speaking of steven
Steven does not come around the seemaxrun forum much anymore I think because his politics are very at odds with mine but he is a distinguished artist and author, a very nice man, a New York resident, the guy who gave the forum and its visitors the most info on what was going on in NY during the initial Trade Center hits of September 11, 2001, and he is handsome and he has a website.
How to Be a Player, and Not Get Played
— by Steven DeRosa
To be sure, there are scores of books that claim they will teach you how to write screenplays, how to write better screenplays, how to make good scripts great, and how to sell those scripts that have been made better by applying the lessons learned. Max Adams cuts through all that in “The Screenwriter’s Survival Guide,” in an engaging and witty style, with loads of useful information.
What makes this book unique and useful is that Max Adams has not just researched her subject, she’s lived it. Max Adams, a Nicholl Fellowship winner [the Academy’s big-time screenwriting competition] and a produced Hollywood screenwriter [Excess Baggage], is the protagonist of this piece, and takes the reader along for the roller-coaster ride of getting a spec script read, repped by an agent, sold, and after surviving the development and rewriting gauntlets, produced. In many ways this book is as much about the script’s survival as it is the scriptwriter’s.
All the stock characters play a part in “The Screenwriter’s Survival Guide.” If you’ve been around the block a couple of times, you’ve met some of them yourself, and if you’re new to the scene … hang on, you will. The bozos, the bad agents, the users — they’re all here — and Max Adams tells you how they’re all lurking in Hollywood, trying to keep you out, or trying to take advantage of you once you’re in.
Adams covers everything from the spec pitch [getting them to read the script you’ve already written], to the concept pitch [getting someone to pay you to write the script that’s still in your head], writer’s speak vs. mogul’s speak, taxes, getting around in Los Angeles, agents vs. managers vs. entertainment lawyers, the agent horror stories [all writers have ’em. Can’t wait for the opportunity to share mine. Watch out, Maddie and Sam!] and so much more. Max Adams pulls no punches and even takes aim [boldly] at the Writer’s Guild! But the mantra throughout is “get read.” That’s the most important hurdle you have to overcome trying to break into and remain in this business. First and foremost you must get read. If you don’t get read, you’re not going to sell, and if you don’t sell … you ain’t in.
Above all, this book is as hilarious as it is useful. The “dating metaphor” had me laughing out loud. The section on “parentheticals and other lies” had me nodding with delight. And I breathed a sigh of relief reading Adams’ chapter on “the screenwriters’ uniform.” I was properly dressed for the occasion, in a well-worn pair of Levis 505s [writers should have many, in varying stages of wear], a “Fight Club” t-shirt [shamelessly plugging Chuck Palahniuk’s book], a newish pair of sneakers, and a sports jacket draped over the back of my chair. Screenwriters don’t wear Armani. If I had to pick the single most important piece of actual “writing” advice in this book, it would be “[Screenwriters] write verb driven action sentences, free of clutter, that move story.” That’s it. Boy, if you can get a handle on that, you’re halfway home. So while Max Adams doesn’t get bogged down in telling you how to write a movie script, she provides a great example, as the book is written in the same staccato style as one of her screenplays.