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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
CRAFTY SCREENWRITING is an outstanding book for screenwriters!
Like many screenwriters, I've read dozens of screenwriting books, always looking for more information and anything that will help me to become a better screenwriter. Over the last decade, I've read them all; Syd Field's books, McKee's STORY, Trottier's BIBLE, Froug, Walter, Hunter, etc.
CRAFTY...
Published on April 13 2004

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars At best, a book for beginners
I stumbled upon a website article by Alex Epstein where he was about to reveal what was needed to create a winning script, and was intrigued. I bought his book to find his answer - hook. I eagerly read on...
Only to find the same old information given in other screenwriting books, and often uninspired information (if you need this book to tell you how/where to find...
Published on March 14 2004 by Javier A. Rodriguez


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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, April 13 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
CRAFTY SCREENWRITING is an outstanding book for screenwriters!
Like many screenwriters, I've read dozens of screenwriting books, always looking for more information and anything that will help me to become a better screenwriter. Over the last decade, I've read them all; Syd Field's books, McKee's STORY, Trottier's BIBLE, Froug, Walter, Hunter, etc.
CRAFTY SCREENWRITING stands out because it is written from a writer's point of view. What I mean by that is, most screenwriting books are written from a teacher's viewpoint. They take movies and analyze them and tell you what works and what doesn't. They can be quite valuable.
But, CRAFTY SCREENWRITING takes you through the process as a writer, from the initial idea and through the first draft. It's very, very helpful and reminds you what you should be doing when you're WRITING, not what you should be doing when you're watching other movies. It's what you should be reading DURING the screenwriter process. The only book I've found that can compare to CRAFTY SCREENWRITING in that regard is a small self-published book called the SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING by Bill Martell (if you can get a hold of it, buy that too, no matter what genre you write in).
This book also helps screenwriters focus on the important realities of becoming a working screenwriter and Epstein is an expert on this. Not only is he a produced writer himself, but he's also worked as a development exec who has actually purchased other people's screenplays (including some famous writers' works before they were famous).
I give this book five stars because it is THE best screenwriting book I've read in the past few years. The only negative thing I can say about it is that I personally didn't agree with his theory on how characters should be created, but his actual advice on what makes a good character was still extremely valuable.
I don't do many of these reviews (if you've got nothing nice to say...), but CRAFTY SCREENWRITING definitely rises to the top of the overcrowded subject of screenwriting advice books.
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3.0 out of 5 stars At best, a book for beginners, March 14 2004
This review is from: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
I stumbled upon a website article by Alex Epstein where he was about to reveal what was needed to create a winning script, and was intrigued. I bought his book to find his answer - hook. I eagerly read on...
Only to find the same old information given in other screenwriting books, and often uninspired information (if you need this book to tell you how/where to find subject matter to write about, then give up the screenwriting game now). Overall, if I didn't have a clue where to begin as a screenwriter, this book might be useful. But be forewarned, Epstein does a lot of telling you what you should do, and very little of how to do it.
To his credit, Epstein's cynical voice makes for an entertaining read. Also, his section regarding the decoding of development execs notes was interesting.
If you have experience writing screenplays on any level higher than 101 and are looking for the smallest edge to help your work get noticed in a crowded marketplace, then you might not get a lot out of this book. If you are looking for some basic ideas on how to shore up your new found passion of screenwriting and make it more presentable, then this book might be for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Connection, Feb. 28 2004
By 
Dale Lippman (Chesapeake, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
Insights to the plight of an unknown seeking recognition are shared by Alex Epstein with genuine interest and skill that communicates valuable information. I felt I'd found a personal connection to the screenwriter's world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's less than 4 cents a page., Feb. 12 2004
By 
Robert H. Keyser (Hillsboro, OR United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
For less than 4 cents a page, you can have the best book ever published on writing screenplays that sell. For that price, you can't go wrong!
Alex Epstein has packed more useful information into 274 pages than any other book of it's kind. All of the other screenwriting books tell you how to write a screenplay. If you're looking for a hobby, buy the other books. If you want to make money, buy CRAFTY SCREENWRITING.
You could spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on books, CD's, seminars and software and none of it would be as helpful as Epstein's book.
If you can't get your hands on William Goldman's brain, buy this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every cent, Jan. 28 2004
By 
S J Kinloch (Albury, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
I'm new to screenwriting and I can't recommend this book enough. After every chapter, I put the book down and thought, "Yeah, I can do this." Not only does it tell you what the professionals who will read your script will be thinking, but it also tells you how to get them to read it.
I live in Australia and don't have immediate exposure to Hollywood and had no idea what a printed script looks like. Alex Epstein tells you what font, formatting, paper and even bindings to use to ensure your script doesn't look like an amateur hack job.
This is the kind of book I am never going to stop reading. I'm going to read it over and over again until I commit it all to memory. It's that good.
If you are only going to buy one screenwriting book, buy this one! Alex, if you ever read this..."Thanks mate."
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's all about the Hook, Dec 9 2003
By 
Dan Cooke (Minneapolis, MN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
Unlike some other how-to screenwriting authors out there, Epstein has the credits and the experience -- as a writer and a former development executive -- to back up his advice. As a reader, he knows what it's going to take to get past the seemingly impenetrable gates of Hollywood. As a writer, he knows how to approach screenwriting as something one does for a living -- a craft instead of an art (hence the dorky but appropriately suggestive title) -- without losing the joy of making up stories for a living.
At the core of "Crafty Screenwriting" is the concept that unless you are connected (e.g., Nicole Kidman's favorite cousin), you're going to need a great HOOK to get your screenplay read by someone who might pay for it. A hook is the concept of the picture, briefly stated. "What if a fisherman caught a mermaid?", for example, is the hook for "Splash." Although a good hook doesn't guarantee a good screenplay or a good film, it's the hook that's going to get your screenplay read. Epstein is such a firm believer in the importance of the hook that he has queried with nothing but a concept -- suggesting in his query letter that he already has the finished screenplay -- just to see how well the idea is received. Only then, after learning there is sufficient interest, does he sit down to write the piece. As strange as that sounds, "Crafty Screenwriting" thoughtfully and logically explains how useful that strategy might be.
There's plenty of steak here beyond the sizzle of Epstein's marketing concepts, touching on plot, character, dialogue, and all the essential elements of screenplay storytelling. If "Crafty Screenwriting" sounds too commercial for your taste, think about why you write screenplays. If all you want to do is tell stories on paper, screenplays are the wrong medium. Other than aspiring screenwriters, who sits down to read a screenplay for fun? If you're writing screenplays, you're doing it with the hope of seeing one or more of them on the big screen. Epstein's book is loaded with great advice on how to get your work closer to that goal.
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5.0 out of 5 stars See those 5 star reviews? Believe them., Sept. 25 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
The best book on screenwriting I've ever read, and unfortunately, I've read a few.
I am not a Hollywood big shot, but I know bad writing when I see it, and badly written describes most screenwriting books. Crafty Screenwritng, by contrast, is well written and often elegant and funny.
I'm not a produced screenwriter but I am betting that clear, rational, specific and literate advice has value for anyone. Alex Epstein has well-reasoned positions on most aspects of screenwriting. You're free to follow them, or not, but at least you know why he thinks you should do something. Other books on the subject often have cryptic and inflexible rules for writing screenplays.
It's hard to imagine the writer that couldn't benefit from at least some of this advice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Crafty Screenwriting takes you farther, Sept. 22 2003
By 
joseph borri (Farmington Hills, MI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
I've been writing screenplays for three years now and do I wish I had this book when I started! I've read Trottier, Field and Walter-all of whom are very informative. This book goes farther than any of them. Epstein delivers more current and common sense application of the art form than I was able to see from the afore-mentioned authors. The emphasis on "The Hook" is worth the price of the book alone. Epstein has the ability to force you to really focus on the most important aspect of writing a story that SELLS. As he says, "what good is a screenplay unless it gets produced?" From writing the very difficult query letter to formatting your story, this book covers too many things to list here. Check it out! I encourage all aspiring screenwriters to find this gem and absorb the information. You'll be glad you did.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Crafty Screenwriting, June 23 2003
By 
Anonymous (Anonymous, CA (USA)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
While Epstein's book is better than most on this subject -- most consisting of books that suggest a total outsider can write a screenplay this year and pick up his or her Oscar next year --'Crafty Screenwriting' still suffers from the fact that it's pretty close to impossible to break into the entertainment industry without knowing someone in it, and generally someone high up in it, who will sponsor you.
If you want to know how competetive the movie industry truly is, stay in your seat and watch the end credits of the next film you see.
Guess what? All those people have screenplays or outlines of or ideas for screenplays, and they're already in the business!
Nonetheless, if you're crazy enough to want to try anyway, this book is worthwhile.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great first screenwriting book., June 23 2003
By 
julie, horse lover (redding, ca United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
This book is one of the easiest reading how-to books I've seen. It is clearly written and moves along at a speedy and efficient pace. The author makes the business very understandable for beginners like myself. He suggested a few websites that I have used as resources as well which have led to the submissions of my first query letters. He covers all the bases and sheds light on how tough the business is, how to expect rejection, and at the same time, not to give up or lose faith in a product you believe in. It's also nice to hear that rewrite, rewrite, rewrite is all a part of the brutal process. Just knowing that makes the hill climb a bit more palatable. This book should never be out of arms reach. It is a great reference you can rely on throughout the entire writing process. My suggestion? Buy stock in highlighting pens.
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Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made
Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made by Alex Epstein (Paperback - Oct. 8 2002)
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