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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most useful screenwriting books you'll ever find.
I'm another one of those people who has read dozens of books on screenwriting, still hoping to find whatever new information that hasn't already been covered twenty times before. Flinn's book is the real deal. Not only does he present information not covered in most other books, but he does so with the straightforwardness of a good friend and the expertise of a polished...
Published on Sept. 10 2003 by R. Porter

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible book
This book is the biggest waste of money and trees. The author uses an angry tone throughout. Don't be fooled by that. He's not an authority on the subject. His advice range from the very obvious to the simply stupid. Some of the information he gives is plain wrong and could lead any inexperienced writer to commit many great errors. Avoid it like the plague.
Published on Jan. 24 2003


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible book, Jan. 24 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make (Paperback)
This book is the biggest waste of money and trees. The author uses an angry tone throughout. Don't be fooled by that. He's not an authority on the subject. His advice range from the very obvious to the simply stupid. Some of the information he gives is plain wrong and could lead any inexperienced writer to commit many great errors. Avoid it like the plague.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Read this AFTER you've written your screenplay, Nov. 20 2003
By 
Griswel (Rochester, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make (Paperback)
Compared to other screenwriting books I have read, this is decent, but falls short in two important respects.
First, the cynical attitude is no doubt honestly acquired, but the book makes for a very bad read for someone who is still struggling with their screenplay. The best how-to books both explain and inspire, this does not.
Second, the liberal use of actual (or slightly altered) bad screenplays (sometimes multiple pages of unbroken screenplay examples) make for (often) difficult (if not confusing) reading of the (sometimes) useful prose. The book feels like 1/3 advice, 2/3 filler. Some of the examples are needed to display the problem being discussed, most are either a trivia contest (how quickly can you spot which movie the example is from?) or dreck which adds nothing to the explanation given.
I recommend that you read the book, or something like it, before you send your screenplay out into the world. There is good advice here for rewriting, format and polishing. However, I recommend that you read THIS book only after you've written your screenplay, unless you're looking for an excuse to quit.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most useful screenwriting books you'll ever find., Sept. 10 2003
By 
R. Porter "DJ Wonderbread" (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make (Paperback)
I'm another one of those people who has read dozens of books on screenwriting, still hoping to find whatever new information that hasn't already been covered twenty times before. Flinn's book is the real deal. Not only does he present information not covered in most other books, but he does so with the straightforwardness of a good friend and the expertise of a polished industry veteran. He even covers a pet peeve of mine in this kind of book: If this author knows so much about writing, why have I *never* seen a movie that he/she has written?
(I mean, come on... name one movie you've ever seen written by Syd Field.) Flinn makes it clear his experience lies in a background even more unsung and mysterious to writers, that of a studio reader. If ever the phrase "know your enemy" was more apt....
Proving that he can practice what he preaches, the author gives us a good read; smooth and descriptive from start to finish. You'll go through it as though the pages were greased. (Heck, I work five days a week and four nights a week, and I still sped through all 200+ pages in about 4 days, despite my schedule.)
Ultimately, If I were asked to suggest to an aspiring screenwriter only three things to read, they would have to be:
1) "The Screenwriter's Bible" by David Trottier,
2) Any script written by James Cameron,
3) "How Not To Write A Screenplay" by Denny Martin Flinn.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Ever Read on Screenwriting..., Oct. 23 2001
By 
Thor Vader "Herr Director" (Beverly Hills, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make (Paperback)
... and I've read almost all of them. Flinn starts his book with the admission that he has never written any great movies... and then states blatently that he didn't write this book because he can write screenplays, but rather because he has had to read a ton of them.
Well thank god he did, because he distills horribly written screenplays into crystal clear examples of why they are poorly written. This information is wonderful, and I found myself delighting in his revealing why I too am unsatisfied with the screenplays I have written.
The book is broken into two primary sections with a third "final thought section." The first is devoted to form, and he cuts to the chase providing examples of "good writing" and, even more importantly, examples of "bad writing". He examples are very accessible, and will illustrate to any writer, producer, or director why it is that they want to cut their wrists when reading some screenplays, and can't put others down.
The second half of the book is devoted to content. This is not as strong as the first half, but is certainly on par or slightly better than most books on how to write your story. He even quotes from all of the guru's of screenwriting, and shows that they are all ultimately trying to say the same thing.
I am absolutely serious when I say it is the best book on screenwriting I have ever read. I think it should be manditory reading for anyone that ever thinks of giving their screenplay to another individual to read. Happy writing!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The BUSINESS (and REALISTIC) side of screenwriting., June 10 2001
This review is from: How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make (Paperback)
There are many titles out there that have self-proclaimed screenwriting experts instructing you as to what makes a good plot, characterization, etc... While this can be helpful, sometimes the financial basics of the movie industry are overlooked in these books written by career college types.
The author, Denny Martin Flinn, has not only written screenplays but was employed for many years by the movie studios to receive and review the thousands of screenplays that are sent in by aspiring writers. In other words, the author was the first person to review scripts and give it the -yes or no-! The author has written a book that explains to beginning screenwriters all the "do's and dont's" of format, marketing, etc. An invaluable piece of material that points out many of the first-time mistakes by beginning screenwriters.
A MUST if you are thinking of becoming a freelance movie writer with no training. Common sense advice from a business standpoint. Some of the help provided in this book can prevent your screenplay from being thrown in the trash before the reviewers get past page 2.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic Hands-On Help for Wanna-Be Screenwriters, March 5 2001
By 
Ann McElroy (Hickory, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make (Paperback)
I inhaled this book in one reading. The next day I read it again. The third day, I started taking notes. How can you resist a book that opens with: "The first thing you really want to know when you're buying a book about screenwriting is...who is this guy? Has he won an Oscar?" (I'm not going to tell you the answer.) I know nothing about screenwriting, but by dumb luck and reading the reviews, I selected this as my first book on the subject. I learn faster from my mistakes and Mr. Flinn kindly offered up a platter full of them for me to consume and learn from. Very, very comfortable, practical reading from a man who is a professional reader of screenplays. He tells you the most basic information like what margins and tab settings to use, the preferred length of movie scripts, all the way through to character development, structure, conflict and story pacing. I have since skimmed two other books on the topic, but I would recommend reading this one first. I'm glad it's getting 5 star reviews. It is an excellent book for beginners! But to get the most out of it, read it several times so his overall message will REALLY sink in: pacing, pacing, pacing...make your story move like greased lightening and keep the reader interested!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars SMART, INSIGHTFUL AND PAINFULLY FUNNY, Oct. 11 1999
This review is from: How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make (Paperback)
Anyone who reads screenplays for a living knows that ninety-nine out of every 100 are absolutely horrible. And not just because the stories are weak, the characters are bland and the dialogue is inane. No, most scripts are painful to read because they're painful to read. Description is confusing, overwritten, or just plain obtuse. UPPERCASE words POP up OFTEN enough to cause MOTION SICKNESS, or the script is rydled with mispellings and grammaticle errs. Author, screenwriter and story analyst Denny Martin Flinn has written a masterful, must-read book for anyone hoping to get a spec screenplay past production company readers and into the Hollywood pipeline. Since no one can teach talent or originality, he instead tells readers the traps to avoid when assembling their cinematic opuses, ranging from formatting eroors to descriptive gaffs to thematic omissions. Illustrating his points with both horrid and well-written screen passages--all genuine-- Flinn has created a book that is smart, insightful and often painfully funny. Allen B. Ury, Fade In Magazine
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5.0 out of 5 stars Covering the bases on Screenplay, Nov. 29 1999
By 
This review is from: How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make (Paperback)
Flinn knows his stuff. This is an exhaustive catalogue, if you will, of all danger signs and bear traps posted along the path of writing in the illusive art of screenplay. Presented in a slight tongue-in-cheek tone, Flinn is a able to reduce this complicated world into a fun-to-read and easy to understand format. By referencing well known works which have already made it to the big screen, this book makes those, sometimes vague, concepts all the more relevant and meaningful--a problem I find with many of these "how to write screenplay" books. Besides, Flinn has a writing credit on a movie already (Star Trek 6), something I find many of the authors to these books are lacking. It makes this read all the more authoritative.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Save your money... BUY THIS BOOK!, April 28 2002
By 
Donald J. Hajicek "filmwest" (Cheyenne, WY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make (Paperback)
I've purchased dozens of screenwriting books over the last few years, and I read them all voraciously. I always seemed to come away feeling somewhat empty and lost (with the exception of anything written by William Froug.) This book, however, is worth its weight in gold. Forget all that formula stuff and write from the heart, but keep what you learn from this book close to your heart as you slave away on your masterpiece. Once you have a solid foundation of rules to follow that will at least increase your odds of not being dismissed by the pro reader for some silly technical mistake, you are truly free to tell your story in the best way... YOUR WAY. I would have saved hundreds of dollars on books if I had read this one first.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Best, July 5 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make (Paperback)
Well, just reading the first few pages was even very helpful, let alone the whole book! I have read some books that have a few helpful things in them, but that's the problem, "a few". This book is filled with stuff that you should NOT do. He tells you so much and it is very easy to read and has many illistrations from other famous screenplays. It will help you to write the right way and also gives you different ways to do it. This book is not a "should have", it's a "must have".
As I said it is very easy to read and very helpful. You shouldn't have problem reading unless per se, you are from Rotchester, NY or some place that has problems reading past the 3rd grade.
Basically, it's a great book and you have to read it.
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