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5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful, many hidden gems
After finishing my third screenplay, I happened upon this book. It is an easy read and is well laid-out. I applied Jennifer's criteria to my "finished" screenplays, resulting in a re-write for each of them. The information she shares is mostly practical, with some good theory added for spice. I shudder to think how my scripts would have fared without Jennifer's book...
Published 18 months ago by Steve

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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, could be better.
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...
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by K. Munch


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5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful, many hidden gems, Jan. 15 2013
After finishing my third screenplay, I happened upon this book. It is an easy read and is well laid-out. I applied Jennifer's criteria to my "finished" screenplays, resulting in a re-write for each of them. The information she shares is mostly practical, with some good theory added for spice. I shudder to think how my scripts would have fared without Jennifer's book. Golden!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, could be better., Feb. 3 2004
By 
K. Munch "Wordman" (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend (Paperback)
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."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Short, sweet and straight to the point, Oct. 11 2003
This review is from: 500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend (Paperback)
Lercher pulls no punches. She tells you exactly what you need to win over the Hollywood reader, and many are things you didn't think of. She gives suggestions on how to reinvent your story, as well as how to mantain a professional look at all times.
This is an excellent resource for screenwriters. A quick read with no filler, I'd suggest it to anyone.
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1.0 out of 5 stars COMMON PLACES, Aug. 13 2003
By 
Angel E Pariente (Yoqneam Eillit, Israel) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend (Paperback)
Beign honest, I cannot understand this flow of enthusiasm and starts about this book. It's just a bunch of common places and some cut+paste stuff. Is not clear and sharp but pretentious. Authors like Seger or Vogler take the effort of explaining the why's and how's of their proposals. The only "background" that Learch shows is an snob I-live-in-LA-and-got-some-friends-from-the-showbizz...
At least, it's thinier and cheaper than other books of the same cathegory.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Supplement, July 23 2003
This review is from: 500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend (Paperback)
Look. There are a great deal of books on the subject of screenwriting. Some are good. Many are simply recirculating the same song and dance. Jennifer Lerch provides a nice peek into the brain of the professional reader. What are they looking for? What turns them on? Off? Here are very easy to follow guides for structure, action descriptions, dialogue, and adding spice to your story. It's not the be-all of screenwriting. It doesn't try to be. It simply serves as a guideline to bounce other advice and tactics against. Applying the advice Lerch gives has helped my screenplays to flow better, read easier, and avoid the pit of dullsville that 99% of all screenplays fall into. Greatly due to Lerch's advice, I now have a script in production for an independant film company. Read it. Good luck fellow writers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No Filler, June 10 2003
By 
Roy Gunawan (Rocky Mount, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend (Paperback)
I agree with AJP's post that this book is an excellent writing supplement to whatever screenwriting manuals you may already have. This book may be shorter than others but don't let the size fool you. It's packed with tons of great tips that's worth it's weight in gold. The author doesn't waste time with fillers that you find in many other books. Her recommendations are short, clear and gets to the point.
Other books I've read and highly recommend are The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler, Story by Robert McKee, and How Not to Write a Screenplay by Denny Martin Flinn.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, Oct. 30 2002
By 
"kimbina" (Medford, MA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend (Paperback)
This is a great book for the novice screenwriter. There are some fantasic tips in this book. It really points out pitfalls and traps that will identify you as a newbie in Hollywood. I highly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Advice for Screenwriters, Feb. 24 2002
By 
Lleu Christopher (Hudson Valley, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend (Paperback)
I wouldn't say that this is the only book on screenwriting you should read, but it contains some really useful tidbits not found elsewhere. The way the book presents the five hundred tips as separate bullets is consistent with the spare writing style advocated by Jennifer Lerch. While other books on scriptwriting give a more comprehensive treatment of the craft (e.g. writing outlines & treatments, marketing, script format), Lerch focuses strictly on the writing end of things. She is obviously fluent in the language of the script. Her terse, no-nonsense style not only describes, but embodies what the writer needs to learn to become a success in this very tough business.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Nitty Gritty Compendium, Dec 28 2001
By 
William Hare (Seattle, Washington) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend (Paperback)
Jennifer Lerch knows a screen reader's mindset in that she has performed in the field, giving her book meaningful on the scene insight from a professional. She writes in the same kind of snappy, economical style that she recommends. To veer from this course, she warns, is to risk an attention distraction or, fatally, turning off the reader altogether.
Jennifer's "500 ways" are the various tips from the trade about what interests script readers as well as what turns them off. She cautions about long lead-ins or narrative description that makes readers think you are trying to direct as well as write a scenario. She lets you know immediately that there is an oceanic expanse separating the long narrative descriptions of characters in novels as opposed to the exigencies of the screen craft, where pictures are worth so many words. In this field the dialogue and scenes containing them must be brief, while the story must follow a dramatic forward thrust from Fade In to Fade Out that keeps readers interested and involved. Lerch explains that readers have short attention spans due to the pressures of handling long and steady volumes of work. It is therefore essential to keep your writing staccato, your characters spelled out briefly, and your scenes following an intriguing progression that keeps your readers interested and on board until Fade Out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Common Sense Advice, but Formulaic, Nov. 1 2001
This review is from: 500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend (Paperback)
(...)While Ms. Lerch devotes much time to format, and formula (i.e. make your characters stand out, use the 3-act structure), she devotes little to concept, which is the key factor that sells scripts. If you have written something fresh and original, your masterpiece is more apt to attract some buzz than if you've simply crafted the one millionth and first lesbian serial killer story.
Other than that, Ms. Lerch covers all the bases, and does a good job of it. The checklist approach she utilizes, however, oversimplifies the craft. I encourage aspiring writers to utilize all the Linda Seger books in addition to this, especially the one on "Creating Unforgettable Characters."
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