In my day I’ve read a great deal of books about screenwriting. From the classics like Syd Field’s Screenplay and Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat to more obscure how to manuals, all guaranteed to teach the reader the secret they need to know to write a great screenplay.
But I’ve never read a screenplay book as terrifically entertaining and informative as Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon’s Writing Movies for Fun & Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too! For one thing, unlike Syd and the late, great, Blake, G&L have written a ton of produced screenplays, from the wildly successful (Night at the Museum) to the horrible flop (Taxi). And they fill their book with real world practical advice, not esoteric theory on the “hero’s journey.” They take the healthy perspective that screenwriting is a business. And if you want to be able to succeed in the business and have a successful career, you need to understand that you need to be able to give the studio (who paid a pile of money for your script) the changes it needs, or you will be swiftly out of a job.
The book covers such subjects as
- How To Pimp Your Movie
- Why Getting Fired Can Be A Good Thing
- The Importance Of Credits
- How To Take Notes From A Movie Star, and
- How To Handle A WGA Arbitration.
The advice given in the book is easy to read, and often hilarious. And while this book will probably not replace Field and Snyder’s tomes, it has so much important advice that I haven’t seen elsewhere, I would say it is a must read for all aspiring screenwriters.
Two minor bits of criticism that I hope get corrected in the second edition.
First, they advise registering completed scripts with the WGA. As I’ve said repeatedly, the WGA Registration is a waste of your time and money. All scripts should be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
You can buy WMFF&P on Amazon, or wherever books are sold.