Sunday, January 15, 2006

About The Booklist

This blog is a companion to our podcast site

We're a couple of screenwriters trying to make our way in the wilds of Hollywood, stumbling humbly along between brilliant success and crushing defeat.

We've long promised a list of recommended reading for our listeners, and, somehow, Sam dumped it on me, Jim, to put it up. So I'm go to start this, thinking it may become an evolving, ongoing attempt to share books we found inspirational to our writing process -- whether or not they're explicitly about screenwriting.

First, I want to state my bias about screenwriting books (Sam will chime in with his own preamble, I suspect).

I think they suck.

Most are blatantly opportunistic attempts to hoover money out of the wallets of people who have dreams. I can't wait until I become jaded and bitter enough to write my own.

Seriously, though, writing about how to write is like writing a book about playing jazz piano. Yeah, you can do it; yeah, you can describe the process of creativity; yeah, others can probably learn some things along the way. But does reading that stuff REALLY make you a jazz pianist? No. You have to play piano, a lot, preferably under the tutelage of more advanced performers. As we've tried to convey in our podcasts, there's just no substitute for experience. Writers are people who write.

All of that said, I'm just as hungry today as I ever was for tips and stories about making it out here. Anything I can stuff into my brain that teaches me something or just gives me the fortitude to bang away for one more day.

My curmudgeonly ranting aside, there are books out there that are useful -- or entertaining at least. So here goes...


At 11:53 PM, Anonymous guile said...

nice, cozy place you got here :)..

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Dark Piranha said...

Thanks for all the incredibly inspiring extra-curricular work you guys do. If my dream of becoming a screenwriter comes to fruition, I will truly have you guys to thank for getting me rededicated to hunkering down and writing something, now with a far more realistic expectation of what the process (and results) will entail.

At 4:16 AM, Anonymous David Wigram said...

Hey guys. I enjoy your podcast each time it arrives on my desktop.

Something I'd like to reccomend you guys if I may - a book called Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. It's kind of a textbook on everything comic, but it's concepts spread over into pretty much all visual storytelling. As a film editor (and aspirant writer) I found it deeply interesting. McCloud is a pleasant and entertaining companion along the way too.

Keep up the good work!

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous chidder said...

This is a great site. I posted an item on my blog Mere Words pointing the way to this site, as well as your webpage. Keep up the good work!

At 6:53 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

I went through all of your podcasts in about a two week period and loved it. Even after all the pain and suffering you guys went through, it made me dust off my dream of writing and get back to building it.

As far as books I would suggest "Story" by Robert McKee for those just getting into creating scripts. I think it is well done and it is on CD so you can put on an iPod or just play it in the car or home stereo. McKee does a nice job help writers to figure out if a scene really is needed or has value.

Keep up the great work guys. Hope to see your names listed as head writers/creators for some original production on HBO or Sci-Fi or some network the general public would actually know.

At 5:23 AM, OpenID kkeating said...

I'm on the journey too, back at milepost "whoknows", where I just got an agent but have no idea whether or not she's a good agent.

I'm writing because in response to a recent how's it going email I sent her, to which she responded by asking me if I had any ideas that would answer the following question: "Why would everyone come see my movie once, then come again and bring everyone they know who hadn't already see it?"

I don't have an answer. Do I need to come up with one? I can tell you all about my character wants and three act structure, etc, but I have no idea what will make the movie-going buy a ticket or not.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

Ken Keating


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