Thursday, September 2, 2010

Book Review: THE STARTER SCREENPLAY by Adam Levenberg

I know what you're thinking already: Another screenwriting book!?   I've got a shelf full already.  Me, too.  

But here comes a new book unique from all the others currently on the market: THE STARTER SCREENPLAY by Adam Levenberg. 

Hollywood executive and consultant Adam Levenberg has a unique book out with great information.  THE STARTER SCREENPLAY is told from the POV of a creative exec that may be buying your material.  How to avoid the big, "No."

The value of this book comes from Adam's experience as a Hollywood executive who spent thousands of hours speaking with unrepresented screenwriters.   What do you need to learn to have a shot at success.   It's in the book!

An alternate title might be, WHAT SCREENPLAY NOT TO WRITE.  This is the first book to specifically identify types of movies that are difficult for new screenwriters to deliver.  For example, he suggests avoiding an ensemble drama like CRASH.  Why?  Because ensemble movies are exponentially harder to write than a "single hero" movie.

The chapter on "What Not To Write" is the most expansive resource out there on how the majority of amateur screenwriters are DOA at the concept level.  They start out on the wrong foot and never recover.  This wastes months, if not years, and prevents most amateurs from breaking into the pro ranks.

Adam is a huge fan of Blake Snyder's SAVE THE CAT and has created a companion piece from the executive's perspective.  New screenwriters often get hung up on describing their ideas as "this meets that."  Adam lays out exactly how to use existing movies as templates while incorporating your own creativity and ideas to create something original.  He calls this adding value to your story.

The book is a fast, easy read that delivers essential information on virtually every single page.  Overall, THE STARTER SCREENPLAY is groundbreaking because it delivers information you can't find in other screenwriting books.  If you feel you have advanced as a writer but are hitting a career brick wall, give this one a read.

1 comment:

  1. Ensembles are easier to write.

    Levenberg's a hack. His views are obvious. Don't read script theory.