCRIPTWRITING Writer/Producer, BABYLON 5, MURDER SHE WROTE and others --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As well as creating the multi-award winning Babylon 5 Television series, J. Michael Straczynski has given seminars and advice on screenwriting for some years.
As writer, scripr editor and producer his experience spans a variety of programme styles including cartoon animation, straight drama and science fiction. This comes through loud and clear in this volume, the second edition of 'The Complete Guide to Scriptwriting.
Straczynski teaches by example, dealing with technique for all types of script. Chapter by chapter he deals with a different topic, telling you how to write for each type, how to sell - even how to draw up your own contracts.
The information he gives on structure and layout is invaluable - script readers are pedantic beyond belief.
Straczynski comes across as honest, open and plain speaking. He tells you what will work and what will not - and teaches you to review your own work objectively.
Obviously there is an American bias to all the information, but this will be a valuable reference tome for all budding writers. Accept no substitutes - learn from the master!
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Format: Paperback
This is perfect for writers at all levels. Providing a good history to the subject and telling you all you need to know in the fields of Animation, Comics and Screenwriting. Not all of this may be applicable to you (it wasn't to me), but Straczynski has had success in all those fields from He-Man to Murder She Wrote to Babylon 5 to The Amazing Spiderman. One of the few screenwriting book actually written by someone who is doing well. So many are written by people who present a lot of seminars but haven't sold anything. LISTEN TO THIS MAN - success and quality are a rare commodity!
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Format: Paperback
A weighty tome, laced with a good use of metaphor and language. It givesreasonable guidance on the importance of format, though American readerswill find it more useful than Europeans in this respect. It's cautionarytone helps keep the budding writer on his/her toes, always avoiding thestarry-eyed bull and bluster that is often typical of this type of book. Significant chunks of this book however, bear little relevance to theneeds of non-Americans, and that is where it falls short slightly. Alliedto that, his chroncling of TV history is outrageously US-centric. Baird,the Beeb and Alexandra Palace don't even merit a mention. If I wereAmerican, I'd probably give it a 5-star rating. As a Brit, it'shistorical bias and lack of a global perspective prompts me to give it a3.
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Format: Paperback
Having read the book cover to cover I can say that it is virtually worthless for the budding scriptwriter. Concentrating heavily on the history of Cinema in the US each Chapter has 'A History Of' section which makes up about 40% of the book. Another large portion is given to the present market in Hollywood etc etc. As far as scriptwriting tuition - it does mention Format, Structure etc. but nowhere near in enough depth that is required. If you want a book about American Film history and some occasional rantings about Babylon 5, then by all means buy it. I would recommend to all Teach Yourself Screenwriting.
An absolutely excellent book, which out of the 7 screenwriting books I have purchased I can truly say is worth 100 times the price.
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By A Customer on 9 July 1999
Format: Hardcover
I will spare You the same comments as the other reviews, as we are all in agreement that this book is incredible. There is a business that any writer must deal with, and JMS tells You how to go about it. Without this knowledge, You will *never* get hired. Also, JMS challenges the reader to not simply go around telling others, "I'm a writer." Rather, he wants You to have discipline and write whenever You have a moment's time to do so. There are a lot of talkers, and then there are those who succeed by hard work, discipline, an understanding of how the business works, and perseverance. I would highly endorse this book over other books that are simply made to take Your money, not unlike many of those scam writers' workshops who tell You the winning "formula" to a great work. JMS has paid his dues, written hundreds of scripts, and has worked as an Executive Producer for many successful shows. So please don't waste Your money on a fly by night writer who has never succeeded herself, but listen to the honesty and sincerity of a man who wrote this book under the premise that he wished he had had this book when he started. Best of luck to You all.
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By A Customer on 12 July 1999
Format: Hardcover
JMS's book is definitely worth a look, but unfortunately it tries to cover a little too much. This means that some of the topics are only covered piece-meal. However, if you're serious about `getting into the industry' then grab the book. It has some valuable lessons inside.
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Format: Hardcover
HELL YES!
This book gives you *suggestions* for story and structure, without cramming some step-by-step stifling "guaranteed" method down your throat. JMS's advice is open-ended and encourages you to strike out on your own and write unique, one-of-a-kind scripts that are completely yours. No Syd Field type "paradigm", no top secret formula that the author claims can be found in ALL successful movies (or TV shows or cartoons or plays...)--No BS!
But what this book does best is function as a reference for a wide variety of script formats and styles, from television to radio to the stage to the screen (even cartoons are covered). The book gives you ideas on how to market your particular script, helps the reader to decide what kind of story he'd like to tell or what kind of script he'd like to write, even gives you some ideas of what to expect depending on your choices. (You even get solid guidelines on what producers and professional readers expect the script to look like, right down to page margins.)
No scriptwriter should be without this book. It is crammed full of refreshingly useful and relevant information, it's funny, it's no-nonsense, it's fun to read, and it makes you want to sit down and get writing.
Let the "wannabes" read something like "How to be a Megarich Screenwriter in 24 Hours" or "PROVEN Hollywood Secrets". But if you're serious and not dumb enough to expect the road to be easy, check this book out.
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