Thursday, April 17, 2014

TODAY'S NUGGET: How the Pros Give Each Other Story Notes (& More Good Stuff)

Why didn't I read William Goldman's Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade  (2001) sooner?!

Don't be like me.

READ IT NOW.

It will answer questions such as:

- "What does a screenwriter do when he is asked to damage his own screenplay?" (p. 92)
- When is a story NOT a film? (p. 162, with in-depth explanation)
- What is the one thing doctoring a script is really about? (p. 328)

However, if you've stuck it out this far, I bet you just want to know about story notes.

Goldman does something in this book that I've never seen anywhere else.

He wrote an original screenplay for this book...then handed it for comments to these six screenwriting friends:

Peter & Bobby Farrelly
Scott Frank
Tony Gilroy
Callie Khouri
John Patrick Shanley

Then he INCLUDED their written comments. 

They are helpful, focused, and excellent. You'll see:

- What pros look for in a story
- How each dissects (and explains) the strengths and weaknesses
- What bothers them, what they like

It will take time to read the screenplay and all the comments.

But if you want to see how a working writer thinks, (or if you want to BE that writer someday), it's worth it.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I learned what I, as a writer, must "protect to the death." (p. 179-180)

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