The up-to-date, acclaimed guide to writing and selling screenplays to today's film and TV markets. This is the new screenwriter's bible.
Michael Hauge's book is an extremely pleasant read; it offers insight into both writing scripts and the industry you are attempting to enter. His advice is realistic yet optimistic; Hauge presents you with an honest account of the script market while managing to maintain, even encourage, the reader's belief in success.
The book offers several partial script breakdowns - including The Karate Kid and Body Heat amongst others - which are very helpful when applying his ideas to your own script. Hauge doesn't attempt to revolutionise scriptwriting with his own unproven theories, he mostly attempts to reinforce the basic steadfast rules of the Hollywood scriptwriting system while offering interesting and convincing explanations of why they work, which is encouraging.
I recommend this book for all scriptwriters, both beginners and the more experienced who, like myself, sometimes feel in need of a bit of a refresher.
When you're read for something intermediate, check out Armer's WRITING THE SCREENPLAY and Thom's THE BIG DEAL (about spec scripts that sold in the last decade or so).
And, for advanced techniques go to: Lagos Egri's THE ART OF DRAMATIC WRITING (more for plays but it does apply) and McKee's STORY . . . and, of course, the superlative WORDPLAYER.COM with free articles by two working screenwriters . .. Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio.