Monday, July 23, 2012

The book

I'm putting back the Variety posting, will do it Thursday.

I'm now about 46 pages into the book on screenwriting and finding it relatively easy. Of course it's based on my 2 1/2 years of teaching extension classes at UCLA, which ended around 2003.

It was a toss-up between writing that or doing a novelization of another screenplay I wrote that got great responses and was even optioned by ABC, until the exec who optioned it was laid off. In cases like that the network or studio kills his babies. Not a very nice term but very real.

I've been a little wary of writing a book on screenwriting, given that there are at least 100 or more books out there. In other words who wants a new book?

I gave those 46 pages to a handful of friends who I can trust will be honest and asked them if I had anything.  A couple have emailed back, one spoke to me on Sunday. They all said it was "compelling" and informative.

Those words could mean a lot of things but they added that due to one factor, the book should do well.

That factor is -- that I actually had movies made. 18 of them. Half were rewrites, where I was hired to rewrite entire screenplays, mostly on location. Those were in Luxembourg, Canada, Mexico and here in Los Angeles.

So what's the difference between me and those other 100 books?

Most of those books were written by people who never had a movie made.  And of the ones who did, there were only a few who had one or a couple made.

Would you want to fly with a pilot who's flown once, or 18 times? And then there's the 30 hours of episodic too.

But before I get too "Mr. Highshot", as my Manitoba friend says, I have another element I'm adding to the book. Essentially it's a take-off of this blog.

I've written this blog for almost 3 years, 3 blogs a week at first, for a year or long and now 2 blogs a week. That's a hell of a lot of posts and some repeated in that time. The blog was in the Top 50 film blogs of 2010 by Movie Maker magazine.

Since then, both screenwriting magazines, Creative Screenwriting & Screenwriter, have disappeared. There might be alternatives on the internet but I couldn't find any.

Back to the post; I am utilizing two elements in the book, first using my lectures from UCLA and updating them as well as combining stories that are similar to the blog. In short I'm attempting to show people how I write (as compared to how to write) . This worked for UCLA and will work again in book form.

I've also woven in stories of the film business, gathered over 40 years, which should provide insight into the world of writers, not just diagrams and catchy phrases that some people use.

It's another re-invention of sorts, my last movie was 2010 and I have a 3 projects being looked at but I've been around the block enough to know that it means nothing. Writing books thru Amazon at least offers the chance to sell a book or two and keeps my mind fresh.

The book on screenwriting should be finished in August and then I'll see what it's future will be like. And at the same time, I'll start writing a new screenplay on a totally different subject.

(Thurs: Death of Variety)


  1. Is it a book about writing tv movies?

  2. I'm doing a book on screenwriting and it's about how to write feature-length movies, either features or tv movies. It's different than most books, for one thing, I have 19 produced feature length movies, some theatrical others tv. It should be finished by mid August and I'll keep all of you informed as it goes.