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FilmCraft: Screenwriting Paperback – 15 Apr 2013
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The main reason why I bought it was my interest in European screenwriting, particularly the chapter on Danish writer/director Anders Thomas Jensen who I consider one of the most interesting screenwriters in Scandinavia. I was curious to know if he would reveal some tips and secrets on how he writes and structures his screenplays.
I believe that every writer has a method or workflow and I'm especially interested in discovering more about the methods of writers outside the Hollywood system since their work often seems to follow different structure which make their movies seem less contrived or predictable.
I was a little bit disappointed from the book because it seems mostly concerned with the lives of the writers themselves rather than focusing particularly on their working methods. Like for instance how they organize their time or how they made it into the business.
That's all good I guess but I was missing more detail on how for example they would outline and structure their work or if they do that at all.
But on the whole the book is an interesting read by itself, I just wanted more.
Window, very small in the distance, illuminated.
All around this is an almost totally black screen. Now, as the camera moves slowly toward the window which is almost a postage stamp in the frame, other forms appear: barbed wire, cyclone fencing, and now, looming up against an early morning sky, enormous iron grille work. Camera travels up what is now shown to be a gateway of gigantic proportions and holds on the top of it - a huge initial "K" showing darker and darker against the dawn sky. Through this and beyond we see the fairy-tale mountaintop of Xanadu, the great castle a silhouette as its summit, the little window a distant accent in the darkness.
Thus begins the screenplay for Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE (1941). Screenwriting reached memorable proportions in Welles' first motion picture, and the screenwriting craft attains a stupendous aspect in the details and content of SCREENWRITING, Tim Grierson's new book in the famous FilmCraft series. The entire series studies the art of filmmaking in volumes that cover varying sides of movie making. Each book features interviews with the most renowned and successful men and women in the industry. Author Tim Grierson has produced another winning volume that not only fits neatly into the overall series but stands alone as a tremendous testament to the multilayered aspects of writing for film. The book should be in the library of every university with a film course and screenwriter wannabe.
Focal Press and Ilex Press Limited have pulled together a cast of artists, writers, and editors to compile a comprehensive look into the art of screenwriting. From publisher Alastair Campbell, Editor Tara Gallagher, and Creative Director James Hollywell to Designers such as Ginny Zeal, Grade Design, and Katie Greenwood, the talent behind Screenwriting would make any casting director envious. Their unique combination of talents tells the screenwriting story in striking images and text set within two-page spreads that boldly direct readers' attention from word elements to images the way a film shifts viewers from full shot to close-up.
At last, the film industry has the shroud of secrecy lovingly pulled back in such a way that the inner workings are revealed much like the startling moment when Dorothy realizes that the Wizard of Oz was a mere ordinary man operating a machine. The influence of writing is finally dissected in a way that will interest film fans and be appreciated by movie industry insiders. Colorful graphics, fascinating photos, and many especially intriguing reproductions of actual hand-edited script pages illustrate the chapters.
And what a collection of intriguing chapters await the reader. This is not a mere entertainment book, but the ultimate guide to the power of screenwriting as the real driving force behind the artistic vision of a movie. Chapters include a wide range of past and present international filmmakers: Woody Allen, Mark Bomback, Jean-Claude Carrière, Lee Chang-dong, Ingmar Bergman, Stephen Gaghan, Christopher Hampton, David Hare, Paddy Chayefsky, Anders Thomas Jensen, Billy Ray, Whit Stillman, Ben Hecht, Robin Swicord, Caroline Thompson, David Webb Peoples, Billy Wilder, and I. A. L. Diamond. 192 pages encompass 288 photos and illustrations spread out over 17 chapters, plus a Glossary and an Index.
Once a movie theater is built, you seldom again get to see the foundation. Likewise, the mesmerizing power of a finished film skillfully disguises the underpinning elements. FilmCraft SCREENWRITING carefully gives us an X-ray look at the absolute base upon which every movie is built.
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