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The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script

The Screenwriter's Bible

The Screenwriter’s Bible

The Screenwriter’s Bible is one of the most popular, authoritative, and useful books on screenwriting. A standard by which other screenwriting books are measured, it has sold 150,000 copies in its ten-year life.

Always up-to-date and reliable, it contains everything that both the budding and working screenwriter need under one cover — six books in one!

Features: How to Write a Screenplay — a concise course on screenwriting basics; Correct Format for Screenplays and Teleplays — a style guide to the latest in industry-accepted formats; Steps to a Stunning Script — a step-by-step guide to the screenwriting process from nascent idea through revisions; Writing Your Breakthrough Spec Script — the keys to a marketable script; How to Sell Your Script — marketing and sales strategies and information about today’s marketplaces;

Resources — lists of industry contacts and useful screenwriting tools and services.

This new edition offers expanded coverage of dialogue writing and character development, the latest in proper screenplay format, a new section on jumpstarting your career, new advice on creating and delivering pitches, more new successful writing tips and pointers, new and revised writing exercises, updated film examples, and an expanded index.

How does a spec script differ from a shooting script?

What kind of fasteners should one use to bind a script?

How did the term MOS come to mean without sound?

You’ll find the answers to these pressing questions and much more in David Trottier’s eminently usable Screenwriter’s Bible.

The avuncular Trottier–a writer-producer, script consultant, and seminar leader–has written a friendly guide through the Hollywood morass. He touts it as six books in one: it’s “a screenwriting primer, a screenwriting workbook, a formatting guide, a spec writing guide, a sales and marketing guide, [and] a resource guide.”

Much of Trottier’s advice is common sense: “Don’t write anything that cannot appear on the screen”; to keep casting options open, don’t make your physical descriptions too specific; “don’t say Ron Howard is looking at the project if he is not.”

But there are things to know about Hollywood that are, well, quirkier. Don’t write the title of your script on the front cover or side binding; present action sequences using the “stacking action” style; in query letters and scripts alike, avoid “big blocks of black ink.”

Trottier’s guidance–from character development and revision to queries and pitches–is invaluable. Getting in the door can seem impossible, but it’s not, necessarily. “If you write a script that features a character who has a clear and specific goal,” says Trottier, “where there is strong opposition to that goal leading to a crisis and an emotionally satisfying ending, your script will automatically find itself in the upper five percent.”

(By the way, MOS is said to have “originated with German director Eric von Stroheim, who would tell his crew, ‘Ve’ll shoot dis mid out sound’”). –Jane Steinberg

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2 comments to The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script

  • "elvis_katzer"

    This wonderful book changed my career My agent told me to buy this book, and it has helped me tremendously in breaking in. As a working writer, I am pleased to find something that is helping my career. (I sold my script.) The book is endorsed by an academy-award winning writer (William Kelly), some top agents, and other Hollywood types. As for me, it’s the best screenwriting book I’ve ever read–bar none.

  • Stephen L. Priori

    An Invaluable Reference Tool for Screenwriters Want to know the difference between “O.S.” (off-screen) and “V.O.” (voiceover), and when to use each? How about that between “Intercut” and “Match Cut?” Then you want to buy “The Screenwriters Bible,” script consultant David Trottier’s encyclopedic reference on creating memorable characters, on storytelling, and especially on formatting. I am an optioned writer, who has written several scripts (and TV sitcoms), yet I find Trottier’s work an invaluable reference.

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