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Which Lie Did I Tell? Paperback – 21 May 2001
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Veteran Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman's sequel to Adventures In The Screen Trade is every bit as good as its illustrious predecessor. Part memoir, part screenwriting lesson, Goldman's book is everything that his readers have come to expect--opinionated, chatty, digressive and (most importantly) honest. Goldman is utterly distrustful of the Hollywood machine and with good reason: as he warns fellow screenwriters, "Most studios are planning on firing you as soon as you hand them your first draft." As the writer of numerous hits including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man and Misery, few people are better placed to offer an insider's view of the film industry, and even fewer could be so entertaining in the process.
The way Goldman tells it, screenwriting is an unstable business at best. Yet his enthusiasm is evident in practically every sentence and his advice on writing is invaluable for those who would follow in his Oscar-winning footsteps. Throughout the book, Goldman offers numerous insights into his creative process, culminating in the final third of the book with an original script, followed by the critical comments of other top screenwriters. However, this is not just a great read for budding writers-Goldman's tales about Hollywood are so compelling that even the most casual film fan will be fascinated by this world in which, as the author has famously maintained, "nobody knows anything". --John Oates --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'This is a book no movie buff should fail to beg, borrow or steal' Observer 'Brilliantly told ... an irresistible, wickedly funny read' EmpireSee all Product description
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So what first appears as damage to the book isn't - it's part of the information Goldman is trying to share.
William Goldman has a proven track record over several decades and they are filled with quality movies and books. This is a man who cares about telling a good story filled with quality characters. All this comes across really well in the book ‘What Lie Did I Tell?’
If you are expecting a book about script formatting or how to write a script that is ‘guaranteed to sell!’ this is not that type of book. Instead it’s an honest recollection of William’s magically weird and whacky adventures in Hollywood, the projects he’s worked on; the successes and the failures. There’s plenty of examples to learn from both good and bad. It’s entertaining, heartfelt and honest and I learned a lot.
I would agree with the other reviewers of this book that Goldman does not set out to explain how to write a screenplay but rather to talk about screenplays within the context of his own Hollywood life. The insights it gives into the film world are well worth a read - and, as a consequence, the book sails along at a great pace.
But there are two things that come across very strongly: the first is that you get an overwhelming sense of pace within movies. This is not something I had given much thought to before but Goldman's book makes it hard to watch another film without being affected by its rhythm and that can make a wonderful difference if you're a writer.
The second is that the final part of the book, his own original screenplay, is awful. The guy has spent a lot of time pointing out what's great and terrible about all manner of stories, scripts, films and scenarios and then manages to come up with something that would embarrass most novices. Which is great. Because it underlines everything he says throughout the rest of the book - that writing is not easy and that story is everything.
I thought it invaluable to have read this book - and extremely enjoyable too.
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