by Terry Rossio, et al.
(Not a book, a website ( http://www.wordplayer.com/ ) but required reading nonetheless. )
Time was, the word blog didn't exist, 56k modems were the hot shit and people were hitting it big writing TV comedy ‘cause sitcoms ruled the airwaves. Yeah, we’re talking way back, like seven, eight years ago? Maybe longer, I can’t recall. But back then, Terry Rossio started doing his Wordplay columns as essays on the Motley Fool section of AOL (though if they really had anything to do with investing, the connection is lost on me.) Rossio & his partner Ted Elliot had broken into the screenwriting game (Little Monstethe tha Mask of Zorro, early drafts of Godzilla, etc, etc.) and the columns were his record of the often painful, always amusing lessons he learned as he went along.
Sam & I used to read those columns in the offices at our restaurants & talk about actually using those stupid BA’s in English we’d picked up. So, really, the fact that you’re reading this is Rossio’s fault. I'm not sure we’d have taken the plunge without his wry, insightful horror stories about the indignities of screenwriting. What made them so useful wasn’t the inspirational element – though he definitely finds silver linings wherever they can be found. The real value is in the unvarnished truthfulness, the eye-opening realities he discusses.
Wordplayer.com has been up as its own website for a long time now, and it’s one of the best resources for screenwriters on the web. It’s packed with a vast array of guest essays, reference links, Q&A compilations, and, of course, the Columns themselves. Each column tackles a distinct topic and in a few pages conveys more worthwhile information than most complete books on writing. I visit regularly -- the more I learn about how this place works, the more I glean from reading the columns.
Sadly, Rossio doesn’t have much time for the site anymore it seems (the poor bastard's too busy producing & writing movies).