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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
Ce commentaire est de: 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
Ce commentaire est de: 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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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)   
Ce commentaire est de: 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 Epstein delivers!!, Dec 3 2002
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
Finally, a book that provides great insight into the process of writing a screenplay and selling it too!
For years I had held out on buying a book on screenwriting because no one seemed to take the time to simply explain the minutia behind the structure, style, and format needed in a screenplay (i.e. what should it physically look like? how should I bind it?).
This book challenges you to truly invest thought into your stories and gives you a guide on how to make your ideas work on the page.
Epstein takes the time to show you how to break stories down into their easiest to understand elements while at the same time injecting his own thoughts on how a screenplay should look (bindings, format) and feel (information on length and pacing).
I know what you're saying: "I've read published screenplays and know the format well enough!"
This is wrong, since the screenplays that get published are made to incorporate elements that are necessary to a SHOOTING SCRIPT, while your trying to write a SELLING SCRIPT!
This book should be able to answer any questions you've had on screenwriting and give you great tips on the writing process...and the price isn't bad either!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Epstein delivers!!, Dec 3 2002
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
Finally, a book that provides great insight into the process of writing a screenplay and selling it too!
For years I had held out on buying a book on screenwriting because no one seemed to take the time to simply explain the minutia behind the structure, style, and format needed in a screenplay (i.e. what should it physically look like? how should I bind it?).
This book challenges you to truly invest thought into your stories and gives you a guide on how to make your ideas work on the page.
Epstein takes the time to show you how to break stories down into their easiest to understand elements while at the same time injecting his own thoughts on how a screenplay should look (bindings, format) and feel (information on length and pacing).
I know what you're saying: "I've read published screenplays and know the format well enough!"
This is wrong, since the screenplays that get published are made to incorporate elements that are necessary to a SHOOTING SCRIPT, while your trying to write a SELLING SCRIPT!
This book should be able to answer any questions you've had on screenwriting and give you great tips on the writing process...and the price isn't bad either!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Demystifying!, Nov. 2 2002
By 
Branko Ruzic (Split, Croatia) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
Alex Epstein has written a book from the standpoint of a man who has been at both sides of the table - a scriptwriter and a development executive who spends time reading scripts. Using the experiences, he builds a solid, yet a very pleasant to read composition of succinct pieces of advice on how to write a screenplay that will get made.
Many people in the screenwriting biz seem to be in love with phrases. From writing gurus ("A good screenplay is a screenplay that doesn't waste our time", "Tell the story that has to be told") to folks who read and evaluate screenplays ("It's episodic", "We don't know enough about your hero"). The catch with all phrases is - they're not useful to a writer. This book goes beyond those common idioms, avoids clichés, and tells you EXACTLY what you need to know.
E.g. "Hook (a.k.a. High Concept)" - all around the Internet you can find a definition: "A premise that can be depicted in a sentence or two". But even such a structurally complex movie as "Magnolia" can be caught in one sentence; so again, the popular phrase is not telling us much. Going deeper from the evident confusion, Epstein successfully analyzes the entire "High Concept" problem by telling us what a good hook really is, why it is the most important part of the script, how to come up with a valid one, and finally - how to check out the quality of a chosen concept before you waste 6 months writing the script that won't get read, let alone get made.
Combining humor with practical examples, the author finds the best path to the essence of all critical screenplay elements (structure, point of view, pacing, dialogues...) and makes them clear and easily comprehensible.
Along with the abovementioned, the book shows an equally significant blueprint of the working principles of Hollywood selling&buying script system.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have Book for Seroius Screenwriters!, Oct. 26 2002
By 
Ace DeSone "Ace" (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made (Paperback)
When it comes to books on screenwriting, I make it my habit to read them all, as you never know when something will hit home.
I opened this book, and almost devoured it in one sitting, it's that compelling. Every level of professional and wanna-be screenwriters will find something useful here, although I think that people with one or more screenplays under their belts will find more of what they NEED to know.
The author lays it out in no-nonsense style, which is great, 'cause I hate for someone to waste my time. This book isn't so much about theory, or art, it's about what has to be done to write a screenplay that will be SOLD. Epstein doesn't ask screenwriters to abandon their art, just to adapt it in subtle little ways to make it suit the marketplace.
I, myself, found the sections on "genre" especially helpful, as it cleared up the problems I was having with a particular script, one that had been close to a deal several times.
And now, I have to go back and fix those problems, but now I know what exactly what they are. I've been working on this script for almost six years now, and for ten bucks and change, Alex Epstein got right to the root of my problem!
Thanks, Alex!
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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
Ce commentaire est de: 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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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
Ce commentaire est de: 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every cent, Jan. 28 2004
By 
S J Kinloch (Albury, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: 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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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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