Proud of it, yet timid, I wrote a letter to the Professor as he said it would be acceptable to do so at the end of his book, and asked if he would take a look at it and give me a little feedback. He wrote back within a month my goodness, how did we survive in the days of snail mail? I waited, and waited, and waited--six months.
In October , he wrote to me with his analysis and recommendations. Above all, he congratulated me for creating a story that is and he still stands by this, ask him, "original, refreshing, inventive and highly marketable! My son was born three months premature before I could finish, and needless to say, writing fiction was the last thing on my mind for a very long time.
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In , ready to get back to work on my first movie script, I purchased another copy of this book I had given my copy away--I have given this book to a few writers--I have purchased replacement copies for myself, and now I keep one handy. Having moved within driving distance of UCLA and having the advantages of the internet, I searched for his classes and signed up for Basic Screenwriting Lab in the summer of Imagine my unhappiness when he delegated instruction to someone else on staff!
Even though the instructor was great and used Professor Walter's textbook, it was not the same as being able to show him my revision. In , I found a seminar that he was teaching in my region and took it. He read my April revision I had rewritten it twice, based on the class, even though the instructor had graded my script an 'A-' , and offered to work with me as a consultant. I was thrilled!
I will read your script, give you detailed notes, you will rewrite it, I will read it and give you notes, and we will continue that process until we both agree that it is ready to present to a studio. I cannot promise you that you will sell your script. The only thing I can promise you is an education. No more do I have any doubts about where to begin, how to structure the plot, how to foreshadow, how to utilize my characters, how to stay focused on the protagonist, how to end the story--structure was previously my nemesis.
Now, it is second nature. I have never read another screenwriting textbook.
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He also delivered an official letter of recommendation that I can use when pitching the movie to agents and studio representatives. So, all that, and it still has not been optioned--why? As I was warned by many in the industry, Hollywood executives are extremely terrified of unknowns when it comes to big budget CGI science fantasy films. There have been too many flops, too many millions lost, too many careers ended by greenlighting projects that were written by a new, unknown writer. They are also prejudiced against women writers and against middle-aged writers.
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Ask me if I care. Not anymore. I am thoroughly enjoying the creative process, my freedom as a writer, my independence, and I know very well that when I die, suddenly, there will be a buzz about the Saardu Lady, because I do have many loyal and passionate fans out there--even though they don't go online and post everywhere--most of them were children in lower income families who do not own computers.
That's a fact. Yet someday, my rabbit hole String Theory and the little black girl who leads the superstitious genetic engineers of the future as well as the barbarians of a sweetly scary planet known as Saardu, will be a movie He has lectured all over the world on the subject, and is a frequent guest on radio talk shows.
In my opinion, there is no better book on the subject. If you like someone's formulaic approach better, good for you. Do not be unappreciative of this man's legacy--MANY of the finest, most memorable moments in movies have been written by his students! Mar 09, Andrew Whitehead rated it really liked it.
A no-nonsense look at the world of screenwriting through the eyes of the head of the UCLA Screenwriting department.
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A must-read for aspiring screenwriters. Sep 01, Gail Jeidy rated it really liked it. This is a valuable screenwriting text although not the first one I would recommend for beginners. It underscores the essentials and adds depth to the process. Plus it makes you feel like you're getting the benefit of being a coveted UCLA screenwriting student since Richard Walter heads up the program there.
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I found his sure-shot advice for query letters a bit misleading since much of his students' 96 percentage of success surely begins with the first sentence: "I am a student in the master's This is a valuable screenwriting text although not the first one I would recommend for beginners. My favorite sentence of the book fell under a subhead "Hollywood Nightmares.
Hollywood abounds with dark stories about how cruelly its artists are cheated, mistreated , and abused Infinitely more painful than the harshest criticism is the yawning, hollow silence that accompanies being ignored. Walters is an excellent writer and his book is highly entertaining. Jul 04, Terri Lynn rated it it was ok Shelves: nonfiction , art-theater-film-ballet-symphony.
This was fair and had some good advice but the author is so sure he is some sort of gift to the world he gets in his own way. He actually annoyed me through much of the book and often I wished he'd get out of the way with his personal beliefs and just put the information down without inserting his thoughts and personal stories into it. For example, he suggests writing "Dear This was fair and had some good advice but the author is so sure he is some sort of gift to the world he gets in his own way.
May I send you my screenplay about a man who goes between 21st century America and 18th century Europe? The problems are 1 Most of us are NOT in the renowned UCLA program and 2 a 10 word description of the screenplay from an unknown writer is unlikely to arouse all of the agents in Hollywood. He gave a couple of other examples- we could hint that we had killed our fiance for getting caught in bed with our room mate or that we had committed another crime but if we haven't killed anyone or committed crimes, how does that work for us?
Dec 25, Carrie rated it really liked it.
As a novice to screeneriting, my purpose for reading this book was to figure out where to begin. I picked it up at the public library, but quickly decided that I needed to own a copy. This book is filled with knowledge and guidance of a very practical sort, and as a huge bonus, it is easy to read. Not only does it instruct on the writing process, it also gives valuable advice regarding the business aspect of selling a script. I found the recommended reading section at the end to be quite As a novice to screeneriting, my purpose for reading this book was to figure out where to begin.
I found the recommended reading section at the end to be quite valuable as I look for my next book on the screenwriting craft. But not to delay putting fingers to the keyboard! Mar 10, Antoinette Perez rated it really liked it. This was like the screenwriting version of On Writing Well -- lots of dry humor, great perspective and helpful suggestions. The section on the author's own shorthand, when he is providing feedback on scripts, was a bit cumbersome and repetitive.
Just because it is a fad now, by the time you are done with the screenplay, filming it, and releasing it does not guarantee a success. It might be a boxoffice bomb because audience's perception and expectations changes everyday. What was a fad yesterday might not be a fad tomorrow.
Overall, the book is really good with a charming author working at UCLA represent! There are some minor grammar issues, but it does not distract from the reading. There are many screenwriting books out there with wealth of information and you could educate yourself with them, but if you truly want to do something is to take action. Start writing now and not tomorrow!
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Return to Book Page. Preview — Essentials of Screenwriting by Richard Walter. Hollywood's premier teacher of screenwriting shares the secrets of writing and selling successful screenplays in this perfect gift for aspiring screenwriters.