Thanks for stopping by and welcome to my website. I've to to admit that it still feels a little strange to me to actually have such a thing as a website--the revolution that the Internet ushered in is a fast moving one. So now, with this website, it's as if I've got my own window on the world at large, out of which I can proclaim whatever is on my mind. Since my entire life has been about communicating both ways--receiving and sending, I'm still not entirely comfortable with the idea. I keep seeing visions of all those people who in past times we would have called loud mouthed blow-hards who constantly talked about themselves but never listened. That's probably why I'm so late to the party. I promise I'll never shout endlessly about my ideas on any topic.
My Screenwriting Books
Until recently my writing has been focused on the three books I've completed about screenwriting. Published by New York based Allworth Press, they detail not only the specifics of screenwriting, but speak to the craft of writing itself.
I was for many years a writer and script analyst in Los Angeles, working for several companies including, among others, Fox Broadcasting, Viacom-Showtime (Paramount), TNT, Lightstorm, and DeLaurentiis.
Reading thousands of scripts, I found that many new screenwriters make the same mistakes when they put their stories on the page. That was the impetus for my first book, Writing Scripts Hollywood Will Love. I hoped that through this book of tips the writer might get a better first or fifieth script.
My publisher suggested a second book, Selling Scripts to Hollywood,detailing techniques to sell screenplays when the author isn't connected into Hollywood. There are several strategies writers can pursue to help aid their efforts to get their material in front of people who are looking scripts.
The third book, The Perfect Screenplay, written after I had taught for a few years, combined and updated the earlier two books and added more material on structure, plotting, character development and other refinements of writing.
Lessons From Analyzing Scripts and Teaching Screenwriting
As I taught basic screenwriting, I found that conveying an understanding of writing for the screen was a bit more problematic than I had assumed it would be. New writers often think that screenwriting is as simple as having a terrific idea. It reminds me of the two characters in The Player who had nothing more to offer a producer they were pitching to than an opening shot of a film. What students quickly discover is that screenwriting, like all other writing, requires a lot of left and right brain work. Inspiration and imagination are required and so is an understanding of how to build on an idea to make it a complete story with a beginning, middle and end, characters who live and breath, and dialogue that keeps us interested while sounding realistic.
Screenwriting is a particular approach to storytelling, much more restrictive, if less literary, than novel or short story writing. The manner in which the story is told is defined by the visual and the entire tale must be wrapped up in 120 pages or less. Crawling inside characters' minds isn't really permitted--yes, a narrator is the exception but more often it is an inappropriate crutch. And, screenwriting also requires all the same basic skills all other writing requires: using written language correctly and felicitously.
Thanks Again For Stopping By,
If you think you may want to try a screenplay, or you know someone who's interested in screenwriting, I hope my books will be of help to you to get beyond the basics and acquire the tools you need to get your fabulous story to sizzle off the page and attract a producer. Good luck with your screenplay, I hope you enjoy the experience and sell it for a mint! And, if you know anyone who's looking for a terrific mystery novel with a sexy, handsome hero, let me know!