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K. Munch "Wordman" (New York, NY)
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500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend
500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend
by Jennifer Lerch
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.96
55 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Good, could be better., Feb. 3 2004
I think I might have thought more highly of this book if I hadn't tackled it right after I read "How Not to Write a Screenplay" by Denny Martin Flinn. Flinn's guide to the most common pitfalls in screenwriting is a wonderfully funny and instructive text that every writer should own. This book, while containing some helpful nuggets, offers a lot of advice that directly contradicts Flinn's. While Ms. Lerch obviously has no obligation to align herself with Flinn's advice, her comments often seemed counter-intuitive to me. Whereas Flinn instructs us to be as clear and succinct as possible, shaving away all unnecessary and confusing descriptions (i.e., don't write what the audience can't see), Lerch would have us add all sorts of superfluous character and location description, in the hopes of catching the eye of an already-exhausted Hollywood script reader.
I just have a hard time believing that this approach would really work. I've studied screenwriting with some of the best teachers in the business, and I've got to say that their tips generally fall into the "less is more" camp.
Having said that, the book is a quick, easy read, and there are many tidbits which do make sense, especially about ratcheting up the conflict in your script. By no means, however, should this be the only book on screenwriting you buy, but it can serve as a light after-dinner mint following a hearty meal of "How Not to Write A Screenplay."

Total Television Revised Edition
Total Television Revised Edition
by Alex Mcneil
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate TV Reference, Jan. 23 2004
Alex McNeil's "Total Television" is the Mother of all TV reference volumes. If you can't find it here, it ain't worth knowin' about. How he was able to compile all this information covering 50+ years of TV is beyond me. Crack open this book at any page and you will be reading for hours, probably days.

Where Dead Voices Gather
Where Dead Voices Gather
by Nick Tosches
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.59
27 used & new from CDN$ 1.36

4.0 out of 5 stars Lively, entertaining look at American show business, Oct. 21 2003
A wonderful examination not only of the life and career of an obscure minstrel-show performer, but a wildly entertaining exegesis on the whole of American show business, especially the routes in which ideas are passed down from generation to generation, transmuting all along the way. You'll never think of minstrelsy quite the same way again. If you read this book carefully and well, you will realize that blackface performances were more than just public displays of hate, as the current popular thinking would have it. It could not have been the dominant form of entertainment for the better part of a century if it were nothing more than an avenue for racist expression. Minstrelsy, in fact, became the first area of entrance for blacks into mainstream popular entertainment. But, as I mentioned before, the book is about a lot more than that---more than this review can contain. If you are interested in music, show business, language, history, ANYTHING---buy and savor this fine piece of work.

Shyster
Shyster
by Bryan Goluboff
Edition: Paperback
7 used & new from CDN$ 29.58

4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, realist theater, Aug. 25 2003
This review is from: Shyster (Paperback)
Bryan Goluboff, for those who aren't familiar, is a playwright who has written some very tough but lyrical examinations of the lives of urban dreamers. His plays often chronicle working- class characters yearning to break free of their situations, desperate to find someone to care for them (and to care about) on the tough streets of New York. And in Shyster, he does not disappoint. It's the story of Harry Sobel, a guy who returns home after a while out on the road, too late to catch his father's funeral, but just in time to get a huge helping of guilt from his widowed mom. Throw in a confrontation with tenants in the apartment building the father owned (one of whom was more of a son to the old man than Harry ever was), and a reunion with a sister fresh from the Israeli army, and you have a potent mix of hunor and heartbreak. Definitely a writer to watch.

The Screenwriter Within: How to Turn the Movie in Your Head into a Salable Screenplay
The Screenwriter Within: How to Turn the Movie in Your Head into a Salable Screenplay
by D.B. Gilles
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.25

4.0 out of 5 stars The Only Screenwriting Book You'll Need, Sept. 6 2002
After reading about every known screenwriting book that is still in print, and having gotten nothing from them but rigid formulations for hackneyed plots and tips on serving up warmed-over dialogue cliches, what a joy it was to crack open "The Screenwriter Within" and get a tour through the playful mind of Mr. D.B. Gilles. His tone is easy-going and conversational, and his ideas about structure hit you like undeniable common sense. His tone is perfect: down-to-earth and unpretentious, yet always going to bat for quality and high standards. He still believes in the power of commercial Hollywood cinema to tell inspiring and thrill-packed stories, and I must admit, his enthusiasm is contagious.
If you're serious about screenwriting---and if you intend to make any kind of a mark in the business, you had better be---then start your education with this book.

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