Most helpful positive review
on April 13, 2004
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.