Cover image for Write screenplays that sell : the Ackerman way
Write screenplays that sell : the Ackerman way
Ackerman, Hal.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Los Angeles : Tallfellow Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xvi, 274 pages ; 23 cm
Part one: Before you can be a screenwriter -- 1. Can writing be taught? -- 2. A word or two about the writer's life and the industry we love -- 3. Why we don't write -- 4. Why we write -- 5. What a screenplay isn't -- 6. What a screenplay is -- 7. What story isn't -- 8. What story is -- Part two: The big picture: story structure -- 9. Act one -- 10. Acts two and three -- 11. Snowplow, scene cards and scenograms -- Part three: The small picture: scene writing -- 12. Dancing the Wadoogee -- 13. The components of scene writing -- 14. Tricks, techniques and stunning acts of legerdemain -- Part four: "The Rees": research and rewriting -- 15. Research -- 16. Rewriting -- Part 5: Afterthoughts and additions -- 17. On writing the short film -- 18. Living your writing life.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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PN1996 .A3 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Professional screenwriting technique is the first subject covered by a virtuoso in teaching the art of story structure, substance, and style, while offering a treasure trove of information on the writing of quality, saleable screenplays.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Aspiring screenwriters-as well as practicing screenwriters wanting to raise their craft to the next level-should thoroughly study these excellent manuals. While each approaches the task from various personal perspectives, all provide considerable practical advice and significant motivation. Despite his academic background, Ackerman (screenwriting, UCLA) has the most pizzazz; he alludes to the likes of Vince Lombardi and Napoleon to make his points. Drawing on his own extensive experience as a successful screenwriter, he is especially good at warning about what not to do, explaining that a screenplay is neither a novel nor a stage play. The tone is amiable and conversational, resembling a lively classroom discussion, and the text is punctuated throughout with a clever recurring "Writers Gym Exercise" to work the writer's muscle groups, as it were, together with practical tips about how to organize one's life around the work of writing. Another accomplished screenwriter, having coauthored dozens of movie screenplays and TV scripts, Sangster warns newcomers about the often ruthless competition among film scribes, detailing ways to emerge successfully from the pack-including the absolute necessity of registering copyright of one's work with the Writer's Guild in Los Angeles. But he brims with contagious excitement when describing the actual composition of screenplays, such as the importance of having a "grabber" in Act 1 to snare the viewer's interest. The excerpts from his own screenplays, included as examples for discussion, occupy more than half of the book, which seems excessive. Fewer excerpts and more of his clever advice and colorful anecdotes would have been more welcome. Finally, Seger, an experienced professional script consultant and the author of several screenwriting guides, examines selected Academy Award-winning and -nominated screenwriters of the last 20 years to determine just what factors made them great, from vivid character motivation to lofty themes. She is especially perceptive in showing that superior screenwriters are visual thinkers, since cinema is a visual medium. A film's goal should be to affect the audience, and the best films have a life-transforming dimension for many viewers. This is the most intellectual of the three manuals, with long, formal sentences, and its yields substantial rewards for the patient and thoughtful reader. The lure of fame and fortune as a Hollywood screenwriter has spawned an abundance of screenwriting guides, yet these three are worthy additions to the oeuvre and recommended for academic libraries and cinema/television collections.-Richard W. Grefrath, Univ. of Nevada Lib., Reno (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.