Friday, December 5, 2008

Ask the Pros Edited by Howard Meibach and Paul Duran

Howard Meibach and Paul Duran (ed.) Ask the Pros: Screenwriting. 101 Questions Answered by Industry Professionals. Hollywood. Ca.: Lone Eagle Publishing Co., 2004.

This book poses questions that are answered by numerous screenwriting experts.

Diane Dank states that great screenplays have been ones where she felt the emotions they portray.

Arnold Schulman warns against writers strictly following formulas.

Gregg McBride notes screenwriting presents a visual presentation. It does not have to be well written, fancy prose. It has to tell a good visual story.

John Fasano recommends a good plot that holds up and is logical.

David Goyes has gotten ideas from dreams. John Fascano recommends interviewing all kinds of people and reading obscure magazines for interesting story ideas.

Robbie Fox finds good characters emerge from people he’s observed and that he finds they are people with which others can identify.

David Goyes believes good characters emerge from their actions.

Craig Moss develops a beat sheet and outline before writing.

Robbie Fox researches people and often writes from inspiration from observed events.

Craig Moss and Stephen Suseo recommend “Story” by Robert McKee. Robbie Fox believes McKee’s book has been a bad influence on other writers. Gregg McBride recommends “Screenwriting 434” by Lew Hunter and “The Screenwriter’s Bible” by Dave Trottier.

David Goyer suggests a write tackle a subject about which the writer is passionate.

Barry Gold states when pitching an idea that one should be able to state the idea in one sentence.

Larry Brody warns that the film industry is not really searching for new writers and new ideas. The industry wants dependable writers and doesn’t want to risk using new, untested writers. New ideas are risky as it can’t be known how large a market will buy a new idea.

Larry Brody suggests people with new ideas to film it themselves, even if it is with $500 in equipment and using friends, and then using Internet media to show the new ideas.

Stanley Brinks advises that producers seek big idea concepts.

Ken Kokin, a producer, states he doesn’t use readers. He reads scripts himself.

Stephan Palmer warns that most scripts she’s seen did not have a strong basic concept.

Rio Hernandez states it is not likely that a script recommended by a reader is ever developed. Most ideas start at higher levels than readers.

John Truby recommends a screenplay pick a specific genre for a screenplay. The hero and heo’s opponent have to fit that genre’s framework.

Linda Cowgill states a character’s backstory is important but not critical. It could be shown using just a few details,

Dyann A. Rivkin states a screenplay needs well developed characters and a state that an audience willingly will suspend belief and feel is real.

Linda Cowgill recommends writers try to create a unique view for an already popular theme that audiences desire.

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