Writing a screen play is oh so much more than
writing out ideas and any old dialogue onto the page. It’s a craft,
one that does actually require some skills to put together a story
that will be the template of inspiration for the creation of a film.
Well written it’s a force that inspires every other department on
the project. Giving them a better mental picture of the world the
project takes place in. The very strong Film Craft series has
another gem in its crown with the book “Screenwriting” by Tim
Grierson and published by Focal Press.
Grierson is a film and music critic and has had
writing pieces appear in Screen International, L.A. Weekly, Blender,
Revolver, Vulture, Wired, and The Village Voice. He is the Rock
Music guide at About.com and the author of the forthcoming book
"Blinking Lights and Other Revelations: The Story of Eels." Tim has
spoken at the Palm Springs International Film Society and the EMP
Pop Conference in Seattle. He is currently vice president of the Los
Angeles Film Critics Association. So here is a guy that has been
around the block in regards to writing, and is a good choice as the
guiding force for the book “Screenwriting”.
If you have not yet plunged into the Film Craft
line of books from Focal Press, then “Screenwriting is a good start.
Though I will venture to say you will be hooked by the format and
the valued information to be gleaned from the book line. Again, the
book line is not a teaching series. It’s more like insights from
different disciplines in the craft of film making.
The book is filled with interviews and insight
from Screenwriters from around the world. Mostly USA Screenwriters
are covered, though other countries are represented such as Iran/UK,
Mexico, France, South Korea, UK, Denmark, Austria and Romania.
The formats of the books remain for the most part
the same throughout the series. It’s a pleasing format and an easy
read. Printed on a strong paper with a bit of gloss to it, it’s
almost like photo paper.
The interviews from the different writers are
something that any film buff or student would be very pleased to get
ahold of. The talk is candid and the look at the thought process and
stories of full screenplay script writing and even coming in as a
screenplay doctor of sorts and shoring things up come across as real
In several sections as the stories are told of
how this came about, or why they went in the direction they did with
the story…There are times that the featured screenwriter offers a
story of how they first realized this is what happens in the
business. For instance coming in to rework something’s in a script;
but finding nothing wrong with the script that you see. The
realization was like a splash of ice water in the face. The script
issue was not what the writer could do with the script…but what the
director wants done.
The reader gleans some advice from the pros that
are there and making this craft seems so darn simple when it really
is not. There is a lot of behind the scenes information in the book
series and “Screenwriting” brings it to the reader in a big way.
From the stand point of a film buff wishing to
gather things as a film historian the book is invaluable for the
history insights alone. We get to see spectacular photographs and
writers original notes and sample shooting script pages. It’s a
fascinating and delightful book for anyone interested in the many
aspects of film making.
Have fun play games, Read a Book!
United States Editor