Beyond Screenwriting is an accomplished Hollywood screenwriter's insider look at the real ins and outs of the Hollywood screenwriting trenches. This book gives details of how to write screenplays and goes further into the tricks of the trade of the movie and television industry. Sterling Anderson shares his triumphs and mistakes and how to deal with studio and movie producers. Beyond Screenwriting gives easy-to-follow tips, from how to get your screenplay read, to how to deal with show runners, line producers, and producers once you've gotten the job. The discerning difference between most screenwriting books and Beyond Screenwriting is that Sterling Anderson consistently tells aspiring screenwriters that they can do it, and here's how. Take a candid insider's look at how to write screenplays and get a job writing screenplays from a screenwriter with actual credits. Beyond Screenwriting generously answers almost every question that aspiring screenwriters have in the pursuit of a career as a Hollywood screenwriter.
This book is perfect for anyone looking to learn more about screenwriting. The reader will be able to tell this book is written from an expert's point of view, very well-researched.
It is hard to sum up this book, there are many different parts; however, the book is as promised. The reader will find plenty of tips and hints as well as stories and blunders that will make the reader laugh and inevitably enjoy the book more.
This book is highly recommended to readers interested in this subject.
Why did you decide to write a book about screenwriting?
Answer: When I was an adjunct professor at USC Cinematic School of Arts (film school) and taught screenwriting, every semester I would get showered with the same questions from aspiring writers, directors, and producers. They'd ask, 'Professor Anderson what book on screenwriting should we buy?' I looked at all the books on screenwriting and ninety percent of them were out dated, or written by people with little or no experience at selling screenplays or being hired to write a movie or writing for television. I got tired of throwing up my hands and not knowing how to answer. I knew one day I had to write a book I'd recommend.
What's the biggest mistake writers make when working on a TV or film script?
Answer: Developing the habit of writing on their own schedule. When you finally make it as a screenwriter the first thing you have to adjust to is deadlines. When I'm hired to write a movie I'm expected to deliver a first draft withing 6 to 10 weeks. (The last movie I was hired to write the producer asked for a draft in less than a month.) When I wrote on a one hour drama series we had to deliver our episodes in one week after the outlines were approved. So when baby writers first get their break through and sell a script or get hired to write a script they are astounded at how fast they must deliver. I tell all aspiring screenwriters to impose deadlines on themselves to develop the muscles to write fast.
What are three things screenwriters can do to improve their talents?
Answer: Write everyday. Read everyday. Follow the industry and get to know who is who so when you get your first meeting you will know exactly what the person giving you the opportunity has done. I once lost a big job because I sat in front of a studio executive and didn’t know all her credits.
Writing a screenplay goes well beyond getting the words down. What can screenwriters expect after they've finished their masterpiece?
Answer: Expect to do a rewrite. Screenwriting is the business of rewriting.
What background and experience do you have to allow you to teach others how to write for the big screen?
Answer: You have to have actually have done it. Too many film teachers have never been on the other side of the wall so they don't know how to prepare their students. You can know how to build a race car with your eyes closed, but doesn't mean you can actually drive it. You can know how to build a race car with your eyes closed, but doesn't mean you can actually drive it. This is why I chose the title 'Beyond Screenwriting' for my book. A screenwriting career goes well beyond just writing a script. You have to know how to shine in a meeting with a producer. You have to know how to increase your chances to get your script read. You have to know how to navigate a job once you've been hired to write for television or a feature film.
Where do you get your ideas?
Answer: My first big spec script sale was a dream I had. I woke up and said to myself, 'That was a great movie. When and where did I see it?' When I realized it was a dream I flew to the computer and started typing. The last television show I sold to 20th Century Fox resulted from a dinner conversation.
What is the difference between writing for television versus film?
ANSWER: This was the number one question at the Sedona and Austin film festivals where I spoke. Of course as you can see from my answer above that the deadlines differ tremendously. But most importantly, television is the 'WRITER'S MEDIUM' and film is the 'DIRECTOR'S MEDIUM.'
When a writer writes a two-hour feature film, we have little or no power or influence. The director is king. When a writer turns in a draft on a movie we usually are finished or replaced. This is why you see so many writers listed in the credits. None of us even know one another.
In television, writers are king. When you create a series – you are in charge the whole way through. There are exceptions; like a few creators of tremendously successful television series that have been fired after the first or second season. But not to worry, they were all still listed as executive producers and received more money than one can imagine.
If you had to choose one TV show and one movie – of all time – with the best screenwriting, which would you choose and why?
Answer: I tell all aspiring television writers to study the series ‘24.’ That show hit a homerun every episode. I used to love ‘Tender Mercies’ more than any movie until I saw ‘Snatch.’
Are you working on anything now?
Answer: Rewriting a novel and having a better relationship with my kids.
Giveaway: One print copy (USA/CAN) or ebook (International) is available thanks to JKS communications! Leave a comment with you email address. Thanks for stopping by :)
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